When their eyes met across the room, sparks flew between Samantha and Tomislav!
“We met at a Croatian bar in Astoria. We both caught each others eyes because we were the only two people at eye level! He is 6’8”, and I am 6’0”, but the stilettos I was wearing that night brought me up to 6’4”… amazon lady! We started talking, and it was an instant connection.”
In fact, the very night these two met, Samantha knew she’d found The One!
“I know it sounds cheesy, and everyone always says you’ll know right away, but its true. The night we met I awkwardly turned to my friend, pointed at Tommy, and said “That’s the guy I’m going to marry”. She told me I was out of my mind. Five years later, we’re married and happier than ever. We took this picture the night we met… love at first sight!”
the night Samantha and Tommy met!
So, later, when Tomislav took Samantha out for a lovely lunch in the city, she naturally thought that he’d propose. But instead, he surprised her:
“We planned a little lunch date in the city. He took me to Central Park, we had lunch at the boat house. It was a beautiful fall day. I couldn’t help but wonder why he was ordering such an expensive bottle of wine, and, being a girl, I naturally assumed he was proposing. After lunch, and after drinking almost the entire bottle of wine (nerves), we walked around the park for a bit. The idea of him proposing vanished when I realized we were walking back to the car.
The entire way home, I chewed his ear off talking about everything aimlessly, while he just laughed at me. We had planned on going to my family’s house for a cousin’s birthday party, so he asked if I minded if we stopped at his apartment to get something. We walked inside. The lights were off, and I scurried in to use the bathroom. Halfway there, I noticed something on the floor. I screamed out- “OH MY GOD YOU WERE ROBBED”, thinking there was garbage on the floor…. he laughed at me, opened the lights…. I started to follow the trail of rose petals to the bedroom. I nearly fainted when I saw “Will you marry me?” written across the entire floor. I turned around, and found him on one knee with my ring. I couldn’t hear anything he said, because I was busy screaming at the top of my lungs. After I finally said yes, and calmed down, we hugged and cried for a good twenty minutes. It was the happiest and the most perfect moment of my entire life. “
Samantha and Tommy chose a very special date, and then spent the next ten months planning…with a little help from a wonderful wedding planner!
“I did most of the planning on my own, but I was constantly asking for everyone’s opinions. At the end, I hired a wonderful wedding planner- Diane Kolanovic-Solaja from DeeKay Events. She made sure everything was perfect- all the little details I had in mind came to life. She was my last minute saving grace!
When we got engaged, we weren’t sure we wanted to go crazy planning a wedding for 2013. I was leaning towards fall of 2014, in order to give myself enough time to plan. When we sat down to look at the calendar, my mother pointed out that September 14th would have been my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and it just so happened to fall on a Saturday. I thought the idea was crazy, thinking I didn’t have enough time to plan, and that all the wedding halls would be booked up for sure.
January of 2013, Tommy and I went to LaFortuna, the wedding hall where all Croatians get married, and asked for list of dates they had available. After she told us all of the dates in 2014, I asked her if there was any chance she had September 14th of 2013 open. She looked at me, and said, “It just opened up last night. There was a cancellation”. That was the biggest sign I’ve ever gotten. I looked at Tommy, and he said, “Well then thats our wedding date”. My grandparents meant the world to me. I spent my entire childhood growing up with them, and there was no better way to honor their memory than by sharing their anniversary with them.
Our ceremony was at Sts. Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael Church in Manhattan. It is one of the most stunning churches I have ever seen, and it just so happens to be one of the only Croatian churches in New York!”
photos – Andy Bae
The theme of Samantha and Tomislav’s day centered around two of our beautiful bride-to-be’s favorite things:
“If you ask any of my friends “What’s the one thing that makes Samantha happy?”, I guarantee any of them will tell you – “Tommy. And Turquoise” which was the inspiration of pretty much everything to do with the wedding. I hired an amazing lighting company- JB Lighting from New Jersey – to set up turquoise up-lights around my venue to set a tone to the room. My bridesmaids wore turquoise dresses with a thin light gold sash. I added gold to everything, to commemorate my grandparents’ 50th golden anniversary.
