Brazil CarnivalBrazil marriage traditions are founded on the expressive and rich legends, songs, beliefs, dances and food of this ancient culture. The Brazilian nation is hugely diverse and multicultural, and the infectious music, song and dance is key to the spirited parties that typify a wedding reception in Brazil.

Typically, the wedding seating plan is designed to name the tables after Brazilian cities – Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Brasilla being the four largest cities. Brazilian weddings do not have a best man, groomsmen or bridesmaids. These positions are taken by ‘padrinhos’ (godfathers) and ‘madrinho’ (godmothers)– usually three couples chosen by the bride and groom. These friends or family play an important role in the ceremony and are invited to share the top table with the bride and groom at the reception. Padrinhos wear a little Brazilian flag instead of flowers, and table décor often reflects this pride in national heritage with Brazilian flags interspersed with the reception’s decorations.

Wedding Favours

During the reception, the bride will walk among the guests’ tables carrying a basket with ‘Lembrancinhas’ (actually a Portuguese word). These are small trinkets offered to guests as wedding favours. The bride is expected to visit every table to greet and thank each guest individually, making this a fairly long part of the early evening.

FeijoadaFood and drink comprise a huge part of Brazilian wedding festivities. A popular dish for a Brazilian wedding reception is the ‘Feijoada’, a mix of black beans and pork. Desert is Brazilian cookies or the more traditional ‘Casadinhos’. These sweet biscuits signify a wish for a sweet life and are made of two layers sandwiched together with honey, marmalade or jam. With these ‘marry well’ biscuits, guests are invited to drink ‘Caipirinha’, an alcoholic cocktail made of ‘casshassa’ (an alcohol made from sugar cane), lime and sugar.

Attacking The Groom With Scissors

Guests are often found moving around the tables during the event (travelling from city to city!) as they eat, drink and make merry. At some point in the evening, one of the Padrinho will theatrically brandish a huge pair of scissors in the air and invite the guests to cut a piece off the groom’s tie. Much hilarity follows as the groom’s tie is cut into small pieces, and each guest in return pays the Padrinho, who collects the donations for the bride and groom to go towards the cost of the wedding and honeymoon. Sometimes, however, this collection is organised in a more discreet manner by one of the older Padrinhos.

Of course, no Brazilian wedding would be complete without the soul-stirring, foot tapping and exhilarating sounds of the Latin-American samba beat. The most joyful of Brazilian wedding dances, the Pagoda, a type of samba, starts of the proceedings which carry on late into the night. The end of the wedding is indicated when all of the food runs out!

Taking inspiration from this Latin American fiesta spirit, you will be assured an exhilarating and exciting celebration party atmosphere full of joy, love and simply brimming over with happiness.

eHow – Brazilian Marriage Customs

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