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An exotic destination wedding provides a distinctive and immersive experience for the couple and their guests in a picturesque and unconventional location.

Join us as we venture into the heart of Portugal, guided by the expertise of Something New Weddings, and traverse the picturesque landscapes of New Zealand, uncovering the magic that awaits couples.

Destination wedding planning in Portugal

Something New Weddings plans epic destination weddings in Portugal. Brigitte Loureiro from Something New Weddings kindly shared some wedding planning tips. When asked about a Portugal destination planning timeline, she says that most couples tend to contact them 12 to 18 months from their planned wedding date, especially those looking to get married on the most sought-after dates which, in Portugal, are traditionally June to September.

After that, the priority would be to choose one of the wedding venues abroad as this will impact everything else, starting with the wedding date. It will also impact the wedding style, the choice of vendors, etc. Besides the venue, she recommends booking a photographer and videographer as soon as possible.

She agrees that it is possible to plan a wedding in much less time, which they’ve done many times, however, in these cases, couples will potentially need to be more flexible in terms of their wedding date, the day of the week, etc.


Brigitte admits that it’s a challenge to recommend destination wedding venues in Portugal, simply because there are so many incredibly beautiful and diverse locations. It’s a small country, but the choice of quality venues is impressive: palaces and castles, seaside venues, cool urban options, vineyards, manor houses, country retreats, etc.

Any couple will be hard-pressed not to find their perfect venue in Portugal. Add to that the amazing food, incredible wine, and friendly people – couples simply cannot go wrong in Portugal! Especially if they have the right planner alongside them.


Destination wedding budget tips

Brigitte explains that different price points depend on the couple’s priorities and wishes. There are two positions which account for a significant portion of the budget, namely venue and catering. While one is relative to the number of guests, the other is a fixed cost. She notes that calculating an average cost per guest is deceptive.

The overall budget also depends on whether the couple will cover accommodation for their guests. The weddings that Something New Weddings plans typically start at around € 800 per person for the wedding itself, based on 100 guests and excluding accommodation and other wedding-related events.


Speaking of challenges couples most often encounter when planning a destination wedding, Brigitte says that culture shock may be the first challenge. There may be a different work methodology and language barriers, which may lead to potential differences in understanding and local legislation, which may not be clear to someone not experienced with the country, among others.

That’s why she would highly recommend a couple work with a reputable wedding planner when planning a destination wedding. They’ll know the market and what prices are reasonable for each service, which vendors are most appropriate for what the couple wants, and legal restrictions that may be applicable. The list goes on! It’ll be a worthwhile investment.


Overseas wedding planning – tailored to your preferences

Something New Weddings realizes a very personal and customized approach to weddings. First and foremost, they don’t do destination wedding packages. They approach each wedding as a unique event. Each couple is different, so each wedding is treated as such, in a way that reflects the personality and style of the bride and groom.

They always start with a discovery call during which we talk through ideas, wishes, priorities, and expectations and answer each other’s questions. During this call, it is usually quite evident whether they’re a good fit for each other. From there, Something New Weddings provides a bespoke proposal based on our conversation.

When it comes to choosing a wedding style/theme/colour scheme, etc, there is so much information, and it can be quite daunting when reading about trends, what’s supposedly in and what isn’t. Brigitte has observed that when a couple doesn’t have a clear idea of what they like or don’t, it can sometimes feel very overwhelming.


Her advice is to be true to yourself and to go with what feels right to you, as individuals and as a couple. You should not make choices based on what someone else has done or suggested – it needs to feel natural. And natural doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly amazing! Natural means that the wedding reflects the essence of you as a couple.

Because in the end, it is all (and only) about you. Authenticity is key! Brigitte believes, as a wedding planner, her role is to guide and advise the couple to achieve that. To help navigate the myriad of options and to be acutely aware of what feels right for them.

Brigitte is completely in favour of adding personal touches in destination wedding planning because these are what make the wedding unique to that couple. These can take shape in many ways – from the choice of colours to having a bespoke cocktail named after their pet. She enjoys blending in different cultural aspects with local touches.

Portuguese culture itself is extremely rich – be it gastronomy, art, or music. These can and should be incorporated into a destination wedding in Portugal as part of the menu choices, entertainment, design, etc. Also, the couple’s background is a huge source of inspiration.

