Accessorizing has always been a big part of Danielle Snyder’s life. As one half of the team behind Dannijo—the super successful, fashion forward jewelry label she founded with her sister Jodie Snyder-Morel that’s often worn by celebs like Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian—Danielle grew up in Florida playing dress up with her mother’s vintage pieces and even made her own using her cardiologist father’s medical tools.
Years later, as a student at Vanderbilt University, Danielle traveled to Kenya and made a documentary about a village there that had a high rate of HIV and no nearby hospital. When she returned, she was overwhelmed by what she’d seen, but immediately set to work, joining forces with her sister to create a capsule collection to raise money for the community’s first health facility. The collection, a series of bib necklaces inspired by the Kenyan Maasai tribe, was a hit, and a year later, Dannijo officially launched in 2008 with Bergdorf Goodman. The brand has now expanded beyond just jewelry. They recently launched a line of customizable slip dresses geared towards brides and bridesmaids—marking their first foray into clothing—earlier this fall.
In a way, the seeds for Danielle’s romantic partnership were also planted at Vanderbilt. Her fiancé, Brandon Shorenstein, went to school there too. And while they never met as students, the fact that they both studied there was something they had in common from day one. “We both moved to New York straight after college,” Danielle explains. “He lived in the city for several years, but we didn’t meet until he was living on the West Coast. The funny thing is that we have so many mutual friends and they all claim they set us up!” But as it turns out, it was a random dinner that actually brought them together.
One Yom Kippur, Danielle accompanied a friend to a break the fast dinner in Tribeca. “The hostess asked if I was dating anyone,” Danielle remembers. “She suggested I meet her friend’s nephew and when she mentioned his name I realized my friend Timo [Weiland] had tried to set us up years before.”
It was fate—and Danielle and Brandon were quickly connected on the same email chain so they could make a date. “The emails from the beginning are pretty funny,” Danielle admits. “Of course, I gave him a Monday!”
The two went for drinks, and the minute she left the first date, she knew she wanted to see him again. “I needed to, I can’t explain it,” she says.
Ultimately, Danielle and Brandon planned a summer vacation to Greece and Italy. “We ended up going to London because we both had work there before our trip, so the first night we got to Santorini we were exhausted,” Danielle remembers. “Then when we woke up the next morning, and were finally on vacation together, he proposed. I was in a T-shirt, and he was in sweatpants in one of the most picturesque places in the world. It was every bit as romantic as I could have imagined. We had the whole day to ourselves before calling or talking to anyone.”
That didn’t last long though, the two ultimately ran into party planner Bronson van Wyck, who invited them to his Bacchanalian birthday party in Mykonos dubbed the Homeric Ball. “He jokingly told everyone that it was our engagement party,” Danielle laughs. After several days of debauchery, they headed off to Positano for some R&R, and the wedding brainstorming started shortly thereafter.
Right now, the plan is to get married at an intimate wedding in the Bahamas in 2019. “We’re still in the early stages and it’s fun to explore ideas and creative details,” says Danielle. “Being from Florida, I’m definitely a beach girl. The Bahamas is where my family and I have been vacationing for the past couple of years for Christmas and New Year’s . . . and, my fiancé and I decided we wanted to do something intimate where our families would be together—not just there for a ceremony and party. We just thought if we’re going to make people travel we definitely wanted to get married in nature whether it was an English garden or on the beach, and I just kept coming back to the magic of the Bahamas.”
Now that the location has been decided, one thing is for sure: Danielle doesn’t want to obsess over the small stuff. “I just find it to be exhausting, so we wanted to pick a place and let it be,” she says. “There are so may things you can’t control, like the weather, and I just like the idea of going to a place that’s really magical without all of the fuss.”
When it comes what she’ll wear, she’s taking the same laid-back approach and already knows she wants something bohemian. “I don’t want anything that’s too precious. I love vintage lace—but then again, I love the Carolyn Bessette Kennedy slip dress moment, so I’ll probably try a bunch of things. But, I know I want to feel beautiful and not so formal and uptight. I don’t want anything too wedding-y!”
With this in mind, we spent the day hanging out with Danielle in the Hamptons while the bride-to-be experimented with dresses from NET-A-PORTER’s Modern Bride collection in search of the one—click through our slideshow above to see her favorites . . . she even took the plunge in one of them!—and shop everything below.