I have been invited to quite a few Brazilian weddings and the way of dressing to it always varies widely according to the season, place (beach, venue, mountain), time of the day, and dress code requested by the bride and groom. So, which attire should you wear when attending to a Brazilian wedding?
Brazilian weddings usually have the dress code recommended printed on the invitation. In most cases, a long sleeveless dress for women and a suit and tie for men will do. Avoid wearing black, as it is seen as the color of grieving or white, not to compete in attention with the bride.
In Portuguese, the most common dress codes are 4: Casual – Esporte, Smart casual – Esporte Fino, Formal attire – Passeio Completo and Black-tie. The style also vary according to the time of the day.
Not very common to be requested as a dress code for weddings in Brazil. However, that can happen if the party is at the beach or if it is a non-traditional party, such as a barbecue for friends.
The word in the invitation for this dress code usually is Esporte, which simply means “sportswear”, referring to when people would dress up to play sports with friends.
This doesn’t mean any clothes such as shorts and sleeveless t-shirts are allowed, but mostly that the formality of a suit and tie or fancy cocktail dress is not necessary.
For men: you can wear nice looking jeans or chinos with a polo t-shirt. For the shoes, a pair of loafers or discreet snickers (preferably color block, such as black or white) will be fine. If it is a bit cooler or the party will go into the evening, a sweater that goes well with your clothes will do.
For women: Avoid shining materials and glitter. This is a very versatile dress code, so you can probably wear pants, dresses or skirts. Also, do not overload on makeup and accessories. A good idea is to wear a light maxi-dress that is not too vibrant.
Events: bridal showers, engagement parties and civil weddings during the day followed by lunch.
This is usually as informal as a Brazilian wedding goes in general. The dress code on the invite will say Esporte Fino, which is loosely translated to “Elegant Sportswear”. You can still dress comfortably but should add a touch of elegance to your outfit.
For men: if the event is during the day, you can wear social pants and buttoned shirt and take a blazer jacket with you. A light colored suit can also be worn. Ties are possible but not mandatory if during the day. If the party is in the evening, wearing a tie might be a good idea.
For women: the style of dressing will be largely influenced by the time of day. If it is a morning and/or afternoon wedding, some color block floaty dresses or overalls usually work. The idea is to look elegant but still comfortable. For the evenings, simply a nice blouse with slacks or a sleeveless knees-long dress are good options.
As usual, avoid too vibrant colors, as you will not want to compete with the bride. Some jewelry and makeup is also suggested. High heels are not necessary for this way of dressing, so nice sandals are usually a good option.
Events: perfect for beach weddings or simply those that happen during the day, especially if open air.
As it suggests on the title, this is formal attire, so it is expected to be followed a bit more rigidly than the previous dress codes. On the invitation, you might read “Passeio Completo” which loosely translates to “the full attire to be worn when going out to the city”.
These names are reminiscent from the XIX century when people would dress up completely to go for a walk (passeio).
For men: you can’t go wrong with this one – a dark colored suit with a tie will suffice. Prefer dark formal shoes as well. If the wedding is during the day, a light colored suit can be worn as well.
For women: For this dress code, the fabric is usually important to ensure your attire meets the requirements. Make sure the fabric is of good quality. Dresses can be longer (knees or below) in the evening and a bit shorter during the day. You can wear a little more makeup and your jewelry as well. Use a smaller purse and high heels to complement the outfit.
Events: Formal weddings. It is usually mentioned in the invitation if this is the case. Depending on where it is or the hosts guidance to the staff, you might be turned down entry.
Black-tie (Gala attire)
Widely known worldwide. This is as glamorous as it gets. You’ve seen the Bond movies, right? Whenever they have fancy parties, this is the dress code they use.
For men: Tuxedo is mandatory, preferably black. Obviously with a bow tie. Black shoes that might or might not be varnished.
For women: You can never go wrong with long dresses. If your thing is to be exuberant, this is when you do it. Deep cleavage, glitter, and sequin dresses are all allowed. Wear your best jewelry, high heels, and clutch bags. Make sure you have an elaborate hairdo as well.
Events: Very high end events, usually in historical places and very big parties. This is not very common in Brazil, so I wouldn’t expect this to ever be the dress code, unless you are going to an ambassador’s wedding party, for example.
Other things to be aware of, such as the weather
In most cases, a smart casual dress code is the safest if you are not sure how to dress. Be also aware of where and when the party is taking place. Daytime parties are usually less formal than night time. Avoid wearing vibrant colors and do not wear black (for women) or white (for no one, except on a men’s shirt).
In regards to the weather, brazil is usually a very warm country year round. Also, remember the seasons happen opposite to those of the Northern Hemisphere. In summer (July – September), it will actually be winter in Brazil. With that being sad, the most you usually need is some cover up. A thicker scarf to be taken with you in case it gets a bit too fresh.
However, if even so you are not sure of what you should be wearing, ask the bride and groom, or whoever invited you. If they can’t answer what you should dress, ask how they are going to dress up. That’s usually a good gauge for how you should be dressing up.
Pro tip for the ladies: if it fits in your bag (or if you drive there), do take a pair of flip-flops (havaianas as we call it in Portuguese). In a few weddings, they will give away some but they might not have enough of your size or might not have any at all. It is usually ok to take your shoes off during the party (after the ceremony, of course!), so this might be a good thing to have with you when you want to dance all night long without the torture of having your feet hurt by the evil heels!
If you want some travel inspiration of romantic getaways (even if you are not the one getting married!), check our post about Brazil honeymoon destination ideas or our other posts about places in Brazil, so you can make the most of our trip while you are here for the wedding!