Brazilian weddings are rich in tradition and culture. They are often very expensive and the bride’s parents usually pay for the wedding, but this is becoming less and less common due to the total cost. Brazil is a Christian nation and therefore has several customs that are similar to those of other Christian regions. However, there are some traditions that are different.
Unlike in the US, engagement rings are not that important and instead the couples exchange wedding rings. The rings are placed on the right hand and then switched to the left hand during the wedding ceremony. It is common for the bride and groom to write each other’s names on their ring. It is considered bad luck to drop the ring during the ring exchange and it is said that the marriage would not last if it did take place.
Unlike a typical wedding shower that is done in other countries, in Brazil they throw what is called a kitchen shower. It used to be a small gathering of close friends of the bride so they could catch up and make gifts that the bride will use for her kitchen. However, the gatherings grew larger and larger, and not even men can participate.
A Brazilian bride may wear any dress she wants, but white is a tradition. However, it is customary to wear gold shoes. It is considered bad luck when the bridesmaids match. Therefore, no two people can wear the same color. Unlike the USA and other European countries, which select their groom men months in advance, in Brazil the groom could wait until the last hour before choosing his. The wedding celebration often consists of three couples who are very close to the bride and groom, but do not have to be in a relationship with each other.
Before the ceremony
It is tradition that the Brazilian bride and her family go to a spa for a break the day before the wedding. There they can get a message and do their hair, hair and makeup before the big day. However, if the wedding is actually taking place, it is tradition for the bride to be at least 10 minutes late as this is considered a godsend. There are times when the groom and the rest of the guests have to wait a few hours for the bride to finally show up for her big day.
The wedding ceremony takes place like most Christian weddings. However, some differences are that the bride accompanies two flower girls, one of whom is distributing the flowers and the other is more like a ring bearer. Then the bride and groom recite their vows and then switch their rings from right to left hand to symbolize the switch from engaged to marry. Most wedding ceremonies can last up to an hour, at other times it can last even longer.
The wedding reception is a big party where the guest and the newlywed couple drink, dance and give speeches. A tradition is for the couple to exchange gifts for their parents. Often times, the bride takes off her shoes and puts them in the middle of the dance floor. As the guests dance around, they will throw money in their shoes to support the bride and groom’s financial future. Instead of a wedding favor, it is customary to give your guest a Brazilian sweet, bem casado (which means “well married”) when they leave.
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