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.


New Sash for Wedding Gown

As I had posted previously, I had made a floral sash to wear around my wedding gown that featured fabric flowers and lace. In April, I had a chance to see it with my dress, and it didn’t work quite as well as it had stand-alone. The band felt thick, and the ribbon juxtaposed with the lace on my dress looked too shiny (I felt a bit like gift wrap). Before my latest trip to Rhode Island, I tried out a few different alterations to make it feel more cohesive with the dress, but ultimately I decided that the best course of action was to keep only the flowers, and make a new sash with all new materials.


This one was made with a much thinner champagne colored ribbon and a delicate lace ribbon with tiny pearls on top.


Having seen this new sash with my dress, I am very happy with the way they compliment one another. Not being able to see the dress for comparison while I was making the original sash is just one example of the difficulties involved in designing for an event that is taking place thousands of miles away. It has been frustrating, but with the amount of prep that we have done (and redone again and again as construction of the venue progresses), I’m certain that all of the colors, textures, and geography will work out. We continuously stop to remind ourselves that even with all of the frustrations, we’re so glad to be marrying each other.



Handmade Wedding Gown Sash


This weekend we are taking care of some wedding planning details in Rhode Island, one of which will be getting my first set of alterations done for my wedding gown. I am excited to see the dress again, as I have since found shoes to go with it, and I have also made my own sash to tie around the dress. This is not a necessary piece, but after trying on some ribbons around my waist when I was dress shopping, I decided I wanted to make my own. I loved the idea of having a piece of my wedding ensemble be something that I made with my own hands, so I took the challenge and am very pleased with the results.


Using a variety of fabrics in different shades of blush and champagne, I constructed three of these little flowers.


I started off by tracing different size circles onto the fabrics with a pencil and three different sized glasses. Once I had all of my circles traced, I carefully cut out the circles with fabric scissors.


Then, using an unscented wax candle, I carefully singed the edges of the fabric. The singeing of the fabric has two purposes. First, it seals the edges so that the fabric won’t fray, and second, it makes the fabric curl in to give the illusion of a flower petal.


I used a blush colored lace fabric to give the flowers a bit more delicate detail. Using nail scissors, I cut out along the edges of the shapes in the lace to make the flowers have a more textured look.


Once I had all of my pieces, I sorted out just those pieces I wanted to use. A few pieces had a slightly burned edge due to the singeing process. Then, I stacked the circles from largest to smallest, insuring that each flower had all four fabrics incorporated.


Once the main body of the flowers were finished, I stitched in a few pearls in the very center of each. I made one larger flower for the center of the sash, and two smaller ones to go on the sides.


Next, I got to working on the ribbon itself. I purchased a light champagne colored ribbon, and a lace ivory colored ribbon with small pearls attached throughout. Using a small needle, I stitched the two ribbons together at various points. I did not want the lace to lay completely flat against the ribbon, so I only secured it at the tops and middle of the lace.


Once the ribbon was ready, I secured the three flowers with needle and ivory thread so that they would be positioned just slightly to the right of my middle. It took many hours to complete this, but I’m very happy with the final result. I cannot wait to see what it will look like on my wedding gown.

Wedding Dress Shopping

Last week I went wedding dress shopping. I happen to be very lucky to have a fiancé who is very actively involved in every detail of the wedding planning, but we decided that he would not be involved with the dress. We are not superstitious, but we do like the idea of maintaining this particular tradition. I went with my mother, my sister/maid of honor, my two nieces (each representing their mothers/my sisters), and my best friend. They all gave great feedback and support. I knew what type of dress I wanted going in, and was worried that I would not find anything close to my ideal, at least not in our budget. Luckily, after just a few attempts at two stores, I found the dress for me. I had ‘the moment’ that I always imagined I would have when I found the one, and it was right within our budget. Here are some of the dresses which did NOT make the cut before I tried on the one for me. I will not share the winning dress until the wedding photos are posted.


This dress on the left was actually chosen by the bride trying on dresses in the next room over, and I admit it is lovely. My personal issue with it was the tulle showing through on the side, which is not for me.

The one on the right was well liked by most of my family. I loved the strap detail, but I was not at all a fan of the peplum. It felt trendy, and like something I would regret in a few years.


I liked the lace detail on the top of the left dress, but overall it felt a bit matronly for me. The bottom detail felt sparse and that was a deal breaker.

This dress on the right was quickly a no. The tulle on the bottom clashed too much with the embroidered flowers on the upper portion.


This one was the one that made my mommy cry. It came very close to being the right one – it had the lace, a beautiful back, and an elegant feel. My concerns were the sash, which was much too bright and covered with gem stones, and the tail of the dress, which was definitely too long and heavy for an outdoor wedding in early September.


This dress was another close one. It had a lot of what I was looking for – the only exception being that it had a bit too much ‘poof’ for my taste, as I was ideally in search of a sheath style dress. This very likely would have been the one, had I not found the perfect dress shortly after.

Now that I have found my dress, the whole wedding seems to be coming even more into focus. We still have several details to sort out, and we’re having fun with it every step of the way.