Hot Tips

Is Portugal and Madeira a good place to get married?

Portugal is a great wedding destination if you would like a dream wedding in the sun at affordable prices.

From the North of mainland Portugal, down through Lisbon and the beautiful Alentejo, to the sunny Algarve, you will to find a great wedding destination for your dream wedding in the sun. There are also lots of stunning beaches in mainland Portugal and across the Algarve that make a great setting for your wedding photography. Lisbon area is also popular, especially Estoril and Cascais. Now for something a little more unique, you may want to consider the beautiful island of Madeira, with its stunning mountainous landscapes and sub tropical climate.

So if you are thinking of getting married in Portugal, it has never been so easy, when you register with Your Portugal Wedding.

What's Portugal like for a destination wedding?

Portugal and the Algarve has many differing features, which is unusual for a small country; mountains, gentle rolling hills, lush green deep valleys, wide rivers, waterfalls, lagoons, islands and some of the world's most beautiful beaches, thus offering a varied range of breath-taking wedding locations.

There are many different types of wedding venues in Portugal.

Quinta's
The origin of the word Quinta is a farm rented at one fifth of its income, but these days is used to describe not only rustic farms, but also country villas or estates. They make fabulous wedding venues if you want something different from the 5 star hotels or beach weddings.

Beach venues
If you are dreaming of a beach wedding in Portugal there are lots of options. Some people choose to get married on the beach, barefoot in the sand, but you need to check the licenses of the beach you are choosing. They then hold their wedding breakfast in a villa, restaurant or hotel. There are some great restaurants with loads of character and Portuguese charm located either on the beach or on the cliff top offering breathtaking views. Check them out in the directory.

Cliff top Wedding Venues
Portugal, especially the Algarve, is known for its spectacular cliffs, offering a fabulous backdrop for any wedding photography as well as stunning views for you and your guests. The island of Madeira offers dramatic mountains and ravines and if you venture high enough, you could even get married above the clouds… literally! The sea view is amazing. If you are looking for a cliff top wedding venue, check locations of villa’s, restaurants and hotels in our directory.

Churches
Portugal has no official religion but approximately 84% of the population is nominally Catholic. You will find a choice of churches of different religions some of which will conduct your wedding service in English.

Hotels
There are lots of hotels in Portugal and Madeira that make great wedding venues and are experienced in managing large numbers of guests. Many are also able to hold your ceremony in their stunning gardens, using an independent wedding celebrant, so you can have your entire wedding in one place and not have to worry about transporting guests from different locations.

Villas
Renting a villa in Portugal or Madeira for a week and then hosting your wedding there, is becoming increasingly popular when choosing a wedding venue. You can bring in wedding caterers, photographers, flowers and even have the ceremony in the garden using a wedding celebrant. This is a great way of treating yourself to a fabulous villa to stay in.

Restaurants
There are many restaurants that are large enough and experienced in catering for weddings in Portugal and Madeira. There is a great choice of menu’s from traditional Portuguese cuisine to oriental or European tastes. Many restaurants have also created a stunning space in their grounds to hold the ceremony using an wedding celebrant to conduct the ceremony for you.

Pousadas
A Pousada is a type of exclusive and often historic hotel located throughout Portugal. There are currently over 40 pousadas in Portugal. Each pousada has its own restaurant serving regional and local cuisine and wines, as well as some international favorites. Pousadas have been divided into groups so that you might choose your pousada by its theme: 

  • Historic Pousadas are located in historical buildings, castles, convents, fortresses and palaces.
  • Historic Design Pousadas are historical pousadas whose architecture had been modified by distinguished architects.
  • Charm Pousadas have lots of...charm.
  • Nature Pousadas are located in areas of immense natural beauty in Portugal.

We are still waiting to list the Pousada's in the directory so in-box us if you want more information.

What is the weather like in Portugal and the Madeira?

Both the mainland of Portugal and the island of Madeira have an amazing climate that provides the country with over three thousand hours of sunshine every year, making it a fabulous wedding destination.

In mainland Portugal the summers are long and hot, but when November comes the air is fresh and filled with the aromas of rosemary, pine, orange blossom and eucalyptus.

