Real Weddings

An Otherworldly Wedding in a Subterranean Portuguese Winery

Photography by Nous Nous, Freda Banks & Adriana Morais.

Held inside a serene subterranean Portuguese winery, Grace and Vincent’s otherworldly wedding was modern and boldly architectural. With an intimate ceremony with only 34 guests, the couple wed 40 meters below ground, seemingly a world away from the surrounding rugged Redondo terrain. A play on light and shadow, a luminous spiral path unfurled beneath the surface at the monochromatic architectural masterpiece designed by Frederico Valsassina. At the bottom, two rows of concrete benches framed the aisle, and three single sculptural installations stood at its center.

The artful images were captured by photographers Nous Nous, Freda BanksAdriana Morais.

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

Our Story

Names / Grace Tan & Vincent Huang

Location / Alentejo, Portugal

Wedding Date / June 16th, 2023

Guest Numbers / 34

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

How We Met

We met in NYC while working at the same company. A mutual friend started a lunch club (“Adventurous Foodies”) and we would explore different hole-in-the-wall lunch spots every week. Eventually, we started introducing each other to our favorite haunts after work. Over a particularly lovely dinner at Bar B (scallop carpaccio and grapefruit panna cotta), we fell in love.

 

Our Engagement Story

We love to travel and I (Grace) had my eye on an Andalusian eco-resort for a weekend getaway. We decided to extend the trip and get engaged at the same time. However, our connecting flight to Spain was delayed 3 times, and we got stuck in Dallas for 2 nights… sans luggage. By the second night, I was ready to head back home. Little did I know that Vincent had planned a surprise (and non-refundable!) engagement photoshoot in Spain. He convinced me to stay the course, and we eventually made it there, 3 days late. We were engaged in a tiny herb and wildflower garden, overlooking the Andalusian mountains. It was sweet, fragrant and so beautiful – despite the craziness it took to get there.

 

What we love most about each other…

Grace: Vincent goes above and beyond to take care of those around him, and reminds me to view the world around me with a little more levity and openness.

Vincent: Grace brings a creative spark and love for adventure into my world.

We try to find small ways to bring joy to each other’s lives. Most importantly, we love who we are together.

Grace Vincent Wedding

The Setting

 

Wedding Location

When we described our wedding vision to TALES, Marta insisted that we tour Herdade Do Freixo, despite it being further out than we had planned. And she couldn’t have been more right. We felt transported to another world when we walked down the spiral for the first time. The atrium, the ascetic concrete, the soft light… I still get chills thinking about it!

We had our rehearsal dinner the night before at Fita Preta, another stunning winery.

 

Aesthetic

I think I had less than 10 photos on my original wedding board: brutalist arches, pleated fabrics, and abalone shells. We had originally envisioned our ceremony in a craggy sea cove and me in some bridal manifestation of the McQueen Oyster dress. When we toured Herdade Do Freixo, we just felt immediately grounded. We did away with thematic elements, and leaned into architectural shapes and textures that heightened the venue’s otherworldliness. At the wedding, one of my closest friends called it my “Dune fantasy”, which feels just about right.

 

Preparation

Morning of, we had a very relaxed and long breakfast with our wedding guests and family at our hotel. A few of my friends and I went to the gym for a run and then we joined everyone for a dip in the pool. It was exactly what we had hoped – a relaxed morning surrounded by our friends and family. We then got to spend some time getting ready with our parents and siblings. We loved the chance to connect with our family before the big moment. I’ll remember that forever!

Grace Vincent Wedding

Grace Vincent Wedding

Photography

We were so incredibly blessed to have Nous Nous & Adriana Morais as our wedding photographer and Freda Banks as our portrait photographer. We fell in love with the beautiful emotion and movement present in Nous Nous’s work, and his vision on what elements we wanted to capture. Freda actually shot a few of our friends’ weddings, and we knew from the start that we wanted to shoot with her. Her eye for color and composition is just incredible, and she’s also the kindest person. We are so grateful to have our special day captured by these two supremely talented photographers.

Grace Vincent Wedding

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

Style Notes

 

Ceremony Décor

Marta and I knew early on that we wanted to create something moody, with smoke and candlelight elements. We worked closely with Bosque to define the colors, textures, and shape for the ceremony decor. I wanted the ceremony florals to be sculptural, restrained, and very textural. Bosque lent so much of their expertise in turning our vision into reality. The results were stunning.

 

Reception Décor

Bosque creates these incredible stone sculptures for ikebana-style arrangements that they do as part of their editorial practice. We loved how they form a direct connection to the “mother rock” that is the soul of Herdade Do Freixo’s main wine storage room. We built the reception decor around these rocks, drawing inspiration from traditional and modern ikebana, and experimental floral artists like CENTÁ.

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

“We felt transported to another world when we walked down the spiral for the first time. The atrium, the ascetic concrete, the soft light…”

Wedding Planner & Stylist

Marta and Madalena of TALES made this entire wedding possible. Herdade Do Freixo had never allowed a wedding before, and Marta was able to work with them to get all the necessary approvals for us to move forward. They handled every detail with utmost professionalism and made us feel supported the entire way. But most importantly – they deeply understood our vision and the kind of experience we wanted for our guests. As a result, we ended up with a wedding experience that felt 100% us, without an ounce of faff.

 

Flowers

I loved Chloe Sevigny’s wedding bouquet of 5 calla lilies, so we went for a super pared down bouquet of anthuriums by Bosque.

