/ˈmɛtjeɪ/ an outstanding or advantageous characteristic
Mine was being a Carioca - a Rio de Janeiro native - indulging in the cinematic backdrop of golden beaches and shimmering shores that fringe Cidade Maravilhosa (the Marvelous City). I've always had the feeling a girl from Ipanema can really become who she wants to be in life and since the joie de vivre runs in my family - in spades - I'd spend my days discovering the magic of baie parties, open dinners, the beach life, and the allure of royal residences thanks to my father's position at the Brazilian National Museum. Perhaps the universe was sending me a message that one day I'd be in the heart of celebrations, following my passion in the most beautiful places around the globe, seizing moment after moment... all I knew was I was in love with Rio and that I had to find a way to bottle up the beauty I came across this magical playground. The means to an end? A film photography major. And... this is how my story began.
A few pieces of film roll, a -serendipitous - bridal editorial, and a dream.
/fawling in luhv / becoming enamored, charmed or captivated
I fell in love with the medium. I could never have imagined I'd love photographing on film so much. The dark room cast its spell on me and I only thought I'd get honest feedback that could help me improve. But things I'd never expected began to happen... someone asked me to photograph their wedding on film, I moved to Chicago, I worked for a wedding studio and got the most invaluable wedding photography experience with weddings of all kinds, and ... I fell in love. again. This time it was with a smile - okay, I still think my husband Jason is the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on.
10 years and a beautiful 7-year old daughter later, I'm lucky enough to be traveling across Europe, the U.S. and South America, pursuing my passion, getting to capture weddings at the most stirring, awe-inspiring destinations and yes... I still think the universe keeps sending me messages.
/ en-er-jee / spirit & vigor
At first it feels like a triangle of warm light pouring from a doorway at night, inviting and soft, almost lulling... and then it transforms your temperature—like a gasp or sigh or “oh wow” one exhales at the look of something outstanding or the touch of a precious jewel. For some, the absolute energy arrives from teaching and shaping young lives, for others being featured on the cover of Vogue. To me, the most potent form of energy arrives from emotions- revved up by love, forged to create lasting connections for the people whose stories I tell. And it's important to say yes when the energy is right, even if you don't know exactly where it's leading. Like when my 21-year old self said Yes to Jason. Or when I started working as a wedding photographer for nothing else but the beauty and the energy. Because life is fascinating, and there's no moment to miss.
HAPPINESS IS WAKEFULNESS-
You get back from the world what you put into it. I could never imagine my life without the encounters of people because of my work; so surprising, so enriching and astonishing - Happiness!
EMBRACE THE SLOW-
authentic, off-the-grid- reflective moments. Something I've picked up from practicing Yoga and Muay Thai: All good things take time, being mindful is a virtue, and eating slow cooked meals keeps you lighter.
THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO
such thing as too many hugs.
FOLLOW WHAT YOU KNOW
in your heart to be true - be it the need to explore a sunset- shaded palace, to let your emotions rein or live in entirely new country. This is YOUR journey, YOUR style, YOUR way!
KEEP LEARNING -
it can be anything from table tennis to baking. I just enrolled in a ceramics class
YOU'LL BE AMAZED
at the amount of generosity you encounter when you dare to DREAM BIG
TRAVEL LIMITLESS -
chase the patches of blue skies, watch sun-bleached towns fold into orange groves and hills, eavesdrop a foreign radio, or feel the cleansing effect of drizzle- when you breathe in new places your shoulders come two centimetres down
THE SECRET TO YOUTHFULNESS :
BE A LITTLE INDULGENT
from time to time; Even if that means intense shopping trips to the market that result in endless cooking sessions or wearing that silver shearling Chanel jacket over your wedding gown
YOU ARE HERE
and this is no coincidence (see number one).
It's such a beautiful thing that, when our minds are busy and filled with thoughts racing around, we can add some mindfulness and inspiration, create stillness and give ourselves new space for ideas and creative solutions to flourish. My latest addiction involves sourcing new materials, wheel throwing, and glazing, which may sound familiar if you are into ceramics, but I always love a mindful read and treating myself to some little wonderful discoveries both on the shelves and online. The purpose behind this section is to bring some here and now to anyone of you visiting, so grab a cup of perk, cozy up, and dive in.
Edge-of-the-world experiences have a mind-calming effect altering the entire wedding mood. One thing I love about destination weddings is that they introduce a couple and their guests to the kind of seductive character and culture only such places attract. From the roads less- traveled, and the off-the-radar corners to the most coveted venues around the globe I'd be delighted to curate your love story's bespoke portrait. And if you're in search for some des-po check out some of this escapist soul's fave places to say I do below.
Ti(L)e the knot in Portugal, if you've been oggling at the gorgeous architecture brimming with
Azulejos sprawling all over your entire venue. Home to some of the most gorgeous palaces (my
favourite Palacio dos Marquesses de Fronteira and Palacio de Queluz, Palácio do Visconde de
Estoi, Tivoli Palacio de Seteais and Casa de Mateus among them) in the world, laced with
secreted, luxury châteaux and perfectly dotted with thousands of backrops it's the new
destination for the elite!
