When Sam Hirschmann and Eli Boskey first met, they were in two very different places in their lives. “I was a California girl who played volleyball at USC and had been working on the trading floor at Bank of America,” Sam recalls. “Eli was an American Israeli who had backpacked New Zealand and Asia and moved to New York City to manage restaurants in hopes of pursuing acting. It was sort of kismet that we both decided at the same time to finally have the courage to go to acting school and pursue a life in the arts.” It’s where their paths crossed, at William Esper Studio in Manhattan.
“We had two classes together, one being a movement class—which was a class where a bunch of actors had to ‘move’ together and connect without speaking,” Sam goes on. She was intrigued by Eli, with her feelings growing as the year went on. “Well, I ended up kissing him in an improv scene in class—woops! The whole class turned and looked in complete shock because kissing in an improv scene was always a bold choice. I honestly couldn’t believe I did that.” She was mortified, but Eli took the hint, and a relationship blossomed. (And, she certainly got more than she bargained for out of the movement class: Sam is now a breathwork coach and the content creator behind @sam.moooves, where she posts organic dance and movement videos, and encourages followers to “unleash your inner weirdo.”)
“Eli and I got engaged in June 2019 in upstate New York at Spruceton Inn, our ultimate getaway spot when we lived in New York,” Sam says. “We were now living in L.A. and we’d planned a trip back to Spruceton Inn for Eli’s birthday.” She’d hoped for a proposal, but Eli assured her it wasn’t coming. And yet, one night, Sam walked out onto the lawn and into a field of sunflowers, her favorite flower. “My heart completely dropped because in that moment I knew it was happening and I couldn’t believe how caught off guard I was,” she remembers. “He got down on one knee in the middle of the circle of sunflowers and my endorphins and adrenaline were so high! We had no service on our phones, so we really got to spend the whole night together just basking in our own happiness.”
It was that exact feeling she wanted to recreate for her wedding. “Magical and mystical were the two words I kept using when describing the feeling I wanted for the wedding day,” Sam says. “I never was a bride who had an exact vision, but I was serious about a feeling; I wanted it to feel like we were all transported to a different universe.”
She and Eli pegged a stellar vendor team, led by celeb-favorite party planner Mindy Weiss, to create the feeling for their June 4, 2022, wedding in Puglia, Italy. But, it was more than a wedding; it was a three-day extravaganza. Read on to see all the epic details—including an incredible special guest performance—of their wedding weekend, planned by Mindy Weiss and photographed by Sergio Sandoná and John & Joseph.
The beach party was meant to be super casual—and ended up being a dance party until 5 a.m.!
Knowing that the wedding decor would be classic and romantic, Sam leaned into color for the pre-wedding events. “Thursday night I wanted really happy colors, and floral designer Vincenzo Dascanio came up with the idea of matching the colors of the sunset: oranges, peaches, pinks, and yellows.” The bride’s Oscar de la Renta fit the palette perfectly.
After a seated rehearsal dinner, Sam and Eli hosted arriving guests for welcome drinks at the beach club of their venue, Borgo Egnazia. “The beach party was meant to be super casual and a soft welcome to everyone who had arrived,” Sam says. “Little did we know it was anything but casual—and ended up being a dance party until 5 a.m.!”
“Friday was then the ‘Puglian Festa,’ which was the official welcome party for everyone,” Sam says. “It was at the Borgo Egnazia's Piazza—like a town square—and was meant to feel like a local festa with all local vendors, local foods, and the luminary lights.” For decor, they opted for deep, rich reds and purples. “I wanted it to feel a bit old and antique-y. In all our wedding meetings, I kept bringing up how I wanted to feel the spirits of my ancestors there.”
“We had a band go throughout the Borgo letting everyone know the festa was beginning,” Sam describes. “We had stations of all different Italian foods. When dinner concluded, a local Puglian band performed and got everyone up to dance. This was, hands down, one of the best things from the weekend. It was so, so special and fun.”
