Monday, April 21, 2008

The Wedding. Then The Reception. Then The Antics

Here it is, the post about the wedding! It's going to be long.

And I'd better get it done before it completely slips from my memory, as most things do now that I have Baby Brain. I mean, I'm sure I'll remember that I WENT to the wedding, but all of the details will be lost in a haze of good food and bad makeup. Now I'll be able to refer back to this post and bring back all the wonderful memories.

The wedding ceremony was held in the oldest church in Santos, Catedral Nossa Senhora do Rosario (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary). It was built in 1545 (1545!) and is located in the historic center of town.

The pictures may not show it, but this church is BEAUTIFUL, built during an era when architectural embellishments were appreciated and laboriously detailed. There's a large iron gate at the front that is especially impressive.

They could not have picked a more perfect place to have their wedding.

The inside was gorgeous, too. Just gorgeous. It was decorated with white flowers and swaths of white cloth against pale yellow walls. And all the iconography and altar pieces made everything seem extra beautiful.

I was ushered into a front pew, and was excited because it would give me an opportunity for some great photos. I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to lean over the sash into the aisle to take pictures, but how could I not? My baby was all dressed up!

While we waited we listened to an orchestra and choir in the balcony. They were amazing! And the acoustics in the church were fantastic. Portuguese already sounds like a song when spoken. When sung, it is pure heaven.

When it was time to begin the ceremony, the groom and his mother led the wedding party down the aisle. The bride and groom had decided they would each have five couples, called Godparents, to stand up with them, so the procession was quite long! When they reached the stage, they went past the groom and lined up (with both men and women on each side).

The Godparents are able to wear whatever they want to, and there is no color theme to limit their choices. The women were DECKED OUT. I saw more sequins and beading that night than I have in my whole life! I was so glad that my dress had been glammed up, though it was still fairly subdued compared to the others.

Next down the aisle was Gabi!! She was holding hands with the bride's little nephew, and they were followed by the ring bearer. Flower Girls aren't allowed to throw flower petals, so she had a little bouquet to carry. She looked a bit dazed from the movie set (the videographer and two boys, one holding a mic, one holding a light, were walking backwards in front of them), but made it all the way up to the front of the church before getting stage fright and running over to me in the pew.

And my perfect location for getting a shot or two of Gabi walking down the aisle? I wouldn't have been able to get a picture if I'd wanted to. The videographer, his giant camera, and the two boys were in every shot. (I MUST get my hands on a copy of that video.) This is what it looked like (you can see a bit of Gabi's skirt)...

When it was finally the bride's turn, there was a super loud drumroll to announce her, and then a trumpeter in knickers sounded the wedding march from the stage as the giant doors to the church were opened to let her in.

The bride was STUNNING. She had her hair up with a ribbon that wound down and around, straight out of a Renaissance painting. Her dress was a glorious weave of fabric across the top, with a full skirt and long train. I cried! I'm so lame.

Look! You can see her hair and dress in this picture. And Gabi, during one of her visits to the stage. And the videographer's bright light in the upper right!

The ceremony itself was Catholic, with lots of standing up and sitting down and doing the cross on your chest, but wasn't very long at all. About 40 minutes?

After it was over everyone very quickly made their way over to the reception. I have never seen a church empty so quickly! It was held in one of the nicest hotels in the city, and I guess people wanted to get there as fast as they could and not miss any fun.

The reception was so so lovely. The tables had large flowers arrangements with candles in the middle. Full place settings on white tablecloths. A huge DJ stage playing hits from the '70s and '80s, complete with disco ball and strobe lights for later in the night.

And oh my, the food! A large buffet of Brasilian food (like heart of palm salad) was followed by a large buffet of Brasilian deserts (like mango mousse). There were waiters serving never ending beer, wine and three kinds of alcoholic smoothies. Everything was beyond delicious, and we stuffed ourselves silly.

The bride and groom went around to each table, followed by the videographer and his two assistants so that they could capture all the meaningful well wishes. And of course when it was my turn I froze up and said the stupidest things possible. Like, "I can't believe you did it!" to the groom, and, "Welcome to the family!" to the bride. Oh, I cringe just thinking about it. Thankfully it was all in English. They won't know how dorky I was unless they have someone to translate!

The best part of the night was when all the older couples went up to dance. My in-laws looked so cute together! I love it when people dance together like the good ol' days, stepping together, doing dips. Most Brasilians know how to dance like this, including Gilberto, but the younger generation prefers the OTHER kind of dancing. We left before things got too crazy!

One strange thing- the DJ had set up a big screen that played surfing clips the whole night long. Even during dinner. It didn't quite go with the theme. You can see it in this picture...

The night wouldn't have been complete without the antics of my daughter. My usually sweet though high spirited child was tired and cranky and uncooperative and even a bit mean. Here is just a short list of all the things we had to deal with:

  1. Gabi refusing to stay on the stage OR with me in the pew. Instead she ran back and forth as it pleased her.
  2. Picking her nose on stage.
  3. Wanting to take communion with the bride and groom, then turning to pout at the church when she couldn't.
  4. Pulling her dress up around her waist to scratch her leg.
  5. Refusing to eat dinner.
  6. Running and running and running, and then getting mad at the other kids when they were tired of running with her.
  7. Demolishing her flower bouquet all over the reception room's floor.
  8. Grabbing my alcoholic smoothie off the table and pounding down the rest (thankfully only a smidgen left).
  9. Grabbing the bride's veil and playing tug-of-war with it. THAT was the most embarrassing part of the night for me.
  10. Trying to climb the scaffolding that the DJ had set up.
  11. Wanting to poke her finger in the cake. Luckily Gilberto saw what she was up to just in time.
  12. Tackling her cousins down to the ground. The boys loved this. The girls, not so much.
  13. Talking Grandma into getting her a plate full of deserts.
  14. Stealing the neon sunglasses, glow bands and boas that were being passed out from people when they weren't looking.
I seriously could not keep up with her. Gilberto's parents kept pestering me to sit and leave her alone to have fun, so I finally gave up and tried to keep an eye on her. Between us, Gilberto and I were able to catch her before she did too much damage.

She finally fell asleep in my lap around midnight. And I was finally able to relax and eat my desert. Did I mention the mango mousse? That was the most heavenly desert I've ever eaten in my whole life. I can't even believe I'm saying that something fruity beat out chocolate, but it's true.

We had an amazing time, and I'm so glad I got to see a Brasilian wedding. And to be so intimately involved. Even though I had to wear sequins and silver shoes.


  1. wow. lots of liquor to choose from huh? hope you enjoyed that. and i think i could seriously up my cool rating if i move to a country where my facial expressions are of more value than the devestatingly horrid/dorky things i say. And where the men are hot and i ahve no idea what they are saying. and lots of liquor. sounds like heaven to me. not too long at all. hung on your every word.

  2. hey laural... just a quick note about the mango-chocolate thing... I've read somewhere that mangoes are perfect to "substitute" chocolate in a diet! That because it's consistent (it really feels like you ate something), and it's usually very sweet, besides this other substance that they carry that gives you the feeling of not needing the good old chocolate anymore. It's a shame that the mangoes in the US aren't as good as in Brazil... they have to go through a heat treatment to be exported and that takes away the real taste. But it's still a mango!

  3. Wow this makes me want to go to a Brazilian wedding!!!


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