Samantha “Sam” Netkin, assistant general manager at Brides, and Andrew Brash have a love story that transcends both time and distance. It all started back in 2006 when they met in middle school in their hometown of Great Neck, New York. From there, the two developed a fast friendship. By the time they entered their junior year of high school, they wanted to be more than friends, and the duo attended both junior and senior proms together.
Once graduation rolled around, they went their separate ways—Sam at the University of Florida and Andrew at Vanderbilt University. However, they quickly realized they still wanted to be together; cue a long-distance relationship that lasted all four years of college. After receiving their diplomas, they both moved back to New York, but their days of long-distance dating weren’t over yet. While Sam got a job and moved to Manhattan, Andrew attended Stony Brook University on Long Island for medical school. Once again, they made it work.
On January 11, 2020, Sam and Andrew had casual dinner plans at Le Zie Trattoria, their favorite date-night spot in Chelsea. “That night, I thought we were just grabbing dinner with Andrew’s siblings, but we arrived, and they sat us at the bar where he popped the question,” Sam recalls. “Our families were waiting in the private dining room upstairs. After dinner, everyone headed to a bar uptown where our friends were waiting for us to celebrate.”
Since the pair got engaged at the onset of the pandemic, their wedding planning experience had its fair share of unforeseen challenges. Initially, the couple planned to get married on March 20, 2021 at a loft venue in New York City. Once the pandemic emerged, they had to completely shift gears. Sam and Andrew postponed their celebration to 2022 and booked Old Westbury Golf and Country Club outside of the city for more flexibility. “When my mom and I visited the venue, I saw the Whitney Lawn in person, and it was love at first sight,” Sam reflects. “The club sits atop a hill, and the outdoor space features picturesque views. As a Covid bride, I had already been dealt a wild card, so I placed my bet on good weather. Thankfully, the big day turned out to be beautiful. I got my perfect groom and my perfect sunset!”
On May 21, 2022, Sam and Andrew finally tied the knot surrounded by 240 of their closest friends and family members. Keep reading to see how the couple’s vision came to life, planned by the bride and her mother, and photographed by Judith Rae and Ahmet Ze.
On the morning of her wedding day, Sam kicked off the celebration by popping some bubbly. The bride got glam in white long-sleeve pajamas with feather trim by Nadine Merabi and fuzzy slippers. Her bridal party donned gray pajama sets from Eberjey.
For her hairstyle, Sam wore her locks down in loose waves, with the front strands tucked behind her ears. She settled on minimal makeup, which she topped off with Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminzer. “I’m not a huge makeup girl,” the bride shares. “I love the no-makeup makeup vibe. I went for a natural look for the wedding day so that I felt like an elevated version of myself.”
The bride stunned in a Monique Lhuillier lace ballgown with a corset bodice, scoop neckline, low back, and scalloped hem. “There’s nothing more iconic than a lace Monique Lhuillier gown,” Sam states. “Lhuillier told me herself that her lace gowns are still her favorite to create.” In an interview Sam did with Lhuillier last fall, she tapped the designer for her top accessory tips. “Her advice was to leave the neck clean and opt for delicate earrings,” she reveals. So, Sam sported her grandmother’s pearl and diamond drop earrings, which her mother also wore on her wedding day.
After careful consideration, the bride decided to wear gold Christian Dior sandals with her gown. “For my shoe, I was looking for something comfortable that I could last all night in,” Sam explains. “I also didn’t want to wear anything embellished because I didn’t want them to snag the lace on my gown.” The shoe’s architectural heel, inspired by the work of a Romanian sculptor (according to the designer), was also a sweet nod to the groom, whose family is from Romania.
For a final touch, Sam spritzed Monique Lhuillier Eau de Parfum, which held personal significance to her. “I first met Monique when she launched the fragrance in 2020,” Sam remembers. “It was one of my first assignments at Brides, so wearing it on the big day felt very full circle.”
For his attire, Andrew wore a slim-fit black tuxedo by Emporio Armani. He personalized his outfit with cufflinks that featured his initials—a wedding gift from Sam—and a silver Rolex watch, a medical school graduation present from his parents.
Sam descended a staircase adorned with votive candles in glass hurricanes and pink and white roses to meet Andrew for their dreamy first look. “We did a first look before the ceremony because we wanted to do portraits before the wedding began,” Sam says.
I fastened a diamond and sapphire brooch from my grandmother, who couldn’t travel to attend the wedding, so I’d have her with me and as my ‘something blue.’
