2021 was a year of change for influencer and content creator Samantha Crompton. After running her successful fashion and lifestyle blog, A Chique Peek, for seven years, she began asserting her influence on even bigger stages as a fashion writer and editor for sites like Byrdie and InStyle (and even Brides!). It was also the year she fully embraced a new role in her personal life—that of fiancé—before saying “I do” to beau Bjorn Merinder this month.
Some things, however, never change. Samantha had known since she was a little girl what she wanted her wedding to look like—a royal, regal, fairytale affair. So, 2021 was the year she set out manifesting it.
Her and Bjorn’s relationship goes way back. “We met my junior year of high school—Bjorn’s senior year—in a psychology class. We were classmates but didn’t know each other outside the classroom,” Samantha says. “I even have a photo of us at prom.” Their first date wasn’t actually until eight years later—May 11, 2018, at Metropolis in the South End of Boston. But it was proof that when you know, you know. “Two weeks later, on May 25, we made it official.”
Just over two years after that, they got engaged. “I was doing a photo shoot for a few brand campaigns. The last location my photographer suggested we shoot at was my favorite flower shop in Beacon Hill, Rouvalis Flowers,” Samantha says. “Bjorn was waiting inside the flower shop and surprised me during the shoot. He handed me a bouquet of flowers and dropped down on one knee—and my photographer continued to shoot.” The result was a set of stunning engagement photos full of emotion and love, and the answer was a resounding “yes.”
Likewise, when it came to wedding planning, there was no hesitation on Samantha’s part. “I truly wanted a princess wedding,” she says. “Since I was a little girl, I envisioned an elegant, traditional, black-tie wedding with a touch of glam and sparkle.” A hometown hotel with palatial vibes—the Fairmont Copley Plaza—set the perfect tone. “The Copley Plaza has so many stunning gold accents. I wanted everything to be gold and ivory to complement the beautiful venue.”
The bride’s mother played a starring role in planning. “My mom and I really knew the vision we had for the wedding,” Samantha says. They booked the vendor team themselves and then brought in Ashley Saffer of Ashley Elaine Events as a month-of wedding planner. “Ashley helped bring our vision to life, and we worked together to execute,” Samantha says. “Bjorn and I are both very outgoing people. We wanted our wedding day to reflect our genuine selves, with an element of luxury and elegance because it’s such a special day.”
And so, their happy ending began on February 12, 2022, in Boston, with a stunning wedding planned by the bride and Ashley Elaine Events, and photographed by Juliana Moreira Pessoa of Brett Matthews Gallery. Read on to see all the fairytale details, from the princess-inspired gown and crown to the gilded ballroom and royal place settings.
As a fashion and beauty content creator, Samantha is no stranger to getting her makeup done for photo shoots—and knew exactly who to turn to on her big day: Lucas Bowman, a makeup artist she’s worked with for years. “We got together and discussed her vision for bridal makeup. We wanted to stay true to what makes Samantha feel most beautiful and classically her, while also giving her a timeless glamour look,” Lucas says. “We took inspiration from her accessories and the overall ambiance of the venue which resulted in a golden, ethereal, princess look.”
Some tools of the trade? YSL’s Rogue Volupté Shine lipstick, Fenty Beauty’s Gloss Bomb, and Dior’s Backstage Glow face palette. For hair, “I always have it off of my face—it’s a rare occasion to see my hair down,” Samantha says, so she opted for a “sexy and unique twist to a low bun with a middle part.”
Getting ready, the bride donned a robe from The Afterwhite, while her bridesmaids wore Splendid robes. The flower girls joined in the primping, wearing adorable sets from Petite Plume.
“It sounds cliché but I put the dress on and knew it was my dress,” Samantha says of her tulle Vera Wang ball gown. “I thought I was going to have an ‘ah ha’ moment and cry, but neither my mom nor I cried. We went just the two of us and both knew this was the dress for me. It was so special sharing the experience with just my mother and I. I highly recommend going to your first fitting with one person, because too many opinions gets messy.”
The team at Musette Bridal helped Samantha customize her gown, adding Swarovski crystals, layers of crinoline for volume, and delicate lace straps. “Additionally, I took a piece of fabric from both of my grandmothers’ dresses and had those sewn into mine to have a piece of them with me that day,” she says.
To accessorize, Samantha rented fine jewelry from Verstolo—including a necklace with more than 18 carats of diamonds—and carried a glittery Jimmy Choo clutch. Her almond-shaped nails were painted with an OPI shade aptly named Baby, Take a Vow, and she spritzed on Champ de Baies by Evelyne Boulanger for her perfume.
The crowning accessory, however, quite literally completed her princess transformation. Samantha chose a handmade tiara from María Elena Headpieces to go with her Vera Wang veil.
Bjorn began his prep a week before the big day, hitting the spa for an unpolished mani-pedi and a classic facial. “He shaved two days before the wedding,” Samantha says, “So, he had a little scruff for the day of.” That morning, he slipped a Hugo Boss velvet slim fit tuxedo jacket over an Eton plissé wing collar tuxedo shirt for a dapper wedding look. The accessories? A Tom Ford velvet bow tie and Gucci loafers. A spritz of Tom Ford Tuscan Leather and he was ready to see his bride.
We were both overwhelmed with emotions the entire morning and felt an overwhelming wave of relief when we saw each other for the first time.
