Real Wedding with Martina and richard at palácio de estoi // algarve

How was the proposal?
I had planned to propose to Martina on our 5th anniversary and wanted to make it special. We had always talked about places we would like to go together and Venice was top of the list. So I booked the tickets and hotel in Venice and surprised Martina with the gift the night before our anniversary. The next day after we arrived in venice we toured the city. That night, before the clock struck 12, I proposed, and she said yes. 
The night before our anniversary rich booked us for a meal in one of our favourite restaurants. I was so shocked when I unwrapped a gift to say we were leaving for Venice in 4 hours! What should I pack!! I never expected him to propose. I remember sitting at a cafe at 10am the next morning looking out at the boats on the waters of Venice, totally shocked that I knew nothing about it until 12 hours prior! We had an amazing day of exploring art and food and I didn’t think the day could have gotten any better, when rich got down on one knee. It was amazing. 

Why did you choose Portugal as a wedding destination?
Portugal has always had a special place in our hearts. At the start of our relationship, Rich was in Portugal for 2 months to work on his golf game and invited me over for a visit. It was in Portugal, after 4 months together, that we decided to make our relationship official. We have since hen holidayed in Portugal a number of times and each time it has been special and fun in its own unique way.  
We wanted to have a more intimate and memorable wedding. And we just knew that a wedding abroad was the experience we wanted and straight away it was going to be Portugal. 

How was the experience of organizing the wedding from a distance?
It was actually easier than we thought it would be. We trusted the wedding planner and went with her recommendations on everything from hair, make up, photography and music. We didn’t have to research any of it which was fantastic. The palacio de estoi we had spotted early on in our venue research and had, at the time decided against it as we felt it could be too large. However we went over in June 2016, a year before the wedding and the first place we saw was the palacio and fell in love. It was in fact perfect for our intimate group of 30. So scenic and pretty with all the charm of nature surrounding it. We knew we wanted to get married in that picturesque garden and have dinner between those wonderful Grecian pillars. An easy choice. Sold at first glance. 

Was there something you really didn’t want to have or to happen?
Rich: we wanted to make sure that our guests had a great time, they were on holiday after all! So it was very important to us that the day itself and the week, was perfect for us and them. The wedding planners were so good and informative, they really ensured we had everything we wanted. 
Martina: i wanted it to be a fun experience for everyone. Public speaking wouldn’t be something my dad would say he loves doing so I hoped he wouldn’t feel too nervous. Both our families are lovers of traditional singing, (all our ceremony songs were read Irish songs) and dad instead of a traditional speech surprised us by singing a special song he had learned about a daughter getting married. It was so emotional the whole table were crying!! 

What was the most special moment?
Martina: When I stepped through the secret garden and into the ballroom in the palacio and saw through the large window of the ballroom, Richie standing at the gate of the garden, all the people I love, sitting either side of him. I stepped out onto the balcony and he looked up. Perfect. 
Rich: We wrote our own vows and kept them secret from  each other until the wedding day. Hearing Martina’s vows to me and her reaction to mine is something I will never forget.

Would you change anything?
We had the best week of our lives. Perhaps if we could have kept everyone there for even longer! 

VENDORS:

Wedding Photography: Passionate Wedding Photography | Planning & Coordination: Glamour Algarve Weddings | Makeup: Rui Botto | Hairstyle: Joana Reis - JAR Studios | Wedding Dress: Paloma Blanca | Shoes: Kate SpadeVenue: Palácio de Estoi | Wedding Date: 21/06/2017