Grace Vincent Wedding

Grace Vincent Wedding

Cake

All we can say is we wish we could have transported the leftover cake back home. We loved our delicious limoncello cake with cream cheese frosting and fresh berry compote. BackUP did a fabulous job with the cake, and decorated it so elegantly.

 

Food & Beverages

Our favorite part of the wedding planning was the cocktail design. We loved working with Andre from Bar Factory to come up with four signature cocktails: a port wine/elderflower/lemon drink we named Príncipe Real Nocturne (we love a post dinner walk there), a yuzu/gin/blood orange spritz named Aoyama Jazz (special memories at Blue Note Tokyo), a milk tea espresso martini named Chinatown with Friends (for all the dim sum hangouts), and a mango/mezcal deliciousness named Lisa’s Holbox Daydream (dedicated to the best beach vacations with my best friend). He took all of our ideas and elevated them into a cohesive cocktail menu that wowed our guests all night.

Vincent took charge of the wedding menu, and we loved the fish and meat courses that BackUP prepared for us. Our tasting was so fun and so generous – we thought the tasting portions were the actual portions! The food at our wedding was beautifully plated and delicious.

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

Fashion & Beauty Notes

 

Bride’s Dress & Shoes

It was very challenging to find the right dress for our vision. I originally wanted to wear white, and tried beautiful gowns from Vivienne Westwood, Danielle Frankel, Alex Perry, Toni Maticevski, but none of them really made sense. In a funny turn of events, I tried on and didn’t like the “bridal” version of my eventual dress pick, the Rick Owens Aphrodite gown in white cotton lamé.

I ran through my options with my best friend and mentioned I really liked look 18 from Rick Owens Strobe FW22, but dismissed it because it was champagne colored. She turned me around and said to try it. It ended up being the exact right choice. I never imagined I would wear a sequined stretch denim (!!) gown as a bride. Thankfully I was also able to snag the mini version for the reception.

I decided to lean into color for the rest of my wedding looks. Vincent and I actually wore full head-to-toe Rick Owens all wedding weekend, for a total of 7 looks, with the exception of the yellow coat I wore over my iridescent Prong dress during the rehearsal. It took me about 6 months to curate, style, and source all the pieces, with current and vintage items coming from Italy, Japan, Germany, NY, and other random places. I designed the yellow coat with Lisa Marie Couture in Seattle, and she did an absolutely fabulous job crafting it to our joint vision.

 

Hair & Makeup

I wanted the tightest of buns, and Wellington Oliviera really delivered. It was the sleek bun of my dreams.

Grace Vincent Wedding

“We did away with thematic elements, and leaned into architectural shapes and textures that heightened the venue’s otherworldliness.”

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

The Details

 

Grace Vincent Wedding

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

Entertainment

Our friends Colby, Ben, Emma, and Chloe created this masterful 6-hour wedding playlist, which just gave us so many beautiful moments during our dinner. When “More than a Woman” by the Bee Gees came on, my dad stood up and started boogieing. We were in a full-blown, mid-dinner dance break. I was climbing onto the table, friends were cat-walking into the vineyard. Pure bliss!

 

Celebrant

Our dear friend Emma was our celebrant, and we will forever be grateful for her beautiful speech. She created a beautiful, bright moment for us to be married. We are so grateful that we shared that moment with her. Thank you, Emma!

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

Our Advice

 

A memorable moment…

We were thankful that two of our close friends were able to bring their toddlers/families to our wedding. We knew it was going to be really challenging travelling with such young kids, and it meant so much to us that they still wanted to come celebrate with us. My parents and Vincent’s parents had been taking turns cuddling the babies all weekend, and we all had so much fun playing with them in the pool. For the reception, Marta built these makeshift baby beds using wine crates stuffed with pillows and blankets. Stroke of genius! We loved seeing the babies sleeping peacefully at the table, with all the buzz of joy and celebration around them. It encapsulated the different phases of our friends’ lives so beautifully, and how special it was to be together at that exact moment.

 

One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…

Figuring out how to safely transport all of our wedding outfits from Los Angeles to Lisbon to Alentejo became one of our biggest headaches. We had to devise creative ways to fit all of our wedding outfits into our carry-ons. We purchased airtags for each bag in case they were lost. Thankfully I didn’t end up getting look 29 from Rick Owen’s EDFU SS23 runway. That massive fuschia number was one of my dream wedding items, but it would have been a nightmare to transport!

 

If I could give other couples one piece of advice…

For other fashion-oriented couples looking to snag runway pieces, connecting with buyers in retail locations early on in the planning process can be key. They can loop you in when orders are placed for the new season, what colorways and sizes the store expects to get, and sometimes place special/expedited orders for you.

 

Sources of inspiration…

The Lane, obviously!

portugal wedding venues

portugal wedding venues

Grace Vincent Wedding

Our Contacts

 

Wedding Venue / Herdade Do Freixo

Wedding Stylist & Planner / TALES

Photography / NousNous, Freda Banks & Adriana Morais

Florist / Bosque Concepts

Bride’s Dress & Shoes / Rick Owens

Groom’s Formal Wear / Rick Owens

Hair & Makeup / Wellington Oliviera

Cake & Catering / BackUP Catering

Entertainment /  Groovebox

Directory

Florists

Find our handpicked edit of Florists around the world on the Directory.