A dreamy destination wedding at the Algarve’s vibrant Vila Vita Parc

A wedding full of sunshine and laughter – read about Maryjane and Michael’s amazing day which they shared with their closest family and friends in the heart of the Algarve, Portugal.

How they met

‘Michael and I grew up in the same area only a few doors apart.  He was close friends with my older brother who was very protective. I had a childhood crush on him ever since I was young. I wrote him Valentine’s day cards and blushed when he passed my garden (we were only 13/14!).

Shortly before my 16th Birthday, Mick knocked at my door selling a concert ticket for Eminem. He had heard that I lost mine and he got his hands on a spare. So I jumped and bought the ticket from him. 

We met up the morning of the concert,  had breakfast and got the bus together. We were chatting away and before we knew it there was chemistry flying! I ended up leaving my friends at the concert and enjoying it with Mick instead who finally under the shelter of a  raincoat in the rain leaned in for a kiss.

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

 It was definitely love right from the start for me! We were inseparable and shortly after,  Mick asked me to officially be his girlfriend. It was a bit of a shock to my brother but of all of his friends to steal his sister’s heart, he was glad it was Mick!

We were both  only 16 but became the greatest of friends and moved in together when we were 17. Our relationship has been a wonderful adventure ever since.’

Ahhhh, we love this story. So sweet!

The proposal

‘I was 5 months pregnant with our only son during Christmas 2010. Mick had promised me a new laptop for my Christmas present and on Christmas morning, he handed me a card but no gift –  I read the card and it didn’t click for some time that the card was “to my Fiancé” and he was on one knee in front of me. So of course I cried full of emotion and the engagement was official!’

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

The outfits 

‘I bought my dress in Bridal Corner in Glasnevin. I came across it when I was just browsing one of the first few shops I went into in and I fell in love. It was just perfect and it had me written all over it. They were offering a discount for deposits paid by a certain date so I decided not to waste time and paid my deposit.

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

My mam paid for my wedding dress as my wedding gift (it was a bit over the planned budget but it was worth it).

Although it wasn’t ideal for an overseas wedding as its was bulky and hard to transport, I knew that it just suited me and my wedding.

It was fairy princess teamed with a Spanish like veil – my photographers said it was a popular Portuguese type dress and not what many Irish/English brides wear in the Algarve. They loved working with it in my photographs! The heat on the day was unbelievable but not at one stage did I want to take it off – I felt a million dollars in it!’

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Vision for the Day

Maryjane tells us about her vision for her amazing Algarve wedding…..

‘When we decided to marry on our 10 year anniversary to the day, we met Algarve Wedding Planners in the RDS in Dublin and told them our vision for the day.

I wanted sheer luxury with breath-taking backdrops. I wanted to be able to take a dip in the sea the morning of my wedding and have a champagne breakfast with my bridal party.

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

I had dreamed of a stunning church with original features and to walk up the aisle listening to a live performer with my family and friends taking part in the ceremony, and being driven there and to the reception by coach. I also wanted my bridal party to arrive in style and Mick to arrive in a top class car followed by me arriving in a more classic top end car.

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

The wedding would be intimate and followed by photographs with family and friends.

The cocktail reception had to be overlooking the sea with champagne and nibbles that expressed my taste fpr the finer things.  I wanted photographs by the beach and in the cliffs to cherish forever.

The evening meal had to be a 5-star standard of catering for the adventurous and not so adventurous again overlooking the sea with gentle music in the background. I wanted a special place setting for Mick’s late mother and for the evening reception, to have traditional Portuguese elements/fireworks/ a band followed by a DJ into the early hours.

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

In our heads we decided “this is our day” and it’s the only time we’ll do it so we wanted to go all out and treat our guests to the most unforgettable experience.’

The special touches

‘From the start we were very hands on although our planners took care of everything – I am a control freak!