Between incorporating my grandparents’ anniversary, to dedicating our “second” song to my parents by playing their wedding song, I truly tried my best to make the day extra special. We incorporated our culture into the day by having the ceremony in Croatian, and by hiring a Croatian folk group to play music outside of church and for cocktail hour. We also had a Croatian band and DJ. Which explains why the party ended after 3 am!”
photos – Andy Bae
When shopping for her wedding gown, Samantha found The Dress just as she’d chosen her wedding date…through serendipity.
“I love bling. When I started wedding dress shopping, I noticed that every dress I liked was full of crystals and beadwork, but nothing stuck out right away. My mother dragged me to a little boutique in Flushing to look for a dress for herself. I approached the window, and instantly fell in love with the dress they had on display. I rushed into the store, and asked if I could try that dress on. The woman working there smiled and said she just got it in that day, and was so excited to have me be the first to try it on.
This was the most intricately detailed dress I have ever seen, and it was love at first sight! My mom started crying when she saw it on me, and I knew right away I had to look no further! The entire dress, from top to bottom, was adorned with Swarovski crystals, and felt like it weighed over a hundred pounds, but I loved it so much that I didn’t let that phase me. “
For the perfect finishing touches to her wedding day ensemble, thanks to her cousin, Samantha visited us at Bridal Styles Boutique:
“When thinking about what kind of headpiece I wanted, I instantly thought back to my cousin’s gorgeous piece, and I remember her saying she got it in boutique in Brooklyn. I asked her for the name of the boutique, and drove over to Bridal Styles. It was the best decision I made! I walked in, and instantly fell in love with everything in the store. Bling galore! They helped me design my own piece, knowing I wanted something original and over the top. My only regret was not snatching the bridal collection of Christian Louboutin years ago when they were around! Turquoise bottomed shoes??? Talk about perfection!!“
Things got off to a rocky start on Samantha’s wedding day, but, before long, everything fell into place, and their celebration was all she and Tommy had dreamed!
“The wedding day started out anything but perfect. I woke up with a sinus infection and was coughing like a mad woman! Disaster! Once my bridesmaids calmed me down, I began to enjoy the dress up process. A wonderful artist, Elena, from The Bridal Touch by Elena, did my hair and makeup in the comfort of my parents’ home. She made sure I was calm and happy and spent every second she could on perfecting my look. I couldn’t be happier with how she did my hair, purposely styling it around my amazing headpiece. She said she never in her entire career saw a headpiece as beautiful as mine, and I couldn’t help but agree with her!
Once we were all ready, and by we, I mean my huge bridal party and I (1 maid of honor, 10 bridesmaids, and 4 flower girls…), we headed to the city. I chose to take the ride alone with my dad in a Rolls Royce, and it was a beautiful moment to share with him. Being his oldest child and only daughter, he was a bit of an emotional mess, but it was a beautiful moment and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Our ceremony was truly beautiful. We took our time, enjoyed each other, and enjoyed the mass. It seemed as if we were the only two people in church that day. The most beautiful moment was seeing the look in his eye as my father walked me down the aisle. I wish I could relive that moment every single day. Our first dance was beautiful as well. Again, it seemed as if we were the only two people in the room.”
Now happy newlyweds, Samantha and Tommy have this advice for newly engaged couples:
“My advice to all future brides is – do what makes you happy! Everyone will always have their opinions, but do not let that get in your way. The day is about you and your husband, and the most important thing is that you leave that night, smiling and happy to be married. The party is important too, but something will always go wrong, you just can’t let it bother you! My husband’s advice would be to not stress over anything that day. Nothing matters more than knowing you are married to the woman/man of your dreams.”
photos – Andy Bae
Best wishes, Samantha and Tommy, thank you so much for sharing your day with us!
Samantha and Tommy’s wonderful wedding vendors:
DeeKay Events for planning
AB Florist in Flushing- Margherita did an amazing job with my bouquet- it was stunning.
Andy Bae – My photographer was awesome. I purposely chose him because I wanted my photos to be more candid than traditional, and he made that happen.