Portugal Destination Wedding – The Algarve
A whimsical, magical, cliff top party. We wanted to create a dreamlike day our guests would never forget that was a little bit boho yet chic and beautiful.
Amy and Brian
I am dreaming of sandy shores, cliff top views and a sea breeze thanks to WWW readers Amy and Brian who are sharing their Portugal destination wedding in the Algarve today. They chose the location as it’s a place close to their hearts and soon discovered it’s a small world (read their report below in full!). With Amy’s expertise in events planning their day was always going to be executed to perfection, despite the challenges with logistics. They were married on the cliff top with views of the sea, before partying the night away in a transparent marquee decked in twinkling fairy lights, the result was ever so romantic.
I adore all the outfits from their day, Amy and Brian looked amazing, I love their effortless style. The colour palette for the décor and flowers was very neutral, with greenery all round and elegant stationery. It really sounded like a fun day and the celebrations continued after the wedding day too, wow.
Ana Parker Photography thank you so very much for sharing with us these superb shots, it all looked so beautiful.
Brian proposed while we were at Glastonbury in July 2017. We drove there in our rented campervan from London on a very hot Thursday and had an amazing evening exploring the festival’s fields with our friends.
On the Friday morning we barbecued breakfast in the sun and set off on our day of fun! Brian suggested hiking up to the Glastonbury sign to take in the views of the entire festival. We got up there and relaxed in the sun while picking out all the points on the map from above. Brian asked me to go to the bar with him – which was a small stall sitting on the sun burnt grass above us – we started strolling up there but he veered to the right towards the Glastonbury sign where he got down on one knee – I was completely shocked, I said yes and we opened a bottle of Champagne and called our families from up there before making our way down to Future Islands for further celebrations with friends. It was an incredible weekend we will never forget!
I have worked in Event Planning for over 10 years so the most important thing for me was that the day was totally unique and unlike any other wedding.
We decided on the Algarve in Portugal, my parents have a place down there, so it held a lot of special memories for us already, it’s home from home.
We set up the ceremony and reception on the cliff top peninsula overlooking two small beaches on either side. You can only access the beaches by boat so we were confident they would be deserted, thankfully they were on the day.
The setting was all about the views, so we decided to source a transparent marquee, it was perfect. As guests were leaving the cliff top everywhere had turned to a dusky pink and when the sun set during the meal, we had thousands of twinkling fairy lights line the ceiling above.
The Planning Process
Because I plan events for a living, I really enjoyed organising our wedding and knew exactly how to get started.
The venue is very remote and hard to find, when driving there you come off the road onto a track about 5 or 10 minutes before getting to the house! I was definitely worried some of our supplier’s vans wouldn’t be able to get to us, we had a few close calls but thankfully they somehow all made it!
I was in contact with dozens of caterers, florists, AV technicians and photographers.
Most people told us what we wanted to achieve would not be possible as the venue was so remote, and our numbers were not small at 160. I knew it was possible, but we just had to find the right team!
I got quotes from eight marquee companies, in the end we went with a team who didn’t have a word of English, they were so lovely (I think!) and drove 6 hours from northern Portugal. I had a Portuguese friend in work who kindly translated my emails to them!
The catering was the most important part of the puzzle for me as the logistics were complicated. I came across a gentleman called ‘At’ who had recently sold his Michelin starred restaurant nearby and also had a catering company, he was fantastic and had the same obsessive attention to detail as me!
We brought a second small marquee in and set up a standalone kitchen. We needed extra power, so I hired a generator (which arrived without fuel! We got that sorted after a small panic!). We ran power from the generator about 200 meters down to the cliff edge as the reception was there after the ceremony.
A lot of planning went into our day as so much could have gone wrong. One of the perks was all of the site visits we managed to tie in!
I knew we needed a setting with some land on it as I wanted to bring absolutely everything in to create our very own venue from scratch.
After searching the coastline from Quinta do Lago to Sintra I found a large family owned house on Air BnB near Carvoeiro called Quinta Albasol. The house is on a huge site that runs right down to the cliff edge with access to the most amazing hidden beaches. The views are stunning, and we knew right away it was the blank canvas we had been searching for.
