Samantha Jayne Schneider first spoke to Mark “Chip” Hershey Longenecker III at an admitted students fair at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. He was wearing a fleece onesie promoting his preterm trip to Slovenia. It was love at first sight for Chip, but she took some time to warm up. To his chagrin, Samantha chose a trip to Croatia instead. And according to her, in true business school fashion, “We didn’t start dating until the following October, when we reconnected at an après-ski-themed party.”
The couple got engaged two years later at her family’s lake house in Michigan and knew they wanted an intimate destination wedding. They were originally thinking of Santa Barbara, where they met their planners Alison Bryan Destinations, but based on everything Sam and Chip were looking for, the planning duo suggested hosting their late summer event in Italy. “We had always thought it would be too logistically complicated with our work schedules and the distance, but they assured us that we could easily plan from afar, and they would handle everything,” the bride-to-be explains. “We went back and forth for months due to the fact that a farther destination meant fewer people would be able to join us, but we ultimately chose Italy, and we couldn’t be happier that we did.”
After looking around in Chicago for her wedding dress, Sam traveled to Los Angeles to visit her sister and parents and found her dream gown at Oscar de la Renta with the help of John Dolio. “We had a piece of my mom’s dress, which happened to be the exact same type of lace, sewn into the lining of my dress,” she says. “And I wrapped a handkerchief that my grandparents had given me when I was born around my bouquet by Sebastian Flowers.”
On the day-of, Sam got ready with Italian hairdresser Alessandro Mancino and his makeup artist, Daniela. And the bride kept on the gold “S” necklace, gifted to her by her grandmother, that she’s kept on since she was 14 years old.
Before the ceremony, Chip put on his custom, off-white Alton Lane suit. Sam quips, “He had more fittings than I did!”
On September 20th, 2019, the soon-to-be newlyweds had a first glimpse of each other by the ocean. “We started out the process being very anti-first look because we love when the groom sees the bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle,” Sam begins, “but we quickly realized that ‘the light’ and photos take precedence, so we succumbed and had a really special first look on this rock in the ocean. I had to change into sneakers and hike my dress up to get out there, but it was worth it and so special.”
Then they headed to their outdoor ceremony space at the Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, as umbrellas were handed out to guests. Any sprinkles came to a halt, as the processional music began. The bride’s sister officiated the wedding and began the service by having the couple look out at all the people who had come to support them. She had also done research on wedding traditions and tied an Hermès scarf around their hands to signify “tying the knot.”
After sharing heartfelt vows that they’d written on the plane to Italy, the new Mr. and Mrs. were finally able to relax and enjoy the celebration. Following the Aperitivo, dinner was served under a pergola. Guests found personalized letters from the bride and groom hidden under their menus on beautiful linens from India Amory. For the food, “Alison and Bryan did our tasting for us because we couldn’t travel over ahead of time, and we had full faith that they’d make good decisions,” Sam admits.
The newest Longeneckers had their first dance to “You and Me” by Penny & The Quarters, followed by a father-daughter dance to “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor. “A lot of the men got emotional after this dance,” Sam remarks. “My sister and I ran up for me to change right after my dance with my dad, and we bumped into Bryan—from Alison and Bryan—taking a moment to wipe his eyes—it was the sweetest thing and just shows how invested they are in their guests’ lives.”
The bride came back in a pearl and rhinestone-adorned dress from Happy Isles, which she found with owner Lily Kaiser’s help. And as soon as their incredible band, Just Encode, stopped, Sam grabbed the microphone and started karaoke.
After the reception came to close, revelers hopped in cabs and headed to Morgana—“everybody came, including parents, and the night got hazy from there,” the bride says.
For their honeymoon, Sam and Chip were supposed to go to New Zealand, Bora Bora, and The Brando in Tetiaroa in March of 2020, but because of COVID-19, it has been postponed. Fingers crossed they can go once travel is safe again!