PORTUGUESE WEDDING TRADITIONS
Wedding in Portugal
Photo by Portugal Wedding Photographer
THE BLUE AND WHITE TILES ARE A PORTUGUESE TRADITION
PORTUGUESE WEDDING TRADITIONS
Portuguese wedding traditions come from a diverse amount of Portuguese heritages, cultures and ancient morals that affect the whole wedding process in Portugal. Portuguese families are always extremely involved in the whole Portuguese wedding process, from start to finish. Historically, the families of the bride and groom organized the wedding, simply to increase the family’s size and to pass on the family’s name to a new generation. Families of a good hierarchy married into the same hierarchy, whilst families from a lower hierarchy aimed to marry into a higher hierarchy to try and reach a better life goal. The wife’s side would host the wedding party that was followed by a religious catholic ceremony. The groom’s side would offer the couple a large gift, usually a house for them to start their new life. There are three main areas in which the Portuguese wedding traditions are included in the wedding process; The Blessing, The Marriage, and The After. We will walk you through all three areas, so that you understand how many traditions are involved in the Portuguese wedding process!
Originally, the marriages in Portugal were arranged, however with the passing of time, the families allowed marriages of love to occur in Portugal. Yet these marriages had to always have the permission of the family. According to the Portuguese wedding traditions, the groom has to ask the bride’s father permission to marry the bride. If the father gives his permission by giving the couple his blessing, then the marriage can occur. The blessing is as important for the groom as it is for the bride, as in Portugal, it is an honor to know your father accepts your husband, and is happy for you to marry him. Now a days some families still follow these Portuguese wedding traditions of receiving the blessing from their father, and even though it is still considered a very cordial and respectful thing to do, most families just decide to announce their engagement to their family.
In Portugal the family is completely involved in the organization of the Portuguese wedding. Each person does a little bit, and together they complete the wedding in Portugal. Traditionally, it is the bride’s side that organizes, plans, cooks, and decorates the wedding party in Portugal, however recently it is a mix between both families. The traditional wedding ceremony in Portugal is a religious catholic wedding ceremony! The father walks the bride down the aisle and delivers her to the groom. The priest performs the catholic ceremony, in a church or a cathedral in Portugal. The bride and groom choose a maid of honor (madrinha) and a best man (padrinho) to accompany their wedding journey, and to ensure that if they have any marital problems, that these two elected people will help them.
After the wedding, the guests decorate the wedding car with as much noise making objects as possible, so that the Bride and Groom enter their new life in Portugal in a positive and fun way! In Portuguese wedding traditions it is traditionally expected for the couple to move into their new house on the night of their wedding, and it is extremely important for the bride not to trip or fall, as this may signify bumps along their married life path. In the old age it was traditionally expected for the bride and groom to consummate their wedding, on their nuptial night. However, now a days that is not expected or shared with the rest of the family. In Traditional Portuguese Weddings, since the groom’s side offers a house, it is quite normal for the wedding party guests to offer the different things needed to fill the house. From kitchen appliances to furniture and bedroom appliances, guests offer all they can to ensure that the bride and groom’s house is more than filled for their new life to begin. In Portuguese Wedding Traditions, the family still remains a very important aspect of the couple’s life, and is always there to support them through whatever.
THE WEDDING NOW A DAYS
Portuguese weddings now a days usually have 150 guests. These are quite sizeable due to the fact that Portuguese families are usually quite large. Portuguese weddings used to be held at lunch time, but more often then not, Portuguese couples like the candle effect and illumination at night, so they tend to get married in the afternoon, host a dinner wedding reception and dance the night away. It is quite frequent for a wedding reception in Portugal to start at 20h and last until 3h or 4h o’clock in the morning. Food is a big part of the Portuguese culture, and is one of the main things in a Portuguese wedding, so there is always food in abundance.
Couples most frequently choose to serve a fish course and a meat course of their choice. Then there is the dessert, fruit, cheese, buffets that last until the end of the wedding. The dessert table is filled with regional and typical Portuguese desserts such as the crunchy custard pies, and the traditional egg pastries that are extremely famous around the world. The cheese buffet is filled with all sorts of cheese varieties from national to international, and is mostly always accompanied by grapes, and different styles of chorizos, sausages, and a wide array of cold meats such as ham on traditional wooden planks. There is always open bar at a Portuguese wedding, and the guests never have to pay for their own drinks. There is no limit on the amount of alcohol, nor any defined quantity per person. The Portuguese people love their wine, and their beer, so a wedding in Portugal would need that more than present.
The wedding cake is usually cut right after dinner, accompanied by Portuguese sparkling wine or Port wine. Almond marzipan layer usually surrounds the Portuguese wedding cakes, and inside it is typical for the filling to be with the traditional Portuguese egg paste. For the wedding gifts, most couples have wedding registry list of things they would like, or more often the guests offer money for the house or money to help with paying the couple’s honeymoon expenses. In a Portuguese wedding, there are very little speeches, as the Portuguese do not have the habit of doing speeches at weddings. There is maybe a thank you speech from the bride and groom, and one from the bride’s father, but there is not a whole succession of speeches like in other countries.
Portugal is known for being extremely friendly with highly professional waiters and staff. They are extremely attentive to all guests; yet demonstrate a special care for the Bride and the Groom. In a Portuguese Wedding there isn’t a habit of tipping the waiters at weddings, as both the taxes and service are included in your invoice. The managers correctly pay all of the involving staff, and therefore the staff does not expect to receive a tip from clients.