At a mutual friend’s New Year’s Eve party, Mariana Barreto, a buyer at Bloomingdale’s, spotted Nicholas Barr, director of digital sales at NBCUniversal, and told her friend that she would date him one day. “At the time, he had a girlfriend, but fast-forward four years later, and I was right!” Mariana says. After seeing each other for five years, Nick proposed with 30,000 rose petals at his family’s house in Upstate New York.
Even though she was raised in New York, the South Carolina Lowcountry feels like home to Mariana, and Palmetto Bluff (where Hailey and Justin Bieber also got married) is her family’s happy place. Once booked, the couple worked with florist Katelyn Pinner Studio to accentuate the already beautiful landscape with lush white blooms, greenery with natural raffia, and wood accents. Mariana’s aunt collaborated with Bespoke Designs to create the invitations and day-of stationery, and to help design and plan out the whole weekend, they hired Kristin Doggett of Bellafare.
For their rehearsal dinner, they took a literal approach to celebrating the Bluff by throwing a Lowcountry boil. “Guests arrived on trolleys and were welcomed with oyster shell place cards, the famous Little Brown Wagon bourbon cart, and an authentic oyster roast,” the bride says. To greet her guests, Mariana wore a Markarian silk slip dress with jewel accents, that she immediately fell in love with when she saw it.
The search for her wedding dress wasn’t as easy as finding her rehearsal dinner look. She went into her first appointment with Christopher Maldarella (@theguyatsaks) at Saks, the shop’s first male bridal stylist, and by her second, she had completely deviated from what she thought she wanted. The one non-negotiable was that she wanted something that wasn’t like everything she was consuming on her Instagram feed, and Mira Zwillinger fit the bill. “The minute I put on the Odessa, I knew it was the one. As it turns out, it truly was one-of-a-kind; it was and will be the only one made!” the bride says.
On the day of, the groom wore a Ralph Lauren Purple Label tux, Cartier cufflinks, which were Mariana’ s wedding gift to him, and a Rolex watch, given to him by his new parents-in-law. Bridesmaids were told to choose “happy colors” when selecting their dresses, and they ended up perfectly wearing a mix of florals and solids in pastel shades. “Everything came together, when my sister found an Erdem stunner, a navy embroidered gown with blush lining, and became my something blue,” the bride says.
On the chapel lawn, with a backdrop of the May River, the bride and her father walked down the aisle, which was lined with a runner of lush white and blue hydrangeas as a nod to the artwork Mariana’s aunt had done for their invitation suite. The ceremony was officiated by a close friend of the family, JP. “JP masterfully wove in our story as a couple, a passage from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (a nod to my Brazilian heritage), and our own vows into a beautiful program that left not a dry eye in the crowd,” Mariana remembers.
After the first kiss as husband and wife, the two led everyone into the tented reception on the Village Green. “We wanted our reception to emulate summer nights spent upstate, when our family sits down at a big table for a candlelit dinner filled with great food and wine—an experience most of our wedding guests have shared with us—so we separated the dinner from the dancing,” Mariana says.
During the seated meal, toasts to the couple had everyone laughing and crying. Nick’s brother and best man shared tales of their partner in crime days and impressed the Brazilian contingent with his Portuguese. It was a particularly special day for Mariana’s Brazilian family because they (34 people in total) hadn’t been together in the same place in 19 years.
Once dinner ended, guests went to the River House to get the party started with music provided by The Social, and the bride changed into a Miu Miu party look. “My sister spotted the dress, which was styled as a top tucked into pants,” Mariana says. “We buyers know how to spot a good dress when we see one!”
The newlyweds had their first dance to Leon Bridge’s “Coming Home,” and the band closed the night with “With a Little Help from My Friends” by The Beatles. “What started out as a huddle between me, Nick, and our siblings grew into a massive group hug, when all of our guests joined in, sang, swayed along to the song!” Mariana recalls. “It was magic!”