Every bride has an idea of what the quintessential wedding planner is like. Brides often envision their planner being like that multitasking control freak, Franck, from the 1991 hit film Father of the Bride. But versatility is a key trait for a successful wedding planner. Sure, they can pull off a Franck-worthy giant event that requires major coordination. But they can also be on hand for the wedding day only, overseeing last-minute details. Whatever you need, your wedding planner is there to suit your needs. And that’s where Samantha Goldberg comes in.
For more than 25 years, celebrity event designer/television personality Samantha Goldberg — also known as Sassi Sammi — has transformed ordinary events into extraordinary soirees. Goldberg has worked with brides around the globe. Her team of event planners work out of offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Summit, New Jersey. Now, Goldberg shares the scoop on new bridal trends and money-saving tips for New Jersey brides-to-be.
Invitations have changed from the bulky, expensive multi-item bundles of the past. “Couples are going to stores like Party City that carry major brand-name invitations. They are buying plain invitations and doing some fun scrapbooking on them,” says Goldberg of the DIY aesthetic of many brides. “Calligraphy is still hanging on. Couples are choosing websites like Vistaprint and Sendomatic to print the invites themselves.” And when it comes to save the dates, Goldberg advises skipping magnets, which have been a favorite of brides over the past few years. “Save-the-date magnets are definitely out,” says Goldberg. “They clutter up and fall off of people’s stainless steel appliances.”
Wedding registries have changed, according to Goldberg. “Couples are getting married much older. They are no longer in their early twenties. Many of them have their own properties and don’t need china or another toaster.” So what are couples registering for now? Says Goldberg: “I have seen couples register for a honeymoon, upgrade to a better wedding photography package, a swimming pool, and new windows. I even had a couple register for an RV. They received $10,000 for the down payment. When each guest contributes, couples are able to get big ticket items.”
Role of the Groom
“It is not just about the bride,” says Goldberg, who adds that grooms are taking a larger role in planning the wedding, often taking charge of alcohol, entertainment, and the cake. “This is a great time for the couple to see how they work together on something so grandiose as a wedding.”
Gone are women-only showers of yesterday, where guests sat through hours of tedious gift unwrapping. “You are seeing more coed bridal showers. The bride and groom want to have their friends be together,” says Goldberg, adding, “A new trend that I love — and believe it or not is etiquette-friendly — is for the guests to wrap the gifts in clear wrap. Guests are love- love-loving this. They don’t have to sit through the couple opening forty or fifty boxes.”
The traditional white gown is “taking a breather,” says Goldberg — as anything goes for the big dress. “A bride might wear a candy color like mint green or ice blue,” she says, adding if a bride does go for a traditional look, she’s opting for a “vintage” feel, with hues in ivory or champagne.
Princess-style ball gowns are being overlooked in favor of gowns with unique details and figure-flattering details. “There are multifunctional bridal gowns with mini-cap sleeves made of out lace, beading, and pearls. What is really cool is that the sleeves can be detached from the dress and become jewelry like a bracelet or choker,” says Goldberg. “More and more brides are accepting their curves and opting for the hip-hugging mermaid rather than just looking like a bell.”
Keep in mind that this is all just for the ceremony, as many brides change into a second look for the reception. “Brides are searching department stores, sample racks, and stores like David’s Bridal for inexpensive yet elegant sheath-type dresses. They don’t want to drag around a heavy dress at the reception,” she says.
One tradition that’s made a comeback are veils. “Veils are longer in length with more lace around the front,” says Goldberg. “Brides are all about the lace right now.”
Bridal Party Fashion
“For the bridesmaids, there is a demand for purples in a variety of shades — in violets going up to fuchsia and dark purple,” Goldberg says. “I am also seeing the midnight blues, silver, gold and rose gold — a new color coming from the type of gold offered in custom jewelry.”
If your bridal party (or bride!) is strapped for cash, Goldberg suggests you take the dress hunt online. “To save the maids and the bride some dollars, you can go to Rent the Runway. You can rent a designer gown, purse, shoes, jewelry — everything for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase everything new.”
When it comes to makeup, brides are opting for lighter applications and a more natural look. “Brides with sensitive skin are applying makeup by airbrushing with minerals. It is healthy for the skin and gives them a nice glow,” says Goldberg. “Another treatment that I think is just great is the spray tan using DHA, an ingredient found in baby food. It is good for your body, lasts seven-to-ten days, and does not rub off on the gown and stain it.”
