Cynthia Viola Photography

Banner Elk, North Carolina Wedding | Becca and Clay

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses
— Ann Landers
Mountain Wedding

Wow, I have so many things to say. I feel like I helped raise Becca (and her sister Hannah) in a way. Really, we grew up together. I spent a few hours every week with them at their home discussing life, faith, movies and future dreams. Their incredible mother Robin made a huge dinner every time, entirely from scratch and almost entirely from their massive garden. Little did she know that she inspired the gardener in me; when I moved to Raleigh it was because of her I started my own little back porch box garden and now have quite a collection of vegetables in our back yard now. They lived the type of life that stops to have a good conversation and works long hard hours because that's what makes you feel good at the end of the day. 

The girls expanded my appreciation for literature and classic movies and challenged my beliefs every time we met. I felt truly like a sister, and a part of the family. Now seeing Becca married this weekend brought me back to those wonderful, slower days and made me grateful for the journey of life and all the different places it can take you.

Clay came into Becca's life about 10 years ago and I remember him being a part of our conversations off and on and now here they are, a decade of friendship behind them and a lifetime of love and laughter in front of them. They were truly meant to be.

The entire county was flooded with torrential downpours the week leading up to the wedding; several landslides made the roads questionable and all our nerves were on a rollercoaster ride as we watched the radar. It held off just long enough to capture every single pre-ceremony portrait they wanted, however, poured during the ceremony again, and lifted one last time after the ceremony to allow for family portraits outdoors. The bright greens that came after the storm only made the photos that much more beautiful. Quite the silver lining. Always grateful for unexpected beauty .

Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Becca decided to wear her mother's incredibly gorgeous veil and I was super excited about it. There's just something so classic about a long veil, and it adds so many more portrait options. 

Bridal Portraits
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Becca and her girls got together the night before and created all their bouquets as well as the ceremony and reception arrangements. DIY bouquets have never looked more beautiful. 

Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Clay knew the right things to say every single time to make his bride light up with smiles and laughter. I absolutely love it when couples know how to tease each other well and have a good time. 

Mountain Wedding
Mountain Wedding

You guys I couldn't be happier for you! Thank you for including me in your big day, I wish you all the happiness in the world!

 

 

The vendors who made the day possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue: Banner Elk Christian Fellowship

Bride's Gown: David's Bridal

Groom's Attire: Men's Warehouse

Perfume: Clinique Happy Heart

Bride's Rings: Skattles Jewelers & Zales

Groom's Ring: Stonebrook Jewelers

Hair Stylist: Hannah McCormick

Officiant: Carl Clawson

Cake Baker: Stick Boy Bread Co.

Invitations: Jaime Johnson Photography

 

 

 

Anniversary Sessions

Anniversary PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things that are missing.
— Ann Landers
Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos

I cannot tell you how much fun it is to spend some time with our couples around their one year anniversary. I love hearing about what their first year has been like and all the adventures they've had and challenges they've faced. The images always show their love to be deeper and their friendships stronger. 

I spent the last three weeks in North Carolina shooting weddings and spending time with so many clients who I only get to see on my short visits up there. The last post highlighted the moms and families I got to spend time with, this one will highlight the anniversaries I got to celebrate. 

Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos

Torrie and David met me super early at Fred Fletcher Park which can be challenging enough, but David had only gotten back from a trip 4 hours prior...like 3:00 in the morning, and still showed up with his bride to our 7am session. I'm pretty sure he gets bonus points for that one. They were of course, just as sweet as the day they wed

Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos
Rose Garden Anniversary Photos

Jacqueline and Jon met up with me at The Raleigh Rose Garden downtown and I felt like a drug dealer as I passed them cookies from my car to their's after the shoot. :) We've been friends a long time and I used to bake cookies for BREW Coffee Bar as well as any house party or gathering we attended together so they requested some. So fun! I fell in love with their venue, Highgrove Estate, on their wedding day and can't wait to head back there again this fall for another special day. 

Rose Garden Anniversary Photos

Its awesome to be able to be a part of each couple's life as they make their transitions and experience new adventures. It only makes me that much more excited to celebrate number 13 with A.J. at the end of summer. 

Rose Garden Anniversary Photos

 

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this anniversary session or or this Fletcher Park Family Session. 

