Hello, people of the world! After a short hiatus, I’m back! And with a very loving subject: my beautiful wedding! I’ve been wanting to write about my wedding day for a while now. And as it was our 3rd anniversary on the 21st of May, I want to celebrate it with a post!
João is my best friend. Calm, considerate, hard working, the most focused person I know, smart and kind, we complement each other and push each other to be better versions of ourselves. I’m an extrovert and he’s an introvert. I’m emotional and he’s rational. I know how fortunate I am that he fell in love with me and to have fallen in love with him.
We met 8 years ago, at a friend’s barbecue. We became very good friends a couple of months later and 6 months later we started dating on Halloween. Four months went by and after a complicated house search we started sharing a studio flat with João’s Black Labrador, Mia. I would never have thought that a healthy relationship could be built this fast, but 7 years and a half later we’re celebrating 3 years of a happy marriage with a 1 year old boy. Life is pretty good and I feel very fortunate.
I told João I didn’t want to be proposed to in England or Portugal. I wanted it to happen elsewhere for us to have a very special memory of it. I didn’t think too much of it, I just knew what I didn’t want. So when we went to California in the summer of 2014 I was expecting it to happen. The days went by but nothing happened. I felt slightly disappointed to be honest, thinking that maybe, after all he was not interested in marrying me (of course, insecurity kicking in). We had a few chats about it in the past and despite him not being that fussed about it (like most men aren’t) he wasn’t opposed to it.
Then we decided to spend Christmas in Switzerland. My cousin was due to have her baby in November that year and it would be lovely to spend Christmas with the new family member.
And that’s where it happened on an amazingly gorgeous cold Saturday morning, near the lake in the village I was born, Neuchâtel. It couldn’t have been more perfect, just the two of us, on a tiny pebble beach in such a special city to me.
We are both Portuguese and most of our families are Portuguese. So we decided to get married in Portugal close to Lisbon where most of my family is from. João’s family is a much smaller group and it would be easier for them to travel from the Algarve for the party. My family is huge, most of us get along really well so my group was considerably big.
We decided to take our time to prepare everything and get married in 2016. As we live in London, preparing for a wedding abroad takes a little more effort and time. We need to plan for holidays that fit in with the timings for venue search and vendor meetings.
Our venue was exactly what we were looking for. We were looking for a place where we’d feel at home, a place that would feel like we were inviting our family to our own kind of country house. We needed a venue that would accommodate a large group (close to 200 people) and where we could get married at (João didn’t want to do church as he’s not religious – and no longer am I to be completely honest).
So we chose my favourite wedding venue in Portugal: Quinta do Hespanhol. Just an hour/ hour and a half drive from Lisbon, it’s set in a wedding prone area with a lot of beautiful wedding venues around. But this is a special one. I had been to a wedding there before and loved it! And despite almost not making my venues list (my sister-in-law had it as one of her dream venue as well, so I didn’t consider it until she told me to not exclude it from the list) when we both got there we knew that was the place.
And it was the best choice we could have made as we can’t point nearly any flaw. From decor, to food or customer service everything was exactly how we wanted it to be.
Fast forward to 21st May 2016.
I wasn’t nervous. To the point that I woke up late for my hair appointment – so much so, that I woke up with my hairstylist ringing the door bell. Quick shower whilst she got everything ready in my brother’s bedroom and preparations started. Hair done, make up done, photographer around, dress on, flowers in, ready to go! And on time!
Everyone bet I was going to be late (it’s one of my unfortunate standards – trying to improve this side of me) but funny enough, one of the buses we hired for guests with my brother in it (the highest bidder in the “she will be late” joke) got lost in transit and arrived half an hour later than it should have. I was right on time, at 12:30 and that bus delayed our ceremony by half an hour!
The ceremony was really good, with a very lovely lady as our marriage officiant that personalised our small ceremony. My mum made a Biblical reading (that my brother and sister-in-law also chose for their wedding) and we read our vows. Well I did. João had to improvise his as he thought we were not doing that – I had told him the day before mine were not ready, and only texted him at 3am saying they were done. Which created a comic moment and his from-the-heart-speech was super sweet.
The rest of the day was everything I wanted it to be. Good food, good weather and a great party. Some of my friends and family say it was the best wedding they’ve been to (up until that point at least). For the two of us it was the best wedding we’ve been to, but it was ours, so, you know…
I achieved the main thing: having my family and friends together and throw an unforgettable party to celebrating the love of my life. That’s what the day was about for me. And it was even better than I’d ever dreamt for it to be.
Thank you for one of the best days of my life João. Amo-te.