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Timeless Affair at Camélia Gardens in Sintra, Portugal

[section title=”The Planning”]
[field title=”Wedding Colors”]Off-White, Silver, and Green (sage and oil) with small accents in baby blue[/field]
[field title=”Design / Vibe / Vision”]From the start, I envisioned our wedding day to be an elegant and timeless affair inspired by the romanticism and magic of Portugal, particularly Sintra. Our aim was to create an intimate yet tasteful wedding that captured the essence of my now husband’s beautiful country.
After visiting several venues, we finally chose the picturesque Camelia Gardens in Sintra for its castle-like architecture and lush greenery. To complement the venue’s yellow castle, we opted for green as our main wedding color, with accents of white, yellow, and baby blue for contrast. Our wedding was a daytime event held in late summer/early fall, featuring a beautiful sunset and cake-cutting ceremony, al-fresco dining, and plenty of dancing.
We had the pleasure of celebrating with family and friends from all over the world, including Portugal, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Italy, France, the United States, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Ecuador! It was a fantastic celebration of love and culture that we will always cherish.
Today, thanks to our amazing photographer, Alice, we are able to relive every moment and every detail of this beautiful day.

Fernanda, our wedding planner, was an absolute gem and we were incredibly fortunate to have her as our wedding planner. After researching and interviewing several wedding planners, we stumbled upon Fer’s website and knew immediately that she was the perfect fit for us. Not only was she fluent in all three languages – English, Spanish, and Portuguese – making communication with our families and vendors a breeze, but her exceptional organizational skills kept everything on track and running smoothly.

On the day of our wedding, Fernanda exceeded all expectations and went above and beyond to ensure that everything was perfect. Her hands-on approach and unwavering dedication to her craft and clients were evident in every detail of our special day. We cannot thank her enough for making our dream wedding a reality.[/field]
[field title=”Proposal Story”]Typically we are both very involved in the planning of a weekend. However, this time Gustavo had already handled everything: hotel, dinner reservations, and transportation, hence there was a hint of speculation on my part.

The couple, Maria Clara and Gustavo were in Madrid, Spain, the city where they had first met. Gustavo planned a surprise weekend getaway for Maria Clara in Toledo, Spain, taking care of all the details from hotel reservations to transportation and activities. The couple spent the day exploring the beautiful city before enjoying a romantic dinner at the luxurious Two MICHELIN Star restaurant, (Iván Cerdeño-Cigarral del Ángel Restaurant)
During a stroll through the restaurant’s breathtaking gardens, Gustavo got down on one knee and proposed to Maria Clara, speaking in her native language of Portuguese. Overwhelmed with happiness, she said “sim” and the couple basked in the romantic atmosphere.[/field]
[board_carousel title=”Getting Ready”]

[board_carousel title=”Bridal Portraits”]

[board_carousel title=”Flat Lays”]

[section title=”The Fashion”]
[field title=”Wedding Gown”]Unlike other brides, I wasn’t certain about the dress style I wanted for my special day. So, my mother and I set out on a journey to find the perfect dress. We headed to Miracle Mile in Miami, renowned for its plethora of bridal boutiques, and tried on countless dresses from various styles and stores. After an exhaustive search, I finally stumbled upon a dress that spoke to my heart. The moment I donned the dress, I knew it was the one for me! The dress was a breathtaking princess gown with a plunging neckline, made of soft tulle with an organza lining for added definition. It was named “Yiya” and designed by Marchesa for Pronovias.[/field]
[field title=”Bridesmaid Dresses”]In the Dominican Republic, the tradition is to have several flower girls and ring bearers along with a maid of honor, instead of a large group of bridesmaids. For my wedding, my sister Lourdes was my maid of honor, and she looked stunning in a custom-made strapless mermaid gown. The dress was made of a beautiful green fabric, inspired by the lush greenery and gardens at Camelia Gardens, the picturesque location where the reception was held.[/field]
[field title=”Groomsman Attire”]The groom, Gustavo, looked dashing in an elegant three-piece suit tailored by the renowned Alfaiataria Lusa in Porto. The suit featured a tasteful blend of silver and baby blue colors, which were carefully chosen to be part of the wedding color palette, and added a stylish touch to his overall look.[/field]
[board_carousel title=”Bridal Party”]

[board_carousel title=”Ceremony”]

[board_carousel title=”Cocktail Hour”]

[section title=”The Details”]
[field title=”Food & Drink”]The catering for the wedding was done by Casa do Marques, which was exquisite. We encountered some cultural differences due to the Portuguese tradition of having large dinner feasts and the Dominican culture’s emphasis on dancing and lively party atmosphere, but we managed to incorporate both. As the wedding took place in Portugal, we opted for a plated, 3-course sit-down dinner with an appetizer followed by a fish and steak dish. However, to infuse the Dominican culture, we ensured plenty of dancing and a lively party atmosphere. Our guests from both cultures had a great time celebrating our union, enjoying the delicious food, and dancing to a mix of Latin music. We also included traditional Portuguese pastries, such as Pastéis de Nata on the dessert table.[/field]
[field title=”Florals & Decor”]The venue we chose was breathtakingly beautiful and we knew from the start that it would need very little decoration. Our goal was to enhance the venue’s natural beauty with subtle floral arrangements and decor.
To achieve this, we opted for “flowy” and organic floral arrangements, using daisies, white hydrangeas, baby breaths, and peonies. We also incorporated accents of baby blue flowers in the arrangements throughout the house and on the cheese tables, adding a pop of color and creating a cohesive look.
We wanted to strike a balance between sophistication and effortless beauty, and the floral arrangements and decor we chose perfectly reflected that. The result was a stunning display that perfectly complemented the venue and created a romantic atmosphere for our special day.
The result was an elegant, romantic, and timeless wedding that perfectly captured our vision, thanks to our one-of-a-kind wedding planner, Fernanda that made it all possible.[/field]
[field title=”Wedding Cake”]The elegance, simplicity, and sophistication of our wedding were perfectly embodied in our stunning 3-layer cake, displayed on an exquisite silver platter from Gustavo’s family. Real flowers added tasteful accents to the cake, enhancing its visual appeal. The table itself was a work of art, adorned with lush greenery cascading gracefully on the sides and two resplendent silver antique candle holders, also heirlooms from Gustavo’s family.

