By Laura Siqueira, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilians are well known for their love of parties and taking every opportunity they have to celebrate, and it is no different when getting married. For the majority of Carioca brides-to-be, starting a new family is ideally done in a beautiful place with hundreds of guests, music playing all night, plenty of food and drink and last but not least – lots of entertainment.
Brazil’s social history issues may explain the desire to make the wedding an event, as wedding planner, Lela Carvalho Dias explains, “A couple is only recognized as husband and wife after the marriage. It’s really rare for a couple, even if they live together, to be presented like that.”
Even though many brides still dream about walking down the aisle wearing a white dress, it’s becoming more common to celebrate both ceremony and reception at one venue. There are plenty of options for those who prefer a single venue and all of them are capable of pleasing all sorts of tastes.
Among the most sought-after venues, the Copacabana Palace Hotel tops the list for those who can afford such luxury, sophistication and wish to maintain traditionalism. The stunning rooms, which may face Copacabana Beach, have a special old-world kind of elegance.
With completely different architectural styles, the Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art) and the Museu Histórico Nacional (National Historic Museum) also enter the fray of competition for the most famous venues. Situated near the beautiful Catholic churches at the city center, they rarely host weddings for less than 400 guests.
Almost as important as booking the venue is choosing a wedding planner, especially for couples who don’t have much time to be hands-on during the planning period or live outside of Rio. Several Portuguese-language magazines like Inesquecível Casamento and Noivas RJ and blogs such as Vestida de Noiva, Constance Zahn and Colher de Chá offer complete contact details for wedding planning professionals.
Aside from wedding planners, most other services required for a dream ceremony – like top photographers, event decorators and cake designers, accustomed to working with foreign couples – can be found through these publications.
Seemingly oblivious to the economic crisis, the wedding industry has remained largely unaffected by financial considerations. Abrafesta, the Professionals, Wedding Services and Social Events Association claims that the industry had a R$14 billion turnover in 2012. Specialists expect the 2013 numbers to exceed that once the statistics are released later this year.
For event decorator Thiago Calil that’s no surprise, as he sees Rio as a potential location for destination weddings. “The wedding industry seeks to expand the possibilities of holding the celebration at out of the ordinary destinations,” said Calil.
For Brazilians, getting married never goes out of fashion. It’s the most extraordinary way of celebrating love with special friends and family. “I always say we work turning dreams into reality and you can’t measure this. Of course there’s a budget and you [have] to fit in, but never give up the dream,” states Calil.
For those that do not speak Portuguese, a little research will find professionals to help put the special day together. For example photographer Izabel Abreu explains, “If you are living in Rio, just visiting or planning a trip here […] I can help capture moments in pictures. I studied English all through my school years so it is near perfect, and we will have no trouble defining a vision and working together.”