Josiane de Fatima Gomes Monteiro and Pedro Avillez Pedroso da Costa first met at a hip nightclub in Lisbon in 2012—so it should come as no surprise that, nine years later, the couple chose to wed in style, with 200 elated guests and a live DJ and band.
On September 14, 2019, Josiane, a model, and Pedro, a businessman, escaped the city for a wedding in the countryside, booking Herdade da Agolada de Cima in Coruche, Portugal for their 200 guests. "We wanted a boho wedding, something very simple, with lots of flowers and, most importantly, we wanted to be surrounded by nature," she explains.
While the couple initially intended to plan on their own, Josiane says they quickly realized they needed help—"This was our first time planning such a big party," she admits—and enlisted Vows Portugal (and many friends!) to bring their vision to life. "We actually had no idea how hard it could be to plan a wedding," Josiane adds with a laugh. From there, the couple worked with their wedding planner, Branca, to check off planning tasks, both big and small. The hardest? Narrowing down the guest list. "For us, it was definitely hard to stick with the 200 guests [that our venue could accommodate]," she says. "We both have big families, so just with our family, we were already almost 200. We ended up not inviting everybody that we wanted but, in the end, we figured it out." And, the most fun: "The drinks!" adds the bride.
Josiane knew exactly what she wanted in a wedding dress so she e-mailed designer Luis Carvalho to make it happen. "Luis was amazing! I emailed him some pics of what I wanted, he made some drawings, we had a couple of fittings, and it was perfect," she says. Ultimately, the gown was made with two pieces: a detailed underlay—that Josiane rocked on the dancefloor later—and a long-sleeve draped wrap dress as a topper.
The bride paired her gorgeous gown with shoes from Mango and shell-shaped earrings from Oh Ok Studio, a German brand.
Together, Josiane's look felt boho, ethereal, and perfect for a late-summer celebration.
In dress pants, a button-up, and a dark linen jacket, Pedro also embraced the effortlessly-chic wedding vision. He wore a boutonniere of baby's breath on his lapel. His groomsmen dressed in similar attire that Josiane describes as "casual, summer, and laidback."
Since a natural setting was their number one priority, the couple decided to embrace their rustic venue, taking a tour of the grounds—with Alex Tome, in tow—to capture stunning (and natural!) portraits before the ceremony.
Josiane carried a bouquet of sunflowers, chamomile, and eucalyptus.
The ceremony took place outdoors, where benches were set up in front of an altar of baby's breath. The wedding party carried sunflowers that tied in perfectly with the venue's green and yellow accents.
Josienne's bridesmaids dressed in blush dresses in varying hues, styles, and lengths.
Josiane's father escorted her down the aisle.
Children were a large part of the wedding ceremony: The couple asked their best friend's daughters to be flower girls and their nephews to act as ring bearers. "The girls are very girly so, of course, they wanted princesses dresses and flower crowns, rings, makeup...and they were all matching, obviously," Josiane says. The boys wore white linen shirts and blush shorts.
The couple wrote their own ceremony script, opting to do what "they wanted" instead of what's deemed "traditional." "We chose to do our own ceremony with a close friend as “Reverend”," Josiane explains.
We kept things very laidback, just like we like it.
To further personalize the ceremony, Josiane and Pedro exchanged their own vows and asked a friend's band to play songs "mainly from Cape Verde and Portugal." "We kept things very laidback, just like we like it," she says.
The couple cleansed their hands—in a bowl of baby's breath—before exchanging rings.
Of course, the self-written ceremony ended with a ceremonial kiss!
As newlyweds, Josiane and Pedro exited—along with their flower girls and ring bearers—to a "song that meant something to them," Dennis Brown's "Love Has Found Its Way."
The ceremony site—and, later, the cocktail hour and reception spaces—were dressed with candlelight and wooden décor elements to amplify the already stunning setting.
Josiane was all smiles as she greeted her girlfriends—as a married woman!
The group posed for portraits but made sure to make the most of them, dancing and strolling around the venue's lawn.
In what Josiane recalls as a special memory from the day, it started to rain just before the ceremony—and, when it stopped, a rainbow appeared. Naturally, Josiane and crew captured it on camera.
A dose of boho style was added at cocktail hour, thanks to an intricately designed Mandela and a lounge area of colorful rugs and poufs.
Guests were offered white parasols to shield themselves from the sun.
The couple took on "many" DIY projects, from setting up lighting to putting together a corner with wood and candles for people to take photos.
Dinner was served inside a draped tent filled with white linens and accented with wooden chairs and a large wooden bookshelf.
A DJ and band, playing mostly Cape Verde and Portuguese music, kept guests on the dancefloor after dinner. Much as they did with their ceremony, Josiane and Pedro disregarded any "rules" and "traditions" at the reception. "Our wedding was a bit different from the traditional weddings, so we did not have a mother-son or father-daughter dance," she explains. "Instead we all danced together as a group."
Looking back on the wedding, Josiane counts those crowded moments on the dancefloor as a highlight of the night. "It was so special having all our friends and family gather together to celebrate our love journey," she says.