Mariana and Salazar’s Portugal wedding is a little slice of perfection! Mariana, an event planner, envisioned a classic wedding with a modern twist and the couple selected a timeless palette of white, green, and gold. Solar de Levada was the perfect setting. Elegant florals and candlelight were accented with on-trend geometric elements, from the hanging seating chart to circular taper candle holders, and even a greenery-adorned swing for guests to enjoy! Mariana chose a sophisticated Rosa Clara gown featuring a detatchable skirt (and pockets!), and accented the gorgeous gown with 92-year-old earrings gifted to her gread-grandmother by her great-grandfather on their wedding day. Salazar donned a chic suit/tuxedo mix, and a watch gifted to him by friends for his thirtieth birthday. The couple sprinkled their day with many handmade elements, from “tears of joy” tissue packets to little hangover kits for guests, and created some fun photobooth signage, which was a hit! Read on to see this spectacular event captured by 135milimetros and hear all of the details of the day from the couple – this is one wedding you won’t want to miss!
In their own words
How did you meet?
We met through Mariana’s sister! She had introduced us a few years before, and we started to bump into each other on the train to and from Porto over and over again! We would exchange looks, but barely talked! Although we didn’t start dating on any of this trips, we believe they changed the way we looked at each other, so we always say we met on the train! Then, one day, Mariana was having dinner out with her sister and her sister suggested they went to the cafe that would become our favorite spot and almost like a home outside our home and sent me (Salazar) a text telling me to meet her at the same cafe! Basically she set us up on a date and that was the night everything started! She was one of our bridesmaids, naturally, because if it weren’t for her matchmaking maybe this day would have never happened!
What is your proposal story?
Our proposal story is as simple and natural as we and the rest of our dating history, but not less magical! We were at the cafe we mentioned before and, although Salazar’s intention was to propose at the same table where we had our first date, he was embarrassed by the presence of so many people! We left the cafe and it was obvious that Salazar was distracted by something! We got into our car and Salazar just drove for a little while, almost denting the car due to his nerves, and when we got near my (Mariana) parents’, Salazar stopped the car, got down in one knee, took the engagement ring from his shirt pocket and popped the question right there in the car! I, of course, said yes and cried with joy and emotion as anyone who knows me would expect! Most people dream about a big proposal taken from an Hollywood movie, but for us this was the best way it could have happened! Neither one of us would relate to a big orchestrated proposal, because that’s not the way we have ever lived our relationship! I will always remember and cherish Salazar’s proposal as a candid and sweet moment!
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
Wedding guests are almost always a very diverse group of people! Young people, not so young people, family, friends, family friends, anyway… We believe that you need to be careful when planning a wedding so that you don’t neglect this diversity of people and try to please everyone! Of course this isn’t possible at all times, but we wanted to make sure that no one would leave our party feeling less than immensely happy! So we bet on some details, with the comfort and fun of our guests in mind above anything else! We got married in April, which in Portugal tends to be rainy and still chilly. Even if the day is sunny, as fortunately was the case of our’s, the nights are cool. Now if men usually wear suits, ladies often wear sleeveless dresses, for example! So in order to prevent the possible chill, we asked for mini white polar blankets to be distributed to the ladies at night! Also, in the bathrooms, we put an emergency kit available to the guests! In order to please everyone and embrace all ages we decided to have a Photobooth with fun accessories and hire a great DJ that would be able to cover all genres of music! We skipped on the booklets with the ceremony order of service and on the traditional guest favors, and instead made a donation to the Syrian American Medical Society on behalf of our guests.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
We both loved those hours when we were getting ready to see each other! The anticipation, the love of friends and relatives who were with us at that time, the anxiety and, at the same time, the strange calm that invaded us because we knew that, no matter what, that would be the best day of our lives… When we woke up it was raining and not even that could disturb the good mood with which we decided to live and lived the day of our wedding! We had planned ahead for those hours, because we knew we wanted to be relaxed and having fun, with time to enjoy the company of some people that are special to us and to absorb the dimension of everything that was happening to us, without stress, without mishaps and with great joy! Another great one was the moment when our eyes met, between tears and smiles, upon arrival at the church! That was undoubtedly one of the most striking moments! Many people tend to be much more concerned with the party than with the ceremony and we were no exception. In our defense, most of the hours spent at a wedding happen at the party rather than at the ceremony, but the truth is that after we being through the experience, we’ve realized that the ceremony is a time when the couple has the opportunity to be very focused on each other and the vows that are exchanged, their meaning and the sensations they bring are really good!
We didn’t want to do a bouquet toss with all the single ladies. For me, as a single woman, it was a moment that I didn’t like one bit when I went to a friend’s wedding. I actually felt a little bit embarrassed by it! So when it came to our wedding we didn’t want anyone to feel the way I did and we planned a kind of treasure hunt! The idea was that by doing things this way only the ladies who really wanted to catch the bouquet would participate and no one would be forced to do anything they didn’t want to! We asked our venue to hide some clues around the place and to have others with our MC and protocol assistant and we personally handed the rules and the first clue to each one of our single ladies! At the end we had a lot of smart girls that found out how to get the bouquet and I had to do a bouquet toss anyway, but the purpose was achieved because I tossed it only to the ones that wanted to play the game! It was a fun moment, obviously!
In regards to the party, the moments that will remain forever in our memory are, without any doubt, the entrance to the dining hall and the cake cutting ceremony! The entrance to the dining hall was something that made Mariana particularly nervous. Just the thought of dancing in front of more than 170 people made me shake from head to toe, much more than our first dance, because for this one we had chosen a song that allowed a kind of dance that made me more comfortable! The song we chose has a line that says “Like no one’s watching you” and suddenly that was exactly what I felt! I felt that it was just the two of us in that room and I had a lot of fun! Our cake cutting ceremony was much different from what normally happens on the venue where we had our party. Usually the cake cutting ceremony takes place by a lake with a backdrop of firework. We wanted something more intimate that allowed our guests to be close to us and we chose to cut the cake on a stairway decorated with candles, where our guests could be immediately in front of the table where the cake was placed, so it was very exciting!
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Always think about your guests! You may know them really well or they might be a friend of your parent’s you have never seen before, but they are there for some reason and they actually took the time to be with you on that day! You might be surprised by their engagement on your day! In our ceremony a friend of Mariana’s parent’s who is a Soprano surprised us by singing Ave Maria by Franz Schubert instead of our ceremony musicians! She had talked to my mother to find who would be the ceremony musicians and she spoke to them so she would sing one of the songs we had chosen to be played during the ceremony! I had never seen this friend of my parent’s in my whole life and she actually was kind enough to gift us with a such an emotional and astonishing moment! We had an immense reaction from our guests the days after our wedding and that was something we didn’t expect at all and that left us filled with joy! We believe that it was the fact that we always kept them in mind that lead to this! Something I’ve always said to anyone I know is planning a wedding is that your wedding day is the couple’s day undoubtedly and you shouldn’t do anything you don’t feel like doing, but it is a day for your guests also, otherwise you’d just elope with your fiancé somewhere beautiful and get married!
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