“There is a need for fluffy, puffy, lots of clusters, flowers with exotic textures,” Goldberg says. “The flowers are being mixed with all sorts of natural elements like fruit and manzanita branches. The bride’s bouquet may have garden roses, hydrangea, and curly willow, and then you replicate this pattern on the table centerpieces.” As for color scheme, Goldberg says she’s seeing “more green weddings. By green I mean not eco-friendly, but featuring many shades of greens with different types of ferns, leaves, baby’s breath, and Queen Anne’s Lace.” There’s a way to achieve this on-trend look without breaking the bank, she says. “To save some green, you can purchase preassembled bouquets and arrangements from wholesalers. Not many people know this, but now you can register at Costco for the flowers, gown, appetizers, even the wedding cake.”
I do … want my own, personalized vows! That’s the mantra of most brides-to-be, Goldberg says. “We now call the vows a love story. They are said the way the couple would relate to them rather than just read from a script or the regular [motions] of a ceremony. The vows are very custom.”
It’s all about nature — and either getting married outside, or bringing the outside indoors. “The trend for wedding decor is more natural. Couples are moving away from the fancy and opting for white tented weddings staked in a natural settings — like the grounds of a historic site or a family member’s spacious backyard oasis,” Goldberg explains. “The design is simple and casual with different heights of vases or candles, submersible lights, floating florals, and long family-style tables. Sprinkled on the tables, you’ll see natural items. Depending on the time of year, you can find things like scattered pine cones, cranberries, branches, and leaves.”
“You can bring the music to life in a few ways. Some of my clients are choosing the traditional DJ, but adding some percussion or one instrument, such as a saxophone, to play along with the music. This makes the music have a more live element to it.” If you have your heart set on a live band — but your wallet is protesting, Goldberg offers a solution: “You also can scout new local bands and have one play during the reception.”
Photography & Video
Old-school photo albums are back in, says Goldberg. “Couples are returning to the leather-bound photo albums to showcase at home on the coffee table.” Video is also making a comeback, but with a few changes. “The intrusive style of the videographer of the past has been replaced with a photojournalistic style,” she says. “The videographer now tapes select parts of the wedding and creates a nice montage. Your favorite music and select wedding photos can be mixed with the video.” As for guests getting in on the fun, photo booths have been updated. “You no longer see the old-fashioned ones from the boardwalk,” Goldberg says. “They now are draped off and are able to fit five or six guests as opposed to two.”
Thanks to New Jersey’s own Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss, couples have become more creative with their choice in cake — you know, the thing they smash into each other’s faces for the perfect messy photo op. “Inside the cake, you can have a different flavor on every layer, and most of the time, this won’t cost extra. Red velvet, pound cake with strawberries and cream, chocolate — there are so many options. Of course, cupcakes always are a hit. You can have a giant cupcake that the bride and groom cut into, and everyone else gets their own cupcake.” The sugary treats don’t have to end with the cake, she says: “Sweets after-hours also are in. You can have a candy bar, even a popcorn bar, at your reception. This gives your guests a nice little treat to take home.”
Couples who want to keep the party going — without shelling out even more money — can, with just a little advance planning. “Have an inexpensive after-party right at the bar hotel,” Goldberg says. (Couples interested in this option need to do their research before the wedding, and direct their out-of-town guests to stay at a specific hotel with a bar.) “Most receptions end at midnight. You can party for another two hours, until 2:00 a.m., with your guests. The bonus is that there often will be a free jazz or blues band. You can decide if you would like to start a tab, or your guests [can] buy their own cocktails.”
Of course, one of the biggest bridal trends is to skip all that planning in favor of hopping on a plane to get married somewhere else. “Destination weddings definitely are taking over,” Goldberg says. “Couples love the flexibility, and many destinations are all-inclusive. Cultural properties and the tropics are in, places like Fiji, Bali, and Tahiti. You also can switch locations. If you get married with your guests in one part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, you can escape and honeymoon in another.” While staying at an all-inclusive resort means the guests — and not the couple — will be carrying most of the burden, Goldberg advises that you don’t skimp on the welcome basket. “They should feature a treat, something nostalgic to the couple, something about the area they are traveling to, a thank you note, and most important of all, the itinerary.”
Meet Sassi Sammi
Samantha Goldberg is a celebrity event designer/television personality who has appeared in print publications more than five thousand times. She’s the host of Get Sassy with Samantha on WMCN, and has hosted Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? and Married Away on the Style Network, as well as appearing regularly on Good Morning America and Fox & Friends. She has won numerous awards from such companies as Wedding Wire, The Knot, and Biz Bash for the Best Event Designer East Coast and Best Reality Wedding Planner Midwest 2013. Goldberg is a spokesperson for Party City, Hilton, and Bloomingdale’s. She’s the founder and president of Dream Team, a non-profit donating more than 250 weddings in 14 states to those with hardships, and the president of Alliance of Event Professionals. For more on Goldberg, visit her website at www.samanthagoldberg.com.
Main (hero) image courtesy Samantha Goldberg.