I just had to find time to get this finished today and publish it on Valentines Day ...
Enjoy and Happy Valentines Day
Normally I am on the working end of a wedding but this past December I was able to attend the wedding of Natalia and Luiz as a guest (F.Y.I. Luiz's nephew). This was also my first Brazilian wedding and I was excited to see what it is all about when the date was announced and I was able to attend. Of course a December wedding in Brazil is a little more common then in the states as this is their summer and the largest deterrent is the heat, but then again all year long it is warm in Goiania / Mineiros, so any time would be good. Leading up to the day, I was curious about how it would compare to those I coordinate back in the states.
December seemed to come quickly almost as if it was my own big day (I am sure that will come later) and soon it was the week of the nuptials. The invitations arrive and our journey begins with the five hour drive from Goiania to Mineiros. We pick up Luiz's cousin and off we head down the mess of a road that is still under construction as progress is slow (another story for later). We arrive at his mom and dad's house Friday afternoon and scurry away for lunch at the bride's families home followed by a gathering of family at his parents home that evening. Relatives I have met before and some that I have not mixed in with some friends of the family. An evening sitting around and talking while I switch to "listen mode" in order to work on my Portuguese again. Soon it is time for bed with a big day ahead.
The morning of the big day for the family is like any other. Coffee and bread after the dreams have subsided. It was a little warm overnight as we are sleeping at his grandmothers house and there is no air conditioning and unfortunately that night no breeze. It reminds me of sleeping outside when we were growing up. All the wonderful nights of dragging our sleeping bags and air mattresses out on the screened in balcony when it was just too warm to sleep inside. Heck, I think that was one of the largest draws to the summer for me back then. But enough with memories and soon it is time to head to lunch and it seems like shortly after this it we begin to get ready. It is a hot day so putting on a suit and tie is not something I am looking forward to but soon a small shower of rain rolls in and makes it a little more tolerable. Once we are all dressed and ready we walk the three blocks to the church. A beautiful old Catholic Cathedral which we pass by several times a day when we are in town. Towering over the residential and commercial buildings that surround it the church is simply majestic. Out front of the church is a small crowd of people waiting to get it. As we approach the church we realize these are the guests of Luiz and Natalia all waiting for the prior wedding ceremony to finish. Of course like many things in Brazil it is a little behind schedule and I don't think they left enough time in between but I guess you get used to it. Just as the clouds begin to drip a drop or two we are ready to enter the cathedral. The small sanctuary with blue and white walls accenting the ornate details and altar at the front of the church. The alter has been decorated for the occasion with two grand flower arrangements framing it.
People begin sitting and soon the beautiful house of worship is filled with people anticipating this union. The preceremony begins with the bride and grooms parents ushered to their seats by family followed by sixteen bridesmaid escorted by sixteen groomsmen down the center isle. The men are all dressed alike in black suites and silver ties, but unlike weddings in the US, each of the women are wearing there own dress with colors from orange, yellow and red to blue, green and purple. They take their seats in the front few pews of the church and soon it is the ring bearer and three flower girls turn. The young children walk down the isle with a little persuasion. The ring bearer in a suite like the older men and the flower
girls in lovely white dresses, two of them holding kissing balls and the youngest one in the middle holding a bouquet of marshmallow treats. Finally the time arrives for the bride (Natalia) to begin her walk with her father down the isle. The back doors open to reveal her holding a wonderful bouquet of white orchids and wearing and beautifully beaded white dress. They end up at the front of the church and the exchange from father to fiance happens smoothly. The service begins and like any other Catholic Ceremony I have been to in the past it is filled with music, scripture, and prayer. (of course in Portuguese) It does not seem to vary much from the ceremonies in the US and soon it is time for the groom to kiss the bride, they are announced as husband and wife and everyone leaves the church on their journey to the reception. (to be continued...)