Brazilians say ‘I do’ at drive-thru weddings to avoid virus

Brazilians say ‘I do’ at drive-thru weddings to avoid virus

RIO DE JANEIRO — For João Blank and Erica Blank’s first kiss as husband and wife, they didn’t lock lips. The couple could only press their face masks together while sitting in the back of a hatchback, where they had just been wed.

A Brazilian notary public hovering outside the car presided over Thursday’s ceremony.

The drive-thru marriage perhaps wasn’t the romantic vision the Blanks had imagined, but it is one of few possibilities in the era of the new coronavirus.

People have begun turning to this unconventional union at a notary in Santa Cruz, a neighbourhood on the western outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, since the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus started battering Brazil. On Thursday alone, 15 couples were married at its drive-thru.

“We’re very happy because we didn’t think we wedding date would come so soon,” said Erica Blank, 24, who works in a pet shop. “We found out a week ago that we would get married and it was so good!”

Rio de Janeiro state is Brazil’s second hardest-hit state by the pandemic, with nearly 45,000 people infected, according to the official tally. Experts say that is a significant undercount due to lack of testing. There have been almost 5,000 deaths.

Because most states have prohibited large gatherings in their effort to curb the spread of the virus, many Brazilians have been forced to delay traditional wedding ceremonies or seek safe alternatives.

Rio and at least six other states have enacted regulations allowing matrimony via video conferences. In Sao Paulo, a notary public can visit couples in their homes so they can sign all requisite documents before such weddings.

But the notary in Santa Cruz is the only one that has created a drive-thru, according to Brazil’s national association of civil registrations.

The ceremony lasts about five minutes, with couples reading their vows, exchanging rings and sealing it with a kiss.

Couples are choosing the drive-thru ceremony for several reasons, said Alessandra Lapoente, the notary who officiated at the Blank wedding.

In most cases, a couple had set a date but their ceremony was torpedoed by the pandemic. They prefer to go through with the wedding instead of lingering in limbo, unsure of when a traditional ceremony might be possible.

Others want quick access to their partner’s health insurance plan — a hot commodity in the midst of a pandemic, Lapoente said.

“We saw the need to create a way to hold a safe celebration that was fast and within regulations,” Lapoente said. “We made the ceremony brief, but with all the requirements, and everyone leaves happy.”

Their ceremony completed, the Blanks happily drove away. Three more cars waited in a line, each with couples awaiting their turn to say “I do.”

By Marcelo De Sousa And Mario Lobao, The Associated Press

Weddings

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer up to four active COVID-19 cases

Province announced 77 new confirmed cases across Alberta Friday

Red Deer woman loses student visa, ‘has no choice but to leave’ Canada

Victoria Forschle and her family came to Canada in 2008

Agriculture trade show is a must, says Red Deer chamber

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce promotes trade show

$21M of improvements to be made to Olds College

More than $21 million in improvements will be made to Olds College,… Continue reading

Canadian economy adds 953,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate falls

OTTAWA — Nearly one million more Canadians had jobs in June than… Continue reading

Survey suggests 40 per cent of Alberta doctors have considered leaving province

CALGARY — A survey by the Alberta Medical Association suggests more than… Continue reading

NHL, NHLPA ratify RTP, CBA extension; Toronto, Edmonton unveiled as hub cities

TORONTO — The NHL remains on course to resume its pandemic-delayed season… Continue reading

Fast-moving Tropical Storm Fay makes landfall in New Jersey

NEW YORK — Fast-moving Tropical Storm Fay made landfall in New Jersey… Continue reading

‘Are you wearing protection?’: Daters struggle with COVID-19 compatibility

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Baltimore on Friday struck down a… Continue reading

Red Deer sports groups sticking to racially sensitive names for now

Professional sports teams Edmonton Eskimos and Washington Redskins are reviewing their team names

Genetic non-discrimination law is constitutional, Supreme Court says

OTTAWA — In a split decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has… Continue reading

Most Read