Those of you who have not had a chance to go to Portugal will be making plans for a trip after you see the wedding we have for you today. Irish couple Nikki and Gavin were lucky enough to find the villa of their dreams after deciding to have their wedding abroad in the Algarve. They had a relaxed celebration with friends and family that looks like amazing fun, and just wait until you see the gorgeous portraits that Blush Photography captured- simply stunning. Nikki was kind enough to share oodles of their wedding details below but first, have a look at these!

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The Engagement

Myself and Gavin were childhood friends and neighbors. The story of our engagement started one Easter when Gavin, our son Jayden and I travelled to the south of Spain. After settling into our apartment on the first night Jayden wanted to throw stones into the water so we walked down to the beach. Gavin and Jayden walked ahead of me and I tagged behind taking pictures of them. After catching up with them, I wanted to get a photo of the three of us in the sunset, but Gavin said he wanted a photo of himself and Jayden first. So both of them got on their knees in the sand to pose for the picture (os so I thought) when suddenly they chorused “Will you marry us?” I was totally caught off guard! After the initial shock I realised that in the meantime Jayden had drawn “I love you” in the sand. Gavin and I looked at each other- it was amazing and so perfect in every way! The best part is, I have the pictures from the moments leading up to it framed and hanging on our wall. 

The Destination Wedding

After attending a friend’s wedding in Barcelona, we knew having a destination wedding was exactly what we wanted to do. To find the perfect location we visited different locations in the south of Spain, which is where we thought we wanted, until we went to Portugal. Friends of ours have a villa in the Old Village in Vilamoura and a few days after our engagement we went on a road trip from Spain to Portugal to visit them. As soon as we saw the Old Village, we knew it was the place. Beautiful pavements, bright colorful flowers and the guest accommodation was perfect. When we returned from our trip, I came across the most beautiful villa in Fonte Santa on the internet. I’ll tell the truth- it was the venue’s stair case I fell in love with!

The Planning

We returned to the Algarve the following June to meet our wedding planners and to view the Villa. When we arrived at the venue, it was even more beautiful than we imagined. Unfortunately the garden was too small to hold the numbers we where expecting. Filipe, the owner of the Villa, was absolutely outstanding- he informed us he would renovate the garden to increase the size by 100%. This was hard for us to believe at first- but he did it! The grass area was doubled and they built a beautiful pergola at the back of the garden- the perfect location for our DJ, band and dance floor. Filipe even delivered brand new garden furniture the day before the wedding. This guy stopped at nothing- his customer service was just out of this world. The next step was sending out invitations, which we did 9 months in advance, to give the guests plenty of time to book flights.

Theme and Decor

I really wanted to achieve a rustic and natural theme with a relaxed atmosphere. I handmade all my invites and name tags and kept flowers and bridesmaid dresses soft pastel shades. The boys were dressed comfortably in white open-collared shirts and chino style trousers. Our centerpieces were also arranged by hand, bird cages with baby’s breath, candles, with ribbon on the top placed on a mirror plate with sand and shells as decoration. We also had some wicker baskets, blankets and flip flops to help make guests comfortable and relaxed. To incorporate local produce we used as much local food, beer and wines as we could. 

Best Decisions, Moments and Advice

The best decision we made probably was going that extra mile on our entertainment and photographer. Gavin says the most memorable moment for him was seeing Jayden and I walk into the church, and for me it was the surprise flashmob that family and friends performed for us. Some guests were able to extend their trip and it was lovely to be able to spend some extra time with them- in this day and age it’s hard to get that with the entire family together. We had some great laughs by the pool! Our only regret about having a destination wedding was that a very special somebody couldn’t make our wedding day- my granddad. Our advice would be not to hold back, have no regrets- have and experience everything you have ever wished for. This is your one special day. Embrace every second of it!

Can you believe that Nikki’s mother made not only her dress but all the bridesmaid dresses too? Amazing. Thanks so much to Nikki for being so open and sharing all their wedding details, and to Nickie from Blush Photography for these lovely images. If you’re thinking about having a destination wedding in Portugal be sure to check out Algarve Wedding Planners who organised this celebration, which the bride and groom were so obviously delighted with!

Photography: Blush Photography | Planning (including Flowers, Cake, Celebrant, Catering, Car & Hairstylist): Algarve Wedding Planners | Videography: Orlando Horta | Ceremony Venue: Igreja Matriz De Loulé | Reception Venue: Fonte Santa Villa | Bride and Bridesmaid Dresses: Made by Bride’s Mother | Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Groom’s Suit: Zara | Groom’s Belt & Shoes: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen: Zara (shirts), Calvin Klein (trousers), River Island (belts & shoes) | Decor Rentals: Unique and Chic Weddings | Make-Up: Vanity X | Bridesmaid Jewelry: Pandora | Stationery/Invitations: Handmade with paper from Daintree 

22 Responses

  1. Karis Jones

    Nikki & Gavin your wedding looks absolutely amazing!