I'd probably need an entire encyclopedia to write about the charms of Tuscany. Seeking new harvests in its rolling hills, taking in the canvas of vineyards and cypress alleys, zipping Italian- style across villages to try Michelin-starred pici pasta is probably my epitome of the sweet life.
Saying I do over a neoclassical villa where fig tree scents are heady and soft morning mist seeps through the sills can only make a dream more vivid, not to mention the prelude of a wedding so graceful. My top? Il Borro, Borgo San Pietro & Villa Cetinale!
For millenia the Amalfi Coast has been a catalyst for life-chaning romances. Year after year it compells me to return much like it does for the most elegant people on the globe. And since Le Sirenuse in Positano is child-free, it's great to know I can install my family at the private home of Villa Degli Oleandri. Gallo Lungo, Nureyev's island beckons in the distance, but my mind wanders off to fresh sea urchins and tartufi del mare at Lo Scoglio. As a ceramist I can't help but paying a visit to Cotto Rufoli the ceramics factory adored by Dolce & Gabbana whose teracotta
tiles are baked in kilns dating back to 1100AD. I won't even begin to ramble on Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, or nearby Sorrento's Villa Astor... you already know too much about these two.
Balbiano, del Balbianello, Erba, d' Este, Fontanelle, Pizzo, Mandarin Oriental... Lake Como is strewn with some of the most enthralling villas in Italy whose grounds have witnessed celebrity I do's to make one's head spin. Each time I head to the Lake the irresistible swathes of manicured gardens and jewel-gleaming architectural details make think it's an entire different planet onto itself. Oh yes, and those Riva boats slicing the emerald green waters ARE a thrill to ride!
Soak up the scents of orange blossoms and indulge in the swish of a prewedding flamenco-style dress. Whether you make a cultural fiesta out of your wedding or a truly elegant affair, the sun-dappled, land of Andalucia is overly romantic. From Granada's gritty Alhambra and white villages perched on crags to the disarming beauty of Seville, you're in for sunflower-studded plains weaving through pine forests. Oh, I'm always intoxicated by this destination's lingering memories.
Provence & the Côte d'Azur are more than just Cannes and Saint Tropez although I'm quite certain you want to keep these in your wedding destination rolodex. Every single nook of these provinces is sun-drenched, sexy, and cinematic. Aix, Grasse, Nice, Arles, Cassis, Eze, the entire Luberon region with villages such as Gordes can make a wedding unforgettable, not to mention the endless chateaux and bastides to nestle your wedding reception... Oh-la-la to the max!
As Audrey Hepburn famously said in "Sabrina", "Paris is always a good idea," and it is there in the city of lights that I love to return drawn by the intimacy and baroque charm of trompe-l'-oeil walls, refined crowds, homemade madeleines and chocolate chaud enjoyed on rooftop terraces. Every arrondisement so unique, Paris never ceases to raise the stakes in decadence and sophistication. Two of my favourite places to work are the Ritz and Château de Villette in Condécourt (or the little Versailles as it is widely known) but if you're looking to conjure the discreet charm of le bourgeoisie look no further than La Réserve, one of my fave places to stay where from Brasserie Le Scheffer beckons so sweetly.
The ultimate bolthole for high-rollers and hedonists since the early 20th century, the legendary Hôtel de Paris built in 1864 with its Salle Empire is hard to beat. That said, the Hotel Hermitage ballroom is handsdown dreamy, and you might want to explore a little further up the palace and the gorgeous villas ahead for some stunning portraits. Trivia for geeks like yours truly - even the metro station on Monaco is scented. In fact, Neroli is the scent you'll come across throughout the French Riviera.
Three great passions of the soul meet in Burgundy. Food, wine and poetic landscapes, all beckoning to be discovered. Côte d'Or, Yonne, Saône-et-Loire, and Nièvre are four départements where rolling strawberry fields twine with medieval villages and glorious castles. Take Château de Varennes par exemple, whose illustrious history goes back to 1050AD, La Comtoise, and its Versailles-style gardens, the 18-th century Ch.Serein, ah, this soaringly beautiful land won't ever cease to charm and ignite my wanderlust.
The rarefied luxury of Switzerland's Gstaad Palace will immediately lend itself to the setting for a luxury weddding. But give in to the temptation of exploring locations such as the 1040-established Tarasp castle, Chateau de Chillon in Vaud, Le Grand Bellevue or Badrutt's Palace Hotel in St. Moritz and you'll find out exactly what it feels to be wed inside a Wes Anderson movieset. Keep Lake Luggano under your radar too as it is a rising star according to Vogue magazine.
Most think of the oldest city in Bohemia as a winter holiday destination. According to Kafka, Prague won't let you go... blame it on its delightful melange of glowing baroque and elegant art-nouveau feel. The glints of sunlight over its cobbled lanes will remind you of a cleaner Paris, while equally to the French capital Prague is a flâneur and a photographer's dream. Weddings in Prague come with distinct luxury envelopped in charming tales and utterly breathtaking chateaux. One look at Château Ploskovice, Château Mcely, Château Kromeriz (oh I can go on forever) and you'll see why its impossible not to fall head over heels with this destination.
