Wedding Day Attire


James and I spent the holidays in Rhode Island visiting my family this year. This being our first time back in the state since our wedding, we were finally able to bring my gown and his suit back to Los Angeles. On the actual big day we ran short on time to photograph what we wore, so we took the opportunity to do so at home before getting my dress cleaned and boxed for safekeeping. Here is a closer look at the individual pieces that we chose for our wedding attire.


Instead of going the tuxedo route, James decided on buying a black suit that we had tailored to fit him perfectly. He wore an ivory shirt to match my dress and kept his look sleek and simple.


James opted for an nontraditional champagne colored bow-tie, instead of a typical black one. It complimented our wedding theme and added a fun element to his ensemble.


When searching for the perfect gown, I knew I wanted something classic and lightweight for our outdoor summer wedding. When I tried on this dress I quickly knew it was the right one. I instantly fell in love with the delicate lace details, sweetheart neckline, and buttons going down the back. I was unsure if I would use a veil, but once I tried on this one with a lace trim similar to the lace on the dress, I knew it would complete the bridal look.





For my jewelry I went with pearl and gold pieces. Naturally the pearls go well with an ivory gown, and the gold compliments both James’ bow-tie and the champagne theme in our wedding colors.




The Wedding of Emily Paiz and James Dastoli


After more than a year of being engaged and many months of planning, anticipation, and excitement, our big day finally came. We were nervous, naturally, and anxious for the days events to begin. However, once the wedding actually began we were much calmer, and were thrilled to have so many of our loved ones around us showing their support.


The wedding was held at my parent’s home in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, and we could not be more grateful for all of the amazing help that they provided in making it all come together.


The weather report showed thunder storms for that day, so we rented a last minute tent as we had initially planned to have the reception completely outdoors under the night sky. It thankfully did not rain, but it was best to be safe and our reception turned out lovely. We decided to keep the strung garden lights above the tables at the reception to maintain the effect we were going for. Additionally, we did not have a very solid contingency plan for the ceremony if it did rain, so we sighed a deep sigh of relief when the skies looked clear and we were able to have the ceremony by the woods just as we had envisioned.


We kept with a simple ceremony, using traditional wedding vows and the wedding march/wedding exit music played by our live band. Keeping with tradition, James had never seen my wedding gown until he saw me walking down the aisle with my father. This was also when he was finally able to see what the sash he saw me working on looked like with my gown.


As expected, James looked stoic and calm standing down the aisle, while I was nervous and smiling. Once I reached the ceremony table I felt so much excitement to be standing there with him, and his smile and gaze told me he felt the same.



We rented the linens along with the chairs, silverware, glassware, and china. We were able to pick our linens from a very wide variety and went with a champagne colored tablecloth covered by ivory lace. For the napkins we selected a damask pattern. We chose ivory china with a gold rim, and went with champagne saucers instead of flutes. James and I found our gold rimmed champagne saucers for the wedding toasts at an antiques market, and they looked wonderful with our table settings.


Our centerpieces had a few different elements to them, most of which were hand crafted. We found these lanterns that matched our aesthetic and put a little candle inside each one. Underneath the lantern were doilies handmade by my mother. Sitting around the lantern were the paper flowers James and I made a couple of months before the wedding. Then we had little frames painted an ivory color to hold the table numbers which we printed onto the same paper used for our invitations.


The food was catered by my very own parents’ restaurant, and it was fantastic. We received several compliments on the food by many people who did not even know that my family had made it. My mother handled most of the seasoning and had a small crew assisting her with the execution. We decided to serve the food buffet style in order to allow guests to have their choice and their fill, and placed menus on each plate to display the options. For the entrees James and I choose rib-eye steak, chicken marsala with mushrooms, and meatloaf, which are some of our favorite foods that also maintain a classic wedding theme.


We rented a beautiful bar that was actually built by the owner of the rental company, and we hired two bartenders to serve cocktails, beer, and wine. Guests had a very wide variety of drinks to choose from at the open bar that went on all night, including our two specialty cocktails. We also ordered customized cocktail napkins with the same monogram James created for our invitations.



We implemented small decorative details throughout the wedding that emoted a romantic outdoor wedding theme, such as a wooden cabinet for escort cards and a birdcage to hold gifts.