The island of Madeira has a more sub tropical climate with a mild year round temperature. The summers are not as hot as the Algarve or mainland, but the winters are a lot warmer.

Are the Portuguese friendly?

The people of Portugal are the main reason we love it here. They are calm, gentle, giving people, who will welcome you with open arms!

Is Portugal and the island of Madeira expensive for weddings?

Portugal is still one of the best value for money countries in Europe with a bottle of beer being cheaper than a bar of chocolate, making it a financially viable place to plan your Portugal wedding and treat your guests!!

An average wedding in the UK is currently over £20k, but in Portugal you can have a dream wedding in a stunning Portuguese venue for well under half of that, whether you get married on the beach or in the Portuguese countryside!

Portugal has recently been voted the cheapest place in Europe to eat out, so you can make your wedding day into a great, extended holiday, with your honeymoon added in. Flights from the UK and Ireland are really reasonable too, as Easy Jet, Ryan Air and other budget airlines offer fantastic value, especially if you book in advance.

So if you are looking for a cheap wedding in Portugal or Madeira, there are lots of options. You can of course still find 5* luxury and top of the range wedding venues, if your main focus on Portugal is the weather!!

Can I legally get married in Portugal?

You can get married legally in Portugal but there is quite a bit of paperwork to sort out. To do the legal paper work here we suggest you use the help of a Wedding Planner, as the paper work and legalities can feel daunting. To get you started, here is a link to what paperwork is required. http://madeiraweddingceremonies.com/organising-the-paperwork/

We feel we should point out that legal weddings in Portugal are most often conducted in Portuguese and can be quite formal without the usual traditions of the bride being Given Away or sharing personal Vows, so you may want to use a Wedding Celebrant as well to conduct the ceremony in English incorporating the elements of the ceremony that you would expect.

Alternatively you can do what many couples do, which is to sign the legal documentation in the UK before they arrive or after their trip to Portugal and then carry out a full Church or non religious ceremony here, just with out signing the register. This seems to be the most popular thing to do as it is easier and cheaper and your guests don’t need to know.

Have a look at http://www.portugalweddingceremonies.com/the-legalities/ as here they describe the steps for the legalities in the UK, allowing you to have a Celebrant conduct your ceremony in Portugal.

There are English Churches in both mainland Portugal and Madeira who would be happy to conduct a religious service for you. Or you can search in our Directory for a Celebrant who can conduct a more personalized ceremony.

When planning my wedding in Portugal or Madeira, does everyone speak English?

All of the people we have listed in our directory speak English, making planning your wedding in Portugal and Madeira simple.

What are the different regions in Portugal?

The Alentejo and the Algarve make up the southern region of Portugal. Its 200 mile coast of golden coastline make it a very popular tourist destination, offering a wide range of wedding venues from 5 star hotels, luxury villas, rustic Quinta's, romantic beaches and so much more, it is a beach lovers paradise.

The North of Portugal is the industrial area of the country. Porto is the capital of the North which is a stunning medieval city bursting with history. Porto is also the centre for the production of Port, which is exported all over the world. A few miles east of Porto is the Douro valley, with its incredible winding river. This is the area for red wine production and some of Portugal's most famous Portuguese wine labels are situated here.

Lisbon, the dazzling city that stretches along the banks of the river Tagus, is an enchanting capital. There is the fortress around which the city originally sprang up, and which is now circled by neighbourhoods drenched with medieval charm. As the dusk turns to night, the yellow electric tramcars continue to wind their way up and down the hills of the old capital, while the sound of traditional Fado songs enlivens many a candle-lit dinner table in restaurant or home. But the capital also provides ample opportunity for seeing popular celebrations, for shopping, and for enjoying the nightlife along the river bank. With the port and marinas situated nearby, water sports are a natural attraction too, perfect for the pre/post wedding celebrations!

