How to Elope in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Updated: Jan 20
If you're looking for places to elope, check out Rio de Janeiro! The city has everything; a world wonder, tropical mountainous terrain, long sandy beaches, baroque churches, candy-colored bohemian neighborhoods, and streets lined with palm trees. Even the most traveled person could not fall victim to it, capturing a place in your heart.
Getting married in Rio de Janeiro might be the best decision (after deciding to get married, of course) that you will ever make.
Where is Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is a municipality in Brazil that sits seaside boarding the South Atlantic Ocean.
Say I do with views are to die for
Rio is a huge glorious canvas. From dawn till dusk, the viewpoints across the city are jaw-droppingly beautiful. The iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue are the main viewpoints you may be familiar with. But, there are so many more to see, such as Vista Chinesa to Mirante Donna Marta. When in Rio, you are forever chasing sunsets, from high up in the clouds to sea level, drinking a beer by the waterside in Urca.
An insider tip: some of the most captivating views of Rio are from across the bay in Niteroi. I recommend going to City Park.
There are so many beautiful views you will find it challenging to choose which ones to use for your wedding photos to treasure forever.
Have your ceremony on the beach!
The famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana that we are used to seeing flashing across our screen are just the tip of the iceberg. You could have a different beach wedding photo for every day of your trip! If you are looking for wild more desolate beaches than the beaches in the West Zone of Rio is for you. All you need is to take an Uber to get to a succession of beautiful beaches called Grumari, Praia Secreto, and Prainha.
For the couple that loves nature
Rio is the only city in the world with an Urban Rain Forrest 'Tijuca national park' which is interwoven into the city. Here you can hike to Pico da Tijuca, the highest point of the city, bathe in waterfalls and see monkeys.
There are some fantastic hikes throughout Rio for all levels of difficulty. The Two Brothers hike, which are the mountains you can see from Ipanema beach, starts at the top of Vidigal favela. Take a moto to the hiking point, which is so much fun and completely safe.
For the more adventurous, there is Pedra da Gavea. The views are well earned as part of the hike is climbing a cliff face with an option to abseil back down. The most leisurely hike but by no means less beautiful is the 30-minute hike to Pedra Bonita.
It is home to the 'Taj Mahal' of South America
Parque Lage is a shining green emerald in Rio's crown. The mansion sits among tropical jungle at the base, with a backdrop of the Christ statue with an open-air turquoise pool in the center. The palace was built in the act of love by the famous industrialist Henrique Lage for his wife, the Italian singer Gabriella Besanzoni. The mansion was notably featured in the 2003 music video for Snoop Dogg's single "Beautiful". You can also get married here!
Insider tip: Confeitaria Columbo in Centro is built in Art Nouveau style from the turn of the century (19th) designed like a classic French cafe with huge mirrors along the perimeter of the building. You are also able to hire out the upstairs of the venue. The perfect place for the wedding breakfast, perhaps?
Carnival for the fun-loving couple
Rio is a vibrant, happy, and lively city, but carnival is the time that Rio is in bloom. There is a child-like playfulness in the air during this time. The city comes together for one week between February and March (however, there are many pre-carnival parties) of non-stop parties all across the city. It's truly a magical time. The streets are bursting with people in costume with glitter and feathers as far as the eye can see.
I recommend going to the Samba Dome to watch the world's best dance show, the official carnival parade. This is where the samba schools of Rio come to compete against one another, with each school using hundreds of dancers in costumes and floats to a theme. It is truly spectacular. You can buy tickets for camote, a VIP area, and stay there all day with food and drinks. You can even take part in one of the parades and walk with your chosen school in costume.
So here's the not so exciting but essential part about marriage laws in Brazil. You will need to register your intent to marry in Brazil, and you would also need to register the marriage; this is not the same as registering the intention to marry, but a separate step. Following registration of the marriage at a cartorio in the city, a marriage license will be issued; this may take up to 30 days. After the permit is given, it will be valid for three months. You may legally marry during this period.
Alternatively, you can have a religious ceremony in Rio and then marry legally in a registered office in your home country. Getting the paperwork done ahead of time is what I recommend. Take care of the paperwork at home and say your vows in beautiful Rio de Janeiro without the stress. If you're from the United States, check with your state for their laws first.
Where to stay
Rio has a fantastic choice of large hotels running along the beachfront from Copacabana to Ipanema. The Belmond Copacabana Palace has been a go-to hotel for the Brazilian elite for over a century and has many top restaurants on site. The Fasano in Ipanema is the place to see and be seen with to die for views over Ipanema beach.
A chic choice is Mama Ruisa, a boutique hotel in the hills in Santa Teresa. It is oozing with colonial charm and stylish Brazilian architecture. For a piece of Brazilian intimate elegance La Suite by Dussol has an infinity pool set into the hillside of Joá.
-You can Uber all over the city it is cheap and practical.
-Avoid wearing gold jewelry and obvious expensive items on the street and beaches.
-People dress very relaxed during the day. You can wear flip-flops anywhere!
-Brazil has an excellent card payment system; there is no need to take out and carry significant amounts of money.
If you are looking to get married in a city that combines lush green tropical vegetation, waterfalls, golden beaches, stunning colonial architecture, and iconic parties, look no further than Rio de Janeiro. You and your partner will always find an excuse to keep coming back. I promise you.
Are you looking for places to elope? Check out these other great locations! Have a destination elopement in Italy, Bali, South Africa, Tunisia, or Santorini, Greece! If you're looking for a destination in the United States check out places to elope in Colorado or Washington State.
This blogpost was guest written by Nikola Radley. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us Nikola!