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This Brazilian Wedding Reception Lasted 10 Hours at The Bride’s Great-Grandfather’s Brickyard-Turned Art Institute

By Elle Cashin | Photography by 

Flora Pimentel, Bá Rosalinski,Lucas Bori, Lucas Martinelli, Vinicius Rocha, Mari Leite and Bossa

|Planning by 

Ana Peixoto

Maria Cecilia Brennand Campos and Pedro Henrique Prado Berto met at a mutual friend’s birthday party on the last day before Brazil shut down due to the pandemic and used the unexpected time to get to know one another. They quickly fell in love. A little more than a year later, they formed a civil union for legal purposes—which inadvertently sparked the idea of a wedding. 

“There was no proposal!” Maria Cecilia says. “I got promoted at work and had excellent health insurance, so I asked Pino if he wanted to do ‘união estável,’ or stable union, which is one level below official marriage in Brazil but gives you the same benefits.” The day they signed the paperwork, they sent a picture around to friends. “Everyone was so psyched and wanted us to throw a party, so that’s when the wedding idea was born.” They planned their party in Pernambuco in six months; three months out, Pedro presented Maria Cecilia with a simple gold band over breakfast. 

For two people who never envisioned their wedding, Maria Cecilia and Pedro had the perfect set of vendors at their fingertips—friends and loved ones who excel in artistic pursuits of all kinds, going back generations. My great-grandfather owned a brickyard that functioned as a factory in the early 1900s; his son Francisco was an artist working with ceramics in the ’60s and worked out of the space,” Maria Cecilia says. “Shortly before he passed away in 2019, he turned it into an art institute with educational, cultural, and social programs.” The bride has spent time there since she was a little girl; and it proved to be the perfect location for their wedding. “I revisited the space with Pino and my friend Pedro Igor from Arara Inc., who does the most beautiful cultural events in Brazil. He helped us bring the ideas we had in our heads to life.” They also enlisted a local planner, Ana Peixoto, and tapped Maria Cecilia’s mom for support. 

The artistic venue set the tone. “The aesthetic was influenced by Francisco’s work,” Maria Cecilia says; they even incorporated pieces from his utilitarian homeware line, which is still sold commercially by the institute. There would be a lot of beauty to capture. “We have a lot of friends who are talented photographers, so [in addition to our] official wedding ceremony photographer, Flora Pimentel, they each did their own photos throughout the three days as a gift to us,” Maria Cecilia says. Among the photogs were Bá Rosalinski, Lucas Bori, Lucas Martinelli, Vinicius Rocha, Mari Leite, and Bossa.

“I always wanted to wear Vivienne Westwood,” Maria Cecilia says. Though there wasn’t enough time to have a gown made, it was meant to be. “Two months before the wedding, I was in New York and decided to pop by the Vivienne store,” the bride shares. “They happened to have a dress in my size off the rack. When I tried it on, I just felt it. I had zero alterations done.”

For the church ceremony, stylist Antonio Frajado sourced an oversized feather hat; “a traditional veil wasn’t right; I wanted something more interesting,” Maria Cecilia says. Suy Abreu and Natália Brown created gelled finger waves in Maria Cecilia’s hair and kept makeup natural and minimal. “For dinner and the party, I took off the hat and put on a shell and straw headpiece that my friend and one of my favorite designers, Julia Gastin, made for me,” Maria Ceciliasays. She changed into a custom party dress designed and created by her friend Helo Rocha.

Pedro wore a double-breasted navy suit from Suitsupply and, as for everyone else, “the dress code read, ‘It will be hot, and we’ll be dancing all night on grass,’” Maria Cecilia says. “People interpreted that in all sorts of ways; our friends have great style and looked so fabulous.”

When Maria Cecilia arrived at the Paulo Mendes da Rocha–built church for the ceremony on Jan. 27, 2023—“a hot, sunny day during high summer in Brazil,” she adds—she thought her guests hadn’t made it. “The church only fits 140 people seated, and we had almost 500 guests,” she recalls. “So when I didn’t see many people standing outside, I assumed only a few had made it on time. When I walked in and found every single person there, standing, sitting on each other’s laps, and on the stairs, I was in total shock.” Then, everyone started clapping. 

The music began: Pino, a DJ and record collector, led music selections. “He has the best taste in and knowledge about Brazilian music,” Maria Cecilia says. “We chose to have music from one single accordionist, who played only Brazilian songs.”

Following the surreal ceremony, an outdoor reception was brought to life thanks to more artists in the couple’s circle. “My sister-in-law, Clareana Colaço, did all the decoration,” Maria Cecilia says. “She works with a florist called Ronaldo at Cena de Hoje. My friend Raphael Tepedino made more than 100 candles shaped like vases that lit up dinner tables and the whole space as the sun went down.” She continues: “One of the best artists we hired was lighting designer and visual artist Julio Parente; he took the spaces to a whole other level.”

The reception began with a performance by Lia de Itamaracá and her band, the very first vendor the couple had booked. “After Lia sang, we had an early sunset dinner, and in true Brazilian fashion, there was no seating, with people standing all over the place chatting, drinking, and eating,” Maria Cecilia explains. Chefs Thiago das Chagas and Rapha Vasconcellos collaborated on an incredible meal that went way beyond wedding food. “It was one of the best things about the whole weekend.”

The cake was another artistic vision. “Our cake was a collaboration between my friends Gabriella Garcia, who is an artist, and Cafira, who is a chef from Piauí,” the bride explains. “They executed the cake with Lucinha Cascao, who is now a pastry chef but was also the first teacher I ever had in school—such a full-circle moment.” The result was a whimsical creation adorned with curvy florals and cut figs.  

We didn’t have a first dance but went straight to dance-floor mode,” Maria Cecilia says. “About 15 of Pino’s DJ friends played throughout the weekend, including DJ Fachinetti, Ubunto, Mario Golden Goat, Omoloko, and Orazio Rispo. Orazio was there on that first day at the courthouse in Rio when we got hitched for joint health insurance.” The groom even performed, alongside Gui Scott under the Discos Baratos name. 

“The reception went on for 10 hours,” Maria Cecilia says. “The music had to be turned off so people would go to sleep and be up for the third day, which was another dance floor by the beach.”