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Portugal wedding photography – our destination wedding guide

If you close your eyes and think of Portugal, what do you see? Do you see amazing beaches on the Algarve, the fabulous cities of Lisbon and Porto or the vineyard-flanked hills of the stunning Douro valley? Whatever you’ve imagined, it’s fair to say that there’s more to Portugal than you might imagine and it’s becoming more and more popular as a destination for weddings. If you’re now wondering about a Portuguese wedding, you need to keep on reading…

Over the last few years, Portugal has become on the THE places in Europe to visit. Lisbon is currently one of the hottest destinations for European city breaks and the countryside in the Douro is absolutely spectacular. The draw of the beaches on the southern coast can’t be ignored but when Portugal is so welcoming, so friendly and so cost-effective, it’s no surprise that it’s also an up-and-coming location for destination weddings.


Portugal wedding photography by destination wedding photographer Amanda Karen PhotographyPortugal wedding photography by destination wedding photographer Amanda Karen Photography


When you start planning your wedding, one of the first things to think about is what style of ceremony you want. Both civil and Catholic church wedding ceremonies are legally recognised in Portugal and it is possible for you to take part in one of them if you meet all the criteria. For example, if you’ve been divorced, you can’t marry in the Catholic church in Portugal but you could take part in a civil ceremony. If you’re approved to hold a religious ceremony in Portugal, this must take place within three months and if you can’t speak Portuguese, you’ll probably need a translator to be with you during the ceremony. Civil weddings are slightly easier to arrange and will be conducted in the local register office and again, your ceremony will be conducted in Portuguese only.

As with most destination weddings, there’s lots of paperwork to complete and all of your documents that are in English have to be translated by an agency that’s approved by the Portuguese Consulate. You’ll need even more documents if you’re planning a Catholic wedding so check and double check you’ve got everything you need.


Portugal wedding photography by destination wedding photographer Amanda Karen PhotographyPortugal wedding photography by destination wedding photographer Amanda Karen Photography


Of course, lots of couples marry legally here in the UK before travelling for their destination wedding. That then means that you can work with an independent or humanist celebrant to write your own ceremony that can be conducted anywhere. Some UK celebrants, such as Wild & Oak, offer a ceremony writing service so you can have a personal, beautifully written ceremony that one of your friends or family can read on your big day.

Once you’ve decided on your ceremony style, you can have lots of fun choosing your venue. The internet is, of course, your friend here. Start by searching for the region or style of venue that you want and go from there. If the thought of celebrating on a family run wine estate appeals, take a look at Quinta de Sant’Ana, just 30 minutes from Lisbon, that you’ll have seen on Love My Dress and Rock My Wedding.

Alternatively, you could rent a villa such as Yellow House and work with a wedding planner to create a more homely occasion (take a look at this wedding for inspiration!). Whether you’re looking for a venue in the UK or overseas, take your time to make sure that the venue suits you and the style of wedding that you’re planning and, if you need any clarification on contracts or terms and conditions, it’s definitely worth engaging the services of a translator so you’re sure what you’re signing up for!

Then, it’s time to bring your Portuguese wedding to life. If you can support local suppliers and producers, that’s fantastic and of course, your wedding breakfast will then be a feast to remember. Why not buy local products to give as favours or put together welcome packs for guests containing local maps and suggestions of things to do?


Portugal wedding photography by destination wedding photographer Amanda Karen Photography


Finally, toast your marriage with some port (obviously, a glass of vinho verde or some ginja (sweet cherry liqueur that’s often sold in chocolate cups) and don’t forget to nibble a Pasteis de Nata or two. – these scrummy Portuguese custard tarts could easily be served in lieu of wedding cake!

Having recently visited Porto, we have fallen in love with Portugal all over again, so we would LOVE to capture a wedding there, are you going to be the one to make our day and book us for your Portugal wedding photography?!

Until next time,

Amanda x