The central Portugal region is made up of two contrasting areas. The extensive beaches and fishing villages, which lie along the coast and the interior where mountains and plateaus dominate the landscape. ‘Beiras’ is the traditional name of a region running south of Douro river and north of Tagus river. The region is one of deep contrasts: the Atlantic coastline, where a temperate climate, white sandy beaches and the Atlantic pine forests are typical, and the interior where more forbidding mountains and rocks set the tone.

Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is an archipelago comprising 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa that were settled in the 1400s. It’s known for its dramatic scenery, Madeira wine and warm, subtropical climate. Popular outdoor pursuits include hiking along the old levadas (aqueducts) in the mountains, golf, surfing and scuba diving at sites such as the Garajau Marine Nature Reserve. There are direct flights from the UK, Lisbon and many other European countries. If you are looking for stunning sea views merged with volcanic mountains, then Madeira is the location for you.

Useful Phrases

It is always useful when visiting Portugal to know a few common phrases. The Portuguese embrace people giving it a go and it will make your visit more special.

Hello - Ola 
Goodbye - Adeus / Tchau 
How are you - Como esta 
Thank you - Obrigado/a (m/f) 
Yes / No - Sim/Nao 
Do you speak English - Fala ingles?

Telephone

If you are taking a pre wedding visit and need to contact suppliers, this may help! All regular phone numbers have an area code followed by a seven digit number.

Country area code: 351
Directory assistance: 118
Emergency (free) 112

Travelling by Air to Portugal and Madeira

Mainland Portugal has three international airports, Lisbon, Porto and Faro. The airports are well facilitated and have good links with car hire and airport transfers, making it a great wedding destination, as it is easy for all your wedding guests to get here. Madeira has one international airport in Funchal, where there are daily flights from all over Europe.

Some extra hot tips for planning your wedding in Portugal.

Make sure you buy a box for your wedding dress that fits in the over head locker on the plane and it's a good idea to check with the airline before flying.

Make sure you have an exact itinerary of your day and so do all your suppliers. The last thing you want to be doing on your big day is running around sorting out everyone else. Get a plan in place and share it with everyone. Your photographer, florist, planner, or who ever else you have involved, will help you keep the day on track, but you need to let them know of the plan in advance! Bridesmaids and the Best Man are also useful for this job!

Remember is gets hot in Portugal. A good idea is to purchase fans for your guests to keep them cool. These can be personalised making them a fun keepsake. Hand out before the ceremony as guests will be in the heat before you arrive. Remember one for you too!

Sun umbrellas are a great idea for little bridesmaids and big ones too. It gives them something to hold, something pretty to play with and most importantly keeps the sun off them.

A nice idea is to provide small bottles of water for guests when they arrive at the ceremony. It can be thirsty work waiting for a traditionally late Bride!

Don't forget sun cream for you and your guests. Even though you have your wedding outfits on, it will still get you.

Put your dress on early enough to acclimatize to the heat outside and if the air con is on, turn it off, as the sudden step into the sun can be overpowering.

Be careful not go get strap marks or burn on the lead up to the day. We now have some great people in the directory who can spray those white lines away if needed.

If your guests are making a holiday of it , give them some ideas of what to do and where to eat but don't try and organise them every day. You are a bride not a holiday rep. This will only stress you out. Point them in the direction of YPW to get ideas of great places to eat and entertain themselves.

Book a massage or beauty treatment for you and the girls the day before the wedding. Send the boys, golfing, karting or deep-sea fishing. There are lots of activities everyone can enjoy both before and after the big day. Remember a Portugal wedding last longer than just one day.

Plan a lunch or a barbecue or something informal for the next day, it keeps the magic alive.

Don't forget you will need passports at the ceremony, give this responsibility to someone with a handbag.

Make sure you leave enough time after the ceremony but before the meal to welcome and chat to your guests and most importantly have lots of lovely pictures taken! No less than 1 1/2 hours for this to work well. Loads of people get this wrong and everything gets very rushed.

It is popular nowadays to have speeches before the meal so everyone who is speaking can relax.

One great idea is to provide a selection of cheap various sized flip flops so your guests and you can kick off their shoes and dance or just stroll along the beach!

If you have any tips you can think of that we have missed, please contact us and we will add them to this list to assist other couples.