 

To all the Mommas

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful
— Mae West
Mother with 3 month old

I cannot help but be excited every time my client's families grow. Watching two people commit their lives to each other at the altar, seeing their choice in new little puppies and kitties, homes and adventures and, if they choose, the sweet little ones they bring into the world, foster or adopt. All the new places life can take us is exciting and having the people we love around us while we do it makes it that much more so.

The past few weeks in North Carolina I had the pleasure of catching up with several of my favorite families and a few new ones. So I thought it'd be fun to blog them all at once to show how many different ways you can celebrate new life, growth and adventures. 

It started with Karla and sweet little Khloe. We met at Jetton Park in Cornelius, NC and had so much fun dolling her up in beautiful pink tulle and surrounding her in flowers and love. Karla's beautiful momma came along as well to help in all the ways mommas help...with all their love and support, no matter what we're doing. Little Khloe is going to be surrounded by love her whole life long. Can't wait to see her again in just a few more weeks!

Mother with 3 month old

Next up is technically a senior session for Joey. He had me stepping out of my comfort zone like crazy as he skated across the ice. I knew I'd be shooting him in the Factory Ice Rink in Wake Forest, NC, but it didn't occur to me until I walked into the building, in dress and heels, that I'd actually need to walk out onto the ice to get the shots. Oops! He was a rockstar though. (not to mention the soccer and golf shots we took later, he's and all round athlete and quite possibly the kindest and most sincere teenager I've ever met. 

By his side the entire shoot, was of course, his beautiful mother Lisa. She made sure he had all his equipment and got all the shots he was hoping for. (Certainly something she did tirelessly through the years as he grew up as well) The rest of the family joined at at Joyner Park afterward and we made sure to capture photos of everyone. It was also awesome to catch up with Amelia and her Furman adventures, it seems like her senior session was just yesterday, and now she's off to make her impact on the world.

Wake Field Senior Photos

Back in Charlotte, Brentlee and I were crossing our fingers hoping little Brayer would make his appearance  before I left and sure enough she and John welcomed little Brayer into the world just in time! The most anticipated part of the morning was introducing him to his new big sister Hamptyn. She was so excited to meet him...until he actually showed up. She became so shy we didn't know what else to do but just giggle. She eventually came around though and immediately started fulfilling her big sister responsibilities, helping to change his outfit and shower him with kisses. Little Brayer was actually hiding in momma's tummy just a few months ago as we took family portraits in the most magical forest I've ever laid eyes on, Hamptyn was excited even then, I know they are going to make a great team, I can't wait to see them again at the end of summer!

Charlotte Hospital photography Session

I technically already posted of blog of Connie's family here, but I couldn't resist mentioning the session again, as her entire family came together for the week at a lake house in Mooresville, NC to celebrate her birthday and all she'd done for them through the years. It was so special. 

60th birthday party

At Coker Arboretum in Chapel Hill, NC I got to catch up with the Jakub family. Anna had just turned 14 and it was time for new family portraits. Having just captured her incredible Bat Mitzvah celebration last year I couldn't wait to hear all the year had brought for her. And next up for them is a trip to Israel to explore and learn about their rich heritage. Beth's momma came along as well and we were able to capture a few generational portraits for them. I loved seeing the similarities in features in them all. 

generational photos

Last, but certainly not least, the Ross family met me at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh to capture Amber's sweet baby bump and play around with big sis Hazel Grace. I can't believe she's already running around so freely, it seems like just last week we were celebrating her first birthday with a cake smash! Cannot wait to meet little Hudson on my next visit!! 

Maternity photos with 2 year old

I'm so grateful to all these wonderful families for trusting me with their memories. This is such an incredible life, I love every single new story and every single bear hug. Can't wait to see you all again soon!

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this Maternity Session, or this story about Motherhood and it's many challenges.

Ocean Isle Beach Wedding | Alexa and Landon

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola6 Comments
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Howard Thurman
Trash the Dress photography

These two have been on quite the adventure from the moment they met. With a love of traveling and jobs that encourage it, they have lived and traveled all across the country and beyond. When they told me the wedding was going to be on Cinco de Mayo, I knew an epic party was about to happen. 