After showing one another their getups, the pair took portraits on the venue’s golf course. Sam made sure to capture her bouquet, which was composed of peonies and lily of the valley, the May birth flower. May is a special month for the bride for two very important reasons: “My birthday is May 20, and our wedding anniversary is now May 21,” she says. The floral arrangement also featured another special touch. “I fastened a diamond and sapphire brooch from my grandmother, who couldn’t travel to attend the wedding, so I’d have her with me and as my ‘something blue,’” the bride shares.
After Sam and Andrew snapped some pictures, their wedding party arrived via golf carts to join them for another round of photos. In addition to Sam’s twin sister as her matron of honor and Andrew’s brother as his best man, many of their childhood friends stood by the couple’s side on their big day. The groomsmen all coordinated with Andrew in black tuxedos, bow ties, and dress shoes.
“I wanted my bridesmaids in shades of blush pink to complement the color palette and floral design,” Sam describes. “I let them each choose their own dress because I didn’t want them to feel limited, and more importantly, I wanted them to feel comfortable and confident.” Pink and white bouquets of peonies, roses, and ranunculus with a hint of eucalyptus also matched the aesthetic.
Before the duo swapped vows, they participated in the ketubah signing, a Jewish wedding ritual. “My 1-year-old nephew was getting antsy during our ketubah signing, so my bridesmaids, who have all been best friends of mine since I was little, started singing his favorite song, ‘Baby Shark.’ It was the sweetest moment,” Sam reminisces.
Sam and Andrew hosted their spring ceremony outdoors. Two French-style cement urns housing arrangements of pink and white blooms stood at either end of the aisle, while a runner of petals led to the focal point: a chuppah covered in O’Hara garden roses, Tibet roses, viburnum, privet, pittosporum, delphinium, spirea, and greenery.
A live guitarist, violinist, and keyboard player performed “Yellow” by Coldplay as Andrew walked down the aisle with both of his parents.
Sam made her way to the altar while linking arms with her mother and father. The ensemble played “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman to set the scene for her processional.
The bride and groom held a traditional Jewish ceremony, which included wrapping the pair in a tallit to symbolize their union. Though, they did incorporate their own special touch by reciting personal promises. “Andrew typically likes to have me proofread his writing, but obviously, that couldn’t be the case with his vows,” Sam notes. “He made a sweet joke about it, which got a laugh during the ceremony.”
After sealing their marriage with a kiss, the newlyweds recessed to “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone.
For Sam, choosing the menu was the easiest part of planning a wedding. For the first course, the couple served a caesar salad with crispy polenta croutons to recreate one of their favorite dishes from Le Zie Trattoria, the restaurant where Andrew proposed. Their main entrée was a duo of filet mignon and branzino. Passed appetizers also abounded.
When guests arrived at the reception site, they found their seats on a monogrammed escort card display, which was surrounded by pink and white flowers and greenery.
At the head table, a runner of floral arrangements, white taper candles, tall floating candles, and assorted gold votives lined a rose gold tablecloth. Round tables featuring a combination of high and low centerpieces with peonies, “Hanoi” ranunculus, and spray roses also filled the space.
An installation of wisteria, plumosa, gypsophila, and rice lights hung above the dance floor. The duo’s live band, All Stars from Element Music, set the mood while the couple took part in the hora, the traditional dance performed at Jewish weddings.
Sam and Andrew spun around the dance floor to “Have You Ever Been in Love” by Céline Dion, a sentimental selection. “My maternal grandmother and I were very, very close,” Sam expresses. “She passed away in 2017 but would have loved nothing more than to watch me marry Andrew. She and I both share a love of Céline Dion’s music, so this song choice was very meaningful to me.”
The newlyweds also set aside time for family dances. Sam swayed with her dad to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John. “My dad and I both love Elton and have gone to a number of his concerts together,” she notes. Andrew and his mom started their mother-son dance to “It Happens in a Heartbeat” by Wedding Music Central, which turned into “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin. “Andrew and his mom used to have dance parties to [the song] when he was little,” Sam shares.
After a night spent dancing with their favorite people and making precious memories, Sam and Andrew couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate their nuptials. Even though the pandemic interfered with their original plans, it ended up being worth the wait. Since Sam hired a wedding team she deeply trusted, she was able to pull out all the stops. And, she recommends that other couples planning a wedding follow suit.
“My mom helped me through the entire process and really was my planner. It took some of the pressure off of me,” she says. “Wedding planning is a lot of ideating, and having a vendor team you know will execute all of the plans you spend months discussing is so important.”