When it came to choosing a location for their July nuptials, Caroline Madden, a publicist, and Pedro Rodrigues, a banker, could have easily picked Caroline’s home in Louisiana or a destination wedding in Pedro’s native Brazil. But instead of looking to the past, Caroline says, they decided to focus on the future: a weekend celebration in the Hudson Valley, not far from where the couple lives in New York City.
“The Hudson Valley is a place that we find ourselves escaping to when we need to relax and get away from the hustle of the city,” Caroline says of landing on Troutbeck, a private estate-turned-boutique hotel in Amenia, New York. “We wanted to create a memorable weekend for all of our guests with a mix of rustic charm and timeless elegance.”
The pair tapped the skills of Tara Guérard Soirée to help them combine Southern flair—Caroline is from the South, and Pedro went to college at the University of South Carolina—like a second line and Sazeracs with nods to Brazilian culture, including bossa nova music and bem casados (Brazilian wedding cookies) as favors. The décor allowed the area’s natural beauty to shine by mixing white, soft blue, and green elements for the outdoor garden ceremony and tented reception.
“Being from the South originally myself, I loved that Tara is based in Charleston, but also has an office in New York,” Caroline says. “I knew she would help us seamlessly blend my Southern roots, Pedro's Brazilian heritage, and our love of New York together.”
Where the festivities really shone, though, was the food. The couple had their favorite restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, cater the wedding day, but also threw an equally delicious welcome party with Heirloom Fire. They hosted a rustic, al fresco dining experience alongside a singer/songwriter group to kick off the celebration.
Caroline worked with Tara Guérard Soirée’s sister company, Lettered Olive, on all the weekend’s paper goods. “They were so creative and really took my vision and created something beyond what I could have imagined,” she says.
Caroline, shown at the weekend's welcome party in Lela Rose, and Pedro originally met in New York but realized they shared many common friends since they both had lived in the South. They started dating in 2012, and six years later, Pedro popped the question on a weekend trip to Turks and Caicos. “I love that it happened the first day,” Caroline says of the proposal. “It gave us the chance to truly enjoy being newly engaged and soak in all of the initial excitement that comes with it.”
The couple sought to personalize their wedding with unique food and music choices. This set that tone on the first day, which included hiking, fly fishing, and a food-filled welcome party complete with open-hearth cooking and music by a pair of singer-songwriters.
“We loved how unique and authentic this experience was, and we knew our guests would love to watch them prepare the entire meal right in front of them outside,” Caroline says of hiring Heirloom Fire to create the meal.
On the wedding day, Caroline had breakfast with her parents, which she recalls as one of her favorite moments. “We ended the morning with my dad and I practicing our first dance,” she recalls. “It was such a memorable way to start such a special day.” She then got ready with her mother.
Caroline had her eyes on her Carolina Herrera gown when she saw the bridal collection by designer Wes Gordon debut. Though she tried on other dresses to be sure, she ultimately decided on the strapless floral jacquard column gown with a pleated train.
She accented the gown with a Carolina Herrera tulle veil and a pair of diamond and pearl drop earrings that her parents commissioned specifically for her wedding day. “[They are] something I will cherish for a lifetime,” she adds.
The couple’s collection of nieces and nephews served as children attendants at the wedding, which Caroline says was a hilarious experience to keep them together. Since Pedro’s two nieces only speak Portuguese, they didn’t understand the wedding planner. “I was trying to give them directions in Portuguese, which for me is definitely still a work in progress,” Caroline says with a laugh. “They made it down the aisle to everyone’s amusement.”
The ceremony took place in Troutbeck’s walled garden, where the aisle was flanked with large arrangements of orchids and white French country chairs.
“One thing that I kept pinning over and over again were aisles lined with white delphiniums, so incorporating that was a must,” Caroline says of the ceremony décor. There were also two large urns filled with overflowing branches and white flowers.
Caroline made her grand entrance alongside her father to the traditional wedding song, “Trumpet Voluntary” by Jeremiah Clarke.
Clad in a Tom Ford shawl collar tuxedo and a pair of Cartier cufflinks, Pedro was all smiles as Caroline processed down the aisle.
The couple loves traditional vows, so they opted to stick to the classic words for their ceremony.
With the summer heat, my fingers were swollen. Of course, we both started laughing. I honestly loved this moment (and the photos!) because it was just so real.
“During our ceremony when it came time for Pedro to put the ring on my finger, it wouldn’t fit,” Caroline says. “With the summer heat, my fingers were swollen. Of course, we both started laughing. I honestly loved this moment (and the photos!) because it was just so real.”
The newlyweds shared their first kiss before exiting to another wedding classic, Handel’s “Allegro Maestoso (Hornpipe).” The music was all played by a string quartet.
Caroline admits one of the easiest decisions during wedding planning was hiring their wedding photographer, Jose Villa. “I have admired his work for several years and love the emotion and mood he is able to convey in every photo,’ she says. “I knew he would capture our wedding beautifully.”
“I learned throughout the wedding planning process that it really takes a village to pull it all together,” Caroline says of putting together the weekend of festivities.
Guests wandered to the property’s main lawn for cocktail hour, where Tara Guérard Soirée’s team built a massive bar covered in the same floral linen used on the invitations. They also added bespoke scalloped umbrellas to give shade to the bar and the wrought-iron patio furniture used as a lounge area.
When discussing ways to personalize our wedding, we knew we wanted to focus on the cuisine and music.
As guests listened to bossa nova music, served passed Caipirinhas in honor of Brazil and Sazeracs as a nod to New Orleans. They also offered ten types of hors d’oeuvres, including oysters and Blue Hill at Stone Barns’ signature vegetables.
“When discussing ways to personalize our wedding, we knew we wanted to focus on the cuisine and music,” Caroline says.
The reception’s dinner took place in a sailcloth tent on Troutbeck’s property.
Inside the tent was a romantic, intimate vibe. Chandeliers made of greenery hung from the ceiling while a baby grand piano anchored the space with the evening’s musicians. Guests sat at long tables set with blue and white china, low floral arrangements, taper candles, and blonde wood chairs.
Caroline says that she loved the mix of traditional style, like silver flatware and china, alongside the mid-century modern design seen around the Troutbeck property.
Dinner began with a green garden gazpacho with smoked shrimp and yogurt sorbet. The menu also featured cavatelli with corn and mushrooms, short rib beef with a zucchini marmalade—and, for late-night, brisket sliders and parmesan fries.
After the dinner party, Caroline surprised Pedro with one of his favorite traditions: a second line. They danced to Troutbeck’s ballroom, which was set for a rowdy dance party including a live band, Élan Artist's Ground Control, and DJ Fabian Balino, who spun Brazilian funk music until 2 a.m.
After the wedding, the couple set off for a honeymoon in South Africa. There, they visited Cape Town and wine country before going on safari near Kruger National Park.
Event Planning & Floral Design Tara Guérard Soirée
Officiant Rev. Brian Mercer
Bridal Gown & Veil Carolina Herrera
Shoes Jimmy Choo
Bridal Stylist A Stylish Bride
Hair Patrick Navarro
Makeup Haney Evans
Bridesmaid Dresses Amsale
Mother of the Bride Dress Monique Lhuillier
Groom’s Attire Tom Ford
Groomsmen Attire The Black Tux
Flower Girl Attire Pepa & Co.
Wedding Bands Cartier
Stationery Lettered Olive
Catering Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Cake Nine Cakes
Favors Brigadeiro Bakery
Videography East West Productions
Photography Jose Villa