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Neha and Scott first met in university and kept in touch after graduating. Little did they know that their friendship would turn to love. They tied the knot at the beautiful and historic Penha Longa Resort in Portugal, and Neha shares highlights and memories of her big day below. 

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How We Met
“We met on our first day of university as we were living in the same student hall. I was the first person to walk into Scott's room on the day he moved in, and I must have made a good impression because after that he used to go and sit in my friend's room in the hope that I would show up. A few years later, we started keeping in touch occasionally through Facebook. By that point, Scott's rude boy hairstyle and dressing sense had changed and so when he suggested we meet up for a drink I agreed. That was seven years ago, and we have been together ever since.”

Proposal
“Scott wanted to surprise me with the sentimental proposal. I knew it was coming as we had spoken about it, but I didn't know what he had planned. On the day it happened, I thought we were just going for dinner, so I was not dressed for the occasion at all. On our way, we went past our old university, so he suggested popping in just to see how things had changed. As we were walking around the grounds, he got down on one knee and pulled out the ring”

Wedding Venue
“We both wanted a destination wedding because taking a chance upon the unpredictable UK weather was not an option for us. Lisbon in Portugal was a perfect choice as it is a vibrant city and not too far for most of our family and friends to travel to. Also, since it is home to a large Indian community, it was feasible to source all the elements of a Hindu wedding there. We were easily able to find caterers, planners, and people to do our decor so I would recommend the city to anyone looking to have an Indian wedding in Europe! We incorporated some elements of Portuguese culture into our wedding through the food and entertainment as it was important to us that we acknowledged the cultural aspect of the city in our celebrations. Our wedding planner showed us a few venues, one of which was Penha Longa Resort, which is a part of the Ritz Carlton group. We knew immediately that it was the place for us. Located just outside of Lisbon in Sintra, this property was everything we wanted in a venue as it blended history with modern luxury. Our actual wedding ceremony took place in the Nuncio Garden - a secluded location that is considered a signature venue within the hotel's grounds. The venue dates back to the 16th century, so it felt like a ‘Game of Thrones’ celebration in a modern day setting. It was unique and that's exactly what we were after.”

Wedding Functions

Mehendi
“This was the start of our celebrations and an opportunity for us to formally welcome our guests to Portugal. Held at Forte da Cruz, a 17th-century fort on the beach, we opened the party with Portuguese fire breathers. We decided on a theme of bright colors and picked our decor accordingly, with colorful draping, vibrant centerpieces, and multicolored outdoor lights to illuminate the walls of the fort. We also had a string quartet, and their instruments had colored LED lights! We didn't know this at the time but our planner arranged for the LED string quartet to play during the fire breathers entertainment which set off the ambiance perfectly. Payal Malhotra Haute Couture designed bespoke outfits for all my wedding functions. For our ‘bright colors’ themed mehendi party, I opted for a multicolored, mixed floral pattern lehenga with traditional mirror work. Scott’s outfit was designed by Sonas, a London-based boutique, and he wore a vibrant green bandhgala jacket that featured gold floral threadwork.”

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Wedding
“The morning of the wedding day saw the traditional Mandvo, Pithi and Ganesh Pooja ceremonies being hosted, which was followed by our outdoor wedding ceremony at the Nuncio Garden. The beautiful Nuncio Garden had a pool in the middle of it, and we wanted that to be a feature of our wedding ceremony. We decided to build a walkway over the pool which would serve as the aisle to get to the mandap. We were told of the logistical difficulties of building the structure over the water (not to mention the cost!), but this was an extravagant extra which we hoped none of our guests had seen before. It took a team of builders over two days to drain the water, build the structure and refill the water and the best part was I could see it all from my hotel room! Also, not many people can say they have had their wedding ceremony on water! The mandap was decorated using flowers of neutral tones which complimented the rustic feel of the venue. For the wedding ceremony, we wanted our outfits to complement the decor and scenery of the Nuncio Garden as we felt the traditional red, green and white colors would look too harsh against the neutral colors of the mandap. My bridal outfit was a floral pink and peach lehenga with gold embellishments. Scott was very specific about his outfit, and he worked with Sonas to create a velvet ivory sherwani, with a dupatta in the same peach that was in my outfit.”

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Reception
“We had a simple reception with canapés and cocktails. We also arranged for a ‘Pimp your Prosecco’ table so guests could create their drinks! Our reception dinner was in a theatrical function room called the 'Arcos Room.' We wanted a contemporary feel and went with glass dining tables with an LED base and translucent chairs. After the dinner and speeches, we moved to an outdoor courtyard where we had an amazing LED dance floor set up with white couches on the side for the non-party people and a dessert bar. To add a fun element we also had a selfie mirror which was a good way for our guests to create memories as they could take the printed pictures home with them! The dress code for this event was black tie. I wore an Indo-Western gown in burgundy with gold detailing while Scott decked out in a white Dolce & Gabbana Tuxedo jacket, Hugo Boss trousers and braces, and a Tom Ford bow tie. He accessorized with a burgundy scarf and a pocket square.”

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Advice For Couples
“Don't get stressed over the small details because most of the time the guests won't even notice! Check Facebook, Instagram or any other social media for other couples that have had their wedding at the same location/destination/venue you are considering. After my wedding I had three brides contact me (all of who had seen my pictures online) to ask my advice on getting married at Penha Longa Resort. So don’t be afraid to ask others to share their experience – it will be so valuable when planning the biggest day of your life!”

The Wedding Makers
Venues: Forte da Cruz (Mehendi), Penha Longa Resort (Wedding), Portugal
Wedding Planner: Lisbon Wedding Planner
Decor: Passage to India
Caterers: Details Event Planners
Groom’s Outfits: Sonas (Mehendi and Wedding), Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss and Tom Ford (Reception)
Bride’s Outfits: Payal Malhotra Haute Couture (Mehendi, Wedding, and Reception)
Makeup: Alopi Bhamber
Hairstylist: Tania De Sousa
DJ: DJ Kamal

Photography: Geeshan Bandara
Videography: The Wedding Diary by Ruwin Fernando

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