Where do I start with the legal part of the wedding in Madeira?

The first thing is to decide whether to do this in Madeira or your home country. It is possible to legally marry in Madeira, but there is quite a bit of paperwork to go through and documents to translate.  I can assist you with the process if you chose this option.  What most couple’s do however is get all the legalities done at home and then come here for the wedding.  This allows us to design you a ceremony with no constraints on words and is far easier.

What goes in the Ceremony?

If I am conducting the ceremony for you, rather than having a Portuguese Officiant, then you can have anything you want built into your ceremony.  We will chat loads before I start writing.  I will then design a ceremony that incorporates everything you want.  If you chose the option to have a Portuguese Officiant conduct your ceremony, there are more restraints and it will follow the Portuguese structure which is quite formal and not very romantic.

Which side of the Bride should her father walk her down the aisle?

The father walks to the Brides right.  The best way to remember this is to think of the old legend…. when the father walks down the aisle he needs his right hand free, to hold his sword, as he is protecting his daughter!!

Which way round do the Bride and Groom stand?

The Groom is on the Brides right.  In the same way as for her father, the Groom needs his right hand free to hold his sword to protect her!  After the ceremony, you both turn to walk back down the aisle…. the Grooms right hand is then free to hold his wife’s hand!

What if my father isn’t available to give me away?

The Giving Away is a lovely introduction to the ceremony, but these days you can do anything you want. I have conducted ceremonies where both parents give the Bride away, one where her brother gave her away and some where the Bride glides down the aisle alone like a princess.

Should the Groom look at the Bride when she walks down the aisle… or wait?

I ask every Groom this as we are standing waiting for the Bride.  It is totally personal preference.  I love that moment when he first see’s his Bride and am often the one to say “look now” as she enters the aisle.

Should we sit or stand during the Ceremony?

Now here in Portugal there is a tradition to place two chairs for the Bride and Groom, but I tend to keep you standing, unless there are long readings or music played. Again it is totally up to you, but you need to advise who ever is laying out the chairs.

Where do the bridesmaids and best man stand?

There are lots of options.  They can stand throughout the Ceremony, either side of the Bride and Groom or they can sit in the front row.  There are no rules we need to follow.  What ever you think will work for your day.

How many Readings should we have?

Personally I think it is good to have at least one reading.  It breaks up the Ceremony nicely from just being the three of us at the front.  Two works well…any more than three is a little too much.  Readings don’t have to be formal…. you can find loads on the internet.  Some times a member of the family comes forward and just talks about the couple rather than a set poem.  If you cant find one you like, let me know as I have loads saved over the years which I can send over to you.

Do we have to say our own Vows?

Vows are the promises you want to say to each other. They can be written by each person and read out to each other, or said completely spontaneous on the day.  I can help either party with their Vows.  You of course can choose not to say additional Vows after the Asking.  We can chat through all the options.

When should music be played?

It is nice to have music as the Bride walks down the aisle. And also again after the ceremony when the Bride and Groom walk back up the aisle.  Personally I feel that music within the ceremony only really works when something is happening…. such as the Warming of the Rings or signing the Certificate.

How can I involve members of my family in the Ceremony?

There are loads of ways to involve family or friends within the Ceremony.  The obvious is that they could do a Reading, but if you look through the Unity Ideas, you will see loads of other options.  The Warming of the Rings involves everyone which is nice.  The Sand Ceremony works nicely with the children also adding sand.  If you want others involved in the Ceremony, just let me know and we can find a part for them.

What does the Celebrant wear?

I actually get asked this a lot.  I aim to be smart but neutral… if that makes sense.  High heels come out for some wedding’s but I avoid them if we are standing in the sand!  I don’t wear robes… which is actually what someone asked me once!

If we choose to hold the wedding in a Villa, can we bring in caterers and hire chairs etc?

I can assist you in finding professional caterers to meet your requirements.  Here in Madeira, they often offer a price per head, which includes all the chairs, tables, staff and of course a choice of menu. The price per head also included wine and soft drinks with the meal and some caterers also including all drinks from the bar up until 2am, which I am sure will keep all you guests happy.

I want to find a Wedding Venue in Madeira but don’t know where to start.

There are so many choices of fabulous venues here on the island and the best way for us to narrow down the perfect venue is for you to tell me the type of style wedding you are dreaming of, whether you want mountains or coast, 5 star or rustic.  The more I can get to know you, the easier it is for me to match you with the perfect venue.  I can then send you links and photos of a number of choices and we keep searching until you are happy.  I can then act as your liaison with the booking.

If you have any questions that I have not answered here, just whiz me an email.