With over 300 days of Mediterranean sunshine, Portugal is the perfect place for a destination wedding, with 17 sites classified as world heritage by UNESCO.
Europe’s westernmost country offers fringe settings of breathtaking ocean views, mountain ranges, beaches and green countryside. With high-quality food and wine playing an important part in Portuguese culture, your guests will not be disappointed.
Portugal is also easily accessible to international cities with plentiful direct flights and very easy connections.
While weddings in countries like the US tend to be expensive, Portugal offers much more affordable options for a destination wedding.
Despite the increase in destination weddings in Portugal, Portugal is among the countries with the lowest wedding rates in the European Union, along with Italy, Slovenia, France, Spain and Luxembourg.
Furthermore, although Catholic weddings were once the first choice of couples, we see that as of 2019, more than half of weddings were civil ceremonies. In Portugal, couples can choose to have a Catholic or civil marriage.
For other religions, a civil ceremony needs to take place before the religious wedding for the marriage to be legal. For internationals, although civil ceremonies must be held in Portuguese, a translator may be present.
Does Portugal sound like the location for your dream wedding? Check everything you need for a destination wedding in Portugal.
The ultimate guide to destination weddings in Portugal for 2023:
Have a look at our recommendations about choosing Destination Weddings in Portugal.
Preparations, planning and advice:
Even if the wedding celebration is in another country, the couple should be concerned about certain items that must be purchased in Portugal, such as the wedding dress, the groom’s attire, among others. Invitations must be sent to family and friends at least 8 months in advance, as everyone will have to plan the trip and resolve issues such as passport, tickets and accommodation.
The couple can still take the opportunity to create a fun visual identity related to the country and their big day.
The organization of a destination wedding takes place, on average, 11 months in advance, and 81% of couples claim to have had the services of a wedding planner from the country chosen for their destination wedding.
We also know that around 80% of couples who choose to get married in another country choose to use the internet to find the perfect professionals so that everything goes as they dreamed.
Register your destination wedding with a high-quality service. Choose someone who is among the best professionals in Portugal, he will certainly create the best album for your wedding.
We can present a range of choices, and excellent professionals, capable of capturing and captivating all the unique moments during your big day.
How to start looking for the right professionals if you are not in the same country? 70% of the bride and groom started to consider Portugal as the location of their destination wedding after searching the internet and specialized wedding postcards.
Set a budget:
In 2022 year, a wedding in Portugal costs on average between €10,000 and €25,000, and weddings between 70 and 120 guests. The location you choose, and the number of guests will be the biggest factors in determining the final cost. For example, a luxury hotel in an area like Sintra will cost more than a low-key location in a small town.
Keep in mind that travel expenses such as flights and hotels will add to your final cost. And if you choose to celebrate with additional events, like a pre-wedding cocktail and brunch the morning after, that will also affect your overall budget.
Portugal is widely considered to be one of Western Europe’s least expensive countries to visit.
In general, suppliers from Portugal tend to be cheaper than other countries, which means you won’t have to pay a hefty price for your dream wedding.
How to get to Portugal:
A great advantage of getting married in Portugal is that it is one of the most accessible European destinations from the United States, England, and Europe.
There are several direct connections to Lisbon and Porto. Connections from several international destinations will facilitate the movement of family and friends who are keen to be present on your big day.
Best time to get married in Portugal:
Portugal is blessed with year-round good weather, so while in your home country a wedding can take place within a few months, Portugal is more flexible. The climate in Portugal is quite moderate, which means that it is not so cold in winter.
The best time to get married is between March and October, with the end of May and the beginning of June being the best months for sunny days without too much heat.
Legal requirements for a wedding: what it takes to get married in Portugal:
It is necessary to obtain a marriage certificate from the civil registry office and it usually takes about a month for the Portuguese authorities to process this request. When you have the license designed, you can set a date for the civil marriage. The license application must be made at least 6 weeks before the wedding. Marriage must take place within 6 months of authorization. Will marry according to Portuguese law, in the presence of a conservator. You don’t get married in an embassy in your own country.
You will need to have a civil or Catholic marriage; both are legally binding. However, prior to any religious marriage, a civil ceremony and marriage certificate must take place for it to be legal.
Don’t worry, you won’t just get married in Portugal, after the wedding, an international certificate is issued so you can register the marriage in your country. No legal residency requirement.
Are same-sex weddings legal in Portugal?
