Destination weddings are now more popular than ever before, and it’s likely that at least half of you reading this have at some point jetted off to be by your friend’s side whilst they tie the knot in sunnier and more exotic climes! This week’s bride and groom had their heart set on a destination wedding after spending most of their relationship travelling and exploring the corners of the globe. Portugal held host to their beautiful, relaxed and rustic outdoor wedding at Quinta de Sant’Ana, a family-run, working vineyard just 30-minutes away from Lisbon City. Submitted by the incredible Happy Together Films, this super-chic videographer couple captured the sun kissed beauty of this wedding perfectly. Also based in Lisbon, Raquel and Zacarias started up their venture in 2012 by combining their two biggest passions – music and cinema! Together with the venue, the bride and groom created an understated ceremony which captured their personalities and Irish roots. Choosing traditional British and Irish designers whilst incorporating the host country as their inspiration, Ruth and Graham really pulled it off – a sunny celebration of love and laughter. We love the simple décor and stunning florals, not forgetting the foliage arch and white linen curtain ceremony stage – so pretty!

Here’s Ruth to tell you more about her and Graham’s perfect destination wedding….

It sounds obvious, but we both wanted to design a wedding that we ourselves would like to attend and experience as a guest – it was pretty easy to eliminate what we didn’t want!

The Film

Ruth + Graham | Highlights | Wedding at Quinta de Sant’Ana in Gradil, Portugal from Happy Together Films on Vimeo.

Romantic Candlelit Proposal

One Saturday we went out for lunch in a coastal village in Dublin; I was studying at the weekends at the time and was feeling guilty about being away from the books. So while Graham seemed up for a leisurely stroll along the seafront, I said I’d best get back home. When we pulled into the car park of our apartment building, Graham cursed under his breath and said he was “so sorry” because he had forgot to hang the washing out. Not wanting to ruin our relaxing day, he said he would quickly run inside and put the dryer on and come back out and get me. I thought nothing of this and sat patiently in the car until summoned. When I entered our apartment, I knew something was up; the lights were dimmed and there were rose petals scattered in the hallway…when I entered the living room there was soft music playing and candles spread across the room. On the TV was a slide show of all the photos of our favourite memories. When the presentation ended Graham turned to me, got down on one knee and popped the question….

Irish Tweed

Graham wore a navy suit, tweed waistcoat, white shirt and burgundy tie all from Magee (Irish brand). He also wore tweed brogues from Barker and an antique pocket watch.

Simple and Comfortable Wedding Gown

I chose Rembo-Styling as the designer of my dress. It was really important to me to look like ‘me’  on the day, which probably sounds like an odd thing to say, but I didn’t want my day as a bride to be this elaborate ‘princess departure’ from my own identity. I would be really uncomfortable with that and it would have shown on the day. Instead, I found a dress that matched my personality and individual style. It was fairly simple and comfortable with little details which made it special to me.

My shoes were from Ted Baker and these were my something blue. They had a block heel so I could actually survive the day in them! I wore fresh flowers in my hair and all of my jewellery was antique.

Married in a Portugese Vineyard

We were married at Quinta de Sant’Ana, in Gradil, Portugal – 30 mins outside Lisbon city . The venue is a family run, working vineyard and we fell in love with it at first sight. After having a particularly wonderful holiday abroad in the preceding months, we decided to explore venues in Portugal to see what we could find. We were together a long time before getting engaged – nearly 10 years – and a wedding abroad was a nod to how much of our time together has been cemented through travelling experiences, from having a long-distance relationship to travelling the world together!  Since we love photography ourselves – and hoped to come away from the day with beautiful photos – we started by researching photos of weddings in Portugal and that’s how we found the Quinta.

A Ceremony with Irish Roots

We had a civil ceremony which was written and designed by me, including the vows. Readings included an Irish poem as a tribute to home (‘The Planter’s Daughter’ by Austin Clarke) and a Portuguese-language literary excerpt as a nod to the special circumstances of the day (“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo). Probably the most memorable aspect of the ceremony though goes to the specially written poem by my dear friend Kate, which was read by her at the ceremony’s close.

I walked up to an instrumental rendition of Sleeping at Last’s ‘Turning Page’ and we walked back down the aisle to Lucius ‘Until We Get There’. Excerpts of song words appeared in the wedding missalettes.

Casual Dress Code

It sounds obvious, but we both wanted to design a wedding that we ourselves would like to attend and experience as a guest. So it became easier to eliminate what we didn’t want, for example, we knew we didn’t want a formal dress code. Graham loves surprises and loved that the venue continued to ‘change’ throughout the day, maintaining a sense of excitement at times when there might ordinarily be a lull in a wedding. Outdoors was important, working with the natural surroundings rather than against.

Décor Collaboration

Upfront we gave the venue a few select ideas. We told them that we wanted greenery, table settings, flowers in paper bags and gave them a few other little ideas of ours. The venue used our suggestions as inspiration and enhanced them in their own unique way. Each table was a lyric from a song and we decided to have one long table rather than the traditional top table. We had an ongoing dialog with the venue who were accommodating at every turn.

First Dance

Our first dance was to ‘England’ by The National. It reminds us of time we went through long distance. The time apart really strengthened our relationship and the song reminds us we can get through anything.

Favourite Moment

Just after midnight the night before the wedding, we were staying in separate houses and Graham texted me to go outside and have a look at the beautiful countryside stars. I went out to where the ceremony was to be held and looked up and knew I was ready.

Any Advice?

Be patient. Be flexible. Have fun.

The Line Up

Venue:  Quinta de Sant’Ana
Photographer:  Filipa and Rodrigo aka The Framers
Videographer: Raquel & Zacarias – Happy Together Films
Bridal Shoes: Ted Baker
Catering:  Quinta de Sant’Ana
Groom: Magee
Music: DJ Rui Franjas


Wedding beauty on its way!

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