11 Brazilian Wedding Traditions and Rituals

Whether you’ve been to Brazil, are Brazilian, or have Brazilian friends, you know how much they love a great party.

In Brazil, that’s what weddings are: huge parties! Brazilian weddings are over the top, lively, and quite expensive compared to traditional Western weddings.

You’ll most likely spend the whole night and part of the following day dancing, eating, and celebrating a beautiful culture with friends and family.

You’ll hardly see people sitting down at a Brazilian wedding, but what else should you expect at a Brazilian wedding?

11 Brazilian Wedding Traditions

Every bride and groom is a little different, but in Brazil, tradition is essential.

That’s why there are several wedding traditions and rituals that Brazilians hold near and dear to their hearts.

While there are many traditions, here are the top 11 Brazilian wedding traditions and rituals.

1. Bumba-Meu-Boi

Bumba-Meu-Boi, also known as taming a donkey, is a tradition unique to Brazilians, but it has similarities with other traditions worldwide. Like in different cultures where the groom provides gifts or does a specific act to prove himself to the bride’s father, Brailizans have this too.

The man will try to tame a donkey to prove he’s worthy of marrying his future father-in-law’s daughter. This demonstration doesn’t happen as often anymore as there aren’t a lot of feral donkeys in Brazil, but it’s still talked about a lot when it comes to wedding traditions in Brazil.

2. Writing Names of Single Women

One of the most beloved Brazilian wedding traditions women typically partake in is to get a custom hem for their wedding dress. They’ll have a seamstress write the names of several single women who are essential to the bride.

They’ll sew this hem under the dress. It’s not visible to anyone but the bride and anyone who looks for it. But, most people don’t look for it because that’s a little invasive. Brazilians believe this will bring good luck for single women to get married faster.

3. Finger Switching

Traditionally, Brazilians only have one ring for both engagement and wedding rings. The woman will wear the ring on her right hand when the man proposes. Sometimes, the man will wear a ring to show the world he’s a taken man, but that is more of a personal preference.

During the ceremony, the bride will switch her engagement ring to her left hand to symbolize her marriage to her fiance. This ritual is vital to signify the transition from engagement to marriage. The finger-switching tradition is a telltale way to know if someone is engaged or married.

4. Catholic Church

The vast majority of Brazilians are Catholic, so it’s not surprising that a considerable tradition for them is to have their ceremony in a Catholic church. Religion is significant to them, so having a longer religious ceremony in a Catholic church is expected. These ceremonies usually last for at least an hour, so be prepared to sit for a while.

The process of getting married in a Catholic church in Brazil is strenuous. The bride and groom need to prove they’re Catholic and sign up for classes to prepare them for marriage. While it’s a lot to handle, it’s a massive tradition for Brazilians.

5. The Groom Gets a Grand Entrance

Let’s face it. At Western weddings, you hardly notice when the groom enters the ceremony. Sometimes they’re already standing at the altar, or all they get is a quick walk down the aisle with a calm song, and the bride is the one who receives the grand entrance. The bride isn’t the only one to enjoy the limelight at Brazilian weddings.

While the bride still gets a huge and extravagant entrance, so does the groom! The groom typically enters the church or venue with his mother on his arm before the bride. But he’s given just as much attention as the beautiful bride who will enter shortly after.

6. Party-Like Receptions

One of the most fun traditions at a Brazilian wedding is that their receptions are more like huge parties than simply a wedding reception. You’ll see a lot of other wedding receptions lasting only until ten or eleven at night, but not in Brazil. It’s completely common for their party-like receptions to last until two or even five in the morning.

DJs will play upbeat music throughout the night, and yes, even the kids are allowed to stay up and party all night. If you’re invited to a Brazilian wedding, be prepared to be on your feet, moving to the beat for hours on end. Don’t worry. They have tables and chairs if your feet need a little break.

7. Tie Cutting

While in America, grooms will sometimes wear a tuxedo and skip the tie, in Brazil, the groom almost always wears a tie to their wedding ceremony and reception. Part of the groom’s wearing a tie is because it looks elegant and lovely and for the tie cutting tradition performed at Brazilian weddings.

Yes, one of the groom’s groomsmen or a close family member will remove the tie during the reception and will cut the tie up into tiny pieces. Once the tie cutting is complete, the pieces are auctioned off to the wedding guests to fund the couple’s honeymoon. While it’s a little weird, everyone loves this unique tradition.

8. Bem Casados

Who doesn’t love a delicious slice of wedding cake? When it comes to wedding cake at a Brazilian wedding, there’s the classic cake that is often served at some point in the reception, but Bem Casados is another wedding cake.

Bem Casados translates to “well-married” and is expected at almost all Brazilian weddings. There are traditional little cakes that they wrap in gorgeous packaging. Each guest will leave the reception with this little cake as a thank you from the couple, and it’s also a symbol of good fortune and prosperity. Plus, it’s the perfect sweet treat the following day or for breakfast.

9. Madrinhas and Padrinhos

Just like Americans traditionally have bridesmaids and groomsmen who stand by their side during the wedding ceremony, Brazilian weddings have madrinhas and padrinhos. They’re close friends or family to the couple, and in traditional weddings, there are usually three for the bride and three for the groom.

While the madrinhas and padrinhos can be friends or family that the couple has chosen to pair up by their sides, many Brazilian couples opt to have the three men and women all be in a relationship with someone on the opposite side. This tradition is similar to bridesmaids and groomsmen, but they don’t typically have a maid of honor or best man.

10. Lifting the Bride’s Dress

There’s a lot of dancing at a Brazilian wedding reception, and one specific dance move is traditionally performed at a Brazilian wedding. While everyone’s dancing around, people will gather around the beautiful bride and grab the ends of her dress.

It’s not as inappropriate as it might sound. The guests never lift the dress too high. Not everyone performs this tradition as it’s very much dependent on the style of the bride’s dress. If she has a skin-tight dress, this is much harder to perform. Plus, the professional photos look amazing and make for some of the best of the night.

11. Dawn Snacks

Since Brazilian weddings tend to stretch into the wee hours of the morning, it shouldn’t be a shock that the bride and groom like to offer their guests dawn snacks. Besides all the favorite foods that accompany Brazilian weddings, like rice, beans, and meat, the dawn snacks are always something guests look forward to.

Dawn snacks can be anything that the bride and groom love and think their party exhausted guests will love. Usually, you’ll see Brazilians serving fried potatoes, popcorn, mini hamburgers, milkshakes, and other junk food as dawn snacks. You’ll usually see staff bringing out the dawn snacks an hour to two hours before the reception ends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have more questions about Brazilian weddings? Here are some frequently asked questions about the beautiful Brazilian weddings people throw.

What Do I Wear to a Brazilian Wedding?

You should always check with the wedding invitation for the general attire style for any wedding, but Brazilian weddings lean more formal than others. Formal attire could mean long dresses, suits for the men, and of course, no white.

Do Brazilians Wear Engagement Rings?

Yes! Unlike in the United States, where the woman traditionally only wears an engagement ring, both the finance and fiancee wear engagement rings. Both people wear plain wedding bands on their right hands until the wedding ceremony.

How Long Is a Brazilian Wedding Ceremony?

The traditional nuptial ceremony for a Brazilian wedding lasts about an hour. The nuptial ceremony is where the bride and groom will read their vows, switch rings, and sign the marriage certificate in front of all their guests. Now, if you’re asking how long the reception plus the ceremony is, that’s a different story!