PORTUGAL DESTINATION WEDDINGS
Reasons to have a Destination Wedding in Portugal
And why these matter for wedding videography
As a Destination Wedding Videographer, Portugal is probably my favourite, most complete destination. Not surprisingly, I was born and bred in Oeiras, in the outskirts of Lisbon. My family has roots in south Portugal, by the beach, in coastal area of Alentejo, near Zambujeira do Mar, just a stone’s throw from the famous Algarve area.
Portugal has long been a country of emigrants, leaving their country first to navigate the globe and later to the colonies in Africa, Brazil and India. These days, it works as a magnate with people visiting and moving to Portugal looking for great weather or to retire from colder climates. It’s therefore no surprise, it’s also a great venue for destination weddings, especially from a wedding videographer’s point of view.
Having lived in Portugal for most of my life, this text will sound to you incredibly biased. I have moved to the UK a few years ago with my wife and we love it here. However, there’s enough interest in Portugal as a wedding destination (good weather, stunning landscapes for videographers and photographers) to keep taking me back for work as a wedding videographer.
Even if it’s not for work, I go back to Portugal quite frequently. I miss the sun and the food and so many of the good things it makes a great location to visit. In fact, I go back to Portugal so frequently I don’t charge travel or accommodation for weddings in Portugal.
Some of the reasons my reasons why getting married in Portugal is such a good idea. You’ll also find a few tips and trick on how to look for the perfect weddings suppliers in Portugal.
1. Great weather for destination weddings
With more than 300 days of sunny weather per year (that 10 out of 12 months per year!), it’s pretty hard to find days of bad weather in Portugal. If you book your destination wedding in Portugal during the summer, it’s harder to be hit by a meteor than getting a bad weathered day. Take the British; moaning about the weather is definitely their national sport, so it’s no surprise weather is the most popular reason why Portugal is so attractive and popular for destination weddings. Obviously, the weather being the weather, one can never know how St Peter will perform on your wedding day. Even so, it’s almost guaranteed good weather for more than 80% of the year. It’s worth noting that you can have too much of a good thing and it can be too hot, but again, with average temperatures ranging between 10 and 18 degrees celsius throughout the year, the weather is generally quite fair.
2. It’s off the beaten track
We’re all bored to death by those Tuscany weddings or those Santorini weddings that look all the same. Whilst Portugal is becoming increasingly trendy and a must-go touristic attraction, it’s quite difficult to organise two weddings that look the same in Portugal. Although that can be said for a lot of countries, it’s difficult to find a more varied landscape (beach/mountain/river valley/vineyard/arid desert scape) in such a small place. If you clench your teeth and endure through 6h of drive, you can cross the country from North to South. Unless you really want to grab a jar of Marmite at the British grocery shop, you can enjoy beautiful locations without going to the Algarve. In fact, interior of Portugal is a gem waiting to be discovered. From the Alentejo prairies to the river beaches and mountains of the Beira, the natural, untouched beauty is just staggering. The interior of Portugal is quite hit by depopulation (70% of the population lives around Lisbon and Oporto) which means you can literally get to a place, host an elopement and not see anyone for days - it’s that amazing.
3. It’s (one of) the most peaceful country in the world
We call it “country of gentle manners“. Portugal is a country of mild weather and manners. It’s socially incredibly peaceful and crime is low. Granted, anyone can be unlucky, but it’s quite a peaceful nation that fosters a fairly carefree lifestyle. This is even backed up by data: Portugal is the 4th country (out of 163) in the World Peace Index Score (compared to 57th of the UK, 17th of Germany and 121st of the United States).
4. A varied set of beautiful locations to choose from
As we mentioned above, contrary to what a lot of people believe, there’s more to Portugal than the Algarve. Indeed, although the Algarve has come really nice spots, some of the most authentic, historical locations for weddings are outside the Algarve. There’s such a wide panoply of options to choose from. For example, the beautiful Bussaco Palace Hotel in central Portugal; or the seaside glory of Areias do Seixo Hotel just an hour north of Lisbon; or the breathtaking scapes along the Douro River, which is home to a number of luxury venues; I couldn’t obviously forget the stunning beauty of the north Alentejo hills, such as Marvão which is home to a charming boutique hotel. Whatever kind of wedding you are thinking of having, you’ll find in Portugal the perfect location to celebrate your big day.
5. Affordability (value for money)
Getting married abroad is an excuse for you and your guests to have a short holiday. Even though all that has its costs, Portugal is incredibly affordable, especially in comparison with Northern European standards. From accommodation to restaurant bills and cultural experiences, it allows you and your guests to spend a lot less. Even on the wedding front, although high(er) end wedding suppliers tend always to cost more wherever you get married, there’s a lot more value for money down in Portugal. Besides, such savings allow you to fly your wedding suppliers there if you’d rather shop at home.
6. Close distance
At just over two hours from the UK (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton or Manchester) or just over eight hours from the United States, Portugal feels incredibly close and easy to get to. Being a destination wedding videographer based in the UK, t’s such quick and easy air travel that I end up visiting Portugal several times per year. This is quite important if you have a large number of guests coming. For example, if you get married on a Saturday, your guests can leave work and board a plane Friday evening. Lisbon and Porto airports are well served by public transport, including taxis and UBER.
7. The Portuguese are really friendly
This is no myth. The Portuguese are a really nice people and they love to have people over and show them around. Indeed, it’s no surprise Forbes considered Portugal the worlds friendliest country. People will quickly invite you into their home and stuff you with delicious food and proudly show you their favourite places.
8. The Portuguese food is a national treasure
If you’re on a strict diet, you should probably avoid Portugal. The Portuguese are incredibly proud of their food and their wine and their centuries old food heritage. Everything in Portugal works around food, even business deals are agreed over lunch and a bottle of red. It’s rare to go into a Portuguese household without spending a few hours there and be fed a rich traditional stew or or some pataniscas de bacalhau or a delicacy of some sort. Even in between meals, there is always one of the many local pastries - like a pastel de nata (the famous custard tarts) or one of the much cherished conventual pastries - will be on hand to enjoy with coffee.
9. Fantastic Wedding Planners
Getting married abroad can be incredibly stressful. Arranging suppliers, venues, decorations, regulations, some of it in a foreign language. If you like to go through countless spreadsheets and deal with all the paperwork and planning, although if might leave me thinking ‘Why?!', then you might be the perfect person to plan your own wedding. If on the other hand, it sounds like a nightmare (as it would sound to me if I were to get married again), it’s because it is. To help with that, there is a number of talented Portugal based wedding planners to assist you. Wedding planners take the pressure off your shoulders, look for suppliers, vet them and do all the ground work for you to make your wedding experience as effortless as possible. Here are some of our favourites planners based in Portugal - they’re all fluent in English:
10. The law
It’s not on everyone’s mind, but if you’re marrying a Portuguese national it’s fairly easy to obtain Portuguese nationality. If you love Portugal and think you might one day want to make this your home town, this is a good destination to get married in. Your wedding will automatically be registered into the system and it’s a fairly quick route to become a Portuguese national.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but intends to highlight the stuff I most love about Portugal. If you are looking to host your destination wedding in Portugal anytime soon or are looking for a wedding videographer for your destination wedding elsewhere, take a look at my films and please get in touch!