This day last week, I had just gotten back from a weekend away in the Algarve where I had been viewing wedding venues for next Spring. Although I have been dying to write about my time there, I have been insanely busy since trying to finish a store redesign project I’ve been working on, so I’ve barely had time for sleeping and eating not to mention blogging.
Since getting engaged to my boyfriend and best friend in March, we have been looking into weddings abroad. Having something small and intimate for our close friends and immediate family is definitely my preferred choice as the thought of having a big wedding at home, quite frankly, scares the life out of me.
Having holidayed in Portugal many times with my family and friends, it seemed like the obvious choice (especially given its convenience for flights from the South West of Ireland) so we met with wedding planners back in April to start our hunt for the perfect wedding venue.
We had decided on three venues to view but unfortunately my fiancé couldn’t travel with me last weekend due to other commitments so my best friend came with me instead. Whilst it was definitely hard not to have him there, there’s no one else I would have preferred to be there with me and I’m so grateful that she took time out from being a busy mommy (she has the cutest little four month old baby boy) to come and help me. We landed on Friday afternoon so had just enough time to chill by the pool at our hotel in Vilamoura, before being up bright and early on Saturday morning to view the venues.
I have always had a huge appreciated for old and historic buildings and architecture so that made my choice of venues much easier as there are only a handful of places which fit that description in the Algarve. Many people look at me a bit funny when I mention that I want to get married somewhere that has a bit of history and character as if they can’t quite grasp why I’m not going for the tried and tested, more modern hotel.
Although, I can’t fully explain why getting married in a more historic venue is so important to me, I guess it’s because they somehow appeal to my romantic nature and at heart I’m a sucker for a story. Stepping foot inside an old convent which now masquerades as a boutique hotel, or wandering through the old courtyard of what was once a grand Palace, quite simply sends my imagination into overdrive. I adore standing within the walls of a place where the past has so much presence and imagining the people that once called these places home, the lives they led, their happiness and their heartaches.
These places somehow feel more real to me than the five star resorts down the road, they’re almost like great novels with decades of pages to read and I love the thought of adding my own little story to their many chapters.
While I won’t go into too much detail in this post about the three venues which I viewed (as I am still trying to decide between two of them), I will say that pictures can definitely be deceiving and the one which I had been most excited about viewing turned out to be my least favourite in reality. For me, the feeling I have when I am in a place is so important and also being able to imagine my friends and family being comfortable there is equally fundamental. Hats off to brides as it’s harder than I thought to find a venue that both you and your partner love, as well as ticking all those other boxes that need that all important seal of wedding approval.
So many questions and thoughts whirled through my mind as I tried to visualise our day in each of the venues, that by the end of it I was quite literally a ball of emotions and felt physically drained and completely overwhelmed. Having organised many large corporate events thus far in my career, somehow I thought I would find it easier but when it comes to your own wedding, it’s an entirely different kettle of fish.
After such a long day, I was grateful to spend Sunday getting some much needed R&R and exploring beautiful Vilamoura. We had the most amazing lunch (which consisted mostly of delicious cocktails) at the rooftop bar in the Tivoli Hotel which overlooks the beautiful Vilamoura Harbour and also spent lots of time pottering around the little shops in the village picking up presents and other little bits and pieces (bits being the floppy hat I’m wearing and pieces being the skirt!).
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Vilamoura and would definitely recommend for a fun girlie weekend or a romantic break away.
More on wedding planning soon and if anyone has any tips or advice on weddings abroad, then I would love to hear from you as I am just at the very start of this journey.
Until then, I hope you all have a great week! I’m off to Malta on Thursday for some more sun and stalking of palm trees!