Sam’s Monique Lhuillier gown—with removable long sleeve lace topper—was the very first dress she tried on. “I knew this was the one because it felt so comfortable, and it was what I had always envisioned myself wearing,” she says. “My personality is definitely not traditional, but I always knew that for my wedding day I wanted to go big ‘traditional bride’ mode. I figured if it was my one time to dress up like a bride, then I was going to go for the whole classic bridal look with a veil and a train, which was this dress.”
She accessorized her look with a pair of earrings borrowed from her mother, comfortable Margaux sandals made for dancing, and a pair of blue bird earrings tucked into her chamomile bouquet, to remind her of her late grandmother. “I love the symbolism of chamomile, which has a lot to do with peace, luck, love, and tranquility.”
“My dress was so bridal that I wanted my hair and makeup to be as natural and organic as possible, to make sure it felt like me,” she continues. “I don’t usually wear makeup or even blow dry my hair.” So, it was all the more important that her natural skin was healthy—and she had a couple go-to’s in that arena. “I started using Georgia Louise’s Pulse+Glo Ion Enhancer and Cryo Freeze Tools right before my wedding. The Cryo Freeze Tools tools were definitely the MVP as I was using them all weekend long to keep any inflammation and puffiness down.”
“Bridesmaids wore floral dresses with a color scheme of blue, green, and a dash of blush, while my bridesman wore a baby blue suit,” Sam says.
When we finally got to see each other, we both cried. It was like a big breath of air.
“I had always been against a first look because I imagined it would ‘ruin’ the surprise of me coming down the aisle—but, wow, I’m so happy we did it,” Sam says. “Being able to see and be with Eli beforehand actually grounded me so much, so when I eventually did walk down the aisle I really felt like I could take it all in.” She goes on: “When we finally got to see each other, we both cried. It was like a big breath of air. I don’t care how grounded of a person you are, on the day of your wedding there is so much energy it would make anyone feel jittery!”
“Around the Borgo Egnazia are these insane olive groves with trees more than 1,000 years old,” Sam recalls. “I’m half Italian and would call myself a mystic, so being able to get married among these ancient Italian olive trees felt very special to me. While for Eli, olive trees have always been a significant symbol as he grew up in Israel.” Their initial site visit sealed the deal. “When we first arrived at the olive grove, we noticed this beautiful vacant structure getting renovated on the property, which was the Masseria di Pettolecchia. I never wanted to get married in a church—and Eli and I wanted our ceremony to be ‘neutral’ when it came to religion—but I did always love the feeling of having the ceremony in an old structure. Masseria di Pettolecchia was the perfect mix.”
Floral designer Vincenzo concepted a rectangular altar with four white stone arches. “Arches symbolize strength and support and represent the door you pass through to enter another world,” Sam says. “I always call them mini portals, which is exactly what it felt like up there: it was as if we were transported to heaven for that moment.” The serpentine aisle was lined with tall white flowers and greenery to tap into Sam’s magical and mystical vision. “I I also loved our chairs for the ceremony,” she adds. “They were cast-iron chairs that made it feel like you were in an old garden.”
Driving to the ceremony with her dad was one of Sam’s favorite moments of the day. “Our driver was this lovely Italian man and he could tell my dad and I were really nervous,” she recalls. “So when we turned onto the beach road, he had us both look out the window and breathe in the ocean to calm our nerves. He felt like a little angel sent from the heavens to calm us down and stay present.”
Nerves (somewhat) calmed, Sam and her father proceeded down the aisle to the tune of “Spiritual” by Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden, a song that harkened back to her and Eli’s first meeting. “It’s a song that our teacher always played in our movement class in acting school; it’s so special to us that walking down the aisle to it was a no-brainer.”
“Writing our own vows was super important to us in order to make the ceremony feel like ‘us,’” Sam says. “I was nervous because I have so many feelings about Eli, it seemed impossible to put into words. I also know Eli is an insane writer so I had some big shoes to match up to. He kept telling me that the more unfiltered it was, the closer it would be coming from my heart. I ditched any structure and wrote like I was writing in my diary.”