Since we had a buffet style dinner, we decided to have cupcakes instead of a full wedding cake. It enabled guests to take their own and choose their preferred flavor. We had our cupcakes made by The Cupcakerie in strawberry, lavender, and mocha espresso.


There were also a couple of glass containers holding my all time favorite dessert: raspberry French macaroons. The wonderful owner of the bakery also made a small wedding cake for James and I to cut, and it was absolutely perfect. We sent her a few images of cake designs we liked and she was able to use those as inspiration to create our ideal little wedding cake. The details and design of the cake, cupcakes, and sweets display were exactly what we wanted.


For our first dance we went with “Fly Me to the Moon.” We selected that song years ago, before we even got engaged, as it represents several things to us. It is a swing/jazz song and we had a swing/jazz band play at our wedding, it is romantic, its references to the moon and planets speaks to our mutual love of space exploration, and of course we love the song melody itself.



When it got much darker we lit sparklers and had fun playing and creating images.


We have very fond memories of our wedding day and are so relieved that all went wonderfully. We had a great time seeing our loved ones and are so very grateful to all who contributed in any way to make our night successful. From the delicate details to the romantic live swing band our night was incredibly memorable. All of our hard work certainly paid off, and now we look forward to many long years of happy matrimony.


Wedding Signage

With just a few days left for our wedding, James and I are finishing up all of the details. One of the biggest elements to our wedding’s design is the signage that we are using in various places. All of the signs are stylistically linked to our save the dates and wedding invitations.


This sign will be marking the location from the side of the road. We got this frame at an antiques flea market, and plan to hang it from a tree with twine.


We chose a variety of frames and a unique design for each sign, with a few exceptions.


These will form a part of the centerpieces on each table along with our paper flowers, large lanterns, and doilies created by my mother.


We’re not quite sure where we will place the restrooms signs yet, but we are coming prepared with two of them.


We have an iron birdcage for guests to place cards and gifts at the reception area.


At each place setting will be a menu for the buffet. These menus use the same colors as our save the dates and invitations.


We have two of our favorite drinks on the menu as specialty cocktails aside from a full bar, one featuring gin and one featuring bourbon.


The place cards will be in a set of drawers in a small wooden jewelry box. We used the same elements from the embossed return address stamp on our invitations.

We are very pleased with how these designs came out. We’re hoping everything comes together with the linens, dinnerware, and centerpieces to create the atmosphere that we have been envisioning all year. James and I are very excited to celebrate our marriage with our loved ones this weekend, and for our two week honeymoon to follow.

Our Engagement Story


One year ago today, James and I got engaged. Like many romantic engagement stories, it was quite the happy surprise for me. We had spoken about getting married many times before, so the idea of marrying him was not a question. We had been living together for about a year and a half, and approaching our three year anniversary, so we both knew it was only a matter of time. Regardless of the assumption that he would propose someday, the fact that it was a regular Monday night, about a week before his birthday, and two months shy of our three year anniversary, meant that it came as a complete shock.


The proposal itself was perfect, reinforcing the fact that he is perfect to me in every way. Earlier that day, James had texted me ‘I have a surprise for you,’ and for most people that would have been a giveaway, but not with us. Him having a surprise for me is commonplace, and it can range from ‘I got you cupcakes,’ to ‘I found this great used book that you’ll love.’


I walked up to our door, put my key in the keyhole, and before I could proceed, I heard him on the other side fumbling around with the locks. I took my key out and let him finish opening the door. The first thing I wanted to say was, ‘why was the door locked?’ since this is not typical if one of us is home and the other will be arriving soon. But before I had a chance to say anything, he opened the door just a tiny bit and said ‘close your eyes,’ before I could even take a single step inside. A bit alarmed, but excited for whatever this fun surprise would be, I complied and closed my eyes. He opened the door, and slowly led me in. With my eyes still closed, he had me put my purse down, and then before I could walk any further, he walked behind me and covered my eyes with his hands.


At this point my curiosity was piqued, and I began to run through my head what it could possibly be, never once during these few seconds thinking it would be a proposal. He walked me through our small foyer, through our living room, and then stopped right in front of the kitchen table dining area.  As he removed his hands from my eyes, he took a step to stand next me and asked me to open my eyes now. I can only imagine the look of surprise and thrill on my face at that moment. I opened my eyes to see what you see in this photograph, a book entitled ‘This is Paris,’ a bottle of champagne, our special champagne glasses, and the essential piece: an engagement ring. The book was a reprint of a children’s book from the 1950s, and he knew this would be perfect; I love books, and we had always talked about going to France for our honeymoon someday. The champagne glasses were a gift James gave me a couple of Christmases ago, that are crystal with a fine etching.


