The White Edit

Portugal

Lisbon

overview

Famous for food, beaches, sunshine (and footballers), Portugal makes it high on the list of lust worthy destinations in which to tie the knot. One of the oldest countries in Europe, it is replete with Medieval charm and laid back sophistication, from the exceptional beaches of the Algarve to the beauty of pretty Porto. For those with a sweet tooth Portugal, with it’s fabulous pastel de natas (custard tarts), bola de berlim (donuts) and leite crème (crème brulee) may be a no brainer for a truly indulgent wedding feast.

the lowdown

If sun is a must have for your nuptials you can’t go wrong with Portugal. Lisbon is the sunniest capital in Europe, enjoying 2,799 hours of sunshineevery year and the south of the country is a top tanning spot. While Portugal has become known for its touristy areas, there are also many hidden cities (such as Guimarãesand Sintra), as well as untouched beaches like Praia do Baleal in Peniche near Lisbon where life is slow, authentic and there isn’t an English breakfast in sight.

Looking for a wedding venue in Portugal can take you off the beaten track to some unexpectedly chic and memorable locations, which are just a couple of hours flight time from much of Europe.

It’s also a country full of rather wonderful surprises, from the island of Madeira to the Livraria Lello bookstore in Lisbon, which inspired Harry Potter’s Hogwarts library.

Of course this is also the home of port, as well as a world renowned wine industry that used to supply the Roman Empire (“an army marches on its stomach..”, as Napoleon said). Vinho Verdeisan aromatic, fresh white wine and reds from the Alentejo region are seriously full bodied.

Warmth and food, friends and family are what make getting married in Portugal such a special event. A destination wedding in Portugal is a lovely languorous affair with a hint of tradition and a touch of charm. It’s what all the best wedding memories are made of.

insider note...

The timing of a traditional Portuguese wedding is quite unusual, starting the reception at around 8pm and going on into the early hours. If you’re the bride then consider your shoe choice carefully, not just so that you’re well equipped to dance the night away, but also due to the Portuguese tradition of passing around the bride’s shoe at the wedding so that it can be stuffed with money. Slingbacks may not be the wisest choice.

Flight Duration

2hr 55 to the South, 2hrs 20 to the North.

Currency

Euro

Language Spoken

Portuguese but English speakers are easily understood in most locations.

Vaccinations

n/a

Transportation

Lisbon has both a metro and tram system and other locations around the country are well supplied with buses and trains. Taxis are pretty economical and you don’t have to tip.

Public Holidays

Alongside New Year, Christmas and Easter, the Portuguese celebrate Republic Day (5thOctober), Freedom Day (25th April) and Restoration of Independence Day (1st December). Religious holidays such as Assumption (15th August) are also respected.

Good Time to Go

March - October

good to know

Portugal is still somewhat of a hidden gem when it comes to the destination wedding market. Although locals still have a very traditional wedding style, the creatives working over there love to push the boundaries, so you can rest assured your Portuguese destination wedding will be like no other.

the marriage

THE WHITE EDIT'S BRIEF GUIDE TO GETTING MARRIED IN PORTUGAL

You can legally marry in Portugal, without having to fulfil any residency requirements, in either a Civil wedding ceremony or a Catholic ceremony. Non-Catholic religious ceremonies are not legally recognised in Portugal and the Anglican churches based in Lisbon, Oporto, Estoril and the Algarve are not licensed for marriages. Many couples choose to avoid the legalities and paperwork involved and have a low-key civil ceremony at a registry office in the UK to fulfil the legal requirements followed by a Wedding Blessing/Humanist Ceremony in Portugal at a venue of their choice.

Civil Ceremony

In Portugal, civil ceremonies are conducted by the local registrarand take place at either the civil registry office (Conservatória do Registo Civil) or a location of your choice. There are no residency requirements for couples wishing to have a civil ceremony. This also applies to same-sex couples. It has been legal for same-sex couples to be married in Portugal since 2010.

If you would like more information on the application process and documentation required, download our printable Full Guide to Getting Married in Portugal. 

download full guide

Religious Ceremony

You can have a religious ceremony if:

… one/both of you are Catholic and neither of you are divorced.

No residency rules apply.

A Roman Catholic wedding is legally binding and will take place in a Roman Catholic Church.

Non-Catholic religious ceremonies are not legally recognised in Portugal and the Anglican churches based in Lisbon, Oporto, Estoril and the Algarve are not licensed for marriages.

If you would like more information on the application process and documentation required, download our printable Full Guide to Getting Married in Portugal. 

download full guide

Wedding Blessing / Humanist Ceremony

The private, non-denominational, non-institutional nature of a Wedding Blessing or Humanist Ceremony gives you the flexibility to marry when, where and how you want. There is no legalrequirement for the ceremonyto take place in a licensed building. Therefore, you can hold your ceremony wherever you like — at your favourite restaurant, in a private villa, on a secluded beach or in the middle of an olive grove. The choice is yours. There is no legal requirement for the ceremony to follow a set structure so it can be as formal or informal as you like — you can have a traditional Church Ceremony with the religious parts replaced with readings and vows or you can have a light-hearted ceremony with humorous readings and vows. Once again, the choice is yours. These ceremonies are usually performed by a celebrant who will be able to help you select the style, structure, readings, music and vows that reflect your tastes and feelings as a couple resulting in a highly personalised and unique, non-religious ceremony.

Please note: If you do choose to have a Wedding Blessing or Humanist Ceremony you will also need to have an official civil ceremony in order for your marriage to be legally binding.

If you would like more information on the application process and documentation required, download our printable Full Guide to Getting Married in Portugal. 

download full guide