Real Bride – Planning a Destination Wedding

November 5, 2017

Ashleigh and Douglas decided to fly their guests to beautiful Portugal for their wedding but whats it really like to plan a destination wedding…here some advice from the lovely Ashleigh herself! 

1. What made you choose to have your wedding in Portugal? 

My mother has had a holiday home in Praia da Luz Portugal since I was about 10 and I have been visiting there since then. Douglas and my first holidays were to my mother’s house and we love it there, it’ll always be special to us. The house was beautiful and was a perfect venue for a small wedding. Also Douglas is from Scotland so if we had decided to get married in Scotland or Essex one of our families would have had to travel – we figured this way everyone has to travel equally! 

2. Did you find it necessary to use a wedding planner? 

organised most of the elements of the wedding myself (I am a bit of a control freak!). But our wedding planner who was also our celebrant was invaluable when it came to suggesting suppliers and helping liaise with our caterers particularly at the start of the planning as she had an existing relationship with them. I didn’t have a lot of the traditional things that most people want such as a wedding cake or fresh flowers which reduced the things that needed to be organised in Portugal. 

3. What was the best thing about having a destination wedding? 

The weather and setting were so beautiful without me having to do much to improve them. My wedding decorations were minimal as I could rely on the beautiful garden and Portuguese architecture to make the day (and photos) feel special. It was lovely sharing this special location with friends and family all of whom made the wedding part of a bigger holiday.

4. What were the challenges when organising a destination wedding?  

There is limited time to do things immediately prior to the wedding as you need to be on the ground. In the UK it would be possible to pop into the venue/ speak to suppliers in person in the weeks leading up to the wedding. If you get married abroad it’s harder to do that and you just have to have some faith that it’ll all go ok. An example of this is hair and makeup I had no opportunity to have a trial and just had to be relaxed and trust that Tamsyn and Mandy would listen to me on the day, which they both did with fab results.

5. Be honest, were you still worried about the weather?  

I wasn’t at all. I simply had no contingency for bad weather and my whole wedding was outside! I know Portugal and never had doubt the weather would be beautiful. I couldn’t even imagine having to worry about that on top of everything else!!


6. Having now had your amazing day, what advice would you give to another couple who are planning a destination wedding? 

Decide right at the start what your most important and non negotiable things are and ensure that you stick to those, but try and have some flexibility about the rest of your “vision” as sometimes things simply don’t translate abroad. Getting a good, honest wedding planner helps with this as they can suggest tweaks to your plans that will probably be even better than what you were hoping for! 

Credits to Ashleigh’s Wedding Suppliers below; 

Photographer – Nikkis Moments Photography @nikkismoments

Celebrant/wedding planner – Natasha  @algarve_weddingsandblessings 

Chair/table/parasol etc – Algarve Marquees

Flowers – Rebecca   @paperbouquetsuk

Hair – Tamsyn  @algarveweddinghair

Make up – Mandy  @mandyjware_makeupalgarve

Wedding dress – Phase Eigh