As the sun set over the majestic mountains, the cake, table, and candle holders all came together in perfect harmony, leaving me awestruck.
Casa do Marques did the cake and Ion Rotaru decorated it with real flowers and lush greenery.[/field]
[field title=”Readings, Ceremony Music, Reception Songs”]Our ceremony was held at the stunning Igreja de Nossa Senhora in Lisbon, which had a charming pink exterior reminiscent of traditional Lisboeta houses. Inside, the church was adorned with exquisite gold details that added to its beauty. The ceremony was conducted in Portuguese, but what made it truly special was when my 84-year-old grandmother, who had traveled all the way from the Dominican Republic, did the second reading in Spanish. It was a touching moment that I will always cherish.
We had a violinist play these songs for the key moments during the ceremony:

Groom & Mother of the Groom- Divertissement- Saint Preux
Bride & Father of the Bride- Thousand Years – Christina Perri
Bride & Groom Exit Church- Wildest Dreams – Taylor Swift
Reception – Music for Moments

Bride & Groom- First Dance (2 songs: One in Spanish and the other in Portuguese)
Chichi Peralta- Amor Narcótico
Alok- Meu Amor
Bride & Father of the Bride Dance: Juan Luis Guerra – Si Tu No Bailas Conmigo
Groom & Mother of the Groom: Frank Sinatra – Blue Moon
Bride & Groom Entering the Cocktail: Bomba Stereo- To My Love
Cake Cutting Moment & Speeches: Maldita Nerea- Un Planeta Llamado Nosotros[/field]
[field title=”Special Detail #1″]Lourdes Desangles, the mother of the bride, played an integral role in the wedding party styling. She curated everything from selecting the fabric for the maid of honor’s dress to designing the flower girls and ring boys’ outfits in elegant Irish linen fabric and French lace. Lourdes also ensured that all the men in the family, including the bride’s brothers and both fathers, had ties that perfectly matched the wedding color palette. Additionally, Lourdes’ own dress was a stunning work of art with magnolia hand-painted flowers, designed by none other than herself.[/field]
[field title=”Special Detail #2″]When Gustavo and Maria Clara locked eyes for the first time at Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid on Día de Los Reyes, it was the start of a modern romance that quickly turned into a Shakespearean love story. Their first date in El Retiro was full of ambitious plans and ended with a fun night out in Madrid with Maria Clara’s sister, Lourdes (Yuyi), and her friend, Elaine. But the odds were against them, as Maria Clara was from the Dominican Republic and living in Miami, while Gustavo was Portuguese and living between Dublin and Madrid.
Despite the distance and their busy schedules, Gustavo and Maria Clara’s connection only grew stronger. They became long-distance relationship survivors, with 4,154 miles between them, and pandemic beneficiaries who found themselves in some of the coolest cities in the world, including Lisbon, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, and Porto.
Eventually, the couple decided to tie the knot in Lisbon, the city where they had spent the most time together. Their wedding was a celebration of their love and the journey they had been on together, from their first meeting in Madrid to their travels around the world. It was a testament to the power of love and how it can overcome any distance or obstacle.[/field]
[field title=”Special Detail #3″]The bride carried a delicate bouquet that featured a touch of blue, representing the “something blue” tradition. The bouquet was a combination of white and green-colored flowers with delicate blue accents, adding a subtle pop of color to the overall look.

For her “something borrowed,” the bride wore a stunning pair of diamond earrings that belonged to her mother. Her father had gifted the earrings to her mother on their 35th wedding anniversary, making them a sentimental and meaningful addition to the bride’s wedding day look.

As a “something new,” Gustavo (the groom) surprised the bride with a beautiful pearl and diamond necklace, which she wore on their wedding day. The necklace complemented her elegant bridal gown and added a touch of sparkle to her overall look.[/field]
[board_carousel title=”Couple Portraits”]

[board_carousel title=”Reception”]

[board_carousel title=”Wedding Weekend Events”]

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Photography: Alice Vicente Weddings | Cinematography: Memories For Life | Event Planning: Fernanda Martinez Events | Styling: Lourdes Desangles | Floral Design: Ion Rotaru | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Invitations: DM invitaciones | Catering: Casa Do Marquês | Makeup: De La Oz Makeup | Hair: Mariya Sazonova | DJ: Groovebox | Groom’s Attire: Alfaiataria Lusa | Wedding Venue: Camélia Gardens | Accomodations: Verride Palácio de Santa Catarina | Flower girl/Ring boys’ outfits: JP Ricami

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