Sunny Portugal Real Wedding


August 19, 2020
Words by Kinsley Brown
Photos courtesy of Matt + Lena Photography

Desperate for sunshine on and around their wedding day, Holly and Michael knew they’d have to travel outside of their hometown in the UK for their nuptials. As children, they’d both traveled to Portugal and loved it. Plus, hosting a destination wedding could open up the opportunity for Holly and Michael to spend quality, vacation time with their dear friends and family.


“Everybody loved the idea of having a holiday with the wedding,” Holly says.

On their hunt for the ideal location in Portugal, the couple felt drawn to the historic town of Sintra, specifically, Penha Longa Resort for its beautiful architecture and the option to stay on-property. Among the buildings on the property, the 14th-century Monastery truly beckoned Holly and Michael. 

“It was real-life fairy-tale and the perfect contrast to the modern resort,” the couple says.

Not so fairytale-like, finding the right planner while searching from abroad proved challenging for the couple. So as not to lose precious planning time, they focused on sourcing vendors via Instagram and the web themselves to start. Thankfully, eight weeks before the big day, the couple found Nikolina from Splendida Weddings who helped with the leadup and day-of coordination.

“Nikolina was a dream to work with and because of her, the lead up was a lot less stressful. Having Nikolina there on the day enabled us to relax, we weren’t thinking about any of the decor or details or worrying about the suppliers, we knew they would be taken care of,” the couple says.

They received additional help from some of their talented friends and family. Holly and one of her friends designed the invitations, menus, place cards and programs, her sister personalized hangers for the bridal party and another friend, who is a makeup artist, did her makeup.

“It’s lovely to have your loved ones involved and it’s a great way to help stick to a budget,” the bride says.

The wedding day was romantic and elegant with modern elements and a color palette of soft pale pastels – mainly pale blush and off-white – and greenery. The ceremony took place in the 14th-century Monastery with its decorative arched ceilings and artisan fireplace adding the perfect touch of tradition. The day continued in the gardens for cocktails, the dining room for the reception and the courtyard for the party. Once everything was said and done, Holly and Michael were elated to spend even more time with their guests in Portugal.

“We were able to have celebrations lasting a week over our wedding because everyone was on holiday together,” the couple says,” and our wedding day had beautiful sunshine – just how we had dreamt.”

Vendors: Photographer: Matt + Lena Photography; Wedding Planner: Nikolina Silva from Splendida Weddings; Ceremony/Reception Site: Penha Longa Resort; Florist: GreenPic’k Stationery: In Love Weddings; Hair: Lilia Costa; Makeup: Ashleigh Wilson and Andreia de Almeida from Le Hau; Cake: Penha Longa Resort; Gown Designer: Aire Barcelona; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss; Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: TFNC London; Brides shoes: Jimmy Choo; Veil: The Wedding Dress Shop; Groom Shoes: Russel & Bromely; Cufflinks: Links Of London; Bow Tie: Marks And Spencer; DJ and Lighting: Your Jukebox; Saxophone player: Pedro Morais; Videographers: Syncview

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