Everything You Need To Know About Getting Married in Portugal

Updated: Oct 4




So you want to get married in Portugal?


That is excellent news! Not only is Portugal one of the most popular destinations for weddings abroad, it is also one of the world’s leading destinations to visit according to the World Travel Awards!


Portugal has so much to offer. The sun, sea, and sand are a given. Beyond that, we have lush green landscapes, sumptuous cuisine, and a wide range of incredible wedding venues you’ll adore.


In this very detailed guide, we’ll go through the complete ins and outs of getting married in Portugal. We’ll talk about the reasons so many couples choose to marry here as well as the legalities of marrying in Portugal depending on your nationality. We’ll discuss the different regions of Portugal and the varying climates across the year. We’ll also touch on the costs associated with marrying in Portugal. At the end, we’ll chat about Portugal wedding venues, and best practices to begin your search for the perfect venue. There’s a glossary at the end and a bit more about me (Olivia) so you know I’m not just making all this up!


It’s going to be a long one! Let’s dive straight in.



  1. Why choose to get married in Portugal?

  2. The legalities of getting married in Portugal

  3. Where to get married in Portugal

  4. When to get married in Portugal~

  5. How much does it cost to get married in Portugal

  6. A quick guide to venues in Portugal

  7. Key terms you need to know

  8. About Olivia & Venues By Nulyweds








Why choose to get married in Portugal?

As the smaller, lesser-known sister to Spain, Portugal often gets overlooked. The unassuming little country only has a population of 10million people (which is less than the population of the city of London!). It is not a huge economic player in the world’s sphere. So, for many, Portugal is like a niche choice. The underdog. The “David” to Spain’s “Goliath”. But the truth is, Portugal is an attractive option for destination weddings who a whole host of reasons. Here are 5 reasons to get married in Portugal.


Amazing weather (generally)

Did you know that Portugal counts 3000 hours of sun every year? As a Southern European country, we in Portugal have some glorious spring, summer, and early autumn months. Long bright days, warmth, and little rain are expected during the summer. Granted, the weather is the weather so thighs can be variable. We will revisit the question of climate when we talk about when to get married in Portugal. But suffice to say, the summertime, when the weather is easy, is a huge draw for destination wedding couples from across the world.

Fantastic cuisine


Portugal is known for its love of fish. As a seafaring nation, codfish is the national staple. The Portuguese are also experts in all things seafood, with octopus, oysters, crab, and shrimp all being reported as favorites by happy tourists. Each region also has its specialties, from Lamb in the Douro region to Porco Preto “black pork” in the Alentejo. If you love food and want lots of it on your wedding day, you’ll love a wedding in Portugal.



Reasonable pricing

I always wince a bit when folks say that destination weddings are cheaper than home weddings. Of course, this depends on where you come from, but generally, destination weddings make up for the costs in other ways, e.g flights, tourist attractions, accommodation, transport, currency exchanges, etc. That said, your dollar will stretch a little further in Portugal than in, say, New York or London. We’ll talk about the cost of weddings in Portugal a bit later.

Talented professionals


Portugal has some incredibly talented wedding professionals on its shores. From trailblazing cake designers to innovative photographers, I love the pool of talent we have here. The wedding industry in Portugal is small but mighty. If you want a truly creative, personalized wedding, you can certainly achieve it in Portugal with the help of some top suppliers.



A chance to explore

How many of your guests have been to Portugal before? And what better way to tempt them to this side of the world than your destination wedding! By choosing to get married in Portugal, you’ll be introducing your loved ones to a totally fresh experience. They’ll love exploring this new world as the cuisine, landscapes, and attractions leave them completely enchanted. Once you visit Portugal, you’ll want to come back again and again!



The legalities of getting married in Portugal


So anyone who follows our main wedding planning work over on nulyweds.com knows that I have a particular disdain for the legalities of marrying in Portugal. In theory, it is relatively simple. The documents you need are well defined. As long as you can find an accredited translator and a lawyer or planner to process your documents on your behalf, you’re golden. The issue is the painful Portuguese bureaucratic process. Ughhhhhhhhh! It is such a nightmare to get anything done here via government channels. The communication is slow, confusing, and tiresome. Even if you have all of your ducks in a row, you get conflicting advice from all corners. This is why I recommend to my couples that they do the legal bits at home and have a celebrant-led, symbolic blessing in Portugal. That. said. I cannot tell you what to do, and I want to be as impartial as possible. So here we go: For civil ceremonies you will both need:


  • Birth certificates

  • Power of Attorney (if applicable)

  • Passport or Resident’s Card

  • Divorce Certificate (if applicable)

  • Death Certificate (if widowed)

  • Certificate of No Impediment (if applicable)


For Catholic ceremonies you need:

  • All of the above

  • Two letters of permission

  • Pre CANA certificate

  • Prenuptial inquiry form

  • Baptism certificate

  • First communion certificate

  • Confirmation certificate

  • Permission of mixed religions (if applicable)

All of the paperwork listed need to be original copies and approved with an apostille stamp. Any documents that are not originally Portuguese need to be translated by an accredited translation service. If you are a British citizen, you may not need a translator but it is always best to check with the Conservatoria (council) you are dealing with.