They rented a house in Ocean Isle and invited their closest family and friends to stay the weekend, celebrate life, love and new adventures. We've never had so much fun! From the second we arrived on Thursday we threw our stuff in our rooms and made our way to the beach to share stories and take in the moment. Everyone adores Landon and Alexa so much it was effortless to come together to celebrate them. 

OIB wedding photography
OIB wedding photography
Beach wedding details
Beach wedding details
Beach wedding details
OIB wedding photography
father daughter first look
beach groom details

While they were getting ready they couldn't resist telling everyone how excited they were and as everything built toward the first look they were practically dancing with anticipation. You'd never know there were hundreds of people on the beach watching them, they only had eyes for each other. 

pier first look
pier first look
pier first look
pier first look
pier first look

Have you ever seen a more joyful bride?!? You just can't resist loving Alexa from the very first moment you meet her and Landon is, of course full of his own charms. 

pier first look

All Alexa wanted for her ceremony was to be surrounded by as much color as possible. Their guests did not disappoint. 

beach wedding ceremony
beach wedding ceremony
beach wedding

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know Trash the Dress sessions are my favorite... I usually tend to shoot them on anniversaries or some time down the road from the wedding day, but Alexa had another dress ready to go for the reception and couldn't wait to jump in the ocean! A true mermaid.

beach trash the dress
beach wedding reception food truck
beach wedding reception
beach wedding reception
beach wedding cake cutting
beach wedding reception
beach wedding reception
beach trash the dress
beach trash the dress

You guys I could not be happier for you! I loved every single minute of this weekend and cannot wait to come visit in Cali soon!! Love you!!

 

The Vendors who made the Day Possible:

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Videographer: Jerry Moore Luminous Event Films

Venue: Southern Comfort

Bridal Gown: Maggie Sottero from Dar Lynns Bridal

Groom's Attire: Men's Warehouse

Bride's Ring: Simon G Engagement

Perfume: Lancome la Vie est Belle

Cologne: Gucci Guilty

Hair Stylist: Brandi from Coral Tree Salon

Make Up Artist: Sabrina from Coral Tree Salon

Florist: Dave Bryant Designer

Officiant: Terrence Richards

Catering: Catch the Food Truck and Art Catering

Cake Baker: Cakes by the Sea

Linen/Chair/Tent Services: Art Catering

Light and Sound- Michael Pirozzolo Event Excellence

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Jenelle and Billy's Trash the Dress Session or Heather and Kyle's Beach Engagement

Oaks at Salem Wedding | Lindsay and Matt

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories
— George Eliot
Bride and Groom with Classic Car

Lindsay and Matt know how to go big on a party. From the classic cocktails, to the incredible DJs to knife fighting among the groom's party before the ceremony and Spice Girls jam sessions in the Bride's suite; they and their wedding party are there to have a good time. We had so much fun capturing the big day.

The Oaks at Salem was, of course, the perfect backdrop, and no one could have ordered a better weather forecast. It was like a fairy tale. 

When Lindsay's mom and dad shared advice for her during the first look, we all got a little teary eyed and everyone in the bride's party spoke from the heart as they recalled fun stories and shared what they admired about their friend. 

The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex

Lindsay and Matt wrote a special note to little Eva to carry with her in the flower basket, and to one day use for her "something blue" if she wishes. She promptly dropped it on the ground which made everyone laugh, but we all knew how very special it was, and she will too some day. :)

The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Ceremony
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex

The Oaks really does have an incredible backdrop for portraits, any time of the day. Such a beautiful venue.

The Oaks at Salem Apex

I'm pretty sure I ate three entire bowls of m&ms by myself during the reception, it's now officially my favorite wedding favor. :)

The Oaks at Salem Reception
The Oaks at Salem Reception

The choreographed dances had everyone smiling, nothing beats a solid dip...except maybe dad throwing money at the bride :)

The Oaks at Salem Reception
The Oaks at Salem Reception
The Oaks at Salem Reception
The Oaks at Salem Reception

Thank you guys for letting us be a part of your day!! We had an incredible time!!

Hope you enjoy Saint Lucia!! 

