My Minimalist Wedding

Organising one of the most important days of your life shouldn’t result in stress and months of sleepless nights like I heard so many brides admit.

I got engaged in November, officially married in December in England and celebrated it with the family and friends in March in Portugal. Didn’t spend loads of money on it, had an amazing experience and slept pretty well every night. Here’s how I organised my minimalist wedding:

Wedding couple

André and I have been dating for more than 3 years and we always said that if we decide to get married we would  do something special and we both define special as – something relaxing, something that involves our closest family and friends, and a lot of food!

Because we are living in England we got married at the Registrar’s office, where a few members of the family got to attend and celebrated with a special lunch. It was so casual that we picked a day during the week, we took the day off from work, everything was walking distance to our home and we both finished the day watching Netflix with beers in our hands.

The official celebration was recently in March where most of our family and friends live, even though a few people took a flight from their countries just for our wedding and to spend a nice weekend in sunny Portugal.

The website that help me organise everything

Organisation is all about using the right tools and organising your wedding shouldn’t be any different. It’s actually the best way to avoid unnecessary stress. I found a very useful website – WeddingWire.com. I used the Portuguese version Casamentos.pt.

This website has a list wedding suppliers including cake designers, photographers, ceremony venues, etc. It lets you create a checklist of all the things we need to do until the special day so you can keep track of everything. It allows you to create a free website where you can include your guest list, they can confirm their presence at your wedding, leave a message to the bride and groom and even share photos.

Once you have the guest list it also lets you put together a seating plan so you can send as a PDF to the restaurant before the big day. I also enjoyed the community of brides and grooms. Everyone was really nice and always there to help me with any questions I had or any tips I needed.

The Dress

My mom got married exactly 29 years ago and guess what, I wore her dress in March! This was something I told her I wanted to do even before I’ve met Andre, I wanted to wear her dress, not only to honour her but because it’s such a unique wedding dress and maybe it’s my minimalist mind speaking, but I thought it was a shame that it was only used once.

The Bouquet

I’m a big fan of plants, especially because I can keep them alive. When it comes to flowers I always feel bad for using them for a few days and then having to throw them away. So of course, I didn’t even think about the bouquet but the day before the celebration, my mom offered me a very beautiful one from Florineve.

I used it on the day of the celebration, on the day of the photoshoot and now I’m living the flowers to dry so I can then use them to decorate my wedding album, where all the guests wrote their messages.

Photography, of course

I’ve been partnering with Nimagens for my blog for quite a few years now and I actually did a beautiful photoshoot with André, as boyfriend and girlfriend a few years ago. So to me, it didn’t make sense to ask anyone else to take my wedding pictures. But we did it with a twist, of course.

On the day of the celebration all the guests had access to an app called “Wedshoots” where they could upload all the pictures they were taking on the day. This really helped capturing some natural photos of everyone, including me and André, because we weren’t worried about posing, we were just enjoying ourselves with all the family, friends and food.

A few days later, André and I met with Nicole from Nimagens for the official wedding photoshoot, where we got to recreate our first date in Lisbon, but this time dressed as a bride and groom. It was great to visit all the same places 3 years later and to enjoy an amazing sunny day in Lisbon.

Of course everyone was looking at us, dressed as newly weds, in the middle of a busy city, it’s not something you see every day. I even saw a few people filming us with their phones! We also got a lot of people, especially kids, wishing us all the best in our future. It was a really great experience.

You can visit the photoshoot post here.

The Restaurant

One of the most typical dishes in Portugal is Bacalhau (Bacalhau à braz, bacalhau com Natas, Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá and the list goes on). So guess what our restaurant was called…. D’Bacalhau.

The food and variety was really good and I actually got to eat and drink, which is something the bride and the groom rarely have time to do, but that was an accomplishment for us. The location was perfect, in Lisbon, near the river and a view of the Bridge Vasco da Gama. Some guests even went on the cable car and ended up filming us, so good thing I didn’t order a drone. I must mention again that the weather was amazing.

When it comes to the cake, the hair and makeup, I made sure everything was located close to my mom’s house where I was stayed during my time in Portugal and everything was ready in time.

I hope my example helps you organising a stress free wedding and if you have any questions or any tips to future brides leave them below in a comment.

You can visit my Instagram account for more wedding pictures and videos on the highlights.

Follow me on:

Instagram: @melissanunes.salvador

Healthy Food for Your Christmas Dinner| Guest Blogger Zara Lewis

As Christmas is about the corner, it’s about time you got gifts for your loved ones and started to think about your perfect meals, so be sure to stay with us and keep on reading if you need some help! Here are four healthy recipes that will sweep everyone off their feet, so check them out and nail this task like a real pro this Christmas!

Salmon with red wine-morel sauce

In case you weren’t aware of that fact, salmon is highly nutritious fatty fish which is extremely tasty, versatile, and easy to find. As it’s loaded with nutrients, it can actually reduce risk factors for several diseases, which is exactly what makes it more than desirable during the holiday season. This salmon recipe uses mushrooms that will give this dish a fantastic meaty flavour and make your Christmas dinner much more enjoyable – especially if you aren’t really a fan of fish. The rich red-wine sauce together with barley, parsley, and steamed broccolini will undoubtedly enhance the taste even more, as well as a few drops of apple cider vinegar, and we’re sure that everyone will enjoy this amazing dish. Check out the recipe here.

