Stephen Youdeem, a real estate developer, is known for waking up in the middle of the night for a snack. So when it came time for him to propose, he figured he’d slip the ring on Bari Mimoun’s hand as she slept. But as you may expect, proposals never go as planned—it was the one night Bari, a guidance counselor, tossed and turned. When she eventually woke to use the bathroom, Stephen seized the moment: As she got back in bed, he handed her the ring. “He never technically proposed,” Bari says with a laugh.
From there, the couple began planning a destination wedding in A dos Cunhados, Portugal, outside of Lisbon, for 160 guests at Areias Do Seixo, a rustic hideaway on the beach. They brought together Jewish traditions with favorite drinks—Palomas!—and Portuguese food for a weekend celebration of love.
The couple collaborated with Jeannette Tavares of Evoke Design & Creative on the logistics and decor, which included a pampas grass-lined chuppah, Portuguese ceramics on the tabletops, and saxophone player that led the guests from the dinner to the dance party. “She was able to take my vision and create our dream,” Bari raves of her planner. “I was able to completely focus on the moment rather than all the many small details.”
It allowed her to be present throughout the day, which she recalls as one of her favorite memories. “Stephen would randomly find me, hug me, and look me in the eyes and say: ‘This is for us, everyone’s here for us. Look around and remember these moments,’” she recalls.
Read on for all the details of Bari and Stephen’s destination wedding in Portugal, planned by Evoke Design & Creative and photographed by Branco Prata.
Emily Baird Design created the couple’s invitation suite, which referenced the venue’s rustic touches and a classic Portuguese azulejo blue.
We actually picked our wedding venue before actually seeing it in person. I felt like if you just dropped us there with nothing else, the venue would speak for itself.
The couple’s venue, Areias do Seixo, is a design-forward hotel and spa located about one hour outside of Lisbon on the cliffs of the Atlantic Ocean.
The weekend itinerary included a welcome cocktail party, dinner, and a day party over the weekend before the wedding on Monday night. Guests were greeted with welcome boxes (from A Vida Portuguesa) featuring two bottles of Graham’s Port, a late harvest vintage port, and a 10-year tawny.
Bari claims she is indecisive, but knew immediately this Lela Rose dress would be her wedding gown. “I couldn’t stop smiling,” she says of trying on the dress with her mother in the bridal salon.
Bari rocked two different pairs of shoes on the wedding day: L.K. Bennett metallic-print platforms for the ceremony and a pair of glittery Golden Goose sneakers for the dance party.
Bari’s dress featured a strapless silk-and-wool tailored bodice with a full A-line skirt embroidered with three-dimensional florals.
The couple did a first look on a staircase at the property before the festivities began.
“Make it your own! Take your own personal style and emotions to help you create a special event that represents you as a couple,” Bari says of planning the day with Stephen.
Stephen wore a J. Crew midnight blue tuxedo and bowtie with tuxedo slippers from Stubbs & Wootton.
“We actually picked our wedding venue before actually seeing it in person,” Bari admits of discovering Areias Do Seixo while scrolling Instagram. “I felt like if you just dropped us there with nothing else, the venue would speak for itself.”
The wedding day festivities started off in the early evening with the signing of the Ketubah. Bari and Stephen signed the Ketubah surrounded by friends and family.
The ceremony took place outside, so wraps were available to guests during the ceremony in case they felt chilly.
The scene was set at the end of an olive tree path in the gardens surrounding the hotel. Ghost chairs echoed the modern design of the building while the chuppah’s decor was a nod to the natural foliage of the area.
A custom tallit—a gift from Bari and Stephen’s families—hung from the chuppah. Bari loved the pampas grass that lined the structure as well as the bold blooms that bright a pop of color to the earthy aesthetic. “We wanted something earthy and romantic, something magical and comfortable,” Baris says of the vision for the ceremony.
“They all ended up dancing down the aisle,” Bari says of the wedding party, who grooved to Florence and the Machine as they entered. “It was epic and unplanned.” That couple's attendants accessorized their all-white looks with pink flower crowns and a blue bow tie.
Bari made her entrance alongside her parents but without one traditional element—she skipped the bouquet. Instead, she sweetly held her parents’ hands.
“Stephen was also very involved throughout the process which I loved,” Bari says. “As the groom, he had visions of what he wanted, and he wanted to create a weekend our guests would never forget.”
The couple wrote their own vows for the ceremony.
“The reason for the wedding is for the beautiful ceremony,” Bari says. “We wanted our friends and family to gather around us while we took this leap together as a couple and joined our families.”
We wanted to not only create a wedding we loved and that fit our style and our vision, but also that of our families.
After breaking the glass, the couple danced up the aisle to “High on Life” by Martin Garrix and Bonn.
A Vida Portuguesa created the escort card display with the assistance of Emily Baird Design: tins of traditional Portuguese provisions calligraphed with each guest’s name.
“We wanted to not only create a wedding we loved and that fit our style and our vision, but also that of our families,” Bari says.
Not only did Bari adore her dress, but she made it extra special by including her beloved grandmother, who passed away before she was engaged, as part of it. “Before she passed she had left me with a generous gift,” Bari says. “I couldn’t think of a better way than using it for my wedding dress as I knew she would have taken such joy in shopping and picking it out with me”.
During cocktail hour, guests sipped on Palmonas—”We love tequila!" the bride adds—and mingled amongst a boho-inspired lounge.
Bari and Stephen took a peek at the reception before the guests entered. “Jeannette and her team were amazing,” Bari says of Evoke Design and Creative. “So much detail and organization had to be put into creating the ultimate experience for us and for our guests. They thought of everything. At times of stress and anxiety, Jeannette was there to step in and calm our nerves.”
The reception took place in a greenhouse lit by candles and hanging bulbs, accented with whimsical florals, and full of good food and wine.
Bari felt strongly about forgoing linens on the tables for a chic, rustic look. They were topped with single blooms in vases, various types of candle holders and candelabras, and Portuguese-inspired place settings.
Flowers were kept to earthy tones with pops of color like the ceremony, including eye-catching stems of anthuriums and pale-hued hydrangeas.
Portuguese azulejos inspired the place settings that included Vista Alegre blue-and-white plates and rose-colored glasses.
“We had a traditional European dinner, only interrupted by outpouring love speeches,” Bari says of the reception. The menu featured local cuisine like sea bass and ingredients from the property’s garden.
Saxophonist João Cabrita led the guests from dinner to the dance party, where he also played alongside Israeli DJ Itay Galo as the celebration raged into the evening. “Have fun with each other,” Bari advises other couples of the day. “I learned less pressure is more fun!”
Venue Areias do Seixo
Planner Jeannette Tavares of Evoke Design & Creative
Officiant Daniel Cohen
Bridal Gown & Veil Lela Rose
Bride's Shoes L.K. Bennett; Golden Goose
Hair João Pereira
Makeup Makeup by Helena
Groom’s Attire J.Crew; Stubbs & Wootton
Floral Design Areias do Sexio
Invitations & Paper Goods Emily Baird Design
Favors A Vida Portuguesa
Music Italy Galo
Saxophone João Cabrita
Catering & Cake Areias do Seixo
Rentals Aqueduto Events; Rise Portugal
Transportation Mr. Travel
Accommodations Le Consulat Lisboa
Videography Vanessa & Ivo
Photography Branco Prata