I do love a destination wedding and today’s nuptials took place in a location that is extra special to the couple. Joanne and Marc both had ties to the Algarve and Marc’s mum and stepdad very kindly let them hold their wedding at their newly built home there on the 9th June 2018.
I think you’re going to be delighted by this relaxed, boho inspired party in beautiful Portugal. With a simple colour palette, beautiful white florals and plenty of laid back revelry, their day really was stunning.
Joanne and Marc are a stylish pair too. Joanne looks gorgeous in Jenny Packham’s “Nashville” and doesn’t Marc look rather dapper in his blue suit and braces?
Ana Parker Photography was on hand to capture every moment of their romantic destination day. Aren’t the images just marvellous? Thank you so much for sharing them with us Ana.
We got engaged in snowy Reykjavik, Iceland in February 2017. It was the last day of an amazing trip, and the weather was spectacular – bright sunshine and the city completely covered in snow. We were even lucky enough to see the Northern Lights that night on our way to celebrate.
Our exact words to Dalia, our wedding planner, when we first approached her were “relaxed, beachy and bohemian”. We wanted to make it a holiday for our guests as much as possible, so wanted it to be a three-day affair, with a welcome dinner at the beach on the Friday, the wedding on Saturday and a relaxed pool party on Sunday to eat leftover wedding cake and nurse our hangovers! We basically wanted an Ibiza Pool Party – Portugal style!
The Planning Process
As I mentioned, we were luckily able to work with Dalia from Algarve Events to plan the day. We had a strong vision of what we wanted to achieve from our experience of attending other weddings and looking at A LOT of Pinterest and wedding blogs. Dalia was amazing as our representative on the ground in Portugal and went above and beyond to fulfil our vision perfectly. I found our amazing photographer Ana and my incredible hair and make-up artist Zoe, who I actually flew over from the UK to Portugal for the weekend. We also sourced a lot of the finishing touches from the UK and shipped them over to Portugal.
All in all, it was quite relaxed and Dalia was amazing!
We knew we wanted to get married abroad, and chose Portugal as it holds a lot of a treasured memories for us. I used to go on holiday every summer to Portugal with my family, it was the destination for our first holiday together, and Marc’s Mum and Stepdad have recently retired out there after having a holiday home for a number of years. We were lucky enough that they kindly let us use their amazing home in Quarteira, Portugal for our wedding reception. This was incredibly generous of them as the house is newly built – they were still fitting glass panels to the balcony the day before the wedding!
We originally thought that this would be super easy and save us lots of money on venue costs. However, it did mean that we had to source EVERYTHING in for the day – not only tables and chairs, but loos and even an electricity generator was brought in the day before by crane! It was completely worth it and the house looked amazing, and so special for us to celebrate our day there.
We originally planned to do the ceremony at the house as well, but during the planning process Marc strongly felt that we needed to break up the day and have another venue. Dalia made our dreams come true by finding St Luke’s Church at Monte Palagueira, a beautiful little church up in the Algarve hills where Father Rob Keans was able to conduct our ceremony. We still laugh that we went all the way to Portugal to be married by a vicar from Chelmsford!
We arranged coaches to pick up our guests from two different pick up points, while my Dad and I arrived in Marc’s stepdad’s vintage TR6 convertible which had been decorated beautifully by our florist, Cidalia. Marc and I then drove back together to the house after the ceremony.
The Readings & Music
For our ceremony we had two readings. My sister read the poem “First Meeting (for Diane)” by A.S.J. Tessimond. This took us a long time to find as we really wanted something special that resonated with us. For our bible reading, read by Marc’s brother, we kept it traditional with Song of Solomon 2:10-13: Arise, My Love, My Fair One, and Come Away, as we felt the references to vines and figs were lovely with our Portugal setting.
Music is a huge part of our lives and Marc is a musician who actually plays at a number of weddings so we wanted music to play a huge part in our day. For the ceremony, I walked down the aisle to Elvis Presley “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and we walked back down together dancing and single along to Jackie Wilson “Higher and Higher”.
For cocktail hour, we had the most incredible duo – Ines and Joao aka Little Mess – sing and play guitar. Ines could sing the phonebook and still sound amazing, but they learnt a couple of songs especially for us – Neil Young “Harvest Moon” and Justin Timberlake “Say Something” which were amazing.