Quinoa-stuffed pumpkins

Apart from being really yummy, this dish is a low-fat one, too, which makes it more than perfect for the upcoming Christmas dinner. Did you know that pumpkins are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants and vitamin A? On the other hand, quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein, and it also contains all nine essential amino acids, which is why you should use it in this recipe as well. Organic quinoa is probably the best possible choice, so be sure to get quality organic food online if you can’t find it in your local store. Apart from quinoa, you should stuff your pumpkins with mushrooms and Moroccan spices, and top them with pomegranate and yoghurt later on.

Roast turkey with potato pan gravy

Turkey is probably one of the most popular choices when it comes to the holiday meals, and reasons for that are more than good. First of all, it’s packed with protein and nutrients, and it’s also low in fat. Apart from that, turkey meat is a great source of zinc, iron, potassium, and selenium, and you should know that regular consumption can even help in lowering your cholesterol levels.  Just remember that brining the turkey 12 to 18 hours before roasting will make it extremely yummy and super juicy at the same time. The gravy should be prepared in a mixer if you want to achieve a silky, smooth texture, and you can always thicken it with potatoes instead of flour or cornstarch. It will reduce the number of calories while giving it a much better taste. Check out the recipe and enjoy your turkey this Christmas!

Honey pecan triangles

Everyone knows that pecan pies are all the rage during the holiday season, but why wouldn’t you give this dessert a little twist and prepare it in a completely different way? Pecan nuts are absolutely unavoidable during this time of the year, as their crunchy texture and buttery flavour make them a quite interesting ingredient to add to a large number of dishes. They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which is why they gained so much popularity. This dessert is really delicious and easy to make, and you should know that brown sugar and honey make it even sweeter and tastier.

As you can see, there are a lot of fabulous recipes that are healthy at the same time, so be sure to take them into consideration this Christmas. These four are certainly among the best ones, so don’t be afraid to give them a try and stay full and healthy during the holiday season!

Halloween Costumes You’ll Want to Wear All Year Round|Guest Blogger Zara Lewis

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Yes, I know, it’s the perfect time of year to finally drag out your favorite bumblebee costume that can barely fit through the door, and to flaunt that Cat Woman leather ensemble that’s unfortunately inappropriate for most situations outside of Halloween. But, bear with me, because this year is all about mixing pleasure with practicality, and creating equally stunning costumes that can – drumroll, please – be worn long after the 31st of October party is done.

Let’s check out some of these brilliant, scary, sexy and classy ideas you can easily transfer into your wardrobe for later use, and how you can turn your ordinary everyday items into an ingenious costume to steal the spotlight of the party!

A Baywatch babe

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A one piece swimsuit is so much more than a winter-perfect choice for indoor swimming sessions. Choose a high-cut, red one with their timeless logo, and not only will you look as hot as hell for your Halloween party, but you’ll also have a useful piece of clothing when beach-weather settles in once again.

Add to that a pair of dark shades, and relaxed beachy waves for your hairdo, light or no makeup at all, and a pair of killer red pumps to match your rescue tube, and you have a rather memorable costume to look forward to.

The one and only – Cher

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This star has worn many a daring combo in her career, and you can take your pick amongst her many perfect looks to copy this Halloween. From gloriously glam and glitzy outfits, to all-black and rock ‘n’ roll options, all you need is a long black wig to include in your costume, and you’re good to go.

To keep things interesting, you can also pick up a mic, and pack on some serious bling to replicate her jewelry savvy, and perhaps learn a few lines of her most famous hits.

The sexy goth

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Dark and mysterious, these ladies can be found anywhere from your regular muggles, all the way to Bellatrix Lestrange, and they know how to pull off an ominous laugh better than Satan himself. A long, black skirt with lacy add-ons, a sexy gothic corset to flaunt your curves, and the smoky eye makeup routine along with black nail polish, extra lace for the gloves and perhaps a Slash-like top hat.

Let your imagination roam wild and free, because all it takes is thinking dark thoughts and the Morticia Addams attitude to complete the costume.

Go grease

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Sandy is the reason we fell in love with leather leggings and the off-shoulder top (even a crop top will do), a belt to match your outfit, and a pair of red sandals to break the black spell. Don’t forget the hairdo and the red lip!

A leather jacket if it’s cold will also go beautifully with the look, and you can easily wear the same combo (with or without the do), mix and match with other footwear, with or without a party to go to.

Marilyn Monroe

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It seems that we cannot get enough of beautiful ladies for this year’s Halloween, and the timeless appeal of Marilyn Monroe is just the fashion inspiration you need, not just for this special occasion, but forever. And of course, what outfit of hers do we love the most? The white flowy dress, of course!

Look for an uneven, high-low dress with a belted waist and a nice cleavage, preferably of pleated fabric, to fully mimic the texture of her iconic evening look.

Zara Lewis

Contributing editor at Ripped.me

Contributor at TheWellnessInsider

mail: zaraelewis@gmail.com