This Bougainvillea-Filled Brazilian Wedding Put Music and Guest Experience First

The groom even took over the DJ booth.

Bride in strapless gown and veil carrying pink bouquet next to groom in navy tuxedo sitting in chair in front of tropical plants

Photo by Heather Waraksa

If you asked Carolina Favero Braga if she would end up with Freud Milice as she began her emergency room rotation in 2015, her answer would likely be a resounding no. The twosome worked alongside each other for two weeks at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn when she was a medical school student and he was a resident. As Carolina puts it, their courtship wasn’t exactly love at first sight. “I was skeptical of his big personality and braggadocios behavior,” Carolina admits. “On our first few days working together, he told me he loved house parties, red wine, and older women. Eye roll.”

But, in a plot twist of romantic comedy proportions, Freud managed to get Carolina’s number and would text her after every shift—and even when she traveled to Florida. “On the day I was returning to New York, he knew I was anxious about flying, and sent me Angus and Julia Stone’s ‘Big Jet Plane’ single to keep me calm throughout the flight. When I landed at JFK, he surprised me and was waiting at baggage claim. Five days later, we went on our first official date. As they say, the rest is history.”

Fast-forward to June 5, 2020, when the couple was taking a socially distanced trip to the Catskills. As physicians, both Carolina and Freud were on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic and took a well-deserved vacation once restrictions began to loosen. “When we arrived, the hotel staff recommended a walk in the garden prior to dinner,” she shares. “We got ready and while walking the garden, Freud got down on one knee. I am sure he had more to say but all I remember is, ‘Will you marry me?’” The answer? A resounding yes.

When it came to planning their September 3, 2022, wedding, the couple wanted their special day to highlight the bride’s Brazilian background and the groom’s Haitian roots. They enlisted wedding planner Nathalie Cadet-James of Luxe Fete, who had the perfect spot in mind: Itapororoca Villa in Trancoso, Brazil. “There is the essence of West Africa in this rustic Brazilian beach town,” the bride explains. “With its scenic backdrops and rich culture, we knew this was the perfect place to share our love story with family and friends.”

With 80 of their closest friends and family members in attendance, their destination was a beautiful representation of Carolina and Freud in every way imaginable. “As an interracial couple, it was important for us to highlight our different backgrounds,” the bride shares. “Nathalie is Haitian-American, and she really understood who we were as individuals, but also as a couple. Her excitement to celebrate our love story was noticeable from before we even officially hired her.” Read on for an intimate look at Carolina and Freud’s wedding festivities, as photographed by Heather Waraksa.

Wedding invitation suite with white invitations with a pink border, an illustrated map, pink flowers, and greenery

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Carolina and Freud didn’t have to look too far for wedding inspiration. Elements of Trancoso’s seaside beauty were woven throughout the weekend. From watercolor illustrations to magenta accents that pay tribute to the local bougainvillea flowers, the invitation suite from LetterHeads Miami gave guests the perfect glimpse of what was to come.

Bride in white two-piece set and groom in white shirt and shorts on horses on the beach

Photo by Heather Waraksa

The couple kicked off the festivities with a beach party the night before the wedding. Carolina stunned in a white dress from Farm Rio, while Freud looked effortlessly elegant in a white button-down from Peter Millar and matching shorts.

Guests at wedding white party on the beach of Trancoso, Brazil

Photo by Heather Waraksa

“Our wedding [weekend] didn’t have a traditional timeline,” the bride shares. “We had our maid of honor and best man make their speeches during the welcome party so they could enjoy themselves. We know the effort it took for our guests to celebrate with us and we wanted them to enjoy themselves to the fullest.”

Bride in white robe and bun gets ready in a hotel room with her wedding dress hung at the window

Photo by Heather Waraksa

I don’t know how to describe it, but I knew the dress was made for me.

Brunette bride in a bun and a Valentina Spose strapless gown on staircase in the jungle

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Come the wedding day, the bride wore a strapless gown from Valentini Spose, which beautifully fulfilled her “clean and timeless vision.” She shares, “I truly believed that this was my day and wanted to wear something that made me feel spectacular. I was also three months postpartum when I started shopping for a wedding dress, so it was important for me to feel confident in it." Carolina adds, "I don’t know how to describe it, but I knew the dress was made for me.”

