A Three-Day Destination Wedding in Portugal
Jeannette and Taylor
Seven-thirty a.m.: That's the time Taylor Muckerman and Jeannette Tavares went to bed the morning after their Saturday-night wedding. "At one point I was on the dance floor, and I realized nobody was there," Taylor says. "I was wondering where everyone was." Turns out, they were refueling with the 2:30 a.m. second dinner, a spread that included Portuguese steak sandwiches and charcuterie.
But let's rewind to Friday, when the Washington, D.C.-based couple—she's a luxury-event planner; he works for an investing website—welcomed 209 close friends and family from near and far to the Six Senses Douro Valley resort for a three-day wedding weekend, beginning with a traditional barbecue and live music.
Jeannette grew up in Virginia (in Fairfax Station—coincidentally, the same town Taylor lived in as a young child), but her parents are from Portugal. Over the nine years the duo were together before tying the knot, they visited many times; the country "helped form the foundation of our love," says Jeannette. This deep affection was apparent throughout the weekend, and Jeannette was careful to incorporate it into everything, from the color palette (green honored her family's farming history) to the locally made table linens.
The celebration followed its own rhythm. After exchanging personal vows in a nonreligious ceremony led by their neighbor, the newlyweds broke into their first dance on the spot, to a live acoustic version of the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand." During cocktail hour, flamenco guitarists played while guests snacked on grilled octopus, suckling pig, and prosciutto before being surprised with an impromptu father-daughter turn. For dinner, two long, custom-made tables created a communal vibe as guests enjoyed a multicourse feast paired with Douro Valley wines.
The party really got started with a 25-minute fireworks show, and it didn't end until sunrise. "We would have stayed longer, but the hotel had to set up for brunch," Jeannette says. And after a little shut-eye, the group caravanned to her father's town of Lebução to honor family once more—with a Catholic ceremony in the same stone church where her grandmother got married.
The wedding took place in Portugal's Douro Valley, a verdant area in the north of the country known for producing world-class wines.
The Stationery Suite
The Bridal Bouquet
Jeannette's bouquet was a gorgeous mix of peonies, hellebore, viburnum, lysimachia, Italian ruscus, David Austin roses, delphinium, and dahlias.
The bridal party—made up of Jeannette's sister, two cousins, and her best friend—wore midnight-blue Halston gowns.
The Flower Girl
Flower girl and goddaughter Lilliana wore a Foque dress and a flower crown.
What's in a Nickname
"Big Dipper" and "Little Dipper" have been the couple's nicknames for each other since traveling in Spain in 2010. "We continue to be each other's North Star," Jeannette says. The nicknames were calligraphed onto the envelopes that housed the couple's vows.
Copper swallows, which lined the dinner tables, symbolize values such as home, family, love, and loyalty. "The migratory bird returns to the same place to nest, and is said to have one partner throughout its life," she says.
You Make Now Kiss the Bride
The couple shares their first kiss as husband and wife in front of a stunning backdrop of white limonium and roses from Ecuador.
But First, Dancing
Eschewing tradition, Jeannette and Taylor surprised guests by breaking out into their first dance immediately after the ceremony.
Cocktail hour featured Portuguese bites like alheira, a type of local sausage—served here with an apple puree. There was also suckling pig, regional cheeses, grilled octopus, and pata negra prosciutto.
Friends from Work
Photographer Abby Jiu and her husband Jamey Sunshine. Abby was one of 10 members of the tight-knit Washington, D.C., wedding industry who attended the wedding.
Guests feasted alfresco, at two long tables lined with acrylic chairs and custom couches covered in fabric by a Portuguese artist.
The Place Settings
Some 65 of the wedding guests were from Portugal, so the dinner menu was printed in both English and Portuguese. Napkin rings were on-palette in shades of green and brown.
Among the Friday-night favors: cocktail kits with ingredients to make Moscow mules and gin and tonics, plus pouches with sewing kits, Band-Aids, and other emergency items.
For Some Beauty Sleep
Guests received custom eye masks for their pre-wedding siesta on Saturday. "After all," says Jeannette, "we had to prepare our guest to dance until dawn!"
The Wedding Cake
Rather than slices, guests received mini stacked versions of the three-flavored cake by T Bakes, which included double chocolate, lime-scented chiffon, and lemon-scented chiffon with Madagascar-vanilla cream.
A Special Treat
As dinner wrapped up, Jeannette (in her Romona Keveža reception dress) and Taylor ushered everyone onto the dance floor, where they were greeted by a 25-minute fireworks show over the Douro River.
Location and catering, Six Senses Douro Valley
Event planning and design, Jeannette Tavares of Evoke
Flowers, styling, and photo assistance, Brancoprata
Photography, Abby Jiu Photography
Videography, The Amazing Rabbit
Officiant, Larry Gamache
Stationery, Haute Papier
Calligraphy for Invitations, Envelope Liners, and Custom Designs, Written Word Calligraphy
Day-of calligraphy, Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Cake and custom cookies, T Bakes
Ceremony music, Tamin, Rui Alves, João Cabrita, and Alexandre Cabrita
DJ, Nuno Franco
Bride's gown, Berta
Hair, João Pereria
Makeup, Ana Pereira Atelier
Bridesmaids' dresses, Halston
Flower-girl dress, Foque
Flower-boy outfit, Artesanía Amaya
Menswear, The Black Tux
Groom's bow tie, 14th & Union
Groom's wedding band, Ascot Diamonds
Lighting and sound, Watt & Light
Production details, Revolution Event Design and Production
Mother of the bride's dress, Monique Lhuillier
Save-the-date envelope calligraphy, Meant to be Calligraphy