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  • Olivia De Santos

How to Plan a Wedding in Portugal from Ireland

Hello to all of you wonderful Irish couples and a huge congratulations on your engagement! If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about getting married in Portugal. I hugely applaud your choice of course as a Portugal wedding planner but also as a fellow Irishwoman.

Shocked you there didn’t I? I may not look it, but my mother was born in Ireland so I am an Irish citizen. I also lived in Knock for a short time in my tween years. So it warms my heart to have the opportunity to work with Irish couples who want a colourful wedding in Portugal.

My personal history aside, Portugal has almost everything you’d want in a destination wedding - sun, sea, fresh food, warm people, talented suppliers and unique venues. I have created a complete guide of getting married in Portugal which you can find by clicking here.

That guide, however, is for every couple, regardless of where they are from, who thinking of getting married in Portugal. So I wanted to write a short article just for you my fellow Irishmen and women with specific considerations you need to think about when planning a destination wedding in Portugal. Here are my top 4 tips specifically for you!

Photo by Piteira Photography

Dare to explore yonder Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve

As Ireland is only around 3 hours flight away from Portugal and you’re thinking of getting married here, it is safe to assume you have been here before, and maybe even quite often. If you haven’t been here before, it is only a stone’s throw away and very inexpensive to fly here. With the added bonus of no time difference (so very little jet lag, if any) you are perfectly positioned for a real Irish adventure. For American, Canadian and Australian couples, I usually warn them that the more remote areas like Braga and The Alentejo could be a bit bothersome for them and their guests to travel since they are so far away. But you are in the perfect spot to explore these areas and create a destination wedding in Portugal that is altogether more unique than most. Dare to discover places you’ve never been to and mine them for hidden gems.

You can still register to marry at home and have a church wedding in Portugal

So as of the time of writing this, Portuguese bureaucratic systems are no easier for foreign nationals. The process of registering to marry here is no exception and I outlined the entire rigmarole in this piece: How to legally marry in Portugal and why you shouldn’t. But here is the thing. If a celebrant-led wedding just isn’t going to cut it, you could have the option of having a church ceremony but still doing the legal bits at home. This is usually at the pastor’s discretion but it’s an option that is available to you.

Photo by Piteira Photography

Prepare for Portuguese weather

I remember the weather in Ireland..not so fondly. Yes I know I can’t say much being a Londoner, but wow, Ireland is so rainy! It can pummel it down here in Portugal too sometimes, but I’m sure part of the appeal of a wedding in Portugal is a wedding in the sun. If you’re looking to get married in high season (end of April - end of Sept) then you’ll likely experience long, bright, sunny days with, at times, frankly oppressive heat. Please please make sure that you and your guests are aptly prepared for this kind of weather. My advice is to avoid early ceremonies, opting for late afternoon so that you can miss the midday sun.

Your Euros may stretch further

According to One Fab Day, the average wedding in Ireland is €31,000 for around 140 guests. To be honest, for that many guests, you are quite likely to spend a little less here in one way or another, but I will say that you money will stretch further. For example, you will certainly have an open bar, cake included, larger, more extravagant floral design, celebrant or registry fees, church fees, transport for you etc. A wedding in Portugal is not necessarily cheap cheap, but you will get more for your money.

I hope you found this little article helpful on how to plan a wedding in Portugal from Ireland. If you are interested in exploring your options for a joyful, colourful wedding in Portugal, please do get in touch!