Brunette bride in bun with drop diamond earrings and strapless gown

Photo by Heather Waraksa

When it came to accessorizing her gown, Carolina knew she wanted to support women-owned businesses. She opted for a veil by Jennifer Leigh Couture Veils, Julia Vaughn jewelry, and a special pair of shoes from Brother Vellies. “During the beginning of the pandemic, I followed [Brother Vellies founder] Aurora James on Instagram,” Carolina explains. “It had to be fate that [she] designed a bridal shoe line for HBO’s Insecure. I texted Nathalie and the team and said, ‘I know I don’t have a dress yet, but I know this is the shoe.’ So, I actually bought my bridal shoes before I had a dress!”

Groom with beard in navy tuxedo with bowtie and pink boutonniere

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Meanwhile, the groom suited up in a custom navy tuxedo from Suitsupply. Rounding out the look was a tie from Tom FordHermès shoes, and his everyday accessories. “Freud wore his watch and a bracelet which was engraved with his daughter’s name,” Carolina adds.

Bride in strapless gown and veil holding a bouquet does a first look with a groom in a navy tuxedo against tropical plants

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Groom in navy tuxedo kisses the hand of bride in strapless dress, bun, and drop earrings on staircase

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Prior to the ceremony, the couple had an “intimate and emotional” first look. “We wanted to have a moment between us before sharing ‘us’ with everyone else,” the groom explains.

Wedding drinks cart with glass water containers, green and clear glassware, and coconuts with the couple's initials

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Carved coconuts with the couple's initials "C+F" printed on top

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Upon arrival, guests could grab some water, local juices, or a monogrammed coconut as they listened to a soothing setlist from the string quartet group Quarteto De Cordas de Trancoso.

Wedding ceremony setup at Brazilian beach with benches, a wooden altar decorated with bougainvillea, and palm trees

Photo by Heather Waraksa

“Our ceremony was on the beach underneath coconut trees with a wooden altar decorated with bougainvillea,” the bride shares. “It was very simple, but elegant at the same time.” The view of the ocean was a welcomed bonus.

Bride in strapless dress and veil with a bouquet walks down aisle on the arm of her father in a suit

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Carolina glided down the aisle to Felix Mendelssohn’s “Marcha Nupcial,” with her father and a bouquet of local flowers in tow.

Bride in strapless dress and groom in navy tuxedo exchange vows at wedding ceremony under bougainvillea altar on the beach

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Freud spent months writing his vows during his night shifts, promising to “be present, to be here next week, next month, next year, and the year after that.” Meanwhile, Carolina performed a song she often sings to their daughter at night. Her favorite lyrics: “I love you in the morning, and in the afternoon. I love you in the evening, and underneath the moon.”

Bride in strapless gown and groom in tuxedo kiss under bougainvillea at wedding ceremony

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Bride in strapless dress and groom in tuxedo celebrate at wedding ceremony with best man and maid of honor by their sides

Photo by Heather Waraksa

The newlyweds slipped on their wedding bands from Boccardo Jewelers, shared a kiss, and recessed down the aisle to Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.”

Bride in strapless dress and groom in tuxedo kiss on the sand of a beach

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Make time to enjoy special moments with each other. It goes by so fast!

Bride and groom throw bouquet in the air into the ocean at their Brazil wedding

Photo by Heather Waraksa

After the ceremony, Carolina and Freud snuck away to take some pictures with photographer Heather Waraksa. “​​Make time to enjoy special moments with each other,” the couple recommends. “It goes by so fast!”

Wedding dessert table with floating trays surrounded by bougainvillea and hanging light bulbs

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Long wood reception table with wood chairs, hanging woven lanterns, and bougainvillea along beam

Photo by Heather Waraksa

“Our reception decor is what [our florist] Katia Criscuolo calls 'brasilidade sofisticada'—or 'sophisticated Brazilianness,'” Carolina shares. “She incorporated local materials and tones in the lighting, linens, and place setting. There was one long table in the reception area with no assigned seating, which was to be decorated with magenta flowers among greenery.” The bride’s favorite area was the dessert room—a bougainvillea-adorned space that displayed “hundreds of sweets” on floating trays.

