My wedding in Brazil / Meu casamento no Brasil

We decided to get married. A lot of my Brazilian colleagues wished me the best; 

“Is it your first time?” 

“Em, yes of course”. 

“Well good luck then! The first one is always the best”. 

“..Right. Thanks”. 

It seemed even in the very much catholic country of Brazil, it wasn’t so strange to be married at least twice. In Ireland, it’s just not common. 

It will be a civil wedding held down at the local Cartório, a notary’s office. Even if you do have a proper wedding i.e. under the eyes of god and his family, you still have to go to a Cartório and make it all legal, and here in Brazil they are big money. You basically can’t fart without having to get it authenticated. And if you are a foreigner living here trying to do anything legal, you will see Mr. Cartório is finding it hard to blink because of all the dollar signs lighting up in his eyes. Simply making a photocopy in your mate’s office just wont do here, everything has to be translated and authenticated, every document from your passport to your nappy training certificate. The funny thing is Cartórios exist in order to prevent false documents being used in any legal activity, not that they can tell if the original is fake or anything, they simply ask you how many copies you want, photocopy it, put a nice little shiny stamp on it, and that will be €2, you are at the counter for 2 minutes, but in the queue for an 2 hours. It’s a complete scam and they’re going to make so much money off me this year as I go pound for pound with the Federal Police for the heavy-in-weight Brazilian passport. 

It’s the eve of the wedding, my best man, Padrinho Adriano is staying at my place, Vanessa is staying with her Madrinha Andrea. The Batchelor party had happened the week before; 5 friends, bowling, superhero t-shirts, a full day of drunken debauchery, no need to get drunk again. 

11pm.Vanessa’s new VW Cross fox, her pride and joy, breaks down 4 blocks from Andrea’s. They wait an hour for the tow truck. Poor things. We didn’t know any of this, sure we were too busy doing Jack Daniel shots. 

D-Day. Got up, sat down, got up, staggered, showered, shaved, breakfast-ed, jumped in a cab and was at the Cartório at 9:45. My future wife-to-be had informed me on numerous occasions and very loudly that we were on at 10am, sharp! It’s not a church wedding, so nobody can be late, you have a slot, if you miss it, they say in Russia ‘tough shitski’. 

10:10. Vanessa was nowhere to be seen. She’s never late for anything. Maybe she’s having second thoughts. I eye a bar across the road, just in case. 

10.15. She skips across the street, smiling, looking far more casual than I, it was like we were going shopping. She looked stunning in a beautiful, tight, white little dress. I had also opted for white because of the significance of the colour; peace, tranquillity, a new beginning sort of thing, but my dress wasn’t so tight. Ha ha. Joke! 

It was a civil wedding, so there are 6 other couples there this day. The cartório reflects its profits, it’s on a very busy street, it’s shoddy and dirty, it resembles a large porta-cabin toilet, there is a man behind a makeshift table, he says the following in Portuguese obviously; 

(Sorry before I start. Brazilians have problems pronouncing my name Keith, this th sound doesn’t exist in Portuguese, so they opt for a ch sound, like the ch in Church. The middle -ei part of my name is more like an a sound than an e sound, follow? Thus, when they attempt to say it, it kind of sounds like they are drunk and saying Kate!) 

“So we are here for your wedding ceremony”.  

“Kaych John Duffy”, he says. I giggle. 

“Do you accept Vanessa Cardoso Costa as your wife for the rest of your life?” 


“Vanessa Cardoso Costa, do you accept Kaych John Duffy…” we both giggle. 

“ your husband for the rest of your life?” 


“Congratulations, sign here. Next”. 

The ceremony lasted about 45 seconds. We didn’t even have time to kiss. 

So there, I was married under the eyes of the Cartório, and just as I was thinking, it would have been nice to have my brother and his family there, something very Irish happened. Something I would not have expected to happen in Brazil especially on your wedding day. It started to rain. It was that drizzly type of rain we get in Ireland. And so in the end, it seemed a little bit of home got to the come to the wedding after all. 

6 Responses to “My wedding in Brazil / Meu casamento no Brasil”
  1. Bruno says:

    I am very happy K-ju has found time for the blog after all this time getting married and hammered in candomblé suits. Always a fun time here, keep writing.

  2. monica says:

    I always laugh my head off when I read K’s posts but more than anything else I very often feel touched by his sensitiveness ( does this word exist?). I always have a wonderful time!!!!!!Keep writing !!!!!!

  3. edianakely says:

    Hi Keith, Kevin just showed me your blog, and after reading this post I actually felt like getting married in Brazil (despite the complications), we are probably going to do it “the brazilian way” or “jeitinho brasileiro” too, to make our lives easier in here.

    But if our wedding turns out half as funny and charming as yours, we will be very happy!

    All the best to both of you, in this new chapter of your life.

    • Hi Ediana, Thanks a million for the kind comments, sorry its taking me a while to get back to you, I didnt want to approve your comment without saying thanks first, and also Kevin sent me a mail looking for some info. Im going to reply to him now, and try to answer some of his questions. Again thanks a mill, and good luck with the wedding plans. Patience will be needed..just a little patience!.


  4. vivian says:

    Dear Keith,
    I had fun reading yr experience in Brazil. Now as an English teacher: how would it be in Ireland??
    could you tell me the procedures????????????

  5. daveyb1974 says:

    Hi, i am just curious to find out how long you have been living in Brasil, were you able to speak Portugese before you went there, if not how long did it take you. Why the questions? My wife who is from Minas Gerais too and i own a farm there and are planning on moving there permanently, the farm is already up and running and we are in Brasil 2-3 times a year for the last 5 years, I really love the people and the culture there, but i have not met any fellow irishmen there and i am curious to hear what it is like when you decide to stay permanently, both positive and negative points. it is not going to change my mind as we will be there this December,but,like i mentioned i am curious to hear a fellow irishmans experience to settle in.

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