Several weeks ago I had the honor of presenting at the launch of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) in SAo Paulo, Brazil… The association has over 4,000 members in all 50 states and more than 27 countries.

As one of only 65 Master Bridal Consultants in the world, my colleagues in Latin America asked me to come and talk about wedding consulting and working with brides…

But I have to admit I think I learned as much as I taught – my colleagues were AMAZING hosts and the other presenters were wonderful and somehow my lack of ability to speak Portuguese and theirs to speak English was bridged by our common love for weddings.

Truth be told, Brazilian weddings are INSANE, as much as they are similar to American weddings, they take EVERYTHING over the top…
My colleague Roberto Cohen from Rio, who does beautiful weddings and events all over Brazil and the world, showed many of his weddings – here are some great observations on differences…

I’m not sure whether or not it’s because flowers are sourced in South America and they are probably less expensive than here in the US …but flowers are EVERYWHERE.

I find that many times US brides tend to skimp on ceremony flowers –“we’re only there for a short time”, “the church is really pretty without much in it”… whatever the reason. Keep in mind that you need to set the space apart from any other day to day event in the sanctuary… it really needs a little something special…

The next thing would be that their receptions are HUGE parties… basically they consist of an Introduction, Cake Cutting, First Dance, Toasts (all in a row) and straight into a party that lasts 8-10 hours….

It seems that they are doing fewer seated meals and more interactive stations where people can dine, dance and drink at their own leisure.
The décor at receptions is beautiful, again seems to have flowers EVERYWHERE!

 I did notice lots of glass and mirrored dining table with runners rather than table cloths – but also lots of reflective surfaces for things like cake tables as well….

They’re doing AMAZING things with lighting and dance floors – there are lots of simple dance floors with beautiful images laminated onto them.
One other thing I LOVE and is really simple to do is they addition of one simple rental item – I’m seeing lots of swapping out of plain water glasses for a more interesting rented one as a pop of color on the dining table.

One thing that REALLY stood out is that Brazilians take their dessert – both pastry and chocolates – VERY SERIOUSLY! They are a HUGE focal point

And at the end of the night they offer guests a traditional sweet called Bem Casado (translates to Happily Married) two little sponge cakes filled with dulce de leche and wrapped in beautiful paper… they allow for several per person as one is NOT enough.

I had a great trip, met AMAZING people and saw some wonderful wedding ideas we hope translate over to some of our couples….

To all my friends in Brazil – Obrigado! (Thank you!)