This summer I attended a wedding in Portugal. What a great idea! It was held late September which in the UK is when summer has already finished and autumn has begun. But it Portugal it was still hot and sunny every day.
The genius in having the wedding towards the end of September is that the hotel prices and flights were much cheaper than just a few weeks before, when it was the school holiday time. The weather wasn't overbearingly hot too- maybe a few degrees cooler than at the peak of summer. I prefer it this way- it was very pleasant.
The wedding ceremony was help on top of a cliff and there was a nice outdoor seating area for the reception. It was a perfect spot with great view. I found the video below which looks like it may of been shot very close by. There was a sea breeze but it was not too much- I heard no complaints from other women.
After the reception there was some entertainment like fire dancers, fireworks and one or two other things for the kids. Then we all went down from the cliff to the disco. I don't remember how we got there actually (there was lots of wine flowing lol), so I am not sure if the bar was next to the place that the reception was held. I think we walked though so it must of been fairly close by.
The bar where the disco was held was amazing- the dance floor was on a deck outside, overlooking a small beach cove. It was like a private beach nightclub. The 50 or so guests filled it up nicely but I assume it could be used for big events if the whole beach was utilized. A few of our party took a dip; one ended hilariously when a guest tried to do a running handstand in the water, lol.
The event was a great success and I would say 100% of the most important invitees were present and maybe 90% of the rest (not immediate best friends or family) also made it out. We pretty much took over a hotel and got a good deal. Others hired a villa.
The Algarve has excellent restaurants; you must try the Chicken Piri Piri (barbecue chicken with salad and fries). I forgot the name of the restaurant we went to but it was superb- they put together the longest table I have ever seen for our party, plus we used it for take-away another day.
Hiring a car is essential. You need to print out your reservation - one of our party just had the confirmation email on his phone and that wasn't enough. There are taxi companies but we found them to be very unreliable- like taking 2 hours instead of 10 minutes for the official Wedding Brunch. Which was held by the sea in a superb location.
The wedding was photographed and filmed by Bloom Imagery Algarve Wedding Photography who seemed to do a great job i.e. staying out of people's way and coming up with some excellent ideas for photos. We are waiting for them to edit all the images and video and can't wait to see what was the best wedding I have been to.
If you are from the UK, Ireland or anywhere else in Europe- I highly recommend choosing the Algarve just outside of the busy summer season. It guarantees great weather and the cheap flights to Faro meant that it wasn't much more than a UK wedding.
The hosts gave us well over a years notice, which meant that many of us used it as our summer holiday and stayed on a little longer. It also gave the few who were coming from all over the world a good chance to make travel arrangements in advance. I spoke to one of the Bloom Imagery guys (very friendly and English) and think they would be a good place to start if you need advice on locations, especially if you use them as the wedding photographer too.