Yes. In 2010, same-sex marriages became legal in Portugal, while same-sex unions have been recognized since 2001. Gay couples have the same rights in terms of property, taxes and inheritance.
Fun and culture:
Portugal offers different tours, with a busy nightlife and the possibility of discovering places that suit all tastes and ages.
In this way, the bride and groom can offer their guests several options for itineraries and even schedule some tours according to the profile of each one.
Lisbon, the capital, passing through Alfama, Baixa and Chiado, we welcome you to Lisbon. Start the tour early, in Praça da Figueira, you can use the bus to visit the Castle of São Jorge. After the visit, walk to the Santa Luzia viewpoint.
If it’s Tuesday or Saturday, you can visit the famous flea market – Feira da Ladra.
The National Pantheon will be very close. If you prefer, stay in Alfama, and stroll through the alleys of the neighbourhood. Attractions along the way: The Cathedral, the Church of Santo António de Lisboa, the José Saramago Foundation and the Fado Museum.
Walking towards Praça do Comércio, also known as Terreiro do Paço, it is one of the greatest symbols of Lisbon.
Take pictures at the pier of the columns and at the Arco da Augusta. At the Lisboa Story Center, you can take an interactive class about the city.
Explore Baixa Pombalina up to Rossio. Try a ginjinha, the city’s official liquor.
Go back to the Santa Justa Elevator, go up, contemplate Lisbon at dusk and exit through the bridge that leads to the Carmo Ruins.
Turn left to reach Rua Garrett, in the heart of the Chiado district. Look for the statue of Fernando Pessoa at the A Brasileira cafe.
Explore Rua Garrett and the surroundings of Praça Luís de Camões.
Board the tram towards Algés, and get off at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos stop. Visit the cloister of the Monastery and the Church of Santa Maria de Belém. At the exit, walk to the left and you will soon find the Pastelaria de Belém – pastry shop.
Visit the National Coach Museum and the Berardo Collection Museum or the MAAT.
Later, look for the underground passage near Praça do Império, which leads to Padrão dos Descobrimentos. Take pictures and continue walking to the Belém Tower.
You should also visit the LX Factory and Mercado da Ribeira. Don’t miss the Oceanarium, Parque das Nações, Vasco da Gama Shopping Centre, and the Calouste Foundation or take a walk-through Eduardo VII Park to the end of Avenida da Liberdade. End the day in a Fado house.
A wedding full of history:
A true royal wedding is what the convent of Sandegas can offer to your destination wedding. Located in one of the most emblematic cities in Portugal.
Coimbra, this centuries-old space, full of history, is one of the most incredible places to hold your wedding in Portugal. Combine the wonderful architecture of the space with a magical decoration and have the most memorable event of your life! The space does not require a minimum number of guests and can accommodate a maximum of 230 guests.
It has a beautiful garden and a symbolic chapel.
At the convent of Sandelgas, you can also hold your civil ceremony. Fill your wedding with history and opt for this incredible space!
Whichever space you choose, the Portuguese have the ability to transport your wedding venue in a space of refinement, elegance and sophistication.
With a rigorous selection of suppliers, they stand out for their difference, because each client and each job are unique.
Finding the perfect spot:
Finding the perfect location can make or break your marriage. Whether you are looking for a luxurious palace in Sintra or a more informal space, Portugal has a wide range of spaces at your disposal, throughout the country. We can suggest some favourite wedding venues in this beautiful country:
1 – Palace of Seteais, Sintra:
Located in the Serra de Sintra, 25 minutes from Lisbon, the luxurious 5-star Palácio de Seteas is a romantic palace-hotel that will transport you back to the 18th century. The palace overlooks the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace, surrounded by elegant green gardens. The palace is well-prepared for weddings, with a choice of three stunningly frescoed ballrooms for lavish weddings, with a capacity of up to 280 guests.
You can also choose to have your wedding outside, in the lush green gardens with typical 17th-century palatial labyrinths, lemon trees and flowers, overlooking the Sintra mountains.
For a smaller wedding, you can also choose to hold your wedding in the restaurant, providing a stunning view over the mountains.
The palace’s Experience Team will organize all the details, such as booking places of worship in Sintra if you prefer to have the ceremony in one of them.
2 – Douro 41, Douro:
Located at kilometre 41 of the Douro River, in northern Portugal, the Douro41 is a 5-star hotel built in shale and glass in a system that extends almost to the river. The hotel was built with a desire to blend in with the natural environment while addressing environmental concerns.
