European Wedding Traditions to Keep at Your Destination Wedding – Part 2

Are you considering a destination wedding in Spain or Portugal?

Usually like to do things the contemporary way? Pass up tradition for tradition’s sake in favour of personality packed celebrations?

Read Part 2 of my article taking a look at European wedding traditions.

Part 1 featured France & Italy with the emphasis on making lots of beautiful memories with your family & friends. All whilst combining with a smattering of your chosen country’s wedding traditions.

When used at certain sentimental times of year, such as Christmas, the word ‘tradition’ feels charming and familiar, but when it comes to weddings it’s taken on some rather stuffy, old fashioned connotation don’t you think?

You want your wedding to feel modern and different. Probably quite unlike the wedding your parents might have had!

When it comes to destination weddings though, embracing your chosen country’s unique customs can be a way of bringing a fresh flavour to the proceedings.

Take a look at these European wedding traditions from Spain and Portugal you might wish to include to help connect with your chosen destination…

European Wedding Traditions: Spain

When it comes to European wedding traditions the Spanish really know how to enjoy themselves. Think classic foods and drinks, unusual bridal fashion, and lots of dancing…sounds like a fiesta!

The traditional wedding flower in Spain is the orange blossom bloom, which has been used to represent purity and love and also lends a nice nod to one of the country’s signature agricultural products.

With its soft white petals, it can easily be used alone or with other florals in almost any colour to complete your wedding vision.

In contrast to the gentle white of the orange blossom flowers, it’s traditional for Spanish brides to wear a black silk gown on their wedding day. This symbolises the ‘until death to we part’ vow they make at the altar, although many modern brides in Spain do now choose to wear white.

This could be an interesting custom to adopt if you’re a bride looking for something totally unique to wear on your wedding day…I’m imagining bridesmaids all in white for a modern monochrome moment with stylishly traditional roots!

The evening at a Spanish wedding is a real party, featuring paella, seafood and free-flowing sangria, as well as the traditional dance ‘las seguidillas manchegas’ in which guests pay to dance with the bride!

If you can get that idea off the ground with your friends, I’ll take my hat off to you. It’s also customary for Spanish newlyweds to receive 15 days of paid leave from work following their wedding…worth a try, right?

Weddings by Mary- Essex wedding planner

European Wedding Traditions: Portugal

Last but not least, one of my favourite European countries: Portugal. Who doesn’t love a pastel de nata, sprinkled with cinnamon and accompanied by a good coffee…?

Much like other countries in Europe, Portuguese weddings involve a lot of great food and long parties (we should really take a leaf out of their book!). Plus a few other entertaining customs you might like to add to your destination wedding there.

It is customary for the bride and groom to have little get-togethers in their respective homes on the morning of the wedding.

What better way to kick off the celebrations than to have your friends round and get the love and laughter flowing?

If you’re staying at your destination wedding venue they may well have the perfect room for you to use for your little gathering.

You then don’t have to have everybody in your hotel room or villa leaving you free to sneak away to get ready when it’s time!

Speaking of sneaking away, one of my favourite Portuguese wedding traditions is that the bride and groom must try to secretly leave their wedding reception at the end of the night without being noticed.

It could be a lot of fun to try and play this game with your partner, even if you return 10 minutes later – do you think you’d get away with it!?

The final European wedding tradition I’d like to mention isn’t specific only to Portugal, but in many countries there is a big fuss when cutting the cake.

Unlike the UK where it tends to be a brief moment with some celebratory music, in other countries it is often a big part of the evening involving a ceremonial sword, fireworks and dancing. Any excuse to add to the party atmosphere!

These European wedding traditions are all potential fun additions to your destination wedding celebrations. When I plan your wedding it’s my job to craft exactly the experience you envision.

Whether you want to really embrace the customs of your chosen destination or just add that subtle nod here and there. I’ll practically and precisely pull it all together for you.

Weddings by Mary- Essex wedding planner

Get in touch to chat about planning your destination wedding.

Whether in France, Italy, Spain, or Portugal.

Or perhaps you have another dreamy wedding destination in mind. I’m ready to explore & plan when you are.

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I’ve spent most of my life in the wedding & events industry. Helping couples in love to celebrate in style is something I adore and am hugely proud of being able to do.

At the very heart of my job is a love of people. A chance to connect with couples is one of my favourite parts. Being a wedding planner means being able to balance the detail-focused organisation and expert problem solving with the chance to have a good chat and a laugh with couples over a cuppa or a glass of fizz.

Mary x