This year alone, she has planned weddings for couples with the most diverse heritages – Indian, Armenian, Palestinian, Jewish, Chinese, and Filipino – for her, it’s so rewarding as a planner to learn about these traditions and to incorporate them into the design, the entertainment, the food etc.


Cultural wedding traditions abroad

Brigitte herself asks – why would you plan a wedding in a different country and then not incorporate aspects of that culture into the event? She explains that Portugal is a very open-minded, cosmopolitan, and welcoming society. It’s therefore possible to do almost anything!

Something New Wedding Portugal only works on destination weddings and, as such, they don’t feel tied down to any specific local traditions. Rather, they focus on the couple and what’s important to them. And they bring their expertise and knowledge of those special local touches to create a unique experience.

However, what they do find is, that couples hosting a destination wedding in Portugal probably incorporate more Portuguese heritage into their celebration than local couples do.


Touching on current wedding trends in Portugal, Something New Weddings finds that couples are hosting larger weddings, probably still a consequence of the Covid era. Outdoor weddings continue to be very popular, mainly due to the traditionally good weather in Portugal as well as the beautiful venues they have.

There is a lot of personalisation involved, adding tailored details that resonate with them. As Brigitte has observed, couples opting for a destination wedding focus on providing a full and enriching experience for their guests. The celebration is usually comprised of two to three other wedding-related events, all with a different ambience showcasing different aspects of Portuguese culture.


Planning a destination wedding in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most exotic wedding locations. New Zealand boasts diverse landscapes, from golden beaches for realizing your beach wedding ideas and lush forests to majestic mountains and pristine lakes. The picturesque scenery provides a romantic backdrop for a wedding ceremony abroad.

New Zealand offers a range of intimate and secluded wedding venues, allowing couples to celebrate their love in privacy. Following the wedding, couples can embark on an unforgettable honeymoon adventure as New Zealand offers a plethora of outdoor activities.

New Zealand is one of the most unique wedding destinations because of its diverse climate. The best time for a destination wedding in New Zealand is summer (December to February) because of the warmer temperatures, longer days, and lush green landscapes. Although, you may experience higher demand for venues and services, as this is the peak wedding season.

Accommodations and services may be more expensive. Thus, it is also nice to get married in autumn (March to May). The temperatures are mild, there’s beautiful fall foliage, and fewer crowds compared to summer. However, the weather can be a bit unpredictable, with occasional rain.

Spring (September to November) has similar advantages to autumn but with a different seasonal charm. You can consider winter (June to August) if you would like to experience snow-covered landscapes in some areas. Prepare for colder temperatures, especially in the South Island.

With a well-developed tourism infrastructure and a reputation for friendliness, New Zealand makes wedding planning relatively straightforward. Local vendors and wedding professionals are accustomed to hosting international weddings, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for couples and their guests.

Alexandra Kate Creative Studios, based in New Zealand, is a distinguished destination wedding planner renowned for orchestrating bespoke weddings. Specializing in wedding planning and styling, this studio is dedicated to curating unforgettable experiences for couples seeking a unique and tailored destination celebration.

The studio offers comprehensive wedding planning services, covering everything from venue selection to logistical coordination, ensuring a seamless and stress-free process. With a keen eye for design and aesthetics, the team excels in wedding styling, creating visually stunning atmospheres.

Recognizing the unique beauty of New Zealand, Alexandra Kate Creative Studios specializes in destination weddings, adept at coordinating ceremonies in diverse settings. Each wedding is treated as a unique narrative, with the studio committed to telling the couple's story through creative and thoughtful elements woven into the celebration.

Exotic destination wedding planning – an unforgettable journey

The allure of exotic destination weddings lies not merely in the physical landscapes but in the seamless fusion of dreams, culture, and love. Portugal and New Zealand stand as testaments to the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to envision a wedding beyond the conventional.

In the realm of exotic destination wedding planning, the only limit is one's imagination, and the journey promises to be as extraordinary as the love it celebrates.

Author: Renāte Berga

Wedding planners: Something New Weddings, Alexandra Kate Creative Studios

Photo: Atmosphere





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