 

The Vendors who made the day Possible

Photography: Cynthia & A.J. Viola

Venue: The Oaks at Salem

Coordinators: Becky and Ashley at the Oaks

Bridal Gown: Lillian West from Maggi Bridal in Raleigh

Bridesmaids Dresses: Revelry

Groom's Tux and Groomsmen's Suits: The Black Tux

Bride and Groom's Rings: Bailey's

Hair and Make Up: Cori Lee Style

Florist: MEWS Designs

Officiant: Tim Tharrington, "With This Ring"

DJ: All Events DJs

Videographer: The Bride's Brother, Ryan

Photobooth: All Events DJs

Catering: Cook Shack Catering

Cake and Donuts: Edible Art & Rise Biscuits and Donuts

Linen Services: Party Reflections

Invitations: Minted

If you enjoyed these images you might also enjoy this Oaks at Salem Wedding  

Lake Norman Extended Family Session | Elzey Family

Family PortraitsCynthia Viola2 Comments
I sustain myself with the love of family
— Maya Angelou
Lake House Photo Shoot

Oh my goodness I love this sweet family so much. It started with Anna and Anthony's adorable engagement session and Wedding, and continued with multiple Instagram and Facebook comments and conversations. I feel like I've known them forever, so when they asked if I could capture their lake weekend while I was in Charlotte, I assured them I would have driven from Florida for this. 

They were here to celebrate Connie's 60th birthday and I think they all decided they just wanted to stay forever, the house was amazing, and the view absolutely perfect. Everyone had such an amazing experience and we finished it off with a photo shoot to capture the memory! 

We had to adjust the timing of the shoot at the last second to avoid the rain and we were SO glad we did, it started drizzling on us about 5 minutes before we finished, but they stuck it out to get the last couple shots. Connie I'm so glad you have such an amazing family to celebrate you on this happy occasion. May your heart be full of love and your walls with tons of photos after this weekend :)

Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this Extended Family Session or this Lake Norman Family Session

Mooresville, North Carolina Wedding | Susan and Ron

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola1 Comment
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Lake Norman Wedding

When you get to watch a relationship bloom from the very first date until they say, "I Do," it gives you a whole new appreciation for love. Through the life transitions, disagreements, home repairs and wedding planning Susie and Ron have only grown more and more in love. I feel like we just did their engagement session yesterday and here we are a house brimming to the top with friends and family and every one of us ready to celebrate. 

I adore meeting and spending time with all the extended family members of my couples, but these guys hold and extra special place in my heart. My brothers, of course, at the center, but also half-step brothers, adopted cousins and feisty grandmas, neighbors who've become friends and the very best celebration anyone could ask for. Guests traveled from all over the country to celebrate with Susie and Ron (and of course for Betsy's 95th birthday). 

Everyone had so many wonderful things to say about them both, as they are one of the most welcoming, gracious hosts you could ask for. I heard story after story of how individually and as a couple they've been there to support their loved ones; they take care of so many people and live life to the fullest every day. It has been such an honor and a blessing to become a small part of this huge and incredible group of people. 

Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding

I asked Susie what Ron has to do to make up if he makes her mad, "He just has to make me laugh," she said. (and he promptly whispered something to her causing a huge belly laugh) ;) Susie loves to laugh and no one is better at it than Ron. 

Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more
— Christina Perri
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding

I love all of you SO MUCH! Thank you for an incredible weekend, an incredible life. 

 

 

The Vendors who made this day Possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue and Catering: Hilton Gardens Inn, Mooresville

Bridal Gown: David's Bridal

Groomsmen Attire: JC Penny

Rings: Brownlee Jewelers

Hair Stylist: Leanna VanWasssenhove

Florist: Lowe's Foods

Officiant: Gino Cassano

Cake: CynTucci's Bakery

DJ: Roland Tate

Dance Floor: Jump Start Events

Invitations: Ann's Bridal

 

If you enjoyed these photos, you might also enjoy this Mooresville Family session or this

Rose Garden Wedding.

 

Oak Bridge Club Stylized Wedding with Lauren and Nathan

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
You wear white and I’ll wear out the words ‘I love you,’ and ‘you’re beautiful’
— Train
Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks

I must say, in ten years of weddings, I've never participated in a stylized wedding session, but we had SO much fun. Having the freedom of no timeline and a couple who's been together for years with no jitters or wedding stress holding them back was a dream. 

We actually had the added bonus of a precious little flower girl and ring barer to join us while we walked around the grounds, Lauren and Nathan's cute kiddos couldn't help but jump in once they saw how much fun we were having. 

