Beaches, bikinis, the girl from Ipanema and…marriage?
Let’s be honest. Brazil is BIG. It seems even bigger when you consider that the whole of Europe can fit inside of Brazil. That leaves a whole lot of possibilities to consider if you are considering the option to get married in Brazil. The diversity of Brazil is immense and it can provide almost anything and everything you could want – at a price.
I decided to post this as it appears Brazil is a kind of no mans land when considering planning a wedding. There are hundreds of websites offering to plan a wedding for you in all kinds of wonderful places but Brazil seems to be a bit of the charts.
So, what if you decide that you want to get married in Brazil? A warning to the uninitiated…getting married in Brazil is complicated!If you want to get married in Brazil then there are a number of practical concerns that you must take into consideration.The marriage process in Brazil is very different from the one in the UK and I was surprised to find that all Brazilians are required to have two weddings…I hoped this would mean twice the cake…sadly not. Anyway the basic process is as follows but remember the documents required and procedures can change from state to state, city to city and it also might seem from day to day:
There are three main steps before a marriage can go ahead. With good planning the process can be simple and pain free:
- Registration of the intent to marry and presentation of the documents.
- Publication of the banns.
- Issue of marriage licence.
1. Step 1 – Registration of the intent to marry: You must do this at least thirty days before you intend to get married but I would keep in mind that this is Brazil and according to the official government webpage the process can take up to sixty – you need to be more prepared than a boyscount! You register your intent to marry at the Civil Registry Office (Cartório de Regístro Civil) where one of the couple is resident. There are many of these offices all around the country
When you register your intent to marry Foreigners must fill in an application form and present the following documents to begin the marriage process:
- Original copies of passport or Foreigner’s identity card (Cédula de Identidade para Estrangeiro – CIE which contains the Registro National De Estrangeiro – RNE the identity number for non-nationals)
- Original birth certificate – legalised by a Brazilian Consulate in the issuing country. See a link to the Consulate in London here:
- Declaration of Civil Status issued by the local Consulate or Embassy
Brazilian nationals provide:
- Original identity document
- Individual taxpayer’s card (Cadastro de Pessoa Física, CPF)
- Birth certificate
- Proof of address
- Proof of the date and location of the births of their parents
If either person has previously been married, they must provide a copy of the final divorce decree (or death certificate of the former spouse if they are widowed).
To get married in Brazil you also need to have two witnesses and the names and identification numbers of these witness need to be recorded at this time also, although the witnesses themselves do not have to be present at this stage.
Remember that all of your documents which are not in Portuguese must be translated by a certified translator and authenticated by a local public notary (Tabelião). You can find a list of authorised translators here. It is also important to note that once translated these documents need to be legalised as mentioned above. For UK residents this can only be done in London here. This costs around fifteen pounds per document. There is no option to legalise the documents in Brazil and keep in mind that again this process takes time.
2. Step two – Publication of the banns: The next thing you need to do is publicly declare your intent to get married. You know, to prevent that awkward moment when the congregation is asked if anyone objects and someone says YES. You must apply for this at your home embassy is Brazil. (Or if in the UK I think you can obtain this from the registry office, although I’m not 100% certain) The embassy displays the statement of the intention of marriage on its walls for a period of 15 days and publishes banns in the local press. This will cost around 300R but obviously this is subject to change. After this they will issue you with a certificate.
3. Step 3 – Issue of marriage licence: Once all the documents have been presented to the registry office, approved by the notary officials and no valid objections have been received from members of the public, the registry official issues a marriage licence (Certidao deHabilitação de Casamento), which is a permit to marry, valid for 90 days.
You can choose to get married at the registry office or to have a judge come and preside over your wedding in another place. This is much more expensive. Often, couples will marry at the registry office and then have a further religious or personal ceremony at a location of their choosing. If you have any questions you can contact the brazilian consulate either in your country or in Brazil, I did this and I have to say they were the most helpful people I have encountered on this journey.
If you can’t or don’t want to get married in Brazil then I can certainly say that it would be a fantastic place to have a honeymoon. The places that I have listed below are only a tiny fraction of what is available and nearly all of the hotels and Pousadas have honeymoon packages.
So, where to get married in Brazil?
Once you have decided to choose Brazil as your wedding destination you need to find the best place to do it. While doing my research I found very little information about places to get married (especially in English) and so hopefully my blog will help others who are doing the same thing So: here are some of my suggestions for great places to get married or celebrate the Lua de Mel in Brazil.
The islands of Fernando de Noronha are the remains of volcanic mountains. There are twenty small Islands and one large one. Fernando de Noronha is a protected UNESCO site and one of Brazil’s best kept secrets. The abundant sea life makes this a perfect place for those whole like to dive and snorkel. It is also one of the few places where you can view giant turtles laying eggs on the beaches and watch the little babies making a dash for the water. The waters are clear, beautiful and warm and the Island has some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. It is worth keeping in mind that the remoteness of the Island can mean logistically weddings are very challenging. Some of the hotels will organise the wedding for you (Eco pousada Teju-Acu) and other will not. You will also find getting a decent photographer a challenge. It appears that the best solution is to pick a photographer from Recife and have them travel with you to the Island. Below I have listed two fantastic photographers who will travel to take photos on the Island.
This is the most expensive and exclusive hotel on the Island and comes with a price tag to match. They do not organise wedding ceremonies, however, you can do this though and external company like Noronha a Dois. The hotel has special packages for honeymoons and has private infinity pools and baths depending on your choice of accommodation.
Another amazing hotel and recommended by National Geographic. Need I say more! This hotel will also organise your wedding although I discovered that they do use the same company Noronha a Dois. The prices, however, remain the same so perhaps this might be the simpler of the two options if you don’t want to get your hands dirty organising. This hotel will also provide a special wedding dinner prepared by their chef in an intimately set up room.
