Historic Castle Wedding on the Portugese Riviera

This gorgeous destination wedding took place at a breathtaking beach-front castle, Forte da Cruz, on the Portugese riviera.

Jessica and Omer were set up on a blind date by their close friends and officially met outside Bond Street Station in central London. After their first encounter the pair hit it off and were definitely swept up in romance when Omer popped the question to Jessica while watching the sunrise over a small picturesque seaside town in Cornwall.

Having both attended a wedding near Lisbon, the couple felt a strong connection with the summery vibes and ocean views of the Iberian Peninsula and decided they wanted a destination wedding in Portugal. They found their perfect venue in Estoril – a 17th century castle with enchanting views of the Atlantic Ocean originally used to protect the Portuguese coastline.

Incorporating Cutural Elements

Incorporating their respective cultures into their wedding day was important to represent the union of Jessica and Omer’s worlds. This included Catholic, Filipino, Muslim and Sudanese traditions. Their cultural fusion was a consistent wedding theme from the ceremony to their favours—capiz boxes from the Philippines with an assortment of Sudanese sweets and nuts in a colourful cloth tied with a ribbon. 

Prior to dinner, there was a Sudanese marriage ceremony. The Sudanese ceremony (known as Jirtig), is a traditional wedding ritual. The couple drink milk as a sign of purity to mark the start of their union. Wooden beads are then placed around the couple’s necks and they pass sweets and dates between them seven times to strengthen their bond. They then throw sweets and dates at their wedding guests.

What They Wore

For the Sudanese ceremony, Jessica wore a striking red and gold dress, gold jewellery with a red thobe (an ankle-length garment that is usually worn like a shawl) which was embroidered with gold flowers. Omer wore a traditional Sudanese garment called a Jalabiya and a cream shawl with red stitching. For the rest of their wedding day, Jessica wore a textured layered lace dress, embroidered with floral appliqué and long silk veil from one of B.LOVED’s faves, Australian-designer Grace Loves Lace.

Jessica and Omer’s Advice for Engaged Couples

  • It’s never too early to start planning.
  • Set a budget and stick to it.
  • If you want to plan the wedding, a spreadsheet is your new best friend. Otherwise definitely hire a wedding planner.
  • Nothing goes 100% according to plan, be flexible.
  • Always set 10% of your budget for unforeseen costs that will definitely pop up.
  • A useful piece of advice we received was, always assume the cost for any service to be above £1,000 (approx. US$1,300).
  • Always get multiple quotes before committing.
  • Use the honeymoon as motivation to keep going.
  • The table/seating arrangement should be one of the last things you confirm, there will always be last minute dropouts/cancellation or additional guests.
  • Never cut costs on the photographer and the photo album, once the big day is done, it will be one of the timeless items to remind you of the big day in the future.