Europe has a certain allure. It’s steeped in rich history and culture and has a near-endless supply of wedding venues — and with 50 European countries to pick from, you’re truly spoiled for choice.
So why Portugal?
Cozied up to Spain on the far western side of Europe, this small country (about the same size as Indiana) has a lot to offer. However, we’ll level with you right away. Portugal is not the easiest place to organize a wedding. It takes a lot of forethought and careful planning, and you can’t just rock up and get married on the spot.
Here’s everything you need to know to plan the ultimate destination wedding, Portugal style.
Hosting a destination wedding in Portugal is an unforgettable experience. Why? Well…
Firstly, the country’s beautiful scenery and sunny, mild climate set the perfect scene for your wedding day.
Secondly, you can’t walk more than five feet without tripping over amazing architecture. The architecture provides a unique backdrop for your wedding photos, from centuries-old churches to magnificent Gothic palaces and quaint cobbled city streets.
Thirdly, let’s not forget the rich culture and history of Portugal. As one of the oldest countries in Europe, it boasts a wealth of art, music, literature, and cuisine.
In short, there are plenty of reasons to plan a Portugal destination wedding.
We won’t sugarcoat it. If you want a legally binding destination wedding in Portugal, you have some serious work and planning ahead of you.
First, you need to gather the following documents and certificates:
You must submit these documents to The Office of Authentications at least six weeks before your wedding date. Copies must also be sent to the Portuguese consulate in your resident country.
Next, you must register your intention to marry and obtain a marriage license at the local registry office in your wedding ceremony location. This must be done in person and at least eight days before your wedding day. This means you must be in Portugal for over a week before the wedding can even take place.
You must bring all original copies of your documents with you, and your birth certificates must be translated into Portuguese.
Also important to note:
It’s a lot of hoops to jump through, so we recommend hiring a Portuguese wedding planner to help. (Alternatively, many couples decide to legally marry on home soil and hold a symbolic wedding in Portugal instead.)
The cost of a destination wedding in Portugal depends on the type of wedding you want. The number of guests, location, season, type of venue, etc., can all greatly influence the cost.
However, according to some estimates, the average cost of a destination wedding in Portugal is around €15,000 (roughly $16,300) for approximately 50 guests, much cheaper than the U.S. overall average of $30k.
Here are some of the main expenses for a destination wedding in Portugal:
One way to save yourself a lot of money — as well as time and effort — is to pick a venue that offers wedding packages. The packages typically include all the essentials: a ceremony space, catering, cake, wedding photography, entertainment, drinks, etc., for a single price.
No one wants rainfall and clouds on their wedding day, and, fortunately, Portugal boasts one of Europe’s sunniest and warmest climates, with an average of 300 sunny days per year.
April and October tend to be the best months in Portugal, weather-wise. However, this is also the peak travel season, when prices are higher, and finding a wedding venue might be more difficult.
To save some cash, go for a November or March wedding. The weather will be cooler and rainier but still pleasant. Plus, Portugal wedding venues will be more willing to cut you a deal.
Portugal is a melting pot of ancient history and modern culture, so it’s truly a destination with something for everyone.
Popular dream wedding destinations include:
In each of these destinations, you can find wedding venues such as…
Located in Albufeira, Algarve, The Vidamar Resort Hotel offers a private beach, garden, and terrace, all available for an Algarve wedding ceremony. The resort also has a hotel spa, golf course, and several restaurants and bars you and your wedding party can enjoy.
Each wedding at this resort is bespoke, allowing you to craft your perfect wedding celebration exactly how you imagine it.
Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa is located in Porches, Algarve. This luxury resort boasts a spectacular cliff-top setting overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, making it one of the best wedding venues for scenic wedding photos. A spa, fitness center, golf course, outdoor swimming pools, and several restaurants and bars are available to you and your guests.
Wedding packages start from €271 per person.
Located in Duro, Octant is a boutique hotel with two outdoor swimming pools, lush gardens, restaurants, a spa, and a movie corner. It’s about as idyllic as you can get for an intimate wedding ceremony.
Renting the venue, suitable for up to 70 guests, costs €550, and you can select from a range of bespoke catering and ceremony options. Since the hotel is on the smaller side, you can rent out the entire venue, making it exclusively yours for the big day.
A Portuguese wedding costs anywhere from €4,000 to €26,000, depending on the number of guests, season, and location. However, the average cost tends to be around €15,000.
Portugal offers incredible venues, architecture, culture, and cuisine and is a great place to get married. However, the marriage license application process is complicated, so many only opt for a symbolic ceremony.
The average cost of a wedding in Spain is around €20,000+, while the average cost in Portugal is roughly €15,000. Therefore, it may be cheaper to get married in Portugal than in Spain.
The average cost of a wedding planner in Portugal ranges from €500 to €3,000. The cost depends on location and scope of work. For example, a Lisbon wedding planner will cost more than a planner in a smaller town.
Generally speaking, the best months to get married in Portugal are May, June, September, and October. July and August are best avoided due to the heat, high cost, and crowds.