The Mediterranean Coast Created an Idyllic Backdrop to This Destination Wedding in Algarve, Portugal

Ali and Maria's Algarve, <a href="" target="_blank">Portugal</a>, wedding set a

Ali and Maria's Algarve, Portugal, wedding set against the picturesque Mediterranean Sea was a long time coming due to ups and downs from the pandemic. The couple initially planned to wed in June of 2020, then postponed it for June of 2021 when they chose to get legally married in St. Louis before jetting off to Portugal the following month for the celebration of their dreams. And the weekend that the couple planned, packed with multiple events, certainly didn't disappoint! "We love hosting at our home, and wanted the wedding to feel like an extension of that," says Ali. "Because of the significant travel required to reach our destination we really wanted our guests to feel taken care of AND that they got to experience authentic Portugal. We hosted a welcome dinner, wedding day and postwedding brunch that all guests attended and featured various Portuguese specialties." 

Once the college sweethearts were finally able to celebrate their love with friends and family, they made sure that the festivities were packed with meaning and personalization while also involving as many of their loved ones as possible. "We wanted our wedding to tell a story, OUR story," says Ali. "From where we came from, to how we got there. Every element of the wedding and every single person in attendance played an important role in our journey. Everything we chose was intentional, there was the meaning behind every detail we featured." Ali and Maria are former sports teammates and chose to have another former teammate officiate the day. The colors of the day, which included Carolina Blue, subtly nodded to their time as teammates together at the University of North Carolina. Meanwhile, butterflies hold special meaning to the couple so they threaded the motif throughout the day and even had handmade butterfly trinkets as favors which were crafted lovingly by Maria's grandmother in Mexico. Ali goes on to share that "our grandparents (none of which could be present) were all honored in special ways. Between our Mexican, Swiss, German, and Greek heritage, we made sure to include bits of it all!" The meaningful details didn't stop there—the couple also added dog figurines to their cake as a nod to their pets and also had tile-inspired details that reminded Ali and Maria of locations of significance to them. 

Maria shares that her first dance with Ali was the most memorable part of the couple's celebration for her. "That was when it all came together," says Maria. "The years of fighting for this day finally came to fruition. It was a song I dreamt about dancing to at my wedding since I was 5 years old!" Meanwhile, for Ali, she loved both their first look and the wedding ceremony. "Working in weddings, I always tear up at ceremonies and couldn’t wait for our own," says Ali. "We were incredibly lucky to have a former teammate and dear friend be our officiant, and the ceremony she wrote (without any direction from us!) was absolutely perfect. Additionally, we knew we wanted to do a first look and I’m so glad we did—all that time waiting was worth it!" The couple also especially loved "sharing this place with our people. We are both very affectionate and always wanted to get all our friends and family together—this was the perfect excuse to spend lots of dedicated time with our nearest and dearest. Looking out over our table to see all our closest friends and family enjoying time together is something neither of us will ever forget."

Looking back on their destination wedding in Portugal, Ali and Maria have this advice to share with current to-be-weds: "After a 13-month pandemic delay, three different dates, two ceremonies and 4 hurricane-induced canceled flights 72 hours before the wedding, we learned over and over that the most important part of the day is celebrating your love with the people who are most important in your lives. When we thought we were faced with key members of our families and bridal party not being able to join us, we would’ve traded every flower stem and beautiful detail to ensure they could be there with us. Focus on the 'who' and the 'why' of the day, and the 'where' and 'how' will work itself out. Most of the struggles become something you laugh about after the fact, anyway!"

First Look Under Tree in Algarve, Portugal
Bride With Updo Smiling at Bride With Loose Waves and Headband
Welcome Note for Portugal Wedding With Ocean Picture
Pastel Wedding Bouquet With Greenery
Brides With Wedding Party in Blue Bridesmaid Dresses and Blue Suits
Saxophone Musician at Wedding Ceremony
Waterfront Wedding Ceremony in Mediterranean in Algarve, Portugal
Handfasting Unity Ritual at Wedding Ceremony
Flower Girls With Flower Crowns Carrying Blue Banner
Brides Beside Pool During Wedding in Algarve, Portugal
Long Farm Table With Upholstered Chairs for Elegant Reception
Tile Table Number and Blue Taper Candle
Low Flower Centerpiece on Table at Mediterranean Wedding
Wedding Cake With Mediterranean Sea in Background
Reception Table With Mediterranean Sea in Background
Estate Wedding Venue With Pool in Algarve, Portugal
Brides Jumping into Swimming Pool During Wedding