After years of conducting wedding ceremonies all over Porto and the north of Portugal, I have had the privilege to visit some of the most beautiful sites in the country. As I like to say about Portugal, they pack a lot in a small space!
In my humble opinion of having married in Portugal and now being a wedding celebrant here it only seems right that I share with you all that I have learned. I will confess that this is not an exhaustive list, there are more locations that I could possibly fit in one blog. Therefore, this is a list of some of my favorite. At the start it is also important to say that none of these locations paid to be on this list. This is based on my own experiences at these locations and what I have had brides and grooms tell me about their experiences working with these locations. So let’s dive in!
Best Festival Location: Senses Camping
If you are in search of the perfect setting for your festival-inspired, boho wedding, look no further! Natasha and Michel, a married couple from the Netherlands and their young children Maya & Mylo, are the heart and soul of this location. They have cultivated this camp over years following an initial visit that tempted them to leave their previous lives – Natasha was a DJ and Michel a sculptor – and make this place their home.
Do not think for one moment that this is a “let’s rough it” camp ground. The grounds include cottages and glamping tents. There is also a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, river, yoga/meditation space, profesional kitchen, and a large organic vegetable garden.
Combined Natasha and Michel have over 20 years of event experience and are well placed to help you find everything that you need to make your day incredible. Vegan wedding menu? Check. Guitarist? Not to worry. DJ to play late into the night? But of course. This is one of the most unique spaces I have had the honor to work with and the team is top notch. The only problem now is making sure they have your wedding date available!
Best Vineyard Location: Solar Quinta da Portela
Solar Quinta da Portela is located in the Douro Valley and though only an hour and fifteen minutes from downtown Porto, you feel that you have arrived to a different world. Cars are replaced by vineyards and the smells of the sea are replaced with aromatic fragrances. The Quinta was established in 1787 and now sits on 50 hectares of land.
Beyond the stunning landscape, the quinta itself is beautiful. With space to accommodate guests in private rooms or chalets, you can rent out the whole quinta and have a wedding weekend like no other. The main hall has space for up to 200 guests, while the garden is perfect for holding your outdoor ceremony and the area around the pool lights up at night to become a happening dance floor. And if that isn’t enough, consider a day after barbecue taken care of by that quinta that will allow everyone to recover at their own pace.
The team at the quinta is run by João Tão who speaks excellent english and is always going out of his way to help couples. The quinta is still a bit new to the wedding game, but already in 2017 they successfully hosted several weddings and are looking to expand their offerings to couple.
Best Panoramic View: The Yeatman Hotel
Not only is the Yeatman one of the top hotels in Porto, but it also boasts one of the best views in all of the city. The ability to conduct your ceremony on the terrace with the view above as your backdrop means that your photos will be like no one else’s photos! Following the ceremony, the cocktail hours are usually held on the terrace as well, with dinner and dancing taking place in one of their many rooms. That said, one of the best parts of the Yeatman is your photo shoot! No photographer will ever run out of ideas of photos to take with this view, especially when the golden hour comes and you catch the sunset.
As one of the top hotels in the city, the level of service on their wedding team is also on point. Their team is always working with couples from abroad and with different sized spaces with different ambiances, this hotel is flexible enough to meet your needs. One of the highlights of the hotel is that you can have your whole wedding party there so there is no need to worry about sending people home. It also doesn’t hurt that the hotel is home to a Michelin star restaurant that will provide the catering for your special day. Your package will also include floral decorations, cake, DJ and more!
Best Typical & Intimate Quinta in The City: Casa dos Arcos
I am unabashedly biased in this suggestion. In 2014, before I started my career as a celebrant, I had the honor to marry my husband at this location. We had an intimate celebration with just 80 people, however, this quinta has capacity for up to 250 guests.
Owned and run by the same family for generations, this team knows how to take care of you. They also make your life easy, with flowers, cake, excellent food – including an unending cocktail hour, courses served family style and a dessert buffet that I still dream about -, a DJ that respected all of our requests and the opportunity to party until 5 in the morning. It was and still is the best party I have ever been too.
Maria do Carmo leads this team with style and hard work. We planned our wedding from abroad and she was incredibly responsive and flexible with all of our questions and requests. The location is beautiful with a garden that lends itself to a cocktail hour in the sun wrapped around a quintessential, Portuguese stone house with typical Portuguese tiles dating from the 18th Century. The house and the grounds manage to be authentically Portuguese without feeling kitsch or overdone. It is classic Portuguese style and hospitality that will ensures you remember your special day for years to come.
Best Garden Location: Quinta Lago dos Cisnes
Swan Lake is the translation of this space’s name and while yes, there are swans in the lake, that is not even close to the best part! The hanging gardens of this quinta make it one of the most breath-taking places I have ever had the opportunity to work at. As you can see in the picture above, the gardens are sure to leave your guests speechless. With capacity for up to 350 people there will be plenty of jaws dropping upon arrival!
Not only is the ceremony space in a class of its own, but the rest of the space is a balance between nature, with a dock reaching out into the lake spotted with hammock chairs swinging lake side, and architecture, where the inside space creates a party atmosphere that every great wedding requires. This space lends itself beautifully to couples who like the idea of having different spaces for different vibes throughout the day, allowing even a large wedding to have the feeling of intimacy.