São Paulo's Carnival opens first night of festivities with samba school grand marshal's wedding

Revellers of Camisa Verde e Branco samba school dance during the opening night of parades at the Sambódromo, as part of Carnival celebrations in São Paulo early on February 18, 2012.</p>

Revellers of Camisa Verde e Branco samba school dance during the opening night of parades at the Sambódromo, as part of Carnival celebrations in São Paulo early on February 18, 2012.

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — São Paulo's Carnival celebrations opened with an unexpected twist, with Agnaldo Amaral, 52, grand marshal of the Camisa Verde e Branco samba school, marrying samba dancer and girlfriend of 20 years Cátia Gonçalves, 40, moments before the school kicked off the first day of parading and partying in the famous Anhembi Sambódromo, according to Brazilian news site Jornale.

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Camisa Verde e Branco opened the festivities with a parade performance dedicated to the follies of love, reported Brazilian news site UOL, making the long-awaited wedding with 30,000 witnesses the perfect way to start the show.

But the parade-opener wasn't initially the couple's idea. It was the leaders of their samba school who came up with the plan, since this year's theme made it a perfect match, according to Brazilian news site Terra.

"The idea came from them, but I thought the timing was right. I'm 52 years old, the time has already come and gone," Amaral joked with Terra.

"Now there's no turning back for him," Gonçalves laughed.