Foreign couples say ‘I do’ in five star Algarve resorts.jpg

Foreign couples say ‘I do’ in five star Algarve resorts

MARRYING IN hotels in the Algarve is becoming the height of fashion for Portuguese and foreign couples who choose the luxurious venues for their sea views and good catering services.

Inês Neto, a Portuguese bride, said that she has chosen to celebrate her wedding at the Grand Real Santa Eulália five star hotel in the Algarve because she wants to hold the wedding ceremony on the beach.

“We opted for a hotel because of the constraints and bureaucracy involved; it offers us everything including baby-sitting services and a chocolate fountain, all at 35,000 euros.”

Many five star hotels offer gifts to entice couples to tie the knot at their establishment, including offering the wedding cake as a gift and the wedding night at the hotel for the couple.

Hotels in the region are now gearing some of their promotional material to the wedding market with phrases such as “mark the day and leave the rest to us” and “it’s the most important day of your life and our hotel can make it memorable”.

Marta Filipa, another Portuguese bride who opted to marry at the Sheraton five star hotel last year, said: “Just one day of partying cost around 20,000 euros, but it was worth it,” adding, “As well as organising everything, the hotel offered us one night in a honeymoon suite that was specially decorated, including champagne and personalised dressing gowns.”

Foreign market

Miguel Alves, food and drinks director at the five star Tivoli Marinotel in Vilamoura, said he has noticed an increase in recent years of weddings in the hotel. “The last three weddings at the Tivoli, two in July and one in May, were for English and Irish couples,” he said.

Even small luxury hotels in the Algarve cater for private weddings for the foreign tourist market. Many older couples, who decide to marry for a second or third time, decide that they prefer to avoid the complications and cost of a big formal wedding. Smaller hotels offer these couples a more intimate setting with the romance of a honeymoon holiday as well.

Urs Wild, general manager of the Vivenda Miranda Romantik Hotel, near Lagos, told The Resident: “In the 15 years since the hotel has been open, we have hosted around 20 weddings. As our hotel is small, it offers couples a more intimate and romantic setting and a beautiful view of the ocean.”

There are now several websites on the internet that also plan and organise weddings in the Algarve including the accommodation for the bride and groom and the guests, rental cars, the wedding service and the catering.

Paula Grade, a wedding planner from, told The Resident: “All of our bookings come from the foreign tourist market, including nationals from Ireland, Great Britain and Canada. The majority of the couples who opt for luxury weddings are aged between 26 and 35.”

Beach ceremony

The most popular time of year for weddings in the Algarve is between May and September, with just a beach ceremony costing from 1,000 euros upwards.

Elidério Viegas, president of the hotel and tourism development association in the Algarve (AHETA), said: “This new niche in the market can be explored by hotels especially during the low tourist season.”

As well as guaranteeing a quality service, if something does go wrong, guests or the couple may complain as hotels have “a face and a complaints book”, said Mr Viegas.

Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected] By: ELOISE WALTON

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