Once everyone was sat for dinner and speeches, we made our entrance to one of our favourite songs by Fleetwood Mac “Everywhere” and went down our long table and high fived all our guests.
For our cake cut, we played the Lumineers “Flowers in Your Hair” and then our first dance was one of our most treasured songs, Glen Campbell “Wichita Lineman”.
For our evening festivities, we had DJ Rafa with Mr Sax, an incredible saxophonist, playing alongside him which really added to the party atmosphere!
Your Outfits & Accessories
Picking my dress was probably the most straightforward part of the planning process, in fact I had ordered it before we had even set a date! I knew I wanted something with a bohemian vibe, and was inspired to look at Jenny Packham after seeing Ella Mills on Instagram (Deliciously Ella) wear a gorgeous Jenny Packham dress to get married. I fell in love with the “Nashville” dress at first sight, and went with my mum and sister to the Pantiles Bride in Tunbridge Wells, where the lovely Alexandra made my dress dreams come true. It was the first dress I tried on, and I loved it instantly. I knew I wanted some form of hair piece that highlighted the detail of the dress, and found my beautiful pearl and daisy piece form Little Willow and Co on Etsy. My earrings were a gift from my parents on the day of the wedding, and I also wore my mum’s garter from when she married my dad. I knew I wanted to be comfortable all day, and after being told I couldn’t go barefoot decided on a pair of Valentino Rockstud sandals.
I had a pair of vintage style round sunglasses that I bought at Alquatro in Almancil, and as the weather wasn’t quite as hot as originally imagined, I ended the night wearing an All Saints Leather moto jacket that I have had for over 10 years!
Marc wore a blue suit and brown shoes both from Suit Supply with grey braces and a Liberty floral print bow tie from Ties Planet. I also bought him a watch from Camden Watch Company to wear on the day and our wedding rings were from Queensmith in Hatton Garden.
As I mentioned, I flew over the most amazing hair and make-up artist, Zoe Cornwell of “Knot Your Average Bride” to do mine and my sister’s hair and make up for the weekend. I had found Zoe from another wedding she had done via Instagram, and she understood from the get go that I wanted something relaxed and classic with a boho twist. Working with Zoe was like having another of my girlfriends there on the day, she is the best! I had my hair up for most of the day, with natural make-up while my sister had hers down with a fishtail braid. I took my hair down for the evening festivities and repurposed my hair piece into a headband.
My nails were the classic CND Shellac Romantique and I wore Chanel Coco Mademoiselle perfume on the day, which is my favourite perfume.
Our three groomsmen wore navy suit trousers from Suit Supply, brown shoes and braces and bow ties to match the groom. My dad wore a tie in the same Liberty floral print as well.
We also had our nephews as page boys, wearing navy shorts and braces from Zara Kids, brown boat shoes and blue and white striped bow ties both from River Island – they looked so adorable!
I had my sister as my maid of honour and I knew from the beginning I wanted my bridal party in white as well. She wore a beautiful off shoulder white lace dress from Self Portrait via Net-a-Porter. We also had our beautiful niece as flower girl, wearing the incredible French Vanilla dress in Ivory from Tea Princess in Australia and nude Melissa by Jason Wu ballet flats.
Our flowers were simply amazing. I provided a number of inspiration pictures to Cidalia and she went above and beyond to make them a reality. I wanted a lot of white flowers with eucalyptus and other greenery. When Dalia visited her in the days before, she commented on the sea of white peonies everywhere!
The button holes were based around daisies to match my dress and hair piece, and this theme was taken forward in to my bouquet and my sisters, which were white peonies and daisies with rustic greenery. The pew ends in the church were white hydrangeas which we then brought back to decorate the chairs of the wedding party for dinner.
The flower garland on the back of our wedding car was a particular highlight, with gorgeous foliage and white peonies, hydrangeas and gypsophila. This matched the garland on our welcome sign and the centrepiece on our table. Cidalia also custom ordered the silver candelabras for our long table – which looked spectacular.
Our flower girl carried a gorgeous wreath of green and white flowers with fairy lights that I ordered from Vikki at The White Bulb on Etsy, which hopefully she will keep and treasure.
We were also incredibly lucky to be able to take our photos in front of some gorgeous wild flowers spotted by the amazing Ana just down the road from the villa.
