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A Comprehensive Guide to Wedding Venues in Portugal (Fees & Conditions)

Updated: Jan 9

Venues come in all kind of shapes and sizes and so their price policies and general conditions.

This makes it often challenging for couples to get a clear understanding of what exactly is included and what exactly they are signing for when booking the venues of their dreams.

So it is crucial for you to know what exactly the contract with your venue entails, so that you won´t end up with unforeseen charges, disappointments, or worse - regrets.

drone image of house with swimming pool, surrounded by vineyards

Photocredits: Casa Sacoto by Hugo Coelho Photograhpy

We got you covered with this comprehensive guide explaining the most common wedding venue fees and general conditions that Portuguese venues usually include in their contracts.


In this article, we will explore:


Common Types of Wedding Venues in Portugal

Bride and groom posing in a baroque style pergola

Portugal offers a diverse range of wedding venues, catering to various tastes and preferences. Here are some popular types of wedding venues you can find in Portugal:

Quintas and Estates

Quintas are traditional Portuguese estates, often surrounded by vineyards, orchards, or gardens. These venues exude a rustic charm and can accommodate both intimate and large weddings.

Historic Castles and Palaces

Portugal is rich in history, and many castles and palaces have been transformed into stunning wedding venues. These venues offer a romantic and regal atmosphere, providing a backdrop of centuries-old architecture

Photocredits: Bussaco Palace by The Wonder Creative

Seaside Resorts and Beach Venues

Portugal boasts a beautiful coastline, and couples can choose to have their weddings in seaside resorts or on picturesque beaches. These venues provide a scenic backdrop for a romantic and breezy celebration.

Vineyards and Wineries

The wine regions of Portugal, such as the Douro Valley, offer enchanting vineyard and winery venues. Couples can celebrate amidst rolling hills, terraced vineyards, and enjoy the charm of wine cellars for a unique experience.

Urban and Modern Spaces

Portugal's cities, including Lisbon and Porto, offer modern and chic wedding venues. These urban spaces often feature contemporary architecture, panoramic views, and easy access to city amenities.

Luxury Hotels and Resorts

Portugal is home to luxurious hotels and resorts that provide top-notch services and amenities. These venues offer a combination of elegance, comfort, and convenience for couples seeking a sophisticated celebration.

Countryside Retreats

For a tranquil and idyllic wedding setting, couples can choose countryside retreats. These venues are nestled in Portugal's scenic landscapes, offering a peaceful and private atmosphere for the celebration.

Gardens and Botanical Venues

Botanical gardens and well-maintained green spaces are ideal for couples who love nature. These venues provide a lush and vibrant backdrop for outdoor ceremonies and receptions.

Bride speaking out her vows to the groom during a wedding ceremony, while guests are watching

Monasteries and Convents

Portugal has historical monasteries and convents that have been converted into unique wedding venues. These locations offer a blend of historic charm and cultural significance.

Photocredits: Pousada Amares by The Wonder Creative

Wedding Venue With or Without Accommodation

Given that a considerable portion of your wedding guests will likely be traveling from abroad to attend your special day, many couples seek a venue that offers on-site accommodations for (a portion of) their guests.

This comes with a few considerations:

  • X number of rooms required: it may not be easy to find a venue that can accommodate the exact number of guests you expect for your wedding. For example, you expect 80 wedding guests, so you are looking for a venue with 40 rooms. But at the same time, you also look for a venue to your liking (duh), a venue that you can afford, a venue that is available, in a certain distance from an airport, and we can go on. We therefore recommend to stay open to other options, for instance:

    • Option 1: all guests staying on site:

    • Option 2: the majority of your guests can stay on site and a small part of your guests can book accommodation close to the venue:

    • Option 3: you and just a few guests will stay in the venue, while you look for good alternatives in the surrounding area for all of your guests.

  • Who pays? Especially smaller venues often work with a full buy-out rate per night, meaning that you pay € x per night for 10 rooms, 20 guests with breakfast included. Couples often confuse this with the venue fee, assuming that a full buy-out means the free use of all spaces on their wedding day, or pre/post events. This is not always the case (see section about different type of venue fees).

Is Exclusivity Required?