Working with and around other vendors at every weeding is a fun part of the job, but it was so unique to be able to partner with them in the actual planning process for this one. Let me tell you, they didn't shy away, these vendors pulled out all the stops and made the whole process a blast!

Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks

First of all, our gorgeous bride owns Braid Bar of St. Augustine and therefore styled her own incredible hair, not once but twice, to give two different looks for the shoot. She's braided my hair into a mohawk before which was to die for! If your looking for braids or twists of any kind, she's the bomb. 

Rachel Ashley styled her Make Up perfectly while we chatted in Oak Bridge's beautiful lounge area. She knew exactly what Lauren needed and made sure she had touch up supplies throughout the shoot. 

Lori with Lori Parker Floral Studios in Ponte Vedra had a vision for the boho style and included the most unique florals in the bouquet, boutonniere and ceremony arbor. I honestly didn't hire a florist for my own wedding because I'm not much of a flower person but working with someone who loves what they do makes you change your mind. Lori loves her work so much it she actually made me excited about these flowers throughout the entire process. 

Daria at Adagio Weddings built the incredible arbor and set it to stand against some significant winds that whipped through the fairway. There were multiple times I just knew it was going to collapse as we chased other materials across the green, but it was strong and resilient. She really knows what she's doing. Additionally, she provided the beautiful violin accompaniment for their ceremony and first dance. She has a whole team of skilled musicians to provide for your ceremony or event, she's been playing herself since she was five years old!

Adagio Weddings Violinist Daria
Adagio Weddings Violinist Daria

Oksana at Dress to Impress saved the day when our lovely model's original dress plans fell through and provided the most lovely gowns to choose from at the last second. We were SO hoping to use one but didn't have quite enough time to altar one to fit our bride just right. We went with a trusty back up from her closet but we were SO grateful to Oksana for her willingness to come to the rescue!

ABC Beverage Concierge Services for Ponte Vedra Beach district provided the champagne toast as they are promoting their new hospitality division and were excited to help in any way.

Kelli with KROMA Printing and Design made the beautiful invitations and has vast array to choose from. She was even able to get engraved champagne glasses for the toast!

Of course the Oak Bridge Club is pulling out all the stops to make it a premier wedding destination at an incredibly affordable price. Under new management they're upgrading all the main buildings and golf course areas to better accommodate weddings and events this year, go check them out! Mariel is amazing to work with and a gracious host, she'd love to show you around. 

Lori Parker Floral Studios
ABC Fine Wine and Spirits St Augustine
Adagio Weddings Arch
Kelli Taylor Kroma Printing
Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks
Lori Parker Floral Studios
Adagio Weddings Arch
Lori Parker Floral Studios
Oak Bridge Golf Club

I couldn't be more grateful to everyone who made this day a success! This truely is the best job on the planet. I work with the most incredible people who also love what they do and love working together as a team to make couples' dreams come true. Thank you everyone! Can't wait to work with you again soon!! 

 

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this Golf Club Wedding in Raleigh, or this Golf Club Family Session in Charlotte. 

Couple Portraits in Palm Coast Kalypso and Roma

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
The world’s a roller coaster and I am not strapped in
Maybe I should hold with care, but my hands are busy in the air
— Incubus
2018-03-29_0001.jpg

Her instructions were to drive down a specific road until you saw a red bridge, park in the grass nearby and we'd figure out the rest together. I'm pretty sure that's how every adventure is supposed to start. 

There is one thing I know for sure though: Kalypso and Roma know how to have a good time. From the very early sunrise to the first silly prompting to the jungle safari, these two love birds were all in and that makes all the difference on a photo session. They were willing to try new things, be silly and just have fun together. I knew we'd become great friends before we even met. (It doesn't hurt that Kalypso is also a photographer

I'm also not the least bit surprised that one of their happiest memories together was running out of gas, walking two miles and ending up in a random state park napping in a hammock for 4 hours. That sounds like the very best kind of adventure to me: carefree, full of life and undaunted by little mishaps. 

I'm so happy to have met you both! I'm definitely hoping we can make some camping adventures happen soon, and either way, thank you for getting up extra early to make these images happen!

