Inviting sandy beaches, delicious food and unforgettable scenery… we help you plan your fabulous wedding in the Algarve!
Less than three hours away – and with beautiful weather almost guaranteed until mid October – the Algarve is fast becoming the destination of choice for couples who want a wedding abroad. It’s not hard to see why. But if you’re daunted by the thought of planning your dream day abroad, fear not! We’ve put together a go-to guide for your ‘how to’ when planning a wedding in the Algarve, with insider knowledge from a local wedding planner from The Real Algarve.
Legalities and Paperwork
Getting married in Portugal isn’t complicated but there are a couple of important things you need to know before you start booking your flights and accommodation. Just like in the UK, Civil Ceremonies and Catholic Church weddings are recognised by law and are legally binding. As with any wedding, there is some paperwork that needs to be arranged in advance so allow plenty of time to get your documents in order. Your documents will need to be originals, Apostille stamped (a stamp which authenticates the document), and translated into Portuguese by an agency verified by the Portuguese Consulate. For a Civil Ceremony, you’ll need long-form birth certificates and certificates of no impediment, as well as your passports. Catholic church weddings are a bit more complicated, as you’ll need to provide some permission letters from your parish priest and Bishop – for the full list of what’s required, contact the Portuguese Embassy.
Even if you’re very familiar with the area and have visited many times before, arranging a wedding in a different country can be a challenge, which is why it’s a good idea to consider hiring someone with some local knowledge to help out. They’ll be on hand to take care of the arrangements before you and your party arrive, leaving you able to enjoy the experience without the stress. We love ‘Those in the Know’ at The Real Algarve, who specialise – and pride themselves – in being able to find you the most romantic, secluded spot for your big ‘I dos’!
This is where you’ll need to tap into your wedding planner’s knowledge of local suppliers. They will be able to advise you on florists, caterers, make-up artists, hair stylists, and photographers in the local area and give you honest and impartial recommendations.
When planning to have your wedding abroad, a key consideration for most couples is how many guests to invite and how to accommodate them and their needs. Attending a wedding abroad can be a very costly affair, and the bride and groom are generally not expected to pay for everything. Having said that, it can’t be presumed that all guests will be able to afford to attend. Although the flight time from the UK to the Algarve is approximately 2.5 hours, you’re probably planning on being there for more than a couple of days. If your budget will allow, consider renting a large villa for you and your VIP guests to stay in. It could also double as your reception venue. The luxury Villa Catalina, for example, sleeps up to 19 guests and even has its own cinema! For those with more regal tastes, Casa Valerie is owned by the Portuguese Royal Family and is available to be rented out! Offering breathtaking views over the bay of Lagos, and steeped in the glorious past, if it’s good enough for royalty ladies…
Of course the climate in the Algarve is a consideration when choosing your wedding outfits. The Algarve has one of the best climates in Europe, with very mild winters and long summers, meaning you have plenty of options when trying to find a date that suits everyone. As it’s very likely to be warm, you’ll want to avoid heavy, layered dresses and thick, wool suits are a no-no. Instead, consider dresses in lighter styles, in breathable linen, cotton or silk, and replace the morning suits and waistcoats with trousers and shirts in thinner fabrics. Add a pair of sunnies… and voila!
If you’re planning to get married in the Algarve, check out The Real Algarve for luxury villas, venues and local wedding planners at therealalgarve.com