Abi Gadsby (30) co-founder of The Loop & Christian Lewis Pratt (31) Gym & Plant Based Café owner/entrepreneur had a Portugal Wedding that was all old-world elegance, with of course a few seriously chic outfit changes and a pool party. Abi and Christian’s romance began a long long time ago, Abi says, “we have been together since we were 14 so our wedding was a long time coming! We only got engaged in August 2020. We met whilst on holiday in Portugal when we were 13, then ended up at the same school together.” Fortunately, the couple didn’t have to postpone or downsize their wedding due to the pandemic. We take an exclusive look inside their Elegant Wedding in Portugal.
The best part of our day was….
The morning of our wedding I (Abi) woke up with no voice, literally not even a whisper! So I spent the morning in a steamy bathroom drinking hot whiskey and couldn’t speak to anyone – it certainly wasn’t the morning I had imagined!
The whole day for us was unforgettable. Our wedding was one of the first big weddings since COVID struck in 2020. We hadn’t seen some of our friends and family for over two years so having all the people we love in one place was the most incredible feeling. The best part of our day was being surrounded by all the people we love.
If we’re going to pick one highlight, there was something very special about coming into the marquee for the first time – my (Abi’s) cousin sang a personalised rendition of The Killers ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’. Never have we experienced so much love and energy being poured directly at the two of us as we danced our way to our seats. It really was something and the tone was set for the rest of the evening.
We choose to get married at…
We have both been holidaying in Portugal since we were babies. We met in Portugal. We holidayed in Portugal together a lot as Christians dad lived there for ten years. Then when Christian (finally) decided to propose in August 2020, he chose to do it in Portugal! There therefore really was nowhere else it could be. Our ceremony was in a church in a little town called Estoi, and the reception was held at Os Agostos which is a beautiful estate surrounded by orange groves. We held the events either side of the wedding at beach venues, so it was nice for our guests to see a more rustic, charming side to Portugal.
I knew I found ‘The One’ when….
In all honesty I don’t think I really thought I had found the one until I wore it on the day. As co-founder of The Loop, an online retail shop for pre-owned luxury bridal wear, I had spent a lot of time looking at wedding dresses! I knew I wanted something pre-owned and I knew I wanted something less traditional. I had seen my Dolce & Gabbana dress for sale on another high end designer resale site and I just kept going back to it. In the end I pulled the trigger and ordered it knowing I couldn’t return it. When it arrived, It was a size too big and had far too many ruffles and feathers for a summer wedding – but after a couple of fittings and working alongside our amazing tailor, Alice (who we work with at The Loop), to customise, tweak and streamline it, I was happy with how it looked. Alice is miracle worker! I always pictured myself getting married in a dress with a big bow, so for my second dress, I ending up sourcing one with exactly that to change into! The dress was by the brand Brock Collection and was also a second hand purchase. This dress also needed a few tweaks, namely from the length. We chopped off over a metre of fabric to make it into a mini dress. My sister in law is an artist so is going to do something with the excess fabric that I can frame and have as a constant reminder. Both these dresses are now being sold on The Loop too, I can’t wait for another bride to enjoy them as much as I did.
The most enjoyable moments of planning were…
We had a very fun time designing our wedding invites with Freya Richmond of F.Roze. We wanted them to not only set the theme for the wedding in terms of our colourways and energy(!), but to also be well and truly ‘us’. Freya mocked up the most amazing designs, it was hard to just pick one! Due to Covid, we only managed to get out to Portugal six weeks prior to the wedding so there a lot of last minute decisions to be made and much of the planning was done from home. We decided we wanted to do a Port & Tonic welcome drink, and so we got through our fair share of white port trying to refine it! I spent a lot of time at Covent Garden Market figuring out what sort of flowers we wanted. I’d buy lots of varieties and come home and make bouquets! It was fun, but in reality I didn’t really know what was in season at the time of our wedding! It helped with regards to the colour scheme!
The hardest part of planning was…
The table plan! Again, due to Covid (I feel like I’ve said that a lot!) the rules kept changing about how many you could have on tables so we didn’t do the table plan until the last minute. I would recommend starting it when you get your RSVPs, even just make notes for reference to use nearer the time – we really hadn’t anticipated how long it would take.
The best accounts to follow on Instagram for big-day inspo are…
Of course – @theweddingedition and I saved a lot of content from @lovestonedbridal @Thedresstribe
My top three tips for any couple would be…
Don’t stress over the guest list. There were a lot of people we would have wanted to invite but we were restricted with numbers. People understand and it doesn’t affect friendships!! I lost sleep over it and looking back now it was silly.
Don’t let staged photos take up too much time. Our favourite photos are the ones that are the most natural. We made a list of all the staged family photos we wanted beforehand and I think we managed to get through them in about 30 minutes! It also meant we had more time in the drinks reception to catch up with people.
Its your day so make sure its authentically you. Don’t get caught up in wedding traditions if they don’t work for you.
If I was able to do it all over again, the one thing I would change is… Genuinely, nothing. It is no exaggeration when people say it’s the best day of your life.
List of suppliers
- Venue: Os Agostos
- Caterer: Algarve Fine Foods
- Dress: Dolce & Gabbana
- Bridesmaids: I let them pick their own
- Groom outfit: Mark Morengo
- Flower girls: Mayoral (Spanish brand)
- Florist: Flowers by Aude
- Tableware: Supplied by Os Agostos
- Stationery: My mother in law did all the name places!
- Wedding rings: We both have our grandparents wedding rings, coincidentally they were both welsh and had beautiful welsh gold rings that are almost identical just Christians is a lot wider than mine!
- Makeup & Hair: Abi Parker Hair & Makeup
- Gift list: The Wedding Present Co
- Bridesmaid gifts: I found an amazing embroiderer on Instagram, @Lettersbylauralloyd who monogrammed the initials of my bridesmaids on to linen bedshirts
- Stylist: My business partner at The Loop, Grace Richmond
- Wedding Planner: Algarve Events