Living in Portugal: Portuguese Wedding Traditions

Every country has its own wedding traditions. In ancient times, Portuguese people used to marry simply to build a family. Many old customs have been revived and are now included in modern wedding ceremonies. Many of the customs that were practiced in this European country have evolved over time to symbolize the mutual love of the couple.

Over 99 percent of the Portuguese are Roman Catholic. Therefore, most wedding ceremonies are based on the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Increasingly more couples are choosing the romanticism of the more ancient wedding traditions handed down from generation to generation. Wedding celebrations in Portugal usually include a Roman Catholic mass where the priest calls for the bride and groom to exchange rings, or ties the couple’s hands with his stole. When the couple exits the church, family and friends throw flowers and bonbons. In most European countries, relatives of the bride and groom traditionally throw rice over the newlywed couple.

In Portugal, it is customary for neighbors and friends to help with the celebration and with the wedding itself. Held at a restaurant or in a private home, the ceremony is usually small and limited to close family members. Many couples choose to prepare their own food for the wedding party instead of using the services of a catering provider. Family and friends gather to exchange stories about the newlywed couple and enjoy traditional singing and dancing. They also collect money for the bride and groom. Customarily, the money is collected in the bride’s shoe.

As soon as the ceremony ends, the bride and groom parade through the streets where family, friends and even strangers wish them happiness. In the North coast of Portugal, brides wear black dresses as a sign of fidelity to their future husbands. Their appearance is completed by the famous Portuguese Queen earrings (brincos Rainha) and a lot of gold jewelry. This is the dress they will be buried when they die.

In the past, the bride was wearing a white Chinese tunic adorned with colorful jewelry. The groom was wearing a dark top hat, a white shirt, and dark suit. At the end of the ceremony, they were placing their wedding bands on each other’s hands. The tradition of passing the bride’s heel around to all guests to receive money that will help the newlywed couple build their own house is still practiced today. The bride and groom must also choose a padrinho (best man) and a madrinha (maid of honour).

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Life in Portugal: Traditional Portuguese Wedding Gifts

Portuguese weddings are expected to be amazing, featuring several courses with meats, seafood, desserts, and fine drinks. If you have been invited to a wedding in Portugal, then you need to find the right gift. The newlywed couple will enjoy receiving a gift that represents the country’s traditional wedding customs. From cash to dinnerware and hand-embroidered linens, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Traditional Portuguese wedding gifts should help the newlywed couple start a home together. Here are a few gift ideas to help you out:


These goods are a general staple in most wedding registries. Make sure you order regionally hand-crafted Portuguese items. Many stores sell 15th and 17th century reproductions made from natural clay. Handmade ceramic dinnerware is a family tradition in Portugal. This European country is famous for its pottery and fine tile work. The newlywed coupled will be glad to receive classic dinner plates in timeless shapes, dessert bowls designed for everyday use, and handmade stoneware teacup sets adorned with unique details.


These beautiful pieces of ceramic cookware allow for traditional methods of Portuguese cooking. Terracotta roasting pans, ceramic pots, and casseroles are used extensively in the Portuguese cuisine. These items are available in all shapes and styles. If you are looking for traditional Portuguese wedding gifts, consider buying a cataplana. This piece of cookware consists of two metal clam-shells that clamp together. The Portuguese people use cataplanas to enhance the flavors of seafood.


The money dance is one of the most popular wedding traditions in Portugal. Male guests pay to dance with the bride, while female guests pay to dance with the groom. The bride’s show is passed among guests to collect money, which will help the newlywed couple cover the wedding expenses, pay for their honeymoon, and even buy a house of their own. If you haven’t found a wedding gift yet, you can simply offer money to help the newlyweds start their life together.

Portuguese Embroidery

Portuguese embroidered tablecloths and tray cloths make excellent wedding gifts. This country is renowned for beautiful embroidery. Most items are characterized by beauty and simplicity, featuring unique details and traditional patterns. When you go shopping for a wedding gift, consider buying a traditional linen tablecloth, a love scarf, an embroidered rug, or a tray cloth with traditional motifs such as brambles, flowers, and leaves. A set of Portuguese table linens embroidered by hand will certainly be cherished.

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