In my ‘weddings abroad’ blog in December, I told you about my clients who wanted to get married in Portugal, and that we were planning a trip over to check everything out. Well, our trip to the lovely country of Portugal was a complete success .We flew direct from Dublin To Lisbon with Aer Lingus. We picked up our hire car and turned on the satnav and away we went up the motorway to the beautiful town of Ericeria. The weather was beautiful, 15 degrees and really sunny. We arrived to our small boutique Hotel and were greeted by our very friendly host, Margareta. A quick change & the most wonderful pizza in a little restaurant nearby where the beer was €2.50 for a pint, and the house wine was €8 a bottle and very nice too.
The next day we woke up to glorious sunshine and the amazing views of the roaring Atlantic Ocean. We were all blown away. The beaches were so clean and go on for miles, a surfers paradise. It’s a very easy place to get around and everything is based off the main square which is very pretty. Very few people speak English and they really appreciate it when you learn a few words in Portuguese. We went for breakfast and had freshly squeezed orange juice and 3 toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and coffees and a diet coke. The bill came to 11 euro.!
We had a lot of appointments that I had set up so it was going to be a busy day. After we took a drive down the coast and took some photos for the folks back home, we met with the photographer. If my clients had any reservations at all, they were cleared the minute they saw his work. It was almost emotional. I always tell my couples to be really fussy about their photographer as you have to look at your wedding photographs for the rest of your life, so they are very important.
Then it was off to the stunning church. As Portugal is a catholic country, the churches are really beautiful. They take such pride in keeping them clean, and when we arrived to the church there were a couple of old ladies all dressed in black with mantillas on their heads, cleaning the steps inside the church. We met the wonderful lady who looks after the church and checked all of our addresses for the paperwork for the future Bride and Groom to go to the Bishop in Lisbon. We then met with the lovely Juan who is part of the string quartet and the couple picked all of their pieces for the church and then chose what they wanted at the reception. All very friendly and relaxed, really helpful to us.
After a delicious lunch we wandered around the town with the help of Margareta. She pointed out all of the interesting places and walks to do . The streets are all cobblestoned, so flat shoes are essential but its’ all part of the holiday. We saw the fruit and flower market where the fruit is sold directly by the farmers daily. The aroma from the oranges and lemons, mixed with that of the flowers was just gorgeous. Everything was so fresh. Once again, everyone was so helpful, chatting away to us in Portuguese and with our little phrase book we managed a few rudimentary replies, but they just smiled and waved us good bye .
Off in the car to the secret location where the wedding reception will be held. This was to be my clients’ first view of the Quinta and they loved it. There is always some apprehension when choosing to get married abroad and you hope that things won’t disappoint but they were very happy.
We were met by all the staff and they were so helpful. We tasted the wines and some of the food and went through all of the wedding reception details. Overall, a very successful day. We were very pleased with everything. More about this secret venue in September when it is all over.
Back to the hotel and met with the hairdresser and the make-up artist, directing the future groom to the bar. All went well with the fabulous Paulo; we booked appointments for the wedding parties and some of the guests too. Then it was off to another fantastic meal in restaurant Tictac, where we met with the owner and he gave us some suggestions with regard to finding other restaurants in the town, which we could recommend to guests.
Up nice and early next morning, and off to check out accomodation for the wedding guests. I had done a lot of research before travelling to Portugal, so it was nice to meet all of my contacts in person. We checked out villas, apartments and hotels, accomodation to suit all pockets which is very important to consider in these difficult times. Ericeria has something to offer on all fronts, and we got even better deals being there in person. The Portuguese economy is experiencing similar challenges to ours, and the local accommodation owners were very grateful for the business which was reflected in their prices.
Next on my agenda was to find a restaurant that could cater for the wedding party on the day after the wedding, for the “DEBRIEF”. We were looking for somewhere with a beautiful view, good food and reasonable prices. Finally after strolling along the seafront and checking out all the restaurants we settled on one that suited my clients needs perfectly. We tasted the wines at €9 a bottle and the future groom approved of the €2.50 beer. We chose the menu and agreed on the finer details. Basking in the warm winter sun, looking out over the Atlantic, we were reluctant to think about the journey home, but unfortunately we had to get back to Lisbon to catch our flight home.
One of the nice things about Ericeria is its’size and location. It is small enough to walk around and you can take a bus into Lisbon, which is only 30 minutes away. Some of the guests travelling to the wedding are taking a weeks holidays, and plan on touring the area. Estoril and Cashgai, the beautiful city of Sintra with its’ Medieval Castle, are some of the must see locations within touring distance.
Aer lingus fly in from Dublin to Lisbon direct, as do Ryanair and it is very easy to arrange transfers direct from the airport to Ericeria.
The bride and Groom can’t wait for September now that they have seen the wedding location. They are so excited about it! Of course it helps with having a wedding planner to organise everything for them. All they will have to do, is sit back in the sun, sip their Mojitos and relax. I will do it all for them ….can’t wait myself to go back to Ericeria …………….will keep you posted on our destination wedding to Portugal.
Heading out to Majorca next to check out some venues. I will let you know about those too !