Palm Coast Florida couple portraits
Palm Coast Florida couple portraits
Palm Coast Florida couple portraits
Palm Coast Florida couple portraits
Palm Coast Florida couple portraits

If you enjoyed these photos you might also enjoy Beth and Sean's adventurous couple portraits or Why Sunrise is the Perfect Time for Portraits

Friendship Fountain Engagement | Chessie and Carlile

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
— Ann Landers
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos

When you've known a person since middle school, and fallen slowly in love over the years, there's just something a little different about the relationship. It has a permanence to it that is not easily shaken and a depth that can be seen with every quiet glance or gentle touch. 

Chessie and Carlile chose Friendship Fountain in Jacksonville as their location for their sunrise portraits and I must say, it was well worth the early drive. The city, so quiet at this hour was alive with possibility. The fountain area, we found when we arrived, was actually being transformed into a festival so we had to dance around workers and dodge tents in the background but I am in love with this new location! 

These two love birds were such naturals I barely felt like I was prompting them at all, full of laughter and great stories, their smiles spoke volumes and we had so much fun exploring the park. You guys I am so excited for you and cannot wait for your Bowing Oaks Plantation Wedding in December!

Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos

Venue: Friendship Fountain

Hair: Miss.Kash

Make Up: Jafaea Patterson

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Safy and Randy's Anniversary in Downtown Raleigh, or Rudi and Nick's Engagement on Beech Mountain

North Beach Family Photography | Joey, Daniella and Isabella

Family Portraits, Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared
— Buddha
Family Engagement Session

I love it when a photo session can double as both family portraits and an engagement! These two cuties met in high school and have been inseparable ever since. With little Isabella sitting up now and their June wedding fast approaching, a photo session was a must!

We had planned to shoot at Vilano because of the beautiful rocks and such but it was just too crowded so Joey said he had access to a secluded entrance to North Beach and off we went! I could not have been more excited as we pulled in. Huge Oak trees towered over the entrance with beautiful trails and a nearly empty beach with dock. Perfection.

Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session

From promise rings to engagement rings, and now little Isa has one too. SO precious.

Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session

It was just so sweet watching little Isabella's toes touch the water and the sand for the first time. It's too bad it was freezing or she probably would have jumped right in! Thank you guys for letting me capture such a special moment for you! Congratulations!! 

You might also enjoy photos from these two family/engagement sessions: Jordan & Alex and Jessica and Jeffery

What about Grooms and their Party?

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
If you have crazy friends, you’ll have everything you’ll ever need
— Anonymous
Groomsmen Inspiration

Helping various family members plan their weddings this year has me answering questions I don't typically need to answer as a photographer, but as they've come up I figured it'd wouldn't hurt to share them here in case you find them helpful as well. 

Groomsmen Inspiration

I must implore you though from the very beginning: there is no correct answer. This is your day, make whatever choices make you happy, invite all your favorite people and just celebrate life and love. However, if you're interested in a few tips or just need a little inspiration, this is a good place to start. 

Groomsmen Inspiration

Suit, Tux or Jeans and a Button Up?

I generally lean toward the casual side of life and love the idea of just being yourself always. Therefore jeans and button up makes sense if that's what you love... however... no one has ever looked bad in a tuxedo. If you wear jeans and tee shirts every other day of your life, why not take one day just to go all out and knock the socks off your future spouse? People often focus on wow factor of brides and expect  to be blown away by them, when grooms put their best foot forward, I've seen several crowds stand with their jaws dropped at how outstanding a groom looked. 

Groomsmen Inspiration

Suspenders, Vest, bowtie or Tie?

If you go with the tux, you'll likely choose a bowtie, but with a suit, vest or button up, you have a few other options. Here's a few images to give you some ideas, but it'll just depend what look you're going for. 

Groomsmen Inspiration
Groomsmen Inspiration

Boutineers

I have seen them all, and my recommendation is to keep them small. Any different flower you like works well, pieces of wood, herbs, hops and berries tie in a nice masculine touch, or even specially designed pieces to add a little flare. They don't need to be huge though, especially if you're not wearing a jacket. Loose button ups and suspenders have their own classy look, but they cannot handle a rowdy bunch of guys for 8 hours. 

Groomsmen Inspiration

Cufflinks, Socks and Flasks

I am certainly no expert on men's accessories, but I've seen lots of great options. Many grooms love to give flasks and specific fun socks or cufflinks at the rehearsal to thank their friends for being such a big part of their big day. I am a huge fan of buying flasks along with your guys' favorite drink, it just shows you pay attention. A good toast right before you walk down the aisle is a great way to boost your confidence before stepping in front of a few hundred people. Figure out what is important to you and your tribe and just go with it. 

