When Ashleigh Tomasello and Saul Castagnello traveled to Tokyo to celebrate five years of dating, the trip represented a homecoming of sorts. The college sweethearts had been visiting the metropolis for their three-year anniversary in 2011 when the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck. “Despite the disaster, we left our hearts there and had to go back,” Ashleigh says. This time, Saul planned a surprise for Ashleigh that ensured their second Tokyo vacation would be similarly unforgettable.
On the evening of their fifth anniversary, Saul escorted Ashleigh into a limousine, which carried them to a helicopter waiting to take them on a nighttime tour of the city. Once the helicopter reached its highest altitude, Saul took off his seatbelt, got on one knee and told his beloved, “No matter where we are in the world, no matter how high off the ground we are, I am always home when I’m with you. Will you marry me?” As Ashleigh shouted her “yes” to his proposal, the helicopter was surrounded by the dazzling fireworks display from nearby Tokyo Disney. A glass room full of roses, champagne, and gourmet desserts awaited them back at the helicopter takeoff site. “I have never experienced any other culture that loves love more than the Japanese,” Ashleigh gushes. “There wasn’t a beat skipped or even one detail left undone. It was perfect.”
After an especially harsh New York winter, the couple was thrilled to escape to Palm Beach for a seaside wedding at a prestigious destination resort. Although each stage of the celebration was held in a different area of the property, Ashleigh utilized a consistent color palette of blush, ivory, white, and champagne throughout the day, to complement the natural beauty that surrounded them. Guests gathered on a green lawn overlooking the ocean and accented with palm trees for the ceremony. Rows of wooden white chairs faced the sea, and on each side of the snowy aisle runner stood tall glass fluted vases topped with round arrangements of pale pink roses and ivory hydrangeas. An acrylic canopy blended seamlessly into the scenery and was adorned with more hydrangeas and roses, as well as garlands of white orchids that were draped from each corner.
After seven bridesmaids, outfitted in blush floor-length gowns, and seven groomsmen journeyed down the aisle, the bride made her grand entrance alongside her father. Her strapless ball gown boasted the faintest hint of pink, and featured a tulle skirt underneath an organza bubble peplum overskirt. She carried a bouquet of peonies and orchids studded with pearls, her and Saul’s birthstone. Ashleigh and Saul worked with their officiant, a non-denominational judge, to create a non-religious ceremony and hand-written vows that kept the focus on their love. “Without ever having read each other’s vows, we both called each other ‘my everything,’ which fully encapsulated the epitome of our relationship,” Saul says. “I couldn’t help myself and had to dip her when I finally heard ‘You may kiss the bride!’”
Cocktails, food stations, and tray-passed appetizers were on hand during the cocktail hour in a Mediterranean-inspired courtyard. However, the escort card table drew the largest crowd. Each guest received a place card featuring a unique butterfly applique handmade by the bride’s mother. “My mom is extremely crafty and would always make me special, unique gifts growing up, so it was important to me to incorporate a custom piece by her,” Ashleigh explains. Escort cards in hand, guests made their way into an ornate ballroom for the reception.
Modeled after the loggias of Italian villas, the ballroom featured fresco-painted ceilings, Venetian-style chandeliers, and 15-foot arched windows. Round tables featured two stunning designs. The first presented a mirrored tabletop and a tall fluted vase with a lush display of white hydrangeas, Hawaiian dendrobium orchids, ivory roses, and blush and peach Juliette roses. Three Monet candle stands with floating candles and submerged pearls, plus short tubular votives, surrounded the arrangement. The second design included sequined peach linens and a centerpiece that consisted of a tall Abigail vase overflowing with florals. Votive candleholders were suspended from pearl-embellished ribbons, and three small companion bouquets encircled the centerpiece. All place settings featured sparkling gold china, diamond water goblets, and pearl napkin rings.
The newlyweds and their 18-member wedding party dined at a single rectangular mirrored table in view of the dance floor, which was illuminated with their monogram. A live band encouraged all guests to put on their dancing shoes, and kept the energy level high for the entire night. “My most memorable moment was lifting Ashleigh up and spinning her around in the air on the dance floor during our first dance,” Saul says. “It was all so much fun!” A trio of desserts, including a mini baked Alaska, a chocolate tower filled with Chantilly cream, and a chocolate cappuccino cup with a chocolate pot de crème, accompanied the towering red velvet cake.
Ashleigh and Saul recommend that other couples do whatever makes them happy at their own weddings, and remember to enjoy every last second. It would seem that following this advice was the secret to the newlyweds’ happily-ever-after. “From the exquisite food and intricate décor, to the magical setting of the ceremony on the beach and vibrant music, it was unlike any other wedding,” Saul concludes. “It was, quite frankly, everything I’ve always dreamed my wedding to be!”