Florianopolis (or Floripa, as the island is affectionately known by locals)is one of Brazil’s most beautiful locations, blessed with 42 pristine beaches, lush rolling hills, soft white sand dunes and sparkling lagoons. The Island boast of a huge range of extreme sports activities to please even the biggest adrenaline junkie. Last but not least, Floripa offers a selection of cultural attractions, including traditional Brazilian fairs and markets, Azorean architecture, historical points of interest and cultural activities which include capoeira on the beach and fishing with locals. (See Brazil eco-travel for more information – Link below)
Ponta dos Ganchos is a luxury resort in the South of the Island. This resort has two main advabtages the first being that the Island boasts its own private beach. One of the main problems with the bigger resorts in Floripa is that the bigger resorts are more often than not swamped with people. Not ideal if you want a little seclusion and luxury away from everything. The second is that in addition the Hotel has its own private Island where you can conduct your ceremony in front of the beautiful sunset and afterwards have an intimate private meal.
Perfect for those on a budget or those who might want a different slant to their florianopolis wedding. This quaint little pousada is situated very near to the lake in the centre of Florianopolis. Here you can try all manner of watersport and enjoy being surrounded by jungles and hikes. Saying that in Florianoplis you are never far from the beach and it is only fifteen minutes away from the nearest beach by car. This pousada does not arrnage weddings, however, you can contact Click (address below) to do that job for you.
Located in the Northeast of Brazil is the state of Bahia. Its capital city is Salvador, which was once the Capital of Brazil and is a fantastic place to visit in itself. The History of the colonial settlements and the African slavery has produced an amazingly rich and fascinating culture. The city also has beautiful beaches and excellent cuisine.
Salvador is a magical place, where the rhythm and the musicality of the Brazilian people shines from its historical roots. If you want to experience the rythms of Capoeira or candomble or experience the roots of Afro-Brazilian culture then you have come to the right place. Near Salvador you will find the Island of Morro de São Paulo, where you can feel as if you are living on your own deserted Island, or you can travel to some of the beautiful beaches and eco-reserves nearby to experience the typical relaxed Bahia way of life.
Pousada Pitinga is set in 9,000m² of land by the beautiful blue Ocean of Bahia. The landscaping of this Pousada is flawless and the grounds are covered with gardens of coconut palm trees, various fruit trees, bromelias, orchids and other species, native to the Atlantic Forest. The interior decoration is a celebration of bahian culture as seen in the collection of art by local painters and craftsmen. Magic, comfort, peace and quiet , plus the “Bahian way” will make you feel as if you were at your own private beach house.
One of the best modes of arrival to this remote peninsula is via their personal airstrip where you can survey the beauty of this little piece of paradise before landing into a completely unique experience. A sophisticated and paradisiacal Resort with 240,000 m2 implemented in ancological sanctuary surrounded by the Atlantic Forest, which has one of the largest biodiversities in the planet.
On the peninsula where there was only one native village, around 1705, Kiaroa offers today 25 lodging units- between suites and bungalows, SPA, gourmet gastronomy and pleasant activities surrounded by luxury, comfort and privacy.
Hotel Vila dos Orixas is based on the fourth beach on the Island ofMorro de São Paulo . This is by far the most remote beach on the Island and previous guests have mentioned to be prepared for a very bumpy 30 minture ride in a 4X4 to get to your destination – but boy is it worth it. This pousada is great value for money and surrounded by beautiful mangrove forest. The beach is apparently not great for swimming, however, you can take a dip in the large and well maintained swimming pool in the centre of the complex. Only ten couples can stay in this Vila at one time meaning that your privacy and relaxation are assured.
More information coming soon….
The friendly colonial Pousada Picinguaba will appeal to those looking to get away from it all in a remote and peaceful setting – without modern distractions such as television, telephone or internet.
It’s located on the edge of the tiny, unspoilt fishing village of Picinguaba in the protected Serra do Mar National Park, approximately 3 ½ hour’s drive from São Paulo airport and 4 hours from Rio de Janeiro. The hotel is perched on top of a small hill overlooking the coastal rainforest of the Mata Atlântica and glistening ocean.
A 15-20 minute walk takes you to Praia da Fazenda – a virtually deserted 4km stretch of beach – on the other side of the bay. Other small beaches and tropical islands can be reached by a short boat trip by schooner. Surfing, kayaking, fishing, horse riding trips and massages can be arranged at extra cost.
A special, small hotel – set close to a traditional caiçara fishing village within a State Park – overlooking stunning, forested coastline half way between Rio and Sao Paulo. The 10 simple, comfortable rooms, including one large honeymoon suite with sea views and Jacuzzi, overlook lush tropical gardens surrounding the swimming pool. The hospitality is first class, the smiles genuine and the food served is delicious, fresh and local. This is a very relaxed hotel presenting the very best of Brazil – a wonderful, tranquil place to recharge your batteries or to use as a base exploring the area; take the hotel’s schooner to deserted islands and beaches, accompany a local guide through the rainforest to spectacular hidden waterfalls, visit beautiful Paraty (just half an hour away) dive, fish, surf or sea kayak. Clients can visit for as little as 3 nights but we recommend at least 4 nights (and combine with sister hotel Fazenda Catuçaba) in order to really appreciate and take in this wonderful region. Private villa options also available (eg Casa Villa Verde).
So, that’s my round-up. No decisions have been made as yet for my own wedding, however, I would love to hear any suggestions that anyone might have. Are you planning a wedding or honeymoon in Brazil? Have you had one? Did you have a great experience of a place that you can recommend? Below is a list of websites which are great for giving some information and advice about hotels in Brazil.