Real bespoke bride Sophie at her elegant wedding in Brazil

In her own words, our gorgeous real bespoke bride Sophie tells the story of her November wedding to Diego in Brazil.

“…Diego and I had our wedding in a small colonial town named Paraty which is in the state of Rio de Janeiro and approximately half way between Sao Paulo and the city of Rio.

Paraty is part of the Green Coast which is also known as the Brazilian Riviera. It is a coastal town that runs along the edge of the rainforest and most popular for producing the famous Cachaca which is the main ingredient for the drink Caipirinha. The town is cobbled and the coast has 365 small islands – one for every day of the year!

I wanted to have a traditional catholic wedding ceremony in a church and we stumbled across a beautiful chapel named Chapel of our Lady of the Conception which was designed and built for the women of Paraty. The chapel faces the sea and only seats 70 people so this was a perfect choice for our close friends and family.

We were also lucky enough to find a bilingual Priest who was originally from Scotland and he agreed to travel to Paraty and conduct our wedding ceremony in both English and Portuguese. As it was the day after Black Friday he called it a two for one wedding ceremony!

The reception was at the Pousada Enseada do Jatoba which is located about 10 minutes from the chapel. It is a traditional colonial house built amongst the rainforest and set on the edge of an inlet of water.

For the theme of the wedding I wanted to maintain the same level of elegance that we associate with a typical church wedding, and we also reflected this in the classic style of the invitations themselves.

For the chapel I wanted to preserve the rustic feel of the interior, with just white flowers and candles inside the church which I really loved because it was simple, elegant and respectful to the interior.

Our decorator managed to source English roses for me that were so beautiful and elegant.

The decoration for the venue was a little more elaborate!

Due to the location of the venue it was immediately clear that any sort of typical wedding flower arrangements would be simply lost amongst the trees and foliage of the rainforest so they set about incorporating the surroundings into the flowers.

I chose the orange colour because this is an absolute favourite colour of mine and they also incorporated this into the theme. If you look closely at the flowers and decoration you will see that they represent the sea and the rainforest. There are also English roses for me and Brazilian orchids for Diego.

I wanted to have an alternative to a guest book and discovered the idea of having a Wish Tree. This was really successful and all of the guests wrote on the cards and then hung them on the tree which slowly became more and more full as the evening went on.

I really like the idea of having past pictures for guests to look at I found the idea of ‘Walk our Story’. This was simply string tied amongst the trees with photographs pegged up as well as pictures in frames and tied to the tree trunks.

In Brazil it is tradition for the wedding cake to be placed on a table and elaborately decorated with flowers and a large selection of bite sized sweets, cakes and candies.

The Portmeirion tea cups were borrowed from my mum!

We were conscious that the cake would be outside all day and therefore accepted the advice from the cake company and had a fake cake displayed and then just cutting bars of cake for people to eat in the evening. The chocolate Havianna flip flops were chosen by Diego and were eaten throughout the night.

For the wedding favours I chose Brazilian soaps for the ladies which I put into little brown bags and Diego chose miniature bottles of cachaca for the men.

A tradition in Brazil is for guests to leave with a Bem Casado which interprets to just married cake, these were placed by the favours for people to take.

Our welcome drinks were Pimms and create your own Caipirinhas.

For dinner we had four courses and a trio of desserts including apple pie and custard!

In the evening we wanted to utilise the BBQ grill that was at the venue and chose to have ‘create your own burgers’ and a ‘create your own ice cream sundae’ bar.

THE DRESS!!!!!!!!!
When I began thinking about my dress I knew I wanted to have the following elements:

– 1920’s style skirt

– Silky material that was creamy rather than white

– Corset top with buttons at the back

– Not too much bling

I knew I wanted to have Caroline make my dress after watching her create my sister’s beautiful gown and was so happy that she agreed to make it for me.

On our first appointment I tried on the skirt that fitted my preference and the corset top that suited my shape the most. I also chose the type of silk and the colour from the swatches that Caroline had in her studio.

We then experimented with the top using some fabric that Caroline had, and agreed that this would be a work in progress that we would continue to develop.

When I went for my appointment with Caroline she presented me with a roll of the most beautiful silk tulle that she described as being a ‘wisp of smoke’ and I knew this would be perfect.

We then developed the idea of using this silk tulle as a skirt to go over the dress during the day and that could be removed for the evening reception.

When we began discussing the veil I noticed a beautiful veil that was hanging on the mirror and tried it on. It had beautiful crystals discreetly scattered all over it which I loved. Caroline then suggested that we could ask the veil company to apply these crystals to the top of my dress and also if they would make the veil from the silk tulle so it would match…after a few days of thinking this would be too good to be true I received an email from Caroline saying this would be possible!

Caroline also assured me that three layers of skirt would ensure it would not be see through!

For the third appointment I tried on my dress and veil and they were perfect! We had added some crystals to the bottom of the bow tails to weigh them down and also a loop inside the skirt so I would be able to hold up the train easily.

I also chose to have the bustle looped to the corset button so it would be easier to move in the evening.

Caroline then made some last adjustments to the hip area and my dress was ready!

I paired the dress with a pair of Rainbow Club Maryjane shoes and a hair vine.

The day of the wedding came and putting on my dress that had been created and made especially for me was a dream come true!

After the speeches and before the evening music started I removed the veil and tulle skirt and bustled up the back, people were shocked when they saw me again and I had to convince them it was the same dress!…”

thank you, Sophie, for this BEAUTIFUL and eloquent guest blog, and for sharing your amazing wedding photos – it was a dream to make your wedding dress for you, just as it was when I made your sister Katie’s gown, much love, Caro xx

Bespoke wedding dress by Caroline Arthur

Veil and tulle picot edging on gown upper part by Joyce Jackson

Diego’s wedding outfit was by Hugo Boss

Hair vine: White Designs Bespoke Bridal Adornments

Shoes: Rainbow Club

Venue: Pousada Enseada do Jatoba, Paraty

Planner: Stefanie Belo:

Catering: Paulo:

Decoration and Flowers: Fred and Marcio:

Cake: Ana Luiza:


Photographer: Gustavo Gaiote:

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© Copyright Caroline Arthur 2020