The dominant emotion during their first look, Samantha remembers, was relief. “We were both overwhelmed with emotions the entire morning and felt an overwhelming wave of relief when we saw each other for the first time,” she says. “Bjorn was mic’d up, but speechless.”
Florist Meghan Perlow of Poppy Floral crafted a classic bouquet for Samantha. “All roses—white with a soft touch of blush,” the bride describes. “Lush, elegant, and eye-catching with sparkling jewel accents.” Bjorn wore a white rose boutonniere to match.
We are both from Massachusetts, so we decided to get married in the city where it all began.
“We were choosing between either the Plaza Hotel in New York, or the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston,” Samantha says of wedding planning. “They are sister hotels, so both had the vibe and decor we were going for. We love the regality, and gold accents of the ballroom in Boston. We are both from Massachusetts, so we decided to get married in the city where it all began.” The exterior even resembles a palace—perfect for portraits.
“Enjoy the process,” the bride advises other couples. “You’re only a fiancé once in your life and should embrace the beauty of being engaged.”
“Walking with our bridal party to the Boston Public Library, while the people around us cheered us on, was a favorite moment of the day,” Samantha remembers. Everyone looked the part. “For a winter wedding, we wanted luxe black velvet on the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen to have velvet bow ties to complement the ladies,” Samantha says. Each bridesmaid chose her favorite floor-length Jenny Yoo style in black velvet, and the groomsmen wore bow ties from Brooks Brothers.
The couple’s 175 guests signed a rococo-inspired guest book as they entered into the incredible gilded ballroom for the ceremony. Lush florals wrapped all four sides and hung from the top of the chuppah. There was “a white carpeted aisle runner, candles in varied heights of gold rimmed hurricanes down the aisle, gold kingdom pedestals, and gold urns for florals,” Samantha remembers. The combination had quite the royal effect.
The flower girls—in dresses by Feltman Brothers and Us Angels—looked on as Samantha shared an emotional moment with her father before walking down the aisle. Then, the musicians struck up a lyrical version of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and the big moment finally arrived.
Samantha and Bjorn shared traditional vows and exchanged Cartier wedding bands during the ceremony officiated by Justice Michael E. Capozzi.
The couple could barely contain their excitement as they joyously exited to the tune of Mendelssohn’s classic “Wedding March.”
Guests headed to cocktail hour, where a saxophonist played Frank Sinatra-style jazz and a seafood trough featured lobster medallions and King crab legs. Meanwhile, the newlyweds got a peek at the reception space. “Seeing the ballroom set for the first time before the start of the reception, just the two of us—and the looks on my parents’ faces when they saw how happy we were,” was one of the bride’s most special memories.
Her vision was realized: The space was bedecked in a palette of black and cream, with gold accents and hints of pale pink. Tall gold pedestals dripped with crystals, while vintage gold votives lit the space. “Flowers and decor was the easiest part of planning,” Samantha remembers. “I had a vision set in stone.” Two long head tables were set with low centerpieces, intermixed with votives and tall crystal candle holders. Even the place settings glimmered with gold, in the form of chargers and flatware.
An extra special sweetheart table was set for the bride and groom. China from Jung Lee, inspired by the Beaux Arts elegance of the Museé d’Orsay in Paris, topped a sparkling sequin tablecloth overlay, and a floral garland swept across the front. The ceremony chuppah was repurposed as a backdrop, gaining a hanging chandelier for added drama.
Samantha and Bjorn paused for a romantic kiss on the balcony before their grand entrance as newlyweds. “We walked out to an instrumental version of ‘All Night’ by Icona Pop,” Samantha says. “Our first summer together, we played the song on repeat and always joked that we would walk into our wedding to it. Everyone was standing around the dance floor as we walked down the steps with our hands in the air. It was perfect.”
“We wanted a classic and traditional feel; almost vintage,” Samantha says of the music for the evening. “Think Frank Sinatra and the Louis Armstrong era.” A seven-piece band nailed the repertoire, beginning with John Legend’s “All of Me” for the couple’s first dance.
Artist Vesna Longton captured the moment for eternity in a painting created live while the couple danced.
The menu, naturally, was fit for a king and queen. New England crab cakes kicked off the three-course meal, followed by dishes like herb-crusted halibut with cured pork belly and vanilla beurre blanc, and roasted beef tenderloin with smoked gouda and Bordelaise. Later into the night, they served more casual fare with a “Dogs of America” menu featuring hot dogs inspired by cities around the U.S.—including, of course, a Boston-based Fenway Frank.
Fueled by signature cocktails—a skinny spicy margarita garnished with gold glitter, and a pink spritz served in a Champagne flute—guests got the party started. “It was a rush to the dance floor as soon as everyone finished their meals,” remembers Samantha, who swapped her Jimmy Choo heels for a pair of Chanel sneakers to dance.
The six-tier cake, frosted with Italian buttercream and featuring strawberries and cream, was classic with a whimsical twist. “Our dog, Louie, was sculpted at the bottom,” Samantha says. She and Bjorn sliced into it with a gilded serving set by Olivia Riegel. Guests also indulged in a candy bar and sipped espresso from a cappuccino and macaron station.
There were speeches and toasts—during which the newlyweds clinked flutes full of Charles de Fère Cuvée Jean-Louis—and then, of course, more dancing. “Dancing to ‘You and I’ toward the end of the night,” stands out most in the bride’s memory. Shortly after, the couple jetted off to Hawaii for a honeymoon at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, where they soaked up all the love their fairytale wedding day brought.