After a sun-dappled British affair yesterday we’re now taking a trip to a (very) sunny Portugal. This wedding is so fit. Honestly – there are sequins, glowing skin, fruity favours….not to mention the amazing menu and and perfectly dressed tables.
We’ve seen photo walls before, many times in fact but this kind of personalised decor never fails to entertain your guests, especially when done so ruddy epically. Yep, just hang your favourite captured life moments from the outside of buildings the way Lou and Phil did.
Did I mention how fit this wedding was?
Sun, Sea And Sand
Our venue was in Portugal in a small village near Estoi. We knew from day one that it was the place we wanted to get married- the beautiful walk up to the reception area through the deliciously fragrant Orange Grove won us over at minute one. We chose Portugal because we both love sun, sand and holiday fun and we wanted our wedding to reflect these parts of our character.
A Zone Of Tranquality
I went for a very natural look- beach swept hair and very natural makeup to keep with the relaxed and informal theme of our wedding. My mum made my hair piece which was put together from some of my Grandma’s old jewellery and so was very special! My something old! I had a perfume portrait for the wedding which made me feel very special at Ormonde Jayne, Sloane Square, London as did my mum- the perfect pre wedding mum and daughter treat!
I would say my favourite new beauty product for the day was the Laura Mercier super volume mascara. I had gel nails which were perfect in the lead up to and the post wedding holiday and I didn’t have to worry at all about them. A beauty treat must….mini Diptique travel candle to burn the night before and create a zone of tranquillity!
I chose a Jenny Packham gown- the dress couldn’t have been more perfect for me and I loved wearing it. I bought the dress from the Jenny Packham boutique on Elizabeth Street London and the experience was a delight. I love the simple overall shape with the WOW band and detail around the waist. We also chose it because we thought the unusual back detail was reminiscent of my sporty and swim days!
I borrowed the beautiful veil from a friend and it matched perfectly to the dress. The veil was originally from Philippa Lepley and it really was beautiful- I wasn’t initially going to wear a veil but felt this just finished off the look perfectly. My shoes were from Kurt Geiger and I went for a simple jewelled sandal which flashed beneath my dress as I walked- they were so comfy too!
I wore mini pearl earrings and my Gran’s old ring – accessories were kept to the minimum.
A Big Wedding Party
We had 6 bridesmaids, 12 ushers and 3 little pageboys- a big wedding party! The bridesmaids wore twinkly dresses from ASOS with sashes for the church that we made. I bought all the girls a hair accessory clip from my favourite shop, Anthropologie as well as Juju bracelets for each from Oliver Bonas. The ushers were all asked to wear tones of blue and we decided to keep the uniform outfits away to tie in with the more laid back approach. The best men, Phil and father of the bride all wore Nick Bronson knitted ties which we loved!
The theme from the start was Orange Trees. Our save the dates were postcards from the area , stamped with save the date and an orange tree emblem. The invites and all wedding stationary also included the orange tree emblem throughout on craft coloured paper. The church had orange trees outside the door on arrival as well as the order of service flowing on with the theme. The marquee itself was decorated with tall orange tree replicas and lemon baskets.
I wanted a lot of herbs and natural greenery rather than any cut flowers. Myself and my mum designed the look and then our wonderful wedding designer helped us implement it on the day. All our wedding stationery and order of service was designed by Lynda Jennings Design. I loved the marquee and all the details we did!
Lavender and Eucalyptus
We kept flowers to the minimum- my bouquet was very loose and wild including some really interesting greens and whites and by my request rosemary and lavender- perfect! The ushers and wedding party’s button holes were lavender and eucalyptus based with a white rose.
My favourite part of the ceremony was my cousin Heather’s reading of the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams- she read it beautifully and I adore the reading.
Call Me Al
Entertainment wise, we had an acoustic duo playing music as people entered the church- Beatles being the main theme. In the gardens at the reception we had a classic Spanish guitarist who really added to the holiday feel and vibe. The walk into the marquee was to local hero as Phil is an avid NUFC fan! During dinner, my mum and I had spent hours putting together a playlist with all of our favourite songs which went down well.
Following dinner we had a full electric band and then once the ‘older generation’ had left, we moved to the barn where we had a DJ for 2 hours. The band and DJ were all part of The Business Band and the manager James is fantastic to work with. Our first dance was Paul Simon’s ‘You can call me Al’ which we loved dancing to in a bad way!
We both love our food and so the menu choice was of great importance and hours were put into every detail. After the church ceremony, we held a surprise champagne reception outside the church which was very welcome in the heat! On arrival to our reception venue, we had gin and tonics (served just the way they should be with lots of fresh lime and ice!), sangria with beautifully striped paper straws which I ordered from Cox and Cox and sparkling Portuguese wine.
Canapes were followed by a 5 course delicious meal starting with fig and mozzarella salad, seabass fillet and pumpkin puree, rack of minted lamb and gratin dauphinoise, crème brulee (a mixture of vanilla, orange and strawberry were served at random each with lovely garnish) and finished by cheese from the real cheese cake!
We also gave each table a bottle of port with very clear instructions Alice and Wonderland style ‘DRINK ME’. We also had treats at midnight – the midnight munchies table was certainly attacked by our jovial party goers!
Stationery was incredibly important to us- being from a family of designers, our standards were very high but we were thrilled with everything. On each person’s place we had personalised notes printed with the same Orange tree motive. Our table plan was named after our favourite places and the table plan black board stated ‘Please take your places at our favourite places’. We also then tried to sit people relevant to these places on the tables meaning there was a great starting point for conversations.
We made everything ourselves which proved interesting with the luggage allowances but was worth every minute! Making everything was my favourite part and I would do it all again! From setting up ‘test’ tables in my garden at home to framing 250 individual photos of everyone coming to the wedding to hang up- I loved every second!
My one word of advice would be not to stress and enjoy every second. I was incredibly nervous and am not particularly good at being centre of attention and so did get myself into a little bit of a tiz simply worrying about nothing. I would highly recommend the night before setting up a zone of tranquillity as my mum did for me- a hot bath, aromatherapy oil, gorgeous smelling candle, homley PJs, your favourite music, book and teddy bear if like me, at the age of 30, you still have one.
Our favourite moment was walking into the marquee- it was fantastic and seeing everyone so happy and cheering for us really made us feel special. We really took in that moment and both loved every second.
And if you are now dreaming of a similarly delicious affair then Lou the bride is in the midst of starting her own wedding and events planning company, she will be working alongside the Os Agostos venue to create the perfect sunshine-filled day.
You can contact Lou at email@example.com
Big Fruity Love