Brazilian Wedding Traditions
At lunch yesterday with 3 other girls from work, we got to talking and as with every chat we usually have when we’re able to break away from the boys, we talk things girly. Yesterday was as girly as you can get: gyno visits & “dream” weddings. I’ll skip the chat on gyno visit…
After banquet waitressing for 5 years, I’ve seen tons of weddings! So many that I probably wouldn’t want a “traditional” wedding anymore… I’ll probably want something Rachel Getting Married-esque (the movie, not the other writer for this blog!). But now that I’m in Brazil, what IS a traditional wedding?
First, the noivado, or engagement. Most people I know in Brazil haven’t had spectacular wedding proposals. The couples usually decide together, then go out and buy their wedding bands, alianças, place them each on their right ring finger, and go tell their family, etc. Of course there are romantic couples out there, I’ve just yet to find a great story here! And then they wear these bands on their right hand until their wedding day! Usually they’re gold in Brazil as well because there’s also a big tradition of anel de compromisso, or simply, aliança de namoro, which a lot of people wear just to tell others they’re in a committed relationship.
Bridal showers are usually called Chá de Panela or Chá de Cozinha, and literally focus on kitchen supplies. Bachelor/ette parties, festa de despedida, are oftentimes celebrated together, or there are two parties! You know Brazilians and their desire to throw a party for everything.
Then there’s preparing for the wedding ceremony and reception!
Weddings are usually in the evenings and on Saturdays. I’ve seen churches where the earliest time you can schedule a ceremony is 4:30 PM. And since most Brazilians are Christians, and amongst those, mostly Catholic, a huge tradition is to get married in na igreja, although this tradition has been straying for some time. My poor grandmother was dumbfounded when my cousin said she wasn’t getting married at church and said, “Mas não é o sonho de toda moça entrar na igreja no dia do casamento dela?” The bride will usually also walk into the church with Ave Maria playing (personally, I want this rendition of it.) At the church, there is the signing of the marriage license, and it is also signed by padrinhos and madrinhas, the North American equivalent of the wedding party.
Speaking of wedding party, matching dresses and tuxes aren’t very common in Brazil. É muito coisa de americano. Os padrinhos simply wear whatever formalwear they’d like and that’s if they can afford it!
Receptions are traditionally held at the same sorts of places as north American weddings, but catering halls here are called buffets (pronounced, “bífês). Instead of seated a la carte dining, you’ll usually see buffet style dinner served. And for dessert? Docinhos and bem casados. Along with the cake, of course. Docinhos are those Brazilian candies everyone raves about and bem casados (which translated literally is, “well married,”) are tiny square wrapped up cakes which are two slices of cakey goodness sandwiching something like doce de leite, chocolate, or anything else yummy and sweet.
And of course there’s dancing! The kind of music depends on the couple’s taste and region they’re from!
After all that, I think I’d still want a “Rachel” wedding with a Brazilian twist. I’ll probably get married in a tiny little country church with close friends & relatives, then rent out a sítio and throw a huge churrasco with great food! … and bem casados.
I guess that’s all I can think of that’s “different,” can you think of anything else? Are there different traditions in other Lusophone countries you can think of?