When a venue requires exclusivity, it means that they require a full occupation of all their rooms. This can have advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that no other guests will be accommodated in the venue during your stay, meaning full privacy.

A disadvantage can be that you have to pay for empty rooms. In case the venue has 40 rooms and you will have 70 guests, you will need to pay for the rooms that won't be occupied.

Exclusivity Rates & Payment Conditions

When exclusivity or a full buy out is required, you will most likely need to make a downpayment which can be a significant amount. In case you don't plan to pay for accommodation for your guests, this amount can later be deducted from the food & beverage bill. However, you may need to be prepared for a hefty deposit in the first place.

Exclusivity rates usually are referred to as ´Best Available Rate´. Bear in mind that this doesn't always mean a discounted rate, especially not when you are getting married during high-season.

Senhor da Pedra Chapel on the beach of Porto  in Portugal

Different Kind of Venue Fees Explained

Wedding venue fees can vary widely, and it's important to understand the different types of fees that may be associated with booking a wedding venue in Portugal. Here are some common wedding venue fees:

  1. Venue Rental Fee: As already mentioned before, a full buy out of al rooms of the venue is not necessarily the same as a venue fee. A venue fee often comes on top of the buy out rate and is the fundamental cost of reserving the in and outdoor venue spaces for a specified day or period. It typically includes access to the main event space, basic facilities, and sometimes basic decor.

  • Flat fee: price per day for the use of all in and outdoor venue spaces, independent of the number of guests attending to your wedding:

  • Variable fee : price per guest, often with a minimum amount to be paid.

  1. Ceremony Fees: Some venues charge an additional fee if you choose to have your wedding ceremony on-site. This fee may cover the setup, use of specific ceremony spaces, and any additional staff required.

  2. Catering Fees: Many venues work with in-house or preferred catering services. Catering fees may include the cost per person for the meal, bar service, and any additional catering-related expenses.

  3. Bar Packages: If the venue provides bar services, there may be a separate fee or package for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This can be a per-person fee or a flat rate, depending on the venue.

  4. Service Charges and Gratuity: Some venues add a service charge or gratuity to the final bill. This fee is often a percentage of the total cost and is distributed among the venue staff.

  5. Rental Fees for Additional Spaces: If you plan to use multiple areas within the venue (e.g., separate rooms for the ceremony and reception), there may be additional rental fees for each space.

  6. Venue Decoration Fees: While basic decor might be included in the base fee, if you desire specific decorations or need additional setup, there may be extra charges for these services. This is only applicable to venue with in-house decoration services.

  7. Cleanup Fees: Some venues include cleanup services in the overall fee, while others may charge an additional fee for post-event cleanup. Make sure to clarify this with the venue.

  8. Overtime Fees: If your celebration extends beyond the agreed-upon time, venues may charge overtime fees. This could apply to both the event itself and any setup or breakdown time.

  9. Security Deposit: Many venues require a security deposit to cover potential damages or breaches of contract. This amount is often refundable after the event, provided all terms are met.

  10. Vendor Fees: Some venues charge fees for bringing in external vendors, such as photographers, florists, or entertainment. Be sure to clarify the venue's policies on external vendors.

  11. Parking Fees: If the venue has on-site parking, there may be fees associated with it. Alternatively, they might provide validated parking or discounts for guests.

➡️ Understanding these various fees and discussing them with the venue during the planning process will help you budget effectively and avoid any surprises in your final bill. Always review the contract thoroughly to ensure all fees are transparent and agreed upon.

General Conditions in Venue Contracts

Venue contracts can be extensive. Here we list the most important policies to pay extra attention before signing.

  1. Liability: in most cases a venue contract describes your full liability. You therefore may want to consider a wedding insurance or travel insurance:

  2. Licenses & Restrictions: make sure that the contract includes a license for music (especially if you want to party under the stars) and if not, clarify who will take care of this and the costs involved. The venue may have a sound restriction for music outside until a certain hour or a general time restriction for any event:

  3. Taxes: in Portugal it is common to mention the VAT separately (e.g. venue fee per person € 50,- + VAT). This means that 23% has to be added, leading to a venue fee per person of € 61,50 instead.

