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Real Weddings: Brazilian Bliss

Apr 17, 2014

by Any G.

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Any is a jeweler, documentary photographer, and Maker Specialist at Etsy. She crochets well, plays the castanets poorly, and wears a tool belt proudly. 

Bernardo and I had been married and living in New York for six years when we decided to have a wedding in our home country, Brazil. I expected long-distance planning to be hard, but the real challenge was planning a unique, handmade celebration in a culture where glitz, glam, and grand budgets are in style. The one thing we really wanted was to get together with the people we love and miss and take pleasure in being with them.

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I didn’t expect for it to be so hard to find local wedding professionals who understood that “handmade chic” is not an oxymoron. Our biggest challenge was finding the right person to decorate the venue, which was a historic building from 1904 brimming with original details. Eventually, things started to come together and I realized that there are plenty of couples in Brazil (not to mention the world) who want an authentic wedding experience without all the cookie-cutter glamor – regardless of style or budget.

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The custom ceramic cake topper from Melabo was my very first wedding purchase. It sat atop a naked cake decorated with succulents from my grandma’s garden. We also served traditional Brazilian wedding pastries called bem-casados, which my sister Daniela and our sister-in-law Tania baked, filled and decorated with friends and family. We topped them with custom glitter hearts from Moose Art.

Our paper cut invitations were created by my friend and Etsy Admin Nicole Licht, whose magic hands cut every little flower and line of text. The result was professionally photographed and printed, and the original paper cuts are now being transferred to our ketubah, where they will frame the Hebrew text handwritten by Aliza of Ketubah Graphia.

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Some of my favorite handmade touches were my hair piece and shoe clips, which my mom made from a 1930s brooch and earring set using shoe clip blanks and a nifty brooch hair comb converter. To break the conventional look of my dreamy lace and tulle gown, I wore somewhat unusual jewelry, like a large green ring that belonged to my grandma, and red beaded earrings created by Gaslight Original Beadwork.

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The ceremony and event were in some ways handmade, too. My youngest brother, Davi, played chauffeur; my other brother, Andre, was our officiant. Many people don’t know that Jewish weddings don’t need to be officiated by rabbis, so we jumped at the chance to have someone close to us perform the ceremony. The groom and my brother-in-law, Shai, translated and transliterated the prayers, and I wrote the ceremony myself, jokes and all. Two days before the wedding, my brother, my husband, and I crammed together in a bedroom in my mom’s apartment with a glass of water for the wine, a scrap of tulle for the veil, and a tablet for the siddur, and practiced a couple of times. We were ready.

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Everything turned out beautifully, with smiling faces and wet eyes. The guests laughed at the jokes I wrote into the ceremony, and my brother did not improvise a song-and-dance bit, as he kept teasing he would. I think my threats worked. Thankfully, everything else worked, too.

Wedding planning by Ana Paula Lopes of Alleanza Eventos; photography by Fer Cesar and Cheng NV; hair and make-up by Ju Friedrich; decor by Atelier 16.

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