Lindsay and Angelo flew from Canada to Portugal to marry in a beautiful venue called Quinta de Sant’Ana- a family run vineyard near Lisbon on Portugal’s west coast. The couple found planning a little bit of a challenge but they managed in the end thanks to the help of the Quinta’s owner, and Angelo’s mother who thankfully speaks Portuguese! Their amazingly elegant celebration was captured by the talented team at Piteira Photography, and those thinking of having their wedding abroad in Portugal should definitely not miss Lindsay’s advice below on planning a destination wedding.

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DECIDING ON THE DESTINATION

“We decided to have a destination wedding because we wanted a multiple-day celebration in a beautiful location where all of our friends could meet and get to know one another. We knew that we wanted to have our wedding in Portugal because Angelo was born there and still has a lot of extended family living there. We did quite a bit of online research to find a beautiful venue and were so pleased to find Quinta de Sant’Ana.

PLANNING

We made one trip a year in advance to scout out the venue in person and nail down some of the major components (cost estimates, menu tasting, hotels, etc…) We didn’t hire a specific wedding planner, because we were very fortunate to work with the lovely owner of the Quinta, who was extremely organized, helpful and fluent in English. She was invaluable to us and ensured everything ran like clockwork on the big day. We sent out our save-the-dates eleven months in advance and the invitations six months beforehand. Most of our guests ended up making a holiday out of the trip, either traveling within Portugal or to other European destinations after the wedding.

CHALLENGES

We had a lot of difficulty building our website because we decided to be overly ambitious and construct it from scratch rather than using a ready-made template. The inability to make several trips to the location was challenging (it was not feasible cost or time wise to fly to Portugal more than once as we live in Canada). We relied entirely on web research, phone and email to work around this. Communication with Portuguese service providers was challenging at times due to the language barriers and different cultural expectations about time to response to emails. We are accustomed to a fast-paced urban environment, which runs on a completely different timeline from a small town in Portugal. We ended up asking Angelo’s mother who speaks Portuguese to contact certain service providers directly by phone to negotiate things, which quickly clarified misunderstandings and allowed us to finalize important details. When possible we selected service providers who spoke fluent English.

STYLE/THEME

We both had the same vision for the wedding thankfully! We were trying to achieve a rustic yet sophisticated feel. We achieved this by using traditional fonts on our stationery, muted colours, mercury glass candlesticks, a classic sit down dinner and beautiful French macaron favours. The rustic aspects of the wedding largely came from the venue itself, which was a stunning vineyard in a charming Portuguese village. Our ceremony was outdoors and held in a field. We had a vintage horse-drawn carriage to bring the bride and father-of-the-bride to the ceremony.

LOCAL TRADITIONS

We served some traditional Portuguese dishes including bread, wine and cheese from the region. We also hired a ‘tuna,’ a group of university students in traditional dress who play traditional instruments and sing serenades, to play for guests during our cocktail hour. We had Portuguese guitar players while guests were seated for dinner. We incorporated three languages (English, French and Portuguese) in our ceremony to honour both sides of the family.

BEST DECISION

Choosing the Quinta de Sant’Ana as our wedding venue! The venue is a truly magical place and we cannot imagine putting that wedding together without the help of the venue’s owner and wedding organizer Ann Frost. Ann’s menu was absolutely delicious and the presentation was gorgeous. The kitchen worked seamlessly and the service was timed to perfection. Kerry and Luis from Piteira Photography were also wonderful to work with. We loved their style, and especially enjoyed the pre-wedding shoot when we had an opportunity to get to know them and get comfortable in front of the camera.

ADVICE

Start planning early, use excel spreadsheets to keep a tally of expenses and guest lists, use a website for guests to RSVP, write your own vows, make your wedding as personal as you can and try to be completely present in the moment on the big day (it passes by really quickly)!”

Photography: Piteira Photography | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Quinta de Sant’Ana | Videographer: Wedding Stories by Henrique Cepeda |  Cake: Julie Defense at The Great American Cake | Wedding Dress: Watters | Bridesmaid Dresses; Donna Morgan | Groom’s Suit: Burberry | Shoes: Canali (His) & RonWhite (Hers)  | Bride’s Jewellery: Swarovski | Wedding Celebrant: Groom’s Sister | Hair Stylist: Essentials Spa in Ericeira | Tuna Band: “Scalabituna” | Surfing Lessons: Nicky Kelly | DJ: Rui Franjas | Guest Accommodation: Casa Das Aguarelas

7 Responses

  1. Swarovski

    The photos in the garden are the best. Very romantic. My sister just was in Portugal and was amazed with the country and traditions. Thank you!

    Reply

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