It is Lisbon’s wedding of the year. Crowds gather at the cathedral, hoping to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds as cameras lie in wait. Suddenly, the organ music grows louder and photographers get into position in front of the imposing entrance.
Then not one, but 11 couples walk out, fresh from tying the knot Wednesday in an all-expenses-paid ceremony, the beneficiaries of a decades-long annual tradition that fetes the Portuguese capital’s beloved patron Saint Anthony, matchmaker extraordinaire.
Financed by sponsors and TV rights, broadcast live on television, couples who would not otherwise have the means are gifted a deluxe wedding worth 400,000 euros ($450,000).