Olá, folks! We’re writing this from the always sunny, party paradise of Rio… If only.
But in our second installment of Show Us Your Party, newlyweds Suzi and Robert Buckley share photos from their Brazilian wedding, and now we’re stricken with total Brazil fever.
The generous and fun-loving duo, wedded Feb 24 this year, invited friends from all around the world (they’re a well-travelled pair) to share in their week-long, event-packed wedding celebration in Brazil.
From dealing with a nightmare wedding planner who stalled the ceremony by an hour to paragliding, dancing in flip-flops, and cocktail parties? This couple has had a roller-coaster of a wedding. They even moved to Brazil for ten weeks prior to the big day!
Click through for some amazing eye candy!
Don’t forget: Show Us Your Party is our latest monthly feature – if you’ve got a fab party you want to show off, make sure to email us!
Why did you decide to wed in Brazil?
I am Brazilian and we both felt that would be a great excuse to get all our friends to visit this stunning country, although it was a long trip for everyone. We live in Singapore now, but Rob is an Australian and we both met and lived in London for a long time so many of our friends are based in different parts of the world such as New York, London, Australia, Hong Kong and of course Singapore. We wanted to give them all a holiday, above it all – and nothing beats Brazil!
Image c/o Suzi
Where in Brazil did you get married? Tell us a little about the place.
We were married in Rio de Janeiro, in a little island with a “floating castle” called Ilha Fiscal, located at the Guanaraba Bay, bordering the centre of Rio de Janeiro’s historic city. We had another location in mind at first, but once we arrived in Brazil to plan the wedding we saw this place and felt head-over-heels in love with it and its history.
Image c/o Suzi
How about the wedding? We heard it was a weeklong celebration! What shenanigans went on?
We partied for a week! Once we decided that we were getting married in Brazil, we knew it had to happen around Carnaval!
During the week, we also organised a few things to make sure everyone got the most of Rio, such as paragliding, favela (shanty towns) tours and tickets for the semi-final of the local soccer championship.
We also arranged a welcome drinks party at the top of the Sugar Loaf mountain, followed by a traditional Brazilian BBQ dinner the day before the wedding. As the Sugar Loaf is a tourist spot and we could not have exclusive use of the area, we decided to differentiate our group by having everyone wearing white. It was such fun and we clearly became a tourist attraction ourselves!
Image c/o Suzi
Did you fly your guests over? Where did everyone stay and where did you stay?
We helped by planning everyone of our friends’ holiday to Brazil. Sadly, Brazilians don’t speak much English, if any at all, so we had to make sure we had hotels reserved, trips around Brazil organized, and even domestic flights booked to ensure a smooth holiday for everyone.
Unfortunately Rob’s Portuguese is still at training … so I was one very busy bride! We all stayed in two different beachfront hotels at Copacabana Beach. Although Rio is considerably safe, I wanted to make sure our friends were in an area where they could get around freely and scare-free, so having them stay in two hotels within walking distance from one another made me feel very comfortable. Plus it made the organisation of transfers and little get-togethers a lot easier.
We stayed in one of those hotels, called Tullip Inn, amongst our friends & family.
Image: Rio style c/o Suzi
Did you plan your wedding on any particular theme?
We wanted a big party, so that was the theme!
Our main focus was to make sure our friends had the best time of their lives. I wasn’t so much stressed about colours or flowers or any of that, I just wanted to make sure things happened smoothly and according to plan.
We focused on the colour white to get everything done such as flowers, chairs, cake, and decorations to make it easy and we spent a lot of time researching for ideas to surprise our guests. We thought the best theme for the wedding was to show everyone what Brazil has to offer when it comes to partying, so we arranged for some capoeira dancers to come along to perform (Capoeira is a form of martial arts) during the cocktail parties. We also had a drummers group from one of the School of Samba to come from Carnaval with the “mulatas” to get everyone on the dance floor. And as an important detail, we made sure there were Havaianas flip-flops by the dance floor, so the ladies could kick off their heels and keep on dancing until the early hours. It was unreal!
Image: Capoeira dancers c/o Suzi
OK, we want to hear the truth: how hard was the planning process?
Planning a wedding in Brazil from Singapore was a real nightmare! Not only is there an 11 hours time difference (yep, sleeping during the day, on the phone most of the night), we also weren’t able to be present in Brazil to explain ourselves and show people how we wanted things done.
Brazilians are an amazing people with a great energy and a very laid-back lifestyle – so imagine trying to get people to get their butts off the beach to plan our wedding. Didn’t quite work like that … so 10 weeks before the wedding, we did not have a venue, nor a catering or none of the other VERY important details for the wedding. Stress!
This was when Rob and I decided to fly to Brazil and live there for 10 weeks until the wedding day. We had a couple whom we paid quite a lot (and all in advance – big mistake) to help us as wedding planners but they never really got what we wanted!
Image c/o Suzi
What were some of the absolute worst bits and some of the bits you’d like to re-live?
All the organising for the guest, planning around Carnaval, finding places to see or things to do for everyone was a real piece of cake – the big drama had always been the wedding day. So the actual wedding day was a real stressful day for me, as I saw myself having to check every detail.
The wedding was almost one hour late as the venue wasn’t ready and the wedding planners were again no help. Every bride has something she is obsessed with, and mine was candles! We spent a lot of our budget on candles for the evening… but the wedding planner forgot to light them!
The moment I enjoyed most was seeing Rob making his entire speech in Portuguese (even though he can’t speak a word!). He did such a beautiful speech and it meant so much for me and for my family having him standing there and speaking to all of us in our language. It was very special.
Image: Dance-off featuring the bride herself! c/o Suzi
We love your dress! Who’s it by and what’s the story behind it?
It was the most comfortable dress a bride could ever ask for! The designer is Australian and called Mira Mandic. They do beautiful gowns and they are just the most amazing people on earth – very caring and extremely helpful.
I went to Sydney with Rob for holiday and decided to have a look at some dresses. We had just gotten engaged so I wasn’t so sure about what I wanted, but I knew I wanted some lace details. My mom was in Brazil and none of my bridesmaids live neither in Singapore nor Sydney so I thought I’d give Jane, my mother-in-law (also a mother of three boys!) a little bridal shopping experience.
So we went off to check some stores and I had no expectations on finding my dress in Sydney at all. And there it was… the most beautiful and perfect gown ever and the first dress I tried on! I flew back to Sydney and they made my wedding dress (all handmade!) in 3 fittings and 9 days.
Image: No ordinary aisle, c/o Suzi
Tell us a little about the dancer that both you and your husband were photographed with. What is going on there?
How good are they, right?! We call them “mulatas”, which are the dancers with the Carnaval costumes (the feathers, the glitter, and the very small piece of, errr, sparkly bikini).
They are amazing dancers and they normally come along with the drummers group when you hire a Carnaval drummers group. It was a surprise for our guests. In the middle of the night, when the dance floor was just kicking off, they arrived to entertain us – it was awesome to see everyone’s reactions as most of them had only seen those girls from afar, dancing during the Carnaval parade! But at the wedding, they were able to dance with them! Obviously, the boys were the ones who enjoyed watching them most… can you see why?
Thanks for sharing your lovely wedding, Suzi! Now you’ve got us hankering to party in Brazil!
Image: Rob shows us how it’s done, c/o Suzi