    We have recently booked the same villa with Filipe & Blush Photography and are getting married in September 2014.

    Seeing your photos and gaining ideas has made us even more excited!

    Karis & Simon

  2. Nikki Whelan

    Thank you all so much for your very kind words.

    We had the most perfect wedding, more than we could ever have imagined.

    Algarve Wedding Planners where fantastic and made decisions and preparations a lot easier to manage.

    I would only be delighted to help/ give ideas to anyone in the preparation stages of planning. So just shout x

    I’m soooo sad it’s all over… I want to do it all over again.


  3. Christie O. {Mountainside Bride}

    I love white weddings. They’re always so crisp and clean, and I can almost smell and feel that off shore breeze. I also love those little handmade heart-shaped details. They really fit into any theme and any location! Lovely!

  4. Summer Wedding Guest Dresses and Outfits

    […] different options; flavor, taste, cost, incorporating your theme, and more. Yesterday we saw an amazing destination wedding in The Algarve. Blush Photography captured the relaxed day that Nikki and Gavin enjoyed surrounded by their […]

  5. gemma

    Hi nikki, your wedding looks amazing!!! We have been looking at the same villa for our wedding next year… do you mind if I ask a few questions?
    Would you recommend the villa for the ceremony? We don’t think a church is for us and just wondering if the ceremony in the villa??
    Karis, congrats on your wedding looks like you have chosen an amazing spot!! Where are you having your ceremony??? Any help is much appreciated!!!!

  6. Nikki Whelan

    Hi Gemma,

    Sorry for the delay answering your email. I have just returned from yet another 10 days in Portugal. Just can’t get enough of the place :)

    To answer your questions..

    We had our ceremony in Loulé Church and it was beautiful. We had a choice of getting married on the beach / at the villa but we always wanted to “GET MARRIED” in Portugal. If we had of chosen to have a ceremony at the beach / villa we would have had to “GET MARRIED” in a registry office at home first. This was just something we didnt want to do. I only wanted to walk down the aisle once and for it to be for real :)

    Depending on your numbers the villa could be suitable, its beautiful and the garden can be decorated to be exactly what you want. Before i forget check out for special little extras… Amelia is fantastic and her items are so beautiful.

    Any other questions just shout .

    Heres a little taster of our wedding video. Can’t wait to see the full version :)

    Enjoy x

    • Hannah

      Hi Nikki

      Your wedding looked absolutely stunning!

      We have recently got engaged and love the algarve. My parents have an apartment in Alvor so we have been numerous times and it’s just fantastic. We would love to get married there because of how beautiful it is and just wondered if you could give me any contact details for the private villa you had for your wedding?

      We will be looking at around 70 guests so it looks like it would be perfect!


      Hannah x

      If you can send me any details via email my address is

  7. gemma

    Hi nikki. Thank you for getting back to me!

    Your wedding video is fab!! All looks amazing!

    We have booked the villa for next august, so excited! We are hoping to have about 60 guests.

    We have also hired Algarve wedding planners to help us, as they seemed to have the best feedback!

    We are looking into getting married either on the beach or un the villa, Awp have advised us that we can actually marry over there in both locations, I hope this is the case as we are thinking like yourself, we don’t want to marry at home first, just doesn’t seem right :)

    Thanks for that, they have some lovely things on uniqueandchic!

  8. Rebecca

    Hi Nikki

    I love your wedding – it looks absolutely stunning!

    We’ve been trying to view this villa but have been having terrible trouble getting hold of Fillipe! My mum & dad went out there this weekend but were unable to get hold of him to view it! We are also using Rebecca as a wedding planner and she wasn’t able to get hold of him either. My fiance and I are thinking of flying out this weekend to see it but want to make sure we can definitely see it first as we’ll only be going out to see the villa. So my question is to the girls who booked it, how on earth did you get hold of Fillipe?!?!

    • Nikki

      HI Rebecca ,

      Have you had any joy with getting in touch with Filipe? x

    • veronica

      Hi 2 villas available – not for wedding venue – but for your visiting guests . Albufeira , can sleep 6 adults and 8 adults ,next door to each other .
      Best wishes to all couples planning a wedding in the Algarve
      Veronica .

  9. Natalie

    Hi Nikki,

    Your wedding looks amazing!
    Myself and my partner are from London and have been looking into getting married in Florida Clearwater. We are looking to marry on a beach and have a reception in a villa that we stay in. But due to money reasons most of our guests wont be able to come as its expensive for flights and somewhere to stay plus it being so far away.
    We are waying up our options and considering changing our location and I was just wondering if you would be able to give me a rough guide as to how much your wedding cost? And how much it was for guests to fly out and stay?

    Many Thanks


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