Long weekends call for destination weddings in jaw-dropping locations - cue this absolutely stunning Portugal wedding planned by Como Branco Weddings at a former Cisterian Monastery. If you haven't pinned the festoon lit reception and real bride Bec's couture lace gown by the time you've finished reading this article, I'll be shocked. Enjoy!

What Made Our Day Unique

The venue was undoubtedly the most extraordinary feature of our wedding. Pousada Mosteiro de Amares is a former Cisterian monastery from the 12th century, elegantly restored by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura as a hotel and a national heritage site. It is set on the side of a green river valley in a quiet remote village of northern Portugal. The Pousada comprises a beautiful network of buildings, terraces and courtyards that we could use throughout the two days. We were really fortunate that the venue allowed us to move from one part of the site to the next, revealing different spaces and adding to the ongoing surprise throughout the experience. We saved the Pousada’s most incredible space, the cloisters, for a bit of wow-factor towards the end for the reception. Amazingly, we were able to fit most of our guests into the Pousada’s 30 hotel rooms, with the remaining guests staying close by. This made the whole experience convenient for everyone, and easy to stumble home safely in the late evening / early hours of the morning!

Bec & Josh

Portugal Wedding

Did you know 1 in 5 couples get married abroad now? I know, mind-blowing! I can certainly see the appeal with (almost) guaranteed fabulous weather, incredible food and scenery, plus the opportunity to extend the wedding day into a wedding week with your nearest and dearest. Bec & Josh's Portugal wedding at a monastery is nothing short of mesmerising, from their first look on the steps right through to their outdoor reception covered in fairy lights they've had me wanting to pack my bags and book a flight to sunnier climes immediately! If you're planning a destination wedding and want to know where to start, have a listen to our podcast for lots of help and advice. You're welcome.

Inspiration & Styling

The vibe was influenced by the Portuguese people and their hospitality. They are so warm/lively and friendly and the food is incredible. We could really feel that the staff at the Pousada wanted us to be well-fed, have a great time, and party. This meant that despite the surreal and luxurious setting, everyone felt comfortable and almost at home. The Pousada’s majestic buildings and surrounds, thanks to the elegant restoration, did all the work for us - it only needed minimal styling. We used the Pousada’s beautiful Thonet chairs for both the ceremony and the reception. The main styling element we added was the lighting in the cloisters. The dress code was formal but we left it open to creative freedom. Because it was in the middle of a hot Portuguese summer we saw lots of beautiful, colourful outfits which really added to the setting and aesthetics. Everyone looked so beautiful.

Bec & Josh

Bec & Josh offer future couples some great advice - "Don’t over plan your wedding and don’t feel as though you have to fill every single moment of the day. The energy of the day is organically driven by who is present, so focus on the things that mean a lot to you and the connections you have with your friends and family. For us that was the music, our vows and speeches and a party atmosphere at the end. Our amazing wedding planners Como Branco Weddings took care of the rest. The most special part of your wedding is the fact that the closest people in your life are all in one place to celebrate with you. Certain things that might seem important to you during the planning process, like agonising over the wine and cutlery selections, are a distraction. Let the experts do what they do best!" Here, here. And on that note allow us to introduce our favourite wedding experts on our handpicked supplier directory, The List.

Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Venue: Pousada Mosteiro de Amares | Wedding Dress: Esila Dress by Pallas Couture | Bridesmaid Dress: One Fell Swoop and Shona Joy from Coco & Lola | Grooms Suit: Monokel | Accessories: Missoma | Shoes: Dolci Firme | A tower of Pastéis de Natas : Pastéis de Belém, Lisbon | Florist: Flor de Ló | Hair Stylist: Bruno Pinto Hair | Makeup Artist: Sophia Pafitis | Stationery: Como Branco Weddings | Entertainment: Trio Band from Jukebox | Planner/Stylist: Como Branco Weddings | Oud Player: Joseph Tawardos | Wedding Rings: McCaul Goldsmiths

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