Wedding lounge area outdoors with cane curved seating, tables, ottomans, and candles in lanterns

Photo by Heather Waraksa

If guests were craving fresh air, they could hang out in one of the venue’s chill outdoor seating areas.

Bride and groom embrace during their first dance

Photo by Heather Waraksa

True to their love story, Carolina and Freud shared a sweet first dance to Angus and Julia Stone’s “Big Jet Plane.”

Bride in strapless dress and groom in tuxedo kiss next to their four-tier white cake with cascading red and purple flowers with bougainvillea behind

Photo by Heather Waraksa

While the newlyweds opted for a buffet style of local Bahian-inspired food—courtesy of O Cacau—they tapped Confet Doceria to whip up a four-tiered cake. “We had two different flavors. One layer was white cake with brigadeiro filling, [which is a traditional Brazilian dessert],” the bride explains. “The other layers were white cake with dulce de leche filling.”

Groom in tuxedo at the DJ booth with the bride as she holds her daughter in a white romper

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Guests hold out the fabric of the bride's strapless wedding dress on the dance floor

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Since Carolina and Freud love music—they have a shared fondness of hip-hop—they wanted to find a DJ who understood their taste. “We worked closely with our DJ, Nath Carreiro, to play music that played significant parts in our lives both as individuals and as a couple,” the groom notes. "We shared with her Spotify playlists for both the welcome party and the wedding. DJ Nath was a smashing success!" In fact, the newlyweds even infiltrated the DJ booth during the evening with their daughter, Celine.

Bride and groom dance at the center of the dance floor as guests applaud

Photo by Heather Waraksa

“We were on the dance floor for most of the wedding,” Freud explains. But, according to the couple, guests left the event with more than some new dance moves. “Because many of our friends had never been to Brazil before, we focused a high level of detail on the experience that our guests would have,” Carolina shares. “Freud created a WhatsApp group with all the guests as a way for everyone to connect a few weeks prior to the wedding. Our guests were able to get to know each other and it made it even more special on the wedding day. The group is still going strong to this day!” Whether it’s an inner circle or excellent vendors, no love story is complete without the people cheering you on along the way.

Wedding Team

Ceremony and Reception Venue Itapororoca Villa

Wedding Planner Nathalie Cadet-James of Luxe Fete Event Planning and Design Studio with local support by Paloma Horta

Bridal Gown Designer Valentini Spose 

Bride’s Veil Jennifer Leigh Couture Veils 

Stylist Juliana Fish from Persona Consultoria de Imagem 

Bride’s Jewelry Julia Vaughn

Bride’s Shoes Brother Vellies

Bride’s Hair and Makeup Nathan Cruz

Bride’s Welcome Party Attire Farm Rio  

Maid of Honor Dress Birdy Grey  

Flower Girl Attire Pearl Dress Boutique

Groom’s Attire Suitsupply

Groom’s Welcome Party Attire Peter Millar  

Wedding Bands Boccardo Jewelers 

Floral Design Congrega Bahia Eventos  

Invitations LetterHeads Miami  

Paper Products LetterHeads Miami  

Ceremony and Reception Music Rastropop  

Catering O Cacau 

Cake Confet Doceria

Rentals Congrega Bahia Eventos  

Favors Confet Doceria 

Transportation Agencia de Turismo Carlos Tur 

Accommodations and Welcome Party Uxua Casa Hotel and Spa

Videography Pascal Dele

Photography Heather Waraksa

Tent, AV, and Lighting TR2 Producoes e Eventos

Local Event Advisor Rockstage Producoes

Band Virou Bahia 

Ceremony String Quartet Quarteto De Cordas de Trancoso

Welcome Party African Drummer Banda Africanidade 

Bar Services Help Bar  

Champagne Distributor and Importer Ravin

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