Cecilia and her family have owned the house for many years, she was incredibly helpful from start to finish, we were so lucky to have Cecilia’s help and recommendations along the way. We actually think it was a twist of fate – my uncle is a priest and he married us. He lived in Lisbon for a stint many years ago and Cecelia recognised him as being the priest at her sibling’s communions 20 years previous. We looked back at the school, church and dates and she was correct, we could not believe it, such a small world!
The Readings & Music
We had a string quartet play songs during our ceremony and the Champagne reception. I walked down the aisle to ‘Stand By Me’. We spent ages picking songs for them to pay, there was a real mix from the Beatles, to Florence and the Machine to Game of Thrones during the reception!
During the ceremony, my friend Avril read the words from Brian’s Dad’s engagement card which were very wise and special to us. They are also heard on our wedding video. The ceremony was short and sweet at less than twenty minutes.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Brian wore chinos and a blazer instead of a suit, we felt it matched our day and the vibe. His blazer and chinos were made to measure from Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label, his shirt was Smyth and Gibson, and his tie was Hermes.
One of my bridesmaids Ruth, set up a loafer company called Rockfie and Co. so we got fab loafers for Brian and the groomsmen there.
I searched all over London and Ireland and in the end, I wore a Victoria Kyriakides dress. I wanted to make sure I felt like a bride, but I also wanted to be comfortable in the heat and really enjoy my day. The dress was so lightweight and easy to wear, when the bridal party were having photos taken on the beach, we all ended up running around and tackling each other!
My shoes were white Manolo Blahnik Hangisi and my jewellery was vintage from a shop called Granny’s Attic. I borrowed a ring from my Mum that had a blue sapphire.
All hair and makeup was done by bridesmaids! One of my bridesmaids, Jess, is a makeup artist and Nicola owns a Blowdry Bar. Our ceremony was at 5pm so we had a lovely day getting ready. I was happy for the girls hair to be how each of them wanted it to ensure everyone was as relaxed and comfortable on the day as possible.
We got the guys blazers, shirts and chinos from Zara and their loafers were from Rockfie and Co. Their glasses were Finlay and Co.
The Details & Décor
Our colour palette was neutral – it consisted of creams, beige, whites, and pastel pinks. I love how the colours mix with the scenery of the water, rocks, and sand. With a setting like that we didn’t have to do too much!
Suzanna and her husband did a stunning job on our flowers, we wanted them to be whimsical and elegant. I would highly recommend working with Suzanna.
We went for a cheese tower instead of a traditional cake. It ended up being really popular and absolutely delicious. Perfect for a pit stop from the party!
Our photographer – Ana Parker was one of the easiest decisions. Ana’s style was relaxed and beautiful. As soon as we were in contact, I knew she was the right fit for us. Neither Brian nor I enjoy having our photos taken but we felt totally at ease with Ana.
Ana photographed us a few days ahead of the wedding which helped us to be more relaxed on the day, a great addition included in her wedding package.
Michael from Story of Eve was one of the first bookings I made. I adore his work and he covered our day perfectly. We have three lengths of our film and watch them all the time still!
The girl’s dresses were from TFNC and their shoes from Dune. It was great as they have dresses in tall, regular, petite, and maternity fits. I think we needed one of each and then minimal alterations were necessary.
Their pearl earrings were from Newbridge Silverware and they all wore Sans by Diptique perfume I had given them in their bridesmaid packs.
We stayed in Portugal for a few days after our wedding which was so much fun as a lot of friends and family where still there so the party continued! After this we flew to Ibiza for our mini moon. We stayed in the Nobu hotel first and then moved to Hacienda Na Xamena which were both incredible.
The following March we honeymooned in the Maldives. It was a slice of heaven.
Advice For Other Couples
As an event planner I would recommend starting a comprehensive budget and project plan to keep everything in one place, once you have these you will feel in control!
Try to enjoy your day, it goes by so quickly so don’t forget to take a moment to really take it in, look around and see all of your favourite people in one place!
I could not recommend an abroad wedding enough. You get to enjoy your friends and families company for longer and everyone is so relaxed and in great form!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Ana Parker Photography
Story of Eve
Amy the bride has an events company – Ame Luxury Events [email protected]
How very special?! Are you thinking about having a destination wedding? We have lots of real weddings abroad in our archives you can take inspiration from.
Amy and Brian thank you both so much for sharing your joy filled and stylish nuptials xo Lou