In a contemporary and inviting space, a wedding at Douro41 provides the perfect combination of stunning landscapes and signature architecture. The hotel has spaces with unique atmospheres, such as striking gardens, two outdoor pools with panoramic views of the Douro, a library, cinema space and the Raiva Restaurant.
You can hold your ceremony next to the panoramic pool or in one of the indoor or outdoor venues. Douro41 also provides guests with enriching experiences, such as surprise picnics in secret hideaways, boat trips and hikes.
Renting the entire hotel exclusively for the wedding party costs €550 (up to 70 guests). Does not include overnight stay… In fact, for weddings with more than 60 guests, all hotel rooms must be reserved for a minimum of 2 nights.
The newlyweds who book all the rooms at the hotel receive a special gift: a voucher to celebrate their first anniversary that includes 1 night of accommodation, a bottle of champagne and a massage for the couple.
3 – Casa dos Penedos, Sintra:
Nestled in the hills of Sintra, Casa dos Penedos is a 20th-century palatial mansion designed by renowned Portuguese architect Raul Lino. For a mythical palace-style wedding, Casa dos Penedos is a stunning option, with several luxurious rooms and outdoor spaces for your guests.
The wedding venue has a maximum seating capacity of 220 guests. This space offers menus from €116 per person, including a sit-down meal, wine selection, wedding cake, a 2-hour open bar, parking and a tasting menu for 2 people. Of course, this does not include the venue rental and everything else that goes with the wedding planner.
4 – Hotel Farol, Cascais:
Located on the Portuguese Riviera in Cascais, Farol Hotel is a 14th-century mansion transformed into a modern and luxurious 5-star hotel. Overlooking the sea and Cascais, this space could be the perfect place for your dream wedding. From a minimalist ceremony to a grand wedding, the hotel’s facilities allow you to hold the wedding that suits you best.
The space has two large rooms, the Private Mix Room on the first floor which accommodates 10 to 30 people and overlooks the sea, and the Farol Room which accommodates up to 120 people and has access to the terrace. The hotel also offers a natural stone deck overlooking the ocean, perfect for a ceremony. The hotel has 33 rooms if you want to reserve them for your guests.
5 – Pestana Alvor Praia, Algarve:
A 5-star beach hotel in Alvor, Algarve, the Pestana Alvor Praia is located on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve. Surrounded by extensive green gardens where guests can enjoy an outdoor ceremony overlooking the city, as well as banquet rooms, this is the perfect venue for an outdoor and indoor wedding, with a capacity of 300 guests.
The hotel offers an excellent team to take care of your wedding, in addition to photography, music and decoration services.
Affordable elopement wedding packages in Portugal:
Want to save some money and opt for an intimate wedding? There are several affordable wedding packages if you want to escape to Portugal for a wedding with your other half.
How much does it cost to get married in Portugal?
Like anywhere in the world, a wedding can cost a fortune and really be as expensive as you want, impacted by the venue, flowers, food choices and more. The average price of a wedding in Portugal is between €10,000 and €25,000 for 70-120 guests.
Although it is a substantial amount of money, wedding prices in Portugal are much more affordable than in Western Europe and the United States.
Tips for planning a wedding in Portugal:
Planning a destination wedding involves navigating the local languages and customs. Differences in cultural expectations, time zones and holiday schedules can influence the planning process. For this reason, we recommend the work of a wedding planner, especially if you live in the country, who will help you to mitigate communication barriers and other important factors throughout the process of organizing your wedding.
Why 77% of couples choose this destination to get married justify: climate, excellent value for money, centrality (easy access) and the country’s cuisine are very important factors when choosing the place to celebrate the big day.
Each location has a special charm that should go well with the bride and groom’s style. Seaside receptions must have not only an enviable view of the sea but also proximity to the beach, providing the possibility of ceremonies with your feet in the sand.
Nature, places surrounded by beautiful greenery, are true green corners ideal for couples who dream of exchanging rings surrounded by the exuberance of nature. The large ballrooms and party houses have impeccable structures and complete packages for couples who don’t want to worry about anything on the big day.
Throughout the national territory, there are numerous options for spaces with the most different styles and infrastructures.
This article serves to guide all couples who have the important choice of holding their wedding in a destination far from home.
We hope that all the information provided above will inspire the bride and groom and help you find the setting for your celebration.
Created with the aim of making the moment unique and eternalizing the best day of your life, we thank you for all your attention and the time spent reading.
Our team is available to welcome you and looks forward to making your dream a beautiful reality! Book a Private Consultation with us.