We designed and created our save the date cards ourselves by taking photographs at a Dublin beach with handmade signs and doing a little “photoshopping” and hand gluing the printed photo’s to card

We also designed our wedding invitations which were created by Precious Buttons (fb) they turned out amazingly perfect.

We commissioned Keepsake Candles to create our perfect wedding candles and a memorial candle for Micks late mother to display by her photograph at the top table.

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

We decided to eliminate favours and donate to Kare4Kasey Trust Fund instead and we had cards made for the tables to let everyone know that we donating on their behalf.

We invited our siblings and nieces/nephews to do readings at the church.

The wedding planners consulted with us on all aspects of the wedding and we made sure that every little detail oozed Mick and MJ so our guests would walk away from the wedding knowing that is was unique to us and had a very personal touch.’

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Best decision

‘I think the best decision was to have it abroad start! And then to use Algarve Wedding Planners. It honestly led to the best decisions in all aspects and resulted in the most memorable day of our lives and a wedding which is still the topic of discussion among family and friends over eight months on.’

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

If I did it again….

‘If I was to redo the whole day which I’d love to do over and over and over and over again, there isn’t much I’d change at all!

I think my page boys and flower girls were maybe too young to walk up the aisle so maybe I would have sat them with their parents in their gorgeous little outfits and took photos of them rather than expect them to manage the aisle at 18 and 24 months old.

 I’d probably have met the priest that was marrying us prior to the day. I didn’t feel I had a bond with him which is a shame but it didn’t dampen the day at all

Lastly I would have examined my mass booklets too. I took it to chance that the printers would do a great job but sadly they were a bit messed up, but again it didn’t have much of an effect on the day.’

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Wedding planners

‘We used the Algarve Wedding Planners (AWP) – Paula/Karina/Valarie/Patricia we also had Manuela from the Vila Vita Parc Events team working with us from start to finish.

We met AWP in the RDS in Dublin in January 2012 and then a number of times then when they visited Dublin or we visited the Algarve – these girls are amazing! Every wedding they plan is like they are planning their own. Every inch of detail is considered and they go above and beyond in terms of their duties. That went for all the Algarve suppliers we used!

AWP showed us a few venues that suited our requirements, vision and budget and Vila Vita Parc was top of the list. When we went to the Algarve a year before the wedding we viewed the venue and OMG there are no words! Once you’ve seen Vila vita Parc it would be a crime to choose anywhere else to host your wedding. It had everything and more and so many option in regards to locations for the cocktail/meal and evening reception. So many choices for photograph locations and the rooms too!   I’ve never seen something so beautiful in all my years. I truly got a sense of how the other half live!’

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Some helpful advice

‘If you are planning a wedding in the Algarve my only warning would be to check with the hotel you are staying at for the duration of the holiday about their policies on family/friends visiting the hotel. We booked an all inclusive/ exclusive hotel not realising it was exclusive and we had a lot of run ins with management when our wedding guests  popped in to to discuss plans or just to say hello. Had I have known that they were not allowed in the premises, I would probably have booked somewhere else.

The only other advise I can give is to use the AWP team and trust them! There is nothing to worry about once they are in charge.’

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography

Suppliers: 

Reception Venue – Vila Vita Parc

Planners – Algarve Wedding Planners (AWP)

Church and reception bandTwin Flames (booked through AWP)

PhotographyJoáo Ataide Photography (booked through AWP)

VideographyOrlando Horta (booked through AWP)  – check out the video from their wonderful day:

DressBridal Corner

ShoesKorkys

Bridesmaid dressesCoast

InvitationsPrecious Buttons

CandlesKeepsake Candles

Grooms/groomsmen suitsCT2

Wedding websiteGettingMarried.co.uk

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Destination wedding Algarve_Joao Ataide Photography_Vila Vita Parc

Wanderlust Weddings is delighted to be able to offer a discount on accommodation to couples (and their wedding party) getting married at this stunning location. For more information on hosting your wedding at Vila Vita Parc  or for info on any other Algarve destination wedding venues, contact Clare on clare@wanderlustweddings.com