Real Weddings

An Intimate Elopement at an Architectural Gem in Portugal

Photography by Couplet Photography.

Valencia and Jesse exchanged vows on a secluded hillside at Casa na Terra, an architectural gem in the countryside, interlaced with nature.

Designed by Manuel Aires Mateus, concealed underneath the earth’s surface, the day embraced the building’s minimalistic interior, focusing on the connection with each other and nature’s surroundings.

As dusk fell over the Monsaraz night sky, the couple relished the private sunset viewing on Casa na Terra’s unique grass rooftop.

Portugal wedding venues


Our Story

Names / Jesse Rafeiro and Valencia Dea

Wedding Date / September 22nd, 2022

Guest Numbers / 0 (Elopement)


How We Met

We met in Ottawa in 2018 while I was working on a project. I was looking for a local to show me around in my free time, and then I met Jesse, who made the cold Canadian winter much warmer. We had many late-night drives whenever we needed a break from our work, and those moments brought us closer together. We never imagined being more than friends considering 15,600 km separated our lives. However, it was only a day before my return to Jakarta that we realized we could not close the book. And thus… our years of flying to opposite ends of the world began.


Our Engagement Story

There’s nothing extraordinary. After a long wait through the pandemic, we could finally physically see each other again in Jakarta. One day, as I woke up from a nap, I found my apartment was completely dark, with a row of candles on the floor leading to the living room, where Jesse was waiting on his knees with a pink sapphire ring.


Marriage To Us Means…

A realization that you found the one you want to spend your life with and the decision to form a lasting relationship despite any hardship.

The Setting


Wedding Location

Since Jesse was working in Portugal then, we planned to exchange our vows there and have a summer vacation after. While looking for some holiday homes online, we stumbled upon Casa na Terra. The place fascinated us because of its unspoiled natural landscape, its award-winning architectural design by Manuel Aires Mateus that blends into the landscape, and its unique location in Monsaraz, a hidden gem with a rich history. So, at that very moment, we decided to scrap our initial idea to exchange vows at the typical wedding venues of Portugal.


We both have minimalistic tendencies in our day-to-day lives, so our wedding naturally reflected this “less is more” mentality. We did not want any aspect of the event to overshadow the other, so a lot of attention went to ensuring the design of the dress, flowers, and all other elements fit subtly within the landscape and architecture of the venue.


On the morning of the special day, we drove up the mountain to the medieval town of Monsaraz. Since the town was built initially as a fortification, the city’s narrow stone streets and white walls sculpt magnificent views of the endless surrounding landscape. We ended up staying there for an hour, wandering through history, and taking photos of each other with a film camera given to us by a group of close friends.
Jesse and I then had a wonderful lunch prepared by the lovely Elsa from Casa na Terra before we went into separate rooms to get ready.

“Casa na Terra fascinated us because of its unspoiled natural landscape and its award-winning architectural design by Manuel Aires Mateus that blends into the landscape.”


Agata from Couplet Photography captured our photos. We wanted more editorial, stylistic pictures for our wedding, and Agata’s overall aesthetic perfectly fits our taste. We love how she chooses her angles, light and shadow play, and tones. She was also very approachable in person, making a camera-shy couple like us feel very comfortable. The final results she shared were gorgeous. We also love that she captured some of the moments with a film camera, something we have always wanted to try.



Similar to the photography style, we wanted our wedding film to be more stylish and less documentary. Joana from 24 Films is known for her very personalized stylistic approach. She understood our needs well and captured the film exactly the way we wanted. We were very happy with the editing and her ability to capture the mood of the place within the film.


Style Notes


Ceremony Décor

From the beginning, we wanted this event to be a solemn celebration by us and for us. To avoid being overwhelmed with catering to guests’ needs on our special day, we decided to keep this moment private and organized a separate reception with close family and friends in my home country.


Reception Décor

In the evening, we had a special dinner prepared by a private chef. There was no need for any special décor as we liked to embrace the minimalistic interior design at the venue. We only added a flower centerpiece crafted elegantly by KcKliko and some white candles prepared by Casa na Terra.


We wanted the flower decorations to look like they were already naturally growing on the field. We are so glad to have worked with Albane and Luis from Kckliko for this, who share our preference for this natural look. They carefully picked a mix of green and dry species that blended in with the surrounding flora.

Fashion & Beauty Notes


Bride’s Dress

The talented Felicia Budi, a sustainable designer from Indonesia, envisioned an ethereal a-line dress made with white crinkled silk chiffon to suit the simplicity and grace of Monsaraz. The dress flew beautifully whenever the wind passed.


Bride’s Shoes

I wore a pair of simple vintage Dior white pumps for the ceremony but changed to Loeffler Randal Dahlia Pearl Pleated Bow Heel after, as we spent most of our time outdoors.


Wedding Rings

My engagement ring features a square-cut pink sapphire in the center of a yellow gold band and is decorated with 12 small diamond stones and delicate carvings. My curved band wedding ring was designed with similar carvings and a similar set of diamonds. They stack perfectly. Meanwhile, Jesse had a simple, timeless gold wedding band. Both our wedding rings were engraved with the coordinates of Casa na Terra. All these rings were made by a bespoke jewelry maker, From Story.


Jewelry / Accessories

I had a dainty pair of gold-plated studs set with rose quartz stones, which matched the color of my engagement ring.



Jesse had his dark charcoal suit, white shirt, and black tie tailored by Wong Hang Tailor, a multigenerational bespoke tailor shop in Indonesia that has been established since the 1930s. The suit was carefully made with a hand-stitched technique in their Jakarta shop. Jesse opted for a classic suit with a timeless design.


Hair & Makeup

I wanted the hair and makeup to be as simple as possible so I still felt and looked like myself. Lilia tied my hair in a ponytail with a bow on top from a silk organza ribbon from my designer, Felicia Budi. Meanwhile, makeup artist Miguel Stapleton created a fresh, natural, dewy look with his magic hands.

The Details



We have yet to have a honeymoon due to preparing to relocate to Tokyo soon after the wedding, as Jesse had to start his new job in early November. However, since we have finally settled down, we plan to explore some historic cities here to celebrate our belated honeymoon.


Our Advice


A memorable moment…

As we wrapped up the day, we walked to the top of the grass roof of Casa na Terra and waited out the romantic Autumn sunset in Monsaraz with the entire sky painted in a gradient of blue, purple, and pink.


If I could give other brides to be one piece of advice…

Plan a wedding that you and your partner want, not what your family expects you to do, not what your circle of friends typically does, and not what the media outlets say is trendy. It is a day for you and your partner, so it should be designed to suit your individual characters in whatever form that may take.


Sources of inspiration…

The place itself, both Monsaraz and Casa na Terra were our main source of inspiration from which we could build the overall aesthetic. From here, we found suitable, like-minded wedding vendors who we knew would understand what we were trying to achieve.


Our Contacts


Wedding Venue /Casa na Terra, Silent Living

Photography / Couplet Photography

Videography / 24 Films 

Bride’s Dress / Fbudi

Bride’s Shoes / Dior & Loeffler Randall

Groom’s Formal Wear / Wong Hang

Wedding Rings / FROM

Jewelry & Accessories / Tulola

Hair / Good Hair day by Lilia Costa 

Makeup / Miguel Stapleton

Stationery /  Syllable Calligraphy

Florist /  Kckliko Flower Studio 

Cake / Migalha Doce 

Celebrant / Andreas Piper from  Wedding Portugal


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