Monday, August 18, 2008

Brazil 16 - Weddings

I had the privilege of attending a Brazillian wedding the other day (and even some of the reception). I hardly knew the bride or groom, so it all felt a bit odd, but thank you very much to them and the others who made that possible. Here are a few quick reflections on major differences from English weddings. Well, the ones I've been to anyway...

  • Timing - Brazillian weddings are normally in the evenings. This meant that the starters at the reception (buffet) were at about 11:30pm. I left shortly before midnight, so I don't know what time the main course was.
  • Dress - men were in suits and ties (which are as smart as Brazillians get - apparently it's what they wear for university graduations, but not for work). As a result, many of the suits probably fit the wearers better a few years before... Women were mostly in evening wear / ballgowns, which created a bit of an odd mix. The groom was in a smart jacket, white shirt and silver tie. Close friends of the groom were also in suits, with a matching buttonhole.
  • Children - it is normal in Brazil to have a young boy dressed as the groom and a young girl dressed as the bride. They come down the aisle together and feature in some of the traditional Brazillian wedding photos. And no, they weren't the couple's kids.
  • Parents - the groom enters the church with his mother before the bride enters with her father. Both sets of parents had throne-type seats on the stage, facing sideways and just behind where the bride and groom were standing. At one point all four parents gathered round the couple to pray for them.
  • Photographers - I think I counted 4 official-looking photographers, and three video recordists, one of whom had a very bright light he shone at people when recording them. They were swarming all over the place, often being almost in the faces of people taking part in the service. It was not unusual to have a very restricted view of the bride and groom because of photographers.
  • Official photographs - there were quite a few (including groups) taken in the church immediately after the service, but before the bride and groom processed out. The congregation sat quietly and watched.
  • At one point, the bridesmaid processed up the aisle with a single rose with a ribbon tied round it. But she seemed to keep the flower and ribbon afterwards - I don't know what the point of that was.
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