A Minimalist's Wedding in a Portuguese Monastery

A magazine editor and her beau were inspired by their setting

Updated 11/20/18
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Photo by Miguel Cunha

Victoria de la Camara was in high school in Madrid when she first met Santiago Garcia—but she had no idea she was meeting her future husband. “Santiago was one of my brother’s friends from college, and he came to our house so they could work on a project together in 2004,” she recalls. “We quickly hit it off, but nothing serious came of it, and Santiago left for a year abroad shortly thereafter.” Eight years later, her father was named the Spanish ambassador to Brazil, and Victoria (who was living in New York at the time) remembered that Santiago was from Rio de Janeiro. “I reached out to him about what I should do in town while visiting my father,” she says. A few months later, Santiago was in the Big Apple for a business trip, called Victoria, and the rest is history.

The couple dated long distance for a few months before Victoria took the plunge and moved to Rio. “I broke my lease, sold all of my furniture on Craigslist, and packed whatever I could fit into two large suitcases,” she says. A year later, they moved back to Madrid where on July 7, 2017, the five-year anniversary of their first date, Santiago proposed in the private dining room of their favorite restaurant. “We got engaged on the same day we started dating, so it was only fitting that we get married on our anniversary, too,” says Victoria. “It makes it easy to remember!”

Victoria and Santiago have lived all over the world, meaning there wasn’t a “hometown” to go to for their wedding. Instead, they chose a country they love (Portugal) and sought a venue that mixed modern design with a historical setting—and had enough hotel rooms to host their 70 guests. They put a minimalist twist on a classic celebration to let Pousada Mosteiro de Amares, a 12th-century monastery renovated by famed architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, really shine. “We used local flowers in a really organic way that seemed to have grown where they stood,” says the bride. Victoria, who is a designer and market editor for Rue Magazine, used her design chops to assemble all the details, then let the hotel’s event coordinator execute on the day-of. Keep reading to see photos of their Portuguese wedding, as captured by Miguel Cunha!

<p>Bride's bouquet</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

Victoria paired her detailed lace Pronovias gown with a simple bouquet of white peonies, roses, lisianthus, and hydrangeas.

<p>bride and groom during ceremony</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

<p>Bride and groom leaving church</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

<p>bride and groom exit</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

The couple wed at the hotel’s historic church, which feature soaring gothic ceilings and detailed mahogany woodwork. For the occasion, Victoria’s dad wore the uniform donned by all Spanish diplomats during special occasions. “It is a Napoleonic-era uniform, complete with medals and a sword,” says the bride. Her father wore his uniform on his own wedding day 40 years earlier, and wore it for the last time before his retirement to escort his daughter down the aisle.

The chapel’s altar was also gilded and acted as a spectacular backdrop for the couple's traditional Catholic vows. “Our dog, Nova, was allowed in the church with special permission, and laid down at in the aisle to watch us get married,” the bride recalls. “It really made the moment complete for us.”

<p>Bride and groom with dog</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

<p>bride and groom from behind</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

bride with dog

Photo by Miguel Cunha

After the ceremony, the couple (and Nova, of course!) wandered the grounds, taking in the beautiful Portuguese countryside. “Finding a venue that allowed dogs was so important to us—we couldn’t have had our wedding without her,” says the bride.

<p>floral decor</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

<p>seating assignments</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

<p>Escort cards</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

Guests sipped local wines, including a white vinho verde, before heading into the courtyard for the reception. Says the bride, “We had our guests’ escort cards tied to small bottles of Port as a delicious memento.” The bottles were displayed around an arrangement of eucalyptus, lisianthus, and hydrangeas. Strands of string lights were also added to the courtyard, where orange trees grew in each corner and a stream ran across the stone patio.

<p>Reception Venue</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

Table setting

Photo by Miguel Cunha

<p>place setting</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

Each table was draped in a white cloth and topped with a garland of eucalyptus. The dinner menu included gazpacho Andaluz, a garden salad with smoked salmon, and filet mignon. For dessert, caramelized pears were served with vanilla bean ice cream and a port wine sauce.

<p>Wedding cake</p>

Photo by Miguel Cunha

Photo by Miguel Cunha

A cluster of fresh flowers topped the couple’s chocolate and nougat wedding cake. “We cut the cake with my father’s sword. It’s a Spanish tradition that was even more special because it is part of my father’s uniform,” Victoria says.

For the after-party, the bride changed into a jumpsuit and guests danced to Michael Jackson in the hotel’s reception hall. Adds the bride, “Our guests came from all over the world, and we spent the days leading up to the wedding in Lisbon and then Porto celebrating with them. Keeping the guest list intimate meant we got to spend quality time with everyone who joined us. If you can, invite only your closest friends and family members to make your wedding day truly personal!”

Venue: Pousada Mosteiro de Amares || Bride's Dress: Pronovias || Bride's Shoes: Bella Belle || Bride's Jewelry: Minimal Bijoux || Hair Comb: Tania Maras || Groom's Attire: Boggi Milano || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Suarez || Floral Design: Bloom Flores e Eventos || Paper Products: Minted || Catering: Pousada Mosteiro de Amares || Cake: Casa das Natas || Favors: Graham’s Port || Accommodations: Pousada Mosteiro de Amares || Photography: Miguel Cunha

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