Weddings that double as holidays for the bride, groom and all their guests seem like an assortment of all the best things in life fused into one event. Wren and Sam sought to have exactly that for their big day on the 27th of June 2016 in Portugal.
With a guest list that spanned the globe (including the international happy couple themselves), Wren and Sam decided that they might as well meet their family and friends, holiday together and get hitched somewhere fabulous. So, they decided on the Yellow House for both their ceremony and reception location. The spacious, light-filled abode and sprawling tree-filled grounds were a perfect fit and they tied the knot on the splendidly decorated basketball court.
As Wren is an Aussie, she incorporated her favourite Australian flower in her bouquet, a red Protea, which was both sentimental and provided a real colour burst. I loved her lace dress with the illusion back too. Sam looked very much like a cool cat in khaki pants, a white shirt and palm tree shoes (awesome!). The décor was an excellent mix of vintage couches, handwritten blackboard signs, fairy lights and the kicker – fresh blooms and potted succulents everywhere.
Thank you so much to Matt + Lena Photography for sharing these fun images.
THE PROPOSAL | In 2010, during a working holiday I had in London; Sam was living in London and had just started his PhD when we met at a house party. Soon after we met, Sam moved to Geneva to complete his studies and I had to move back home to Australia. After a year of sticking it out long-distance, we realised we had something we didn’t want to let go; the only way we could see what we had together was to be in the same country and try having a real, in-person relationship! So I packed in my job, met up with Sam in London to sign the registry and moved to Geneva to start a new life. It turned out much better than we could have ever expected, and we promised ourselves that if everything was as amazing as we thought it would be, we’d get married properly, in front of all our loved ones. So we did – on the same date five years later.
THE VISION | We had a kind of DIY/vintage feel, pieces of furniture and knick-knacks you’d find in your mother or grandmothers’ place. I wanted the intimate size of the wedding to be complemented by a homely, comfy, relaxed feel.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Planning a wedding in another country was harder than I’d anticipated. That said, our venue host Paulo at the Yellow House was incredible, and such a great support. We started planning long in advance (technically we had five years of knowing it would happen one day) so it was a fairly long-term and stress-free project. That being said, all of the alcohol from the wedding got lost en route to Portugal; we’d made an order with a supplier in London, and sadly it all went pear-shaped in the days leading up to the wedding – the shipment got lost! Our family and friends all drove to the local supermarket in Sintra the day before the wedding, we loaded everyone’s cars up with awesome local wines and spirits. We are so grateful to have such amazing people around us!
THE VENUE | With family scattered all over the globe – England, Australia, America, Germany – it made sense to pick neutral ground so we all had to travel. It was a great excuse for a family holiday and Portugal is the perfect place – guaranteed warm weather in stunning surroundings. Our venue for the whole day was the Yellow House; we found it via AirBnB. We had wanted somewhere that could accommodate not just a ceremony and reception, but our families for the week around the wedding too – all 14 of us!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was the only one I tried on – I found it by chance in Bremen, a small village in Germany with my sister. I tried it on and knew immediately that it was mine.
I wore silver earrings in traditional Portuguese filigree, depicting the Heart of Viana. I got them from Small is Amazing, a Portuguese online store and I got matching ones for all my bridesmaids. They were perfect!
My engagement ring was handed down through family – the engagement ring was Sam’s mother’s and is in its original setting.
My wedding band Sam had reset in his own design, accompanied by two peridot gemstones. It’s absolutely perfect and I love that there’s old and new, something that Sam made especially for me and put so much thought into.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We didn’t have any music during the ceremony or a first dance. In the evening the wedding was more like a house party, we had our iPod on random :)
THE FLOWERS | I had a seasonal, loose arrangement by My Wedding Flowers Portugal. She was so helpful in finding the one flower I really, really wanted – Proteas, they’re my favourite and native to Australia. She was also really flexible and creative when it came to creating the look I wanted within our tight budget.
THE CAKE | We opted not to have a traditional wedding cake, but we bought and designed our own cheese-wheel cake. We fetched the pastel De Natas and picked the cheeses.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Matt + Lena Photography. Our photographers were incredible. Us and our guests were awestruck by how present they both were, yet not at all intrusive – we could not be happier with the pictures of our day. They are stunning and I am so thrilled to have these for the rest of my life to remember our beautiful day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The vintage furniture and table décor were supplied by My Vintage Flowers Portugal. We had mini bottles of port with Heart of Viana pendants strung around them as guest favours, and for the toasts, we bought each guest a miniature vintage teacup to put Ginjinha liquor, a traditional Portuguese sour-cherry liquor, into. The guests got to keep their teacups as a memento.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We were so thrilled to have the whole family together, for the first time in years and years – that’s really what made it so special for us. The whole day was about those nearest and dearest – from having my dad walk me down the aisle, to having my father-in -law conduct the ceremony; having my sister and sister-in-law as my bridesmaids, and my baby brother as our ring bearer. Everyone was involved in some way and it was awesome.
The speeches are always a highlight in weddings, I think, and ours were no exception. The best man and my dad did an incredible job of making people laugh and cry. My mum did a mother-of-the-bride speech, which isn’t typical – but it was so touching that she did, speaking in front of people makes my mum really nervous so it was such a special thing for me! It was funny and silly and full of family jokes, and I loved it!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t be shy about leaning on friends and family, they would love to help you.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Matt + Lena Photography
Event Planner / Stylist | Lisbon Wedding Planner
Florist | My Wedding Flowers Portugal
Wedding Stationery | Ivory Mint Cards (via Etsy)
Ceremony and Reception Venue | The Yellow House, Sintra (via AirBnb)
Catering | Provided by the Wedding Planner
Celebrant | Frank Rogerson (Sam’s Father)
Bride’s Shoes | Miss KG
Accessories and Bridesmaid Gifts | Small is Amazing
Makeup | Vanessa Navalhas from Le Petit Paris Lisboa
Bridesmaid dresses: Coralie Beatrix (via Etsy)
Congratulations, Wren and Sam. Your wedding looked like an incredible festival full of love, friendship, food and drinks. The picture of you poolside with your nearest and dearest is my fav – so laid-back and happy. Thank you for sharing. Abby xx