I discuss the paperwork, the process, and what to expect from in more detail in this blog: https://www.nulyweds.com/post/how-to-legally-get-married-in-portugal





Where to get married in Portugal


So that’s the boring bit out of the way. Let’s jump into planning this wedding in Portugal, shall we! Starting with location, location, location. Portugal is as diverse as any country when it comes to different regions. They have unique atmospheres, features, and landscapes. Even the wedding venues are quite distinct in each place. Here is a round-up of what to expect:

Lisbon

For me, Lisboa is epitomized by the city of Lisbon – one of the most charismatic and colorful capitals in the world. The atmosphere of this place is something else. It’s a thriving cocktail of history and glamour, and it can give you a wedding with a serious wow factor. Lisbon’s a real up-and-comer as a holiday destination and was voted one of the 10 must-visit cities of 2017 by travel giant Lonely Planet. Normally, I feel a little twinge of something like jealousy when lots of people suddenly discover a place that’s been a favorite of mine for years, but with Lisbon, I’m over the moon.


Porto & The Douro Valley


The main draw of Portugal’s northern quarter is the busy, buzzy city of Porto. Imagine the gritty cool and knowing twinkle of a city like New York, then add more sunshine and more sparkle, and you come close to understanding the spell that Porto can cast. If you’re looking for a wedding that’s at once hip, urban, and utterly charming, then Porto might well be the location of your dreams. I. Love. It! The glittering Douro river threads its way through this region, and away from the cities are lush hillsides and forests.



Central Portugal

The landscapes here are so varied. Taking a drive through Central Portugal feels as if you’re crossing several countries at once. You’ll see sweeping pine forests, hillsides dotted with vines and olive groves, walled cities, and gleaming monasteries and palaces. It’s a region that leaves you spoilt for choice when it comes to breath-taking backdrops for your wedding photographs. My favorite places in central Portugal are Aveiro, Viseu, Óbidos, and Alcobaça.



North Portugal


When we talk about Northern Portugal, often called The Minho, we are talking further North than Porto which is a world unto its own. The Minho is more than a one-trick pony though, so much more. It’s a green and gorgeous part of the world, punctuated with country villas and manor houses perfect for a vibrant yet elegant wedding celebration. If you’re looking for a cultural experience, The Minho has got you covered! From Portugal's birthplace, Guimarães, to the home of its oldest cathedral, Braga, there is so much to learn and discover here. You can settle into the Minho's calm, sedate way of life and enjoy the amazing scenery.


Sintra


Though technically Sintra is in the Lisbon metropolitan area, it deserves its own section. This charming little city leaves couples spellbound. I get asked so often about weddings in Sintra! One of the dreamiest highlights of Portugal is the city of Sintra. I can honestly say I’ve never been anywhere like it – it’s got storybook romance and a feeling of enchantment in its streets and among its castles, palaces, and gardens. Technically it is located in the region of Lisbon but it is a category on its own. Located around 30mins from Lisbon airport, making it incredibly accessible for most destination wedding couples. It also has sooo much to do! An amazing coastline, hiking trails, and bustling little town ambiance make Sintra a gem for tourists.



The Alentejo


Oh, how I love this wild and wide and open land! The Alentejo takes up the largest swathe of Portugal but manages to remain a hidden gem. Often overlooked by holidaymakers, the vast open plains, deserted beaches, and sleepy, timeless villages of the Alentejo have a kind of raw power and rugged magic about them – there’s no other way to say it! This place can give you sunsets and stars like you’ve never experienced. The people here are simple, their hospitality is warm and real. The Alentejo is full of surprises, and a wedding here can be uniquely beautiful – spirited and full of character and old-world romance.



The Algarve


The Algarve is one of the most sought after areas of Portugal. It is usually everyone’s first introduction to Portugal because of its reputation as the beach location in Southern Europe. The coastal regions are some of the most beautiful locations in all of Europe and draw a huge crowd of tourists every year. For a beach wedding in Portugal, it is a prime spot!






When to get married in Portugal


So let’s come back to the question of weather. Ahh the weather. The subject of endless small talk. We’ll be discussing it a little more practically here. I first moved to Portugal in 2010 and the summers were insanely hot. Long heatwaves and sticky heat made it quite the struggle for tourists not used to such temperatures. Then in 2016-2019, things seemed a little more temperate. We had more days of rain during the summer and cooler temperatures than our sister countries like Spain and Italy.


