It was a picturesque summer day, the brisk wind breezed in the sunshine and family and friends from the US, northern Portugal, France and neighboring European countries were gathered to celebrate the marriage of Christie and Mario. To think that less than 10 months before, Mario had asked his longtime best friend Christie to be his wife and we started this exciting journey of planning a destination wedding in Portugal. With everyone in Portugal or already have expected to be spending the summer month in their native northern regions of Viana do Castelo and Paredes de Coura, there wasn’t a more perfect location for these two to celebrate their special day.
Just like Christie’s bridal shower had evoked a natural modern take on vintage Portuguese details, the vision for their wedding was to showcase traditional and classic clean sleek lines in a modern way and to incorporate endless lush green and white florals to create a magical wonder!! Simple, but elegant, minimalist but still vintage, contemporary yet softly chic. And when the original intended venue fell threw, Aqueduto Eventos popped into my head, a stunning venue and amazingly talented creative team led by Cristina, whom I’ve admired for years…..and serendipitously the venue’s aesthetic, the floral team’s touch, the unique rentals and decor — was everything we could possibly want to make Christie and Mario’s wedding vision come to life, and more!!
The landscape, the scenery, the sights and colors, the culture and family traditions — that all had a major impact on the look and feel of Christie and Mario’s wedding. Personal details and a long history of stories were an important aspect that needed to be highlighted and captured! Leandro da Silva Photography and his team did just that!! His photographs told the story of Christie and Marios’s love in an old world way, in a way that highlighted the history of their family, the aldeias their roots ran deep, the homes and memories paved in stone and dirt. You feel that rich history and love in all these photographs…
Mario’s family traveled from Paredes de Coura to the aldeia of Nogueira, outside of Viana do Castelo, to the same cappella, where Christie’s family were making there way down the cobblestone roads from her family home, to witness them finally say “I Do.” That’s how it’s done in Portugal, and that’s what adds to the beauty of love and special magic of a wedding in small-town Portugal.
The small but beautifully ornate church was graced with a lush floral installation of greens and white flowers, a small glimpse as to what was ahead for all our little eyes to become enchanted by. While guests waited for the anticipated arrival of the bride who arrived in the chicest vintage car, guests were treated to refreshments of champagne, juice, water and dainty bites — as well for the several guests who would shelter in the cool shade outside since the church was much too small for everyone to fit inside. Ahh the beauty of a small-town Portuguese wedding.
As guests began the drive down to Povoa de Varzim to the stunning reception venue of Aqueduto Eventos, Christie and Mario made a stop for a few quiet personal moments at the Mosteiro and Aquedutos de Santa Clara in Vila do Conde. Of course Leandro and his team were there to photograph every beautiful moment, and so were the talented videography team of The Amazing Rabbit, who brought these moments, along with every special moment of this day, to life in this beautiful wedding video.
With the aged beauty of the monastery stone walls, the majestic aqueduct arches that have existed for hundreds of years, the terracotta roof homes in the distance, varying green landscape and Christie’s gorgeously detailed lace wedding gown — is was a stunning old world moment in present time.
Christie and her cherished ladies radiated in classic white gowns, glistening jewels and timeless makeup and chic ponytails. And Mario’s best lads were quite dapper in their sleek navy suits.
One of the main reasons we choose Aqueduto, not only because I’ve admired Cristina’s design work and florals for years, but it’s because the venue itself offers everything! Lovely wide open garden spaces, a stunning interior that has that chic minimalist modern European vintage flair, a layout that gorgeously flows into one another creating a perfect ambience for guests, and all catering, florals, decor and rentals are provided in house by the talented team!! Cristina sources that best spots around the world, like custom artists and items they build themselves, to vintage and antique markets in France, curating one of the most beautiful, eclectic studio I’ve been lucky to work with. She has that “je ne sais quoi” touch to her aesthetic that I was both honored and lucky to have worked alongside with.
There were sooo many gorgeous, personal and detailed touches that I had to share it on a completely separate post, you can see here, so you could properly swoon and appreciate each one on its own. Below is a small glimpse of those details; custom acrylic signs I made months before so they’d have enough time to be shipped with other personal photographs and details, there we’re individual wax seal escort cards, sleek silver taper candles blended with minimalist glass candles, textures aged stone vessels and urns, and endless greens and varying white flowers billowing over wherever the eye could see…..
Those windows!!! They’re certainly a statement at Aqueduto, they instantly draw your eye into the romance that is evoked in this space and to the stunning sweetheart table installation that feels as if beautiful flowers and greens are emerging from the ground up to the ceiling.
Before guests were welcomed into the grand romance of the dinner space, they were greeted with this stunning cake display!! A hanging floral cake display suspended from the ceiling, as if the twigs from a tree came draping down to softly protect Christie and Mario’s cake. Not enough words to describe how stunning it was in person!
There were so many personal moments; moments of joy, moments of sadness and tears, moments of honor and remembrance, moments of love and happiness. Years of photographs played for all to see and reminisce as Christie and Mario danced to their first song and their parent dances, and not a dry eye was left when the best man beautifully honored and shared memories of Mario’s late father in his speech. The groom’s cousin from France graced everyone by singing the Fado song “Chuva“, guests enjoyed the fun Magic Mirror photobooth all nightlong, and the dance floor opened up with a melody of traditional northern Portugal rancho music and accordion playing. Because it’s one thing northerners won’t ever leave a house, much less go to a party without and that’s an accordion!
Come time for the cake cutting, guests walked back outside to an enchanting glistening sight of twinkling lights and candlelight. Along each side they lined up lighting up their sparklers to create a truly magical walk for the bride and groom.
The champagne was popped, it was now time to truly let loose and dance well into the night!!
It was truly a magical and picturesque experience to have been able to create and share all these moments on this day, in such a special place like Portugal!
Planning : Dreamery Events | Venue, Catering, Flowers & Reception Styling : Aqueduto Eventos | Photography : Leandro da Silva Photography | Videography : The Amazing Rabbit | DJ, Cocktail Hour Musicians & Photobooth : N Produções | Makeup & Bride’s Hair : Red Carpet Faces | Bridesmaids’ Hair : Maria do Céu Cabeleireiros | Invitations : Rebecca Green Design | Church Refreshment Cart : Presente Pra Ti | Custom Acrylic Signs, Kids’ Busy Bags & Misc. Styling Decor : Dreamery Events | Guest Transportation Buses : Empresa de Transportes Courense | Hotel Accommodations : São Félix Hotel | Second Shooters Photography : Lounge Fotografia |