My favorite thing when traveling or living abroad is to visit a local supermarket.
Second favorite is going to a wedding. I’ve helped newlyweds celebrate in India and Scotland, Australia and Puerto Rico.
Now I can add a Brazilian wedding, or casamento, to the list.
Weddings here are a serious affair… but some customs are different from the United States:
Wedding Party: A big free-for-all.
Roughly 20 couples precede the bride, as well as an assortment of children. The more little girls in red and white frilly dresses, the better.
And you know the arguments between bride and bridesmaids over ugly dresses?
That doesn’t happen in Brazil because 1) it´s customary for the bridal party to wear WHATEVER THEY WANT and 2) the dress is rented anyway!
Leopard print? No problem. Silk plaid? Sure, why not!
Clothes: Women and men rent dresses and suits for the party. It is rare for someone to buy an outfit. The bride also rents her wedding dress. The item is tailored to fit you and cleaned at no extra cost. Makes sense if you think about it, since you only wear it once! This being Brazil, the dresses are glittery and the heels sky-high.
Young girls — especially if they are in the wedding procession — wear brightly colored dresses with several poofy layers.
Gifts: People send actual gifts to the couple´s home. Nobody gives money.
Reception: A recepção de casamento in Brazil can last until the sun comes up — or until the last guest leaves!
The groom goes around the room and ´´sell´´ pieces of his tie to the guests — by cutting off pieces of the tie for cash. Guests give anywhere from R$5-10 (US$2.50-$5) to help the new couple as they start their life together.
And in addition to a DJ, there is additional entertainment – such as a belly dancer.
Music: Samba? Not really.
No matter, because I had a blast to dancing to:
Sertanejo universitario, a Brazilian pop-country
Axé, pronounced: ah-SHAY, this is a type of Afro-Caribbean music such as reggae and calypso
Pagode, a type of samba. I have been hard-pressed to find a Brazilian who can really explain the difference from samba. To me, it sounds like softer kind of samba that is more pop and has less drums.
(click on the orange links above to hear a sample of each type of music)
Food: Brazilians love their buffets and weddings are no exception. Buffets are the norm at a casamento, but with more ´´upscale´´ food than what is found at a regular buffet restaurant. There was also an elaborate dessert table set up when we arrived, and guests nibbled on sweets throughout the wedding, irrelevant of when dinner was served.
I had a great time — when you no longer live in a big city you take your social events when you can get them! And there is at least ONE thing that this Brazilian wedding had that I´ve seen at other weddings around the world… cute children dancing!
I was out-danced by R´s four-year old nephew, Miguel, who is quite the ladies man on the dance floor!