Likewise, they selected readings that represented them as a couple. “I picked a Dr. Seuss reading about weirdos, and Eli picked an F. Scott Fitzgerald reading about living a life you're proud of and never being afraid to change directions.”
The tented reception was held in the ancient olive groves just outside the Masseria di Pettolecchia. “Since all the previous nights were filled with color, we decided to keep the color scheme for the ceremony and reception timeless and classic with white and green. The ceremony was all white flowers and the reception had a more heavy emphasis on the greens to match the olive trees,” Sam says.
The ceiling of the tent was made to look like olive branches, and the showpiece of the space was a pair of real olive trees from the grove growing within the tent. “The day before the wedding, since I couldn’t go over to see the reception space, I asked [planners] Mindy and Meg to put some special rose quartz I had brought from California within the two olive trees. It was my little offering to the olive trees as I really felt a sense of gratitude that they were going to be the support system for the night.”
“We did a mix of square and circle tables, as both of those shapes make sure no one is left out on the end!” Lace overlays atop linen tablecloths gave an old-world feel, and copious candlelight lit the space. “We put small tambourines with each place setting because we wanted our guests to dance with them all night long."
“Our first dance was very us,” Sam says. “We are both trained actors and very theatrical, so [we started with] Vance Joy’s ‘I’m With You’ as a teaser, and then we broke into a full choreographed dance to ‘Pop’ by NSYNC. It was a hit!”
For dinner and dancing, Sam changed into a Danielle Frankel gown with a removable tulle overlay. Speeches were given during the meal, and each was a hit. “It started with my dad, who gave a speech that was extremely emotional while getting loads of laughs,” Sam reminisces. “Asaph, Eli’s brother and best man, could not have given a more meaningful speech and had us in tears. Then Kirby, my best friend and maid of honor, gave a speech that felt like it could’ve been an SNL opening; she had everyone howling!” Finally, Inspiration Music took the stage to get everyone on the dance floor.
“We served a traditional Italian millefoglie wedding cake, but also asked for a chocolate cake since Eli is a huge chocolate lover,” Sam says. “We ordered a tiered cake and asked for only one layer to be real. Well, when we went to cut the cake, we found out quickly it was all fake. It was hilarious and in our photos, our smiles are us figuring out we have a fake wedding cake.”
The bride’s dad and brother arranged for one of the couple’s favorite DJs, Kygo, to perform at the afterparty. “I still can't believe they successfully kept it from us,” she recalls. “Eli and I were in complete shock when he came out to surprise us before everyone arrived at the afterparty. Most of my friends are huge fans so everyone was losing their minds and jumping up and down the whole night.” She continues: “My friend Mary turned to me as ‘Sunrise’ was playing, which is my favorite Kygo song, and said, ‘Sam, we’re getting you up to crowd surf!’ Next thing I knew everyone was lifting me up and I was in total bliss.”
“Our afterparty ended around 6 a.m. I’ll never forget the look on everyone's faces when we walked outside to it being light out,” Sam remembers. “We all still had so much energy that we headed to the main pool and did a one-by-one jump into the pool with our clothes on! Oh, it was so fun and one of our favorite memories.”
The couple successfully curated a mystical moment in time that evoked so much emotion. Says Sam: “The feeling throughout the wedding and wedding weekend is way more important than what it looks like. People will always remember the feeling they felt from you and your partner, versus what the dinnerware looked like. My biggest advice is to focus on feeling gratitude, joy and love; the feeling will be imprinted on your heart—and your guests’ hearts—for a lifetime!”
Venue Borgo Egnazia
Wedding Planner Mindy Weiss
Bridal Gown and Veil Designer Monique Lhuillier
Bride’s Shoes Marqaux
Wedding Stylist Cynthia Cook Brides
Bride’s Makeup Beauty Livery
Mother of the Bride’s Dress Valentino
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire David August
Engagement Ring Elizabeth Street
Floral Designer Vincenzo Dascanio
Invitations and Signage Lehr & Black
Catering and Cake Borgo Egnazia
Honeymoon Planning Arbiter Travel Co.
Videographer Vidicam Productions Cinematography