Algarve – How to plan a wedding abroad!

Luz, Algarve, Portugal

We all have a certain picture in mind when thinking about a dream wedding. Some want a small ceremony; others want the party to be as big as possible. Some want to celebrate at home, others somewhere far away.

To most people the location is really important. There’s a huge variety, from a lake or the seaside to a castle or an old Tuscan villa.

Luz, Algarve, Portugal

Wedding at the Algarve

One and a half year ago, Jan proposed and the answer was not surprising. Some time later, we started to think about where, when, what and so on.

Why we chose the Algarve is a legitimate question. We were not sure where to celebrate from the beginning. We chose the Algarve for two reasons:

Firstly, we regularly observed weddings at the sea (Bali, Thailand, Croatia) and ever since it was fixed in our heads.

Secondly, on our last trip to the Algarve we discovered the Fortaleza da Luz. We wanted to eat there, but couldn’t as it was closed due to a wedding celebration. Of course, this was a long time ago, but when it became serious we immediately thought about it.

Luz, Algarve, Portugal

Next to the location, there’s another reason: the prices. We had the Amalfi Coast in our mind as well. But you have to think about what you can expect from your guests. In total, a wedding at the Amalfi Coast would have been a lot more expensive for everyone.

And also important: Does the place of your choice have the necessary infrastructure for a wedding? With infrastructure we mean photographers, florists and so on. In case of the Algarve, we can assure you, you’ll find all you need.

Luz, Algarve, Portugal

Early Organization

When we had made the decision to celebrate at the Algarve, the planning began. We know, it doesn’t matter how early you start, it’s always going to be stressful in the end.

If you ever think about marrying abroad, then this list might be really useful for you. Start working it up early enough (we started a year before):


There’s no need to say you have to know from the beginning what you can afford for your wedding. Without knowing this, it’s impossible to search or decide what might come into consideration.

Luz, Algarve, Portugal

Civil marriage

In case you’re planning your civil marriage abroad as well, you have to inform yourself about the law before. Regarding the Algarve and respectively Portugal, we know you might have problems with German bureaucracy and the acceptance of the marriage.

For this reason, we decided to make our civil marriage in Germany and just have a ceremony in Portugal.


Think about how many people you want to invite and tell them as early as possible. As a wedding is a financial and time consuming effort, you shouldn’t send the invitations just a few months before.

Fact is, people have to work and take leave days, so you should give them the time to plan. We told our guests a year before the concrete day. Luckily almost all of them came to celebrate with us. Thanks to everyone again!

Luz, Algarve, Portugal


Maybe you already know the location of your choice from previous travels. Maybe you found one in the internet by chance. To our experience, it’s better to have seen the location in person before at least once. Firstly because pictures don’t always tell the truth. Secondly because it’s easier to plan.

Wedding planner

What is really helpful when planning a wedding abroad: a wedding planner. It depends on your budget and gusto if you prefer a cliché Sex-and-the-City-Wedding-planner or just hire an agency. But it depends more on your budget.

We could organize a lot on our own. But for some things, you just need help: Someone to hold the ceremony, musicians, stylists and a photographer – all this was organized by a wedding planner.

Praia da Luz, Algarve, Portugal

Become active

Everything you organize on your own will save you money.

A wedding planner doesn’t just help you for nothing. You have to pay for everything. We organized flowers, wedding gifts, cake, carriage and location on our own and saved a lot of agency fees.

No matter what you book, buy, organize and rent: You have to trust the people. If this is not the case, you definitely have to find someone else. Having a bad feeling about someone doesn’t mean, they won’t make a good job. Maybe it just doesn’t fit at the moment. If you’re having a bad feeling, you will go crazy shortly before the wedding. So just let it be.

Luz, Algarve, Portugal

With all our contacts, we had a good feeling; therefore it wasn’t too bad they didn’t always answer quickly. Wedding season had already begun and they were busy all the time. In the end, everything was perfect.

For your wedding, you have to think about the following: Ceremony/civil marriage/church wedding, location, food, photographer, flowers, decoration, weddinggifts, music. If you decide to marry at the Algarve, we can highly recommend you the following people/agency:

Luz, Algarve, Portugal

Fortaleza da Luz, Algarve, Portugal

The location is perfect: An old fortress from the 17th century with a great view over the sea. The meals were delicious and Luc, the owner is competent, relaxed and experienced. He used his contacts to organize a carriage ride for us. We will definitely return to this place anytime and are totally thankful for the smooth event.

Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

Photographer Paul John Fuller

Paul and Charlie were our photographers for the day. The pictures are of high quality and we loved the motives. On the one hand they were responsive for our wishes, on the other hand they were creative and trying various motives. The results are very good and we just felt comfortable with them.

We can totally recommend Paul and his wife Charlie.

Joao Bastos, Musician (Acoustic guitar)

Joao came from Lisbon. The music fit perfectly to the ceremony and the location. We still listen to his music back at home as it is so relaxing. We don’t need to beat around the bush. You can listen to him on his home page. He made the atmosphere even more perfect.

Luz, Algarve, Portugal

Helen Walker, pastry cook

The cake was delicious and looked like the image we had sent Helen before. Furthermore, she cared about the wedding gifts and helped us when we needed her. Our florist didn’t answer anymore, so she recommended us someone else and contacted her for us. The communication was perfect and Helen reliable. The cake was really pretty.

Xeli, Florist

And this was our florist. We were totally content with her. The bouquets as well as the table flowers were amazingly beautiful and the flowers great combined. If you want flowers with style, you’ll find them here.

Fortaleza da Luz, Luz, Algarve, Portugal

This agency is specialized on weddings in Portugal. They convey almost anything and the ceremonies are held by one of the employees themselves (they can organize a civil marriage as well). We were content with them though the booking fees summed up quite a lot. But sometimes there’s no other way. The employees are friendly, helpful and competent.

What do you think about a wedding abroad? What are your experiences?

2 Responses

  1. FabioRosado

    The pictures look amazing and I have to say that you both look great!
    It might be silly, but I’m always happy to see people going to Portugal for things other than holidays. I’m sure organizing all that must have been quite stressful. Did you find any difficulty with the language barrier while organizing your wedding?

    • Jan

      Thank you Fabio!
      It was a very special day for us and we enjoyed it so much, but of course it was stresful. But we didn’t have any difficulties regarding the language. All our contact persons were British or they helped us for the Portuguese parts… So no problem here, everybody could do it 😉

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