A Classic Wedding in the Up-and-Coming Destination of Sintra, Portugal


Amanda D'Mellow and Derick Samuel love to travel and have explored the world in the nearly 10 years they've been together. So it was no surprise when, on a trip to the Amalfi Coast in 2017, Derick brought Amanda down to the beach to pop the question.

After the romantic Italian proposal, the couple looked to yet another destination for the wedding itself. "We wanted to include that love of travel when we got married so a destination wedding was always at the top of our list," says the bride. As for the location? They wanted an unexpected destination for their 100 guests, and Portugal checked all the boxes: good food, beautiful landscapes, friendly locals, and delicious (and cheap!) wine. "We chose the Penha Longa Resort in Sintra because, as a Ritz-Carlton property, we knew the quality of our stay would be amazing," Amanda explains. "In addition, there is a gorgeous Catholic church that was built in the 14th century and was once a monastery on the hotel grounds!"

On October 5, 2018, the couple embraced a palette of white and green and added touches of warm gold to give their celebration a formal feel. Keep reading to see how their timeless destination wedding came to life in the up-and-coming wedding hotspot of Sintra, Portugal. Atmosphere Fotografia was on hand to capture all the magic!

The couple dressed their wedding party in vibrant blue and blush to coordinate with the chapel's coral exterior. Derick donned a custom tone-on-tone jacquard suit by CE Clothier, and Amanda wore a French lace gown by Martina Liana. The gown featured a plunging neckline, crystal embellishments, and a dramatic train.

The couple decided to marry in the historic church on property, which meant guests (and the wedding party!) didn't have to go far to get to the ceremony. Prior to the ceremony, Derick and Amanda gathered their five young attendants for photos outside the church. “The kids were constant reminders for us to make sure we had fun, let loose, and allowed ourselves to enjoy the magic of the day,” says the bride.

The flower girls wore off-white linen dresses, gold shoes, and flower crowns for the special event.

The ring bearers wore blue pants and vests to match the groom and groomsmen. Adorably, they held hands as they walked down the aisle ahead of the squad of flower girls.

"The church itself is already so gorgeous, so we kept the flowers simple and fresh with just a white runner and two white-and-green arrangements on either side of the altar," says the bride.

The couple tied the knot in a traditional Catholic ceremony and selected Bible readings for close friends and family to share throughout the proceedings.

Following the ceremony, guests tossed pink and coral petals over the newlyweds as they made their way out of the church. Notably, the color matched the church's painted exterior and contrasted beautifully with Amanda's bouquet of white roses.

Cocktail hour took place by the hotel pool, where everyone sipped sangria and gin alongside a selection of fresh crab. "We wanted to showcase all of Portugal's amazing seafood," says the bride.

During cocktail hour, Derick and Amanda slipped away for a few portraits on the stunning hotel grounds. Amanda used this as an opportunity to show off her stunning gown, which featured subtle side cutouts and a laser-cut train. "After a while, dresses start to look the same," she admits of the shopping experience. "Pick one that makes you feel special but still like yourself!"

At dinner, guests were seated at long tables in an effort to keep the reception feeling more like a family dinner and less like a formal wedding. The bride and groom sat in the middle of their loved ones. "It allowed us to interact with our family and friends instead of feeling removed at a sweetheart table," she says. Each place setting featured gold flatware, a printed menu, and hand-painted cookies that looked like Portuguese tiles and doubled as place cards.

After dining on tuna tataki and slow-cooked veal cheek, guests were treated to two desserts: vanilla cremeux with strawberry crème and a pistachio financier cake with wild berry and lemon cheesecake filling.

Looking back on their destination wedding in Sintra, Portugal, Amanda had this advice to share: "No matter what happens, have fun! Your guests will only have as much fun as the two of you!"

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