As I recall I stood there in shock for a few seconds, feeling my heart fill with a thrilling excitement. I turned to him as he grabbed my hands in his, and with a smile asked ‘will you marry me?’


Wedding Invitations


This past weekend James and I finally finished and mailed out our wedding invitations. Over the past several months we have been working on designing and creating the invitation packages. Designing your own invitations is the only way to ensure stylistic consistency with the rest of the wedding, as well as being entirely unique. Plus, designing and creating them ourselves was a lot more fun than just picking out a cookie cutter design. As with our Save the Dates, I admit that it was stressful and laborious along the way, but as with all things that we value, well worth it.


Aside from the invitation piece itself, we also had to design every element other than the envelopes (though we did spend quite some time at Paper Source picking out the right color and size). Using a wide variety of source material from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we designed the invitations, RSVP cards, map, hotel/registry information card (on the back of the map), and two stamps: one with our return address used on the envelopes, and one with a monogram stamp with our initials to go on the back flap of the envelopes. After completing the designs, we had the paper pieces printed and cut at a local print shop using ivory card stock.


We had our stamp designs created into rubber stamps, and used them to hand emboss each envelope. We used our return address on the RSVP envelopes first, and embossed using gold ink with clear powder.


After stamping down with ink and applying embossing powder, we used an embossing tool to heat up the stamp design in large batches of envelopes. Here you can see the monogram stamps on the back of the envelopes, which are the same monogram initials on the invitations.


In this photograph you can see how the stamp changes as the powder heats up and melts to create a textured print on the surface.


After all of the embossing was done, we lined the envelopes. We had a blush damask pattern printed on ivory colored liner paper, and used a glue stick to press them firmly in.


We then printed all of our guests’ names and addresses onto oval stickers, before embossing a gold dotted line around the rim. These were carefully stuck to the center of each envelope.


The final step to our DIY wedding invitations was assembling all of the pieces inside of the envelopes. Each one included a map/registry card, a blush colored RSVP envelope with RSVP card, and of course the invitation itself.


We spent a lot of time designing all of the elements, researching Victorian and Baroque printed material to fuel our inspiration. We wanted to have a product that was intricate and elegant, with the use of delicate colors and scrollwork, but was also completely different and unique from any wedding invitation that we had ever come across. We are thrilled with the results, and are so glad to have this big step complete in our wedding planning.


Wedding Planning Weekend


A couple of weeks ago, James and I took a weekend trip to Rhode Island to take care of some wedding planning details. We came back home feeling productive, and excited from the decisions that we made. Now that we have a lot of more of the basics covered, we can have breathing room to focus on the smaller projects.


The first appointment we went to was to pick out our reception rentals – i.e. linens, tables, chairs, silverware, chinaware, etc. We played around with a lot of different variations of blush, champagne, and ivory before we were able to come to any decisions. Before walking in, we thought we wanted a blush table cloth, with ivory napkins. However, once we started seeing different options, we decided on a champagne tablecloth with an ivory lace overlay, and damask champagne napkins. Picking out our chairs and chinaware was a much faster process. We went with a natural finish on our chairs, and ivory china with a gold rim. For the glassware, we decided to break wedding tradition by going with champagne saucers instead of flutes.


The next leg of our trip involved cake tasting. We knew that we wanted to go with cupcakes instead of having a large traditional wedding cake, so I selected a couple of cupcake bakeries with good reviews and pretty cupcakes. We had two tastings, and ‘The Cupcakerie‘ blew the other bakery out of the water. Not only did we absolutely love the delicious cupcakes, but the customer service and design detail were exactly what we were looking for. We picked out four cupcake flavors to feature at our wedding, and are also having a couple of macaron trays as part of our sweets display.


Later in the afternoon, we took a visit to our wedding venue, a lovely patch of land in the forest. The reception itself will take place on a grassy field surrounded by trees a few hundred feet from the above picture. We’re so glad that we will have these trees to walk through for our photos. Our next trip will be in July, where we’ll tackle some more planning details. In the meantime, we’re staying busy and productive doing what we can from home.