A Brazilian Messianic Jewish Wedding

On August 7, 2011, Christian and I were married in Salvador – Bahia – Brazil. I’m so thankful for everyone who celebrated with us, everyone who helped out, everyone who wished us well, and everyone who made our wedding day truly wonderful!

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

09:00 AM – Commence beautification process. I hadn’t realized that the makeup and hair would take two hours – meaning the ceremony started an hour later than scheduled. At Brazilian weddings it’s traditional for the bride to keep the groom waiting… so I definitely did!

It was wonderful to have my family here for a whole week. I hadn’t seen them in eight months, and we had so much fun making the final preparations for the wedding together.

Almost ready for showtime! My mom helps me put on my necklace.

Attaching the veil, which the groom removes during the ceremony to make sure he’s marrying the right woman! (Wouldn’t want to be like Jacob in Genesis 29, who was tricked into marrying Leah when he wanted Rachel)

Here is my handsome groom entering with his parents!

In Brazilian weddings, there are pairs of “godparents” rather than bridesmaids and groomsmen. This is our capoeira mestre (who introduced us to each other) and his wife. The couple behind them are the owners of the house where the wedding was held.

Here comes the bride! I was shaking as I walked down the aisle – good thing I had my parents on each arm to hold me upright! The flower girl is one of Christian’s nieces.

I circle Christian 7 times, parallelling the seven days of creation, and symbolizing the fact that the bride and groom are about to create their own “new world” together.

About to enter the chuppah (marriage canopy), a symbol of the home to be built and shared by the couple.

Two cups of wine are used in the wedding ceremony. The first cup accompanies the blessings on the close of the engagement period.

Christian’s other niece bringing in the rings. It’s considered bad luck if the rings are dropped, so she’s being very careful!

Our rings have each other’s names inscribed on them in Hebrew.

Christian reciting his wedding vows: “Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel, in the name and in the grace of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).”

Next comes the signing of the ketubah (marriage contract).

The ketubah spells out the bride and groom’s obligation to love, honor, and appreciate each other in faithfulness and integrity; to share hopes and dreams and to build a home based in love, peace, and holiness.

The second cup of wine, accompanying the Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings).

Christian breaks the first wineglass; this serves as a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

A final prayer, with both sets of parents present.

My father sings the Aaronic Benediction: “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”

You may kiss the bride!

For more pictures, check out my Picasa album.

  • How nice! Congratulations. And thanks for sharing with us out here in the blog world. 🙂 🙂

  • Amy Diller Haas

    Beautifully done.

  • Andréa

    What a beautiful bride you are!!!! I am so proud if you Shayna – you truly are amazing in every aspect! Abundant Blessings on your covenant of marriage! Agape, Andréa Mahee xoxo

  • This looks beautiful! Congratulations!

  • vv14

    Shayna,
    I came across your blog while researching Jewish weddings in Brazil. I was wondering if you could give me some insight into how it’s done…
    I am Jewish and my fiance is Catholic, although he doesn’t practice and is very involved in the Jewish community with me in the US. He is from Sao Paulo and we are planning on having the wedding there, but I am worried that we won’t find a rabbi that will marry us. Apparently only a cantor would officiate interfaith marriages in Brazil. Do you know if this is true?
    Any advice would be much appreciated. We tried writing the community in Sao Paulo with no response.