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Posted by portugalpress on February 12, 2018

It is a growing, extremely lucrative market: luxury weddings for foreigners in Portugal - many of them couples who have never been here before.

Público reports on the trend, saying that newlyweds (so far) are mainly from Brazil, Ireland and the UK.

The areas most sought after are Lisbon, the Algarve and the Douro, though couples have been known to choose the palaces of Sintra, Gerês national park, historic pousadas (guesthouses) and ‘away-from-it-all’ quintas (country estates).

Just last year, the Justice Ministry registered 1,131 weddings of foreigners - a huge leap on the 890 from the year before.

Público adds that 69% of couples choosing Portugal for their big day make the decision after consulting specialist sites like Zankyou, which has existed since 2007 and is visited annually by more than 50 million people in 23 countries.

Portugal ‘woke up’ to this expanding market years ago, but it is only now that the business is truly taking off - powered in many instances by Portuguese who have emigrated overseas.

Cristina Simões of Zankyou explained the allure of her native country: quality/price relationship, climate, gastronomy, easy-access location by air or land and, above all, beauty.

“The legal processes (for weddings) are also simple, allowing civil ceremonies in various places including beaches, as well as single-sex weddings,” she explained.

While Brits are mostly concerned with décor and ambience (going for sumptuous quintas and grand pousadas in Lisbon and the Algarve), the Irish are more focused on finding hotels and restaurants by the sea, she said.

Indians go for glitz in Sintra palaces, while Brazilians, Russians, Ukrainians, Americans all have their own reasons for jetting over here and splashing out a small fortune.

Hotels have become wise to the market and now have departments given over to promoting their services at ‘wedding shows’ in Ireland and elsewhere.

One of the most popular is White Impact, launched by Portuguese duo Paula Grade and Karina Sousa.

Says the paper, Pousadas de Portugal and the Tivoli and Anantara hotel groups have been taking part in White Impact events in Dublin for some years.
“Ninety per cent of the weddings that we have in our Algarve hotels are international,” said Tivoli and Anantara wedding promoter Carina Ferreira, adding that in the main couples bring with them between 150 to 300 guests.

Aside from couples from Brazil, UK and Ireland, interest is now being registered from the United States to New Zealand.

Portugal is suddenly ‘Europe’s most romantic destination’ with a price tag that isn’t exorbitant and an absolute delight in making people’s big day one that they will never forget.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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