Home sweet home and the starry gate to California dreaming. This city's beating heart is all about this world's tastemakers, its light unique, and its fairytale dens create enviroments appeasing enough to make you want to leave the world behind. From the historic mansions of Brentwood, to the Resort at Pelican Hill on Newport beach, and -the absolute maximalist's dream- Tony Duquette's Dawnridge, L.A. means giving wings to your wildest fantasies. After all, La-La-Land is easily the surest spot on the globe to celebrate dreamers.
Life is a beach in The Magic City of Miami especially in winter season when the cultural gliterrati descend for the Art Basel and glamorous parties poolside. This city's vibe is transient and nothing stands still. They say Florida is a state apart from the US, so if you get to the Keys to say I do you're in for islands that are actually apart even from Florida. You'll find about 113 mangrove-and-sandbar islands where the white sun melts over deep green mangroves making for the dreamiest portraits. If you're more of moss-covered willow-tree fan, or a sand-dune castle lover Tampa and St. Pete Beach are for you.
It's easy to see why so many couples fall madly in love with St. Barths. There is a rare old-school air about it, a French-Riviera hedonistic charm, less comme-il-faut than the South of France but with food so spectacular, excellent wines, grilled langoustines, cocktails to kill for, and there is ALWAYS an after-party. The 6pm walkabout, shopping, people watching and being seen is a ritual and if you happen to enjoy a pre-wedding cocktail at Le Carre d' Or you might be sitting next to Beyonce. Rad.
Mystique is an island of hidden characters. Lord Glencorner bought it in the late 50s from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and built 18 houses with his friend, the great stage designer Oliver Messel. From then on it evolved into a bolthole for global nomads bon-viveurs, and superstars. Mandalay, David Bowie's Balinese-style villa is a total dream, you'll find Scottish follies, and French-style manors, but the homes that Messel built, followed by those designed by Arne Hasselqvist carry the true spirit of the island. HRH Princess Margaret's Les Jolies Eaux (the beautiful waters), the tri-level Hummingbird, and the Plantation House are my winners!
Remember that Audrey Tautou movie where the protagonist's daydream is "partir aux Maldives"? Well, with over a hundred resorts to get wed with the Indian Ocean paradise as your backdrop feels like quite the trip! Thinking of remote sandbacks, lanterns that flicker as the sun sets, and barefoot luxury dens to meld the exotic with the festive? You're my kind of Robinson-Crusoe kind of person! This year I'm headed to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi and The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort which I can't recommend enough!
In Antiguan, jumbee translates as playful spirit. But this private island off the coast of Antigua is so much more. An Eden really. Accessible only by boat the Rosewood resort corseted by powder-white sands, secret gardens and bordering a coral reef will probably bring tears of happiness to your eyes. Think Caribbean colonial style decor, a legendary beauty hub, private pools and an entourage of staff to spoil you and your guests rotten. Board Yennecot, the resort's private yacht and pay a visit to the neighboring Maiden. You can thank me later.
Yves Saint Laurent had an uncanny affection for Morocco. His cobalt blue villa in Marrakech - the city that taught him color- was proof. And you will be justified to picture of the aesthetics a wedding anywhere in Morocco can be all about. I'm thinking lyrical gardens filled with mystique, night skies glistening, and the sensational (sensational is an understatement) Royal Mansour. Even the slightest look at this Oscar-worthy resort's booklet (I receive mine every year) is enough to give you all the wedspo you need.
Getting wed in Japan would probably feel like a modern-day pilgrimage. This is the country where enlightenment is found in a cup of tea, a soak in an onsen and the experience of total stillness inside a bamboo garden. Privacy here is an art. Aman in the Otemachi district of Tokyo is the most glamorous, approached via an entrance planted with oak and ginkgo trees and accessed by a lift that shoots you to the 33rd floor. One of my even quieter faves? Hoshinoya Kyoto to draw back the decades.
Tracing pink beaches and underwater coral gardens across achres of volcanic islands, boarding a superyacht from Flores to Sumba - the cowboy country of the south hemisphere- or tasting a bit of the unbriddled freedom at Ring of Fire at Komodo National Park are my definition of bringing toghether a seafaring adventure, a wedding, and a honeymoon. Checking in for a health package at Como Shambhala Estate in Ubud and sipping a cocktail overlooking the rice fields are a must!
You know how sometimes we seek to implement our day with a few moments meditation but our schedules feel too tight? One of the things I do before a busy morning shooting is this little excercise of inhaling, counting to four, exhaling to four and repeating for 30 seconds. But what I have also found quite entertaining and contemplative is reading ...quotes... yes those little cites that can be found anywhere from your fave restaurant's fortune cookie to entire Pinterest boards devoted to making them look absolutely adorable. You can at this point color me impossibly cliche, but that doesn't change the fact that they have served my posthaste meditation pretty well, plus sparked a thought or two for the day. Below, I've garnered some darling ones meant to inspire your reflections. After all, big things often have small beginnings- hah, that's one more quote for ya!