We were luckily enough to be able to work with the amazing Ana Parker, who was an absolute joy to work with and her photos are incredible. She made us feel so relaxed and felt like hanging out with one of your pals all day.
We had video and drone footage provided by Alex and the team at Algarve Wedding Films. We had a short trailer video as well as a longer fifteen-minute video and full speeches video made. They were great to work with and not in your face and we will treasure the videos for ever. My husband was not that sure about having a video at first but he is completely converted now after the results.
The Details & Décor
One of our favourite details was our Ice Cream Bike from Lauren at Scoop Algarve, for cocktail hour serving ice cream and sorbet alongside the prosecco and sangria and canapés from our incredible catering team at Algarve Fine Foods. We had a three course meal served on one long wooden table, particular highlights were the Algarvian sharing tapas starter which included chorizo cooked at the table for our guests. Guests had an option of fillet of beef with seasonal vegetables, chicken stuffed with sundried tomato and mozzarella, seabass with an artichoke risotto or a pumpkin pasta for mains. We had pizza and mini burgers served for late night food and mini pastel de natas for coffees, the food was amazing.
AFF also managed our full bar with amazing cocktails. Their service was amazing; I don’t think anyone managed to put down an empty drink without another one appearing in its place! They even wrapped guests in blankets during the speeches to stop them getting cold!
We used wooden cut out names in lieu of place names from Etsy with favours of mini bottles of Port and locally sourced Piri Piri oil with customised labels also from Etsy. As you can tell, Etsy was a lifesaver for us during the planning. It’s where we found our wooden signs for the entrance, the seating plan templates, our robes for getting ready and the wooden signs on the back of our chairs, Noiva and Noivo is Portuguese for Bride and Groom.
We had festoon lighting hung from the fences, around the trees and across the pool, which really set off our boho theme and was one of my favourite parts of our décor. This was enhanced by the giant J&M and twinkle light dancefloor we hired from Memory Box – Tom and Jess are the nicest people ever and also provided our Photo Booth.
We used a lot of rustic wooden features – such as the long dining table and barrels for the cocktail bar as well as cocktail tables wrapped in long tablecloths and tied with eucalyptus. It really married our theme with the modern setting of the house.
We booked our honeymoon through Trailfinders, and spent an amazing two and half weeks in South Africa and the Seychelles. The main highlight was three days on Safari at Dulini Lodge, a trip of a lifetime!
We had the most amazing day full of moments we will treasure forever. I loved driving up to the house with Marc after the ceremony and seeing everyone’s reaction – most people hadn’t seen the house since it had been built and we kept a lot of it as a surprise! Other highlights are my two-year-old nephew heckling my Dad during the speeches, dancing all night with my loved ones and the fact that we all ended up in the pool by the last song – yep I was stupid enough to jump in my wedding dress!
Our cake was a simple vanilla cake with buttercream and jam and decorated with the most amazing sugar flowers to match our floral theme.
We also had a “sweet bar” with a variety of sweets in glass jars that we had shipped over from the UK set up on wooden barrels next to the dining table.
Advice For Other Couples
It’s easy to say, but just relax and enjoy it as it goes so fast! Try not to sweat the small stuff, we spent ages sourcing items assuming the weather would be roasting on the day to then have the weather change last minute and bringing in patio heaters and running to Ikea for blankets! If you can swing it, working with a planner meant that we had someone on the ground for us at all times with all the local connections we needed and thinking of things that we never imagined we needed (such as noise licenses!), it meant we could relax and enjoy the whole process and we couldn’t have done it without her!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Ana Parker Photography
Algarve Wedding Films
Dalia at Algarve Events
Algarve Fine Food
Hair & Make Up
Zoe at Knot Your Average Bride
Little Willow & Co
Flower Girl Dress
French Vanilla from Tea Princess
Invitations & Orders of Service
By Cidalia via Algarve Events
Suzel via Algarve Events
Celebrate Your Way
Sophie Victoria Joy
Dance Floor, Photobooth & J&M Letters
Ice Cream Van
Bridal & Bridesmaid Robes
Holly Rose Prints
Painted By Katie
Seating Plan Template
What a wonderful wedding day in such a special setting. Congratulations Joanne and Marc and thank you ever so much for sharing everything with WWW. Rachel x