Portugal – situated on the end of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is one of the most beautiful and culturally-diverse places in the world to hold a wedding. With its rich history and its miles and miles of pristine coastline, Portugal is one of the most romantic places that any couple could tie the knot. Few people think of Portugal as a wedding destination, but perhaps they should. Portugal is like a secret, a pearl waiting to be discovered and set in gold.
Portugal is one of the friendliest places on earth. Visitors, couples and honeymooners are all treated like royalty, and the feelings expressed by the Portuguese people are genuine and from the heart. Almost 100% of Portuguese are Roman Catholic and large, colorful weddings are the norm.
Both civil as well as religious weddings are recognized as legal in Portugal, so if you have your heart set on a big church wedding, there is no need for a civil wedding beforehand, as is true in many other European countries. Foreigners planning to wed in Portugal should be aware that there is a thirty day residency requirement for at least one of the happy couple. No embassy can aid in circumventing Portuguese marriage law.
If you are planning to be married in a Catholic Church you’ll need a copy of your baptismal certificate. If your plans call for a civil ceremony, then at least one of the couple must reside in the area of the registry office for a minimum of thirty days prior to the ceremony.
If you are a permanent foreign resident of Portugal you must show your residence card. All foreigners and visitors who wish to marry in Portugal must show their passport as well as a certified copy of a birth certificate that has been issued within the past six months. If your wedding is to take place in the gorgeous Azores Islands, then your birth certificate must have been issued within the past three months.
Portuguese authorities will also ask for a certificate of non-impediment, which simply means that there is no legal reason why you cannot marry. If you have been married before, it is your responsibility to provide a final divorce decree or a death certificate for your previous spouse.
All documents that were originally written in a language other than Portuguese must be translated into Portuguese by a certified translator.
Once all of the legal formalities are out of the way, your wedding in Portugal will be a thing of beauty and a memory that will last a lifetime.
Today weddings in Portugal tend to be simpler affairs than in olden times, but that is no reason why your wedding should not follow many of the colorful and poignant customs of days gone by.
Many brides choose to wear a white Chinese tunic beset with jewels while the groom wears a dark suit, white shirt and dark top hat. During the ring portion of the ceremony, the priest may cover the couple with his stole as a symbol of the joining together of two souls. Following the ceremony the guests throw flowers and bonbons at the newlyweds in much the same way that other cultures throw rice or wheat or confetti.
Following the wedding, the traditional custom was for the newlyweds to parade through the town, allowing everyone to act as a witness to their marriage. Today many of these customs have passed into obscurity in all but the tiniest and most far-flung villages. However, in recent years there has been a sudden resurgence of respect for the old customs and it is now simpler than ever to find beautiful, romantic locales in Portugal where your wedding ceremony can be as modern or as traditional as you choose it to be.
There are few places in the world with a deeper, richer or more varied history than Portugal. Portugal has been the jewel in the crown of many emperors, fought over by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and finally the Moors, until the country was finally united as the state of Portugal in 1147.
Because of all of these varied influences, the architecture of Portugal is unlike that of any other country, borrowing as it does a little from every culture that has touched it over the past 3,000 years. No matter whether you choose a modern hotel or a 200-year-old inn for your honeymoon, rest assured that everywhere canopied beds are the rule, along with vaulted ceilings, marble floors and ancient tapestries. Your honeymoon hideaway in Portugal will be like no other in the world, helping to create one more beautiful memory for a lifetime.
The people of Portugal are among the friendliest in the world. As you walk the ancient and cobbled streets you will hear the lilting cry of “Bom dia!” (“Good day!”) shouted a hundred times. It is even possible to arrange a trip to a local farmhouse to dine with a real Portuguese family, and take a horse drawn carriage ride to see local artisans at work.
There is no place on Earth that rivals Portugal for the friendliness of its people and for the rich and varied heritage that can help to make your wedding in Portugal a marriage that will last a lifetime.