Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil mass wedding: Low-income couples marry in Rio

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWendy Urquhart reports on the mass wedding in Rio de Janeiro

Nearly 2,000 Brazilian couples have got married at an indoors sports venue in Rio de Janeiro, in the biggest mass wedding in the city's history.

The annual event, promoted by the local authorities, is aimed at helping low-income couples who cannot afford to pay for a wedding.

The authorities in Rio booked special commuter trains for the couples and their guests.

An estimated 12,000 people attended the ceremony at the Maracanazinho arena.

Couples with a monthly family income of up to $1,000 (£640) were allowed to take part.

Volunteer civil judges presided over the ceremony.

Couples were also blessed by a Roman Catholic bishop and a Christian evangelical pastor.

The event has been named "Dia do Sim", or "I Do Day".

Many of the couples had been living together for many years.

"We got up at 06:00. There are so many people and I think we will be here for a while, but I'm very happy," Emerson Moraes, 34, told O Globo newspaper.

Mr Moraes has been with Ana Rosangela Azevedo, 31, since 2010 and earlier this year they decided to formalise their relationship.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Some brides had waited for many years to finally tie the knot
Image copyright AP
Image caption Many of the couples took their children to the ceremony
Image copyright AP
Image caption The couples were blessed by a Catholic bishop and a Christian evangelical pastor
Image copyright AP
Image caption The Maracanazinho arena - next to the Maracana stadium - will host key events at the 2016 Olympics

More on this story