  4. Force Majeure: a clause that describes the venue´s policy in case of unforeseen circumstances that impede the performance of the services on your wedding day (e.g. acts of war, acts of nature or governmental orders).

  5. Food & Beverage (if the venue has in-house catering)

    1. Number of Guests: often the contract mentions a minimum number of guests, meaning that you will either pay for the minimum number of guests as stated in the contract, even if your final guest count is lower than the minimum guest number required. Or the price per person can be adjusted (increased) in case you have fewer guests than the minimum number required.

    2. Menu: the contract usually describes how many days in advance you have to confirm the menu and the final number of guests - often 15 to 30 days prior to the wedding.

    3. Rooming list: when the venue includes accommodation, the contract will also mention if and when the rooming list has to be confirmed.

Payment conditions

Girl looking at papers while her hand waits above the calculator

Payment conditions in a wedding venue contract outline the terms under which payments are made throughout the planning and execution of the wedding. We list the most common payment conditions that can be included in a venue contract:

  1. Initial Deposit: A non-refundable initial deposit is typically required to secure the wedding date. This payment is often a percentage of the total venue rental fee and is due upon signing the contract.

  2. Progress Payments: Some venues may implement a payment schedule with incremental payments leading up to the wedding day. These payments could coincide with specific milestones in the planning process, such as selecting the menu or finalizing guest numbers.

  3. Final Payment Deadline: The final payment, covering any remaining balance after deducting previous deposits, is usually due by a specified deadline. This deadline is often set a few weeks before the wedding day.

  4. Overtime Fees and Additional Charges: If the wedding extends beyond the agreed-upon time or incurs additional costs (e.g., extra guests, damages), the contract may stipulate when and how these additional charges are to be settled.

  5. Security Deposit: A security deposit is commonly required to cover potential damages or breaches of contract. This amount is typically due along with the final payment and is refundable post-event if no issues arise.

  6. Cancellation Policy: The contract should clearly outline the venue's cancellation policy, including any associated fees or forfeited deposits. This helps both parties understand the financial implications of cancellation.

The contract usually mentions the accepted Payment Methods, the acceptable forms of payment, whether it's by check, credit card, or wire transfer. Some venues may also offer online payment options for convenience.

Upon receiving each payment, the venue usually provides a payment confirmation or receipt. This documentation helps both parties keep track of the financial transactions.

Dark skinned lady throwing her hands in the air while confetti is showered

Where to Pay Attention to Before Signing the Venue Contract?

If you made it until here, you absolutely deserve our best tips to make sure that you will be perfectly prepared to book and sign the venue contract with full peace of mind.

➡️ Make sure that you have an exact understanding of what in and outdoor spaces are included and accessible on your wedding day. Although the venue has 3 bars, it doesn't mean that they are all accessible on your wedding day. There may be an option to include these spaces, but with an additional charge.

If you will hire a beautyteam for you, your bridesmaids/men, your mother, sister or other guests that can make use of these services, you may require a special room for the beauty team to work comfortably. After all you most likely want to keep the bridal suite a little private and clean. Sometimes this means that the venue has to rearrange a certain space (e.g. the spa or a living room) in order to provide space for the beauty team. This may have an additional charge.

➡️ If you intend to organise several events in the venue (e.g. a pre-wedding day welcome cocktail or a pool party the day after the wedding), make sure that this is feasible with the check-in and checkout timings and whether an additional fee is charged for this. We strongly recommend to clarify this, event if the contract doesn't describe anything about pre or post wedding days.

➡️ Make sure you have a good understanding about the assembly and disassembly timings. Some venue require assembly and disassembly on the same day - your wedding day. Meaning that an additional cost may be charged if vendors can´t meet this requirement. It can happen that the furniture can only be delivered on the day before your wedding and only be collected the day after your wedding. Most venues will do whatever they can to make the collaboration as seamless as possible. But sometimes it is really a matter of not having enough storage space.

➡️ Lastly, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the reservation procedure in case accommodation is included in the venue. Despite the fact that you book all rooms when signing the contract with a full buy-out, your guests will need to confirm their reservation individually in case your guests will pay for their accommodation themselves. Having a clear reservation procedure in place, will help you to duly inform your guests so they can sort their booking and payment accordingly.

You made it! ✨

Happy Planning, my dear.



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