Fast forward to 2020 and the raging summer was back. We had huge heatwaves and very few days of rain in spring, summer, and early autumn. I say all this to say, that, on average, the spring and summer months are warm, sunny, and dry. September and October can also have agreeable weather spells too which is why September is such a popular month to get married in Portugal. So let’s break it down: January - temperate, average of ~15C/60F, dry sunny spells as well as rain


February - temperate, average of ~17C/63F, dry sunny spells as well as rain


March - temperate, average of ~18C/64F, dry sunny spells, few days of rain


April - temperate, average of ~18C/64F, dry sunny spells, more days of rain


May - warm, average of ~20C/68F, dry, sunny, few days of rain


June - very warm, average of ~23C/73F, dry and sunny, very few days of rain


July - very warm/hot, average of ~28C/82F, dry and sunny, very few days of rain


Aug - very warm, average of ~28C/82F, dry, sunny, few days of rain


Sept - warm, average of ~25C/77F, dry, sunny, few days of rain


Oct - temperate, average of ~18C/64F, dry sunny spells, more days of rain


Nov - temperate, average of ~15C/60F, many days of rain


Dec - temperate, average of ~11C/50F, many days of rain






How much does it cost to get married in Portugal?


Oooh so money money money. When talking about wedding budgeting, it is like asking how long is a piece of string. It really depends on so many interconnecting factors that I simply can’t predict by talking to you through this blog post. I don’t know your circumstances or what you are envisioning. That said, here are some helpful estimates to get a gauge of how much you could be looking at:


2 - 20 guests: €10,000

20-30 guests: €12,000

30-40 guests: €15,000



40-50 guests: €18,000



50-60 guests: €20,000



60-70 guests: €25,000


70-80 guests: €27,000



80-90 guests: €28,000


90-100 guests: €30,000



100-120 guests: €35,000


120-150 guests: €40,000



150-180guests: €45,000



200-250guests: €50,000+






A quick guide to venues in Portugal


Venues By Nulyweds is a digital venue finding service to help you discover your perfect venue in Portugal, so it stands to reason that we know a thing or two about the wedding venues here! Wedding venues in Portugal come in all shapes and sizes. From castles and convents to barns and botanical gardens, there is a huge variety of diverse spaces to choose from.


Venues here are usually called “Quintas” which directly translates to “farm”. These are rarely “farms” though (some are but not all!). They are best described as wedding estates or establishments. Quintas usually provide a more complete service than just renting you the space. They often provide catering exclusively but also dabble in other areas such as decoration and entertainment. They can provide full wedding packages or you can negotiate to bring in your own carefully selected suppliers to provide you with a more personalized wedding.


If you choose to get married in a hotel, there are other considerations. For example, you may need to hire the hotel exclusively to host your event there for a certain number of nights. Alternatively, some hotels allow for non-exclusive use but have a certain end time that you must comply with. Typically it is 11pm...which is a bit lame for a wedding, don’t you think? We often find that couples struggle to discover the hidden gems in this country as wedding planner sites or Portugal venue sites show a lot of the same options. Sometimes venues are slow to get back to you or it is not entirely clear how to enquire. That is why we created Venues By Nulyweds, to help you step by step through the process of finding a venue here!






Key terms you need to know



IVA - VAT. Value Added Tax. VAT is added to all sales. Be sure to ask if the price you are quoted includes VAT or not. The current rate of VAT is 23% on most goods. Food qualifies for the lower rate of VAT at 13%


Quinta - wedding estate/venue


Herdade - herdades tend to be more rustic and farm like than any average Quinta


Solar - translates to a manor house. These tend to have a more historical feel to them


Palacio - palace


Castelo - castle


Forte - fort


Pousada - a pousada is a lodging of some kind. The Pousadas de Portugal group is a chain of hotels situated in historical buildings like convents, palaces, and castles.



Pre-reserva - pre-reservation. This is when the venue holds your place for a certain date whilst you consider your options. There is no deposit payment at this stage. If another couple enquires for your chosen date, you will be contacted and given the opportunity to put a deposit down within a certain timeframe. After that timeframe, the date will be released to the enquiring couple.


Pagamento sinal/ adjudicação - deposit


Contrato - contract


Ementa - menu


Decoração - decoration


Cerimónia - ceremony


Cocktail - cocktail hour/drinks reception


Festa - party


Pista de dança - dancefloor


No exterior - outdoor


Alojamento - accommodation


Igreja - church






About Olivia & Venues By Nulyweds


I really hope this in-depth guide was helpful to you!


As a Brit who started planning weddings in Portugal in 2018, I have learned so much about how the Portuguese wedding industry truly operates. My main business is called Nulyweds which is a destination wedding planning service in Portugal. We create colorful, fun-fuelled weddings for free-spirited millennial couples from across the globe.


I created Venues By Nulyweds to solve a key problem. How do you choose a venue at a distance? How do you know what the venue looks like? What if the glossy photos are lying to you?


Well, that’s why when I started working with destination clients, I started filming every single venue I visited. That way, my couples could see the venue for what it truly was on film before making such a big decision!


Click here to find out more about our unique venue video platform and how we can help you find your dream wedding venue in Portugal.


Xoxo


Olivia






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