Groomsmen Inspiration

Ladies in the party

Tons of wedding parties these days have women, men and transgendered friends alike. Feel free to dress them all to match exactly, or switch it up by having one party in one color and the other in another, so ladies can wear a dress and still be connected to the groom

Groomsmen Inspiration

No matter what decisions you make or what details fall apart at the last second, at the end of the day, you're marrying the love of you life surrounded by all your favorite people and the rest will simply slip into one big happy memory. Hopefully these ideas give you something to work with, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy the process and savor these memories while they last! 

Groomsmen Inspiration
Groomsmen Inspiration

Vilano Beach Family Photography | The Pelose Family

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
A well developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.
— William Arthur Ward
Family Portraits on the Beach

When a giant wave suddenly and unexpectedly comes crashing in over top of you, soaking you from head to toe in the middle of your photo session and you just laugh it off as just all part of the fun of life, you know you're a happy, well contented couple. 

I met Danielle and Frank at Tony and Amber's wedding a couple years go as we were both bridesmaids and she was prego with little Frankie. It was freezing cold and we had to move the wedding indoors but she had the very best attitude the entire time. Yesterday was no different. When we found ourselves in the middle of a stinging nettle field (I've never experienced this plant before) she calmly described what it was and we slowly backed away. (Then she taught me a ton of new information about Florida plants, I was super impressed!)

After bypassing a wedding ceremony on the beach we made it to Vilano's beautiful rocks where we were all laughing and dodging the incoming waves and right as we moved into the next spot, completely without warning, a giant wave crashed over them and there was nothing to do but laugh and keep shooting! We had the very best time, and of course little Frankie was the star of the show! Hope you guys love these images as much as I do!

Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach

If you enjoyed these you might also enjoy: Chrissy and Chuck's family session or Heather and Kyle's Vilano Beach Engagement.

Gabby and Daniel in Downtown St Augustine

PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was about to begin!
— Winnie the Pooh
Couple photos in St. Augustine

Daniel and Gabby met while jet skiing on the lake near their homes in Mooresville and have been nearly inseparable ever since. Everyone in my family loves to pick on Daniel because he spends so much time with her in Boone, but nothing in the world makes me happier than seeing my brother smile so big every time they're together. 

I have been bouncing up and down for weeks knowing they were coming to visit! Spending the week with them down here in St. Augustine has been so much fun as we've explored, laughed about old stories and created a few new ones (like the cops we *might have dipped out on as they were coming to ask us questions) ;)

We intended to walk around the Old Fort for these photos but there were SO many people in downtown St. Augustine that we couldn't park anywhere near it. We ended up just walking around a parking deck, chasing the light around every corner and trying not to get hit by flying cannons as The Reenactment of Searle's Sack and Encampment happened around us (the apparent reason for so many people).

You guys I couldn't be more excited that you're here, can't wait to see what other adventures we find!

Couple photos in St. Augustine
Couple photos in St. Augustine
Couple photos in St. Augustine
Couple photos in St. Augustine
Couple photos in St. Augustine

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy: When I met my bothers and Beth and Sean's Couple Session

Becca, Katie and Vivi | Wilkesboro Family Photography

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
— Lao Tzu
one year old with two mommies

You have never met a more amazing couple until you've met Becca and Katie; from the moment we met I knew we would be fast friends. They invited me over to their home in Wilkesboro, NC for our photo session and before we started, insisted that we share breakfast together first. How sweet is that!?! They made sure I was completely comfortable and we shared stories like old friends all morning while we watched the dogs run around and Vivi explore the dining room. 

There home is set deep in the woods in the mountains and reminded me of my home growing up. The roads were great for exploring and Vivi loved finding new rocks to taste ;) We had so much fun letting her guide the way and decide what we would do next, she loves to laugh and that put a smile on all our faces. I hope you guys love these images from the morning!

one year old with two mommies
one year old with two mommies
one year old with two mommies
one year old with two mommies
one year old with two mommies

Family Portraits at NCMA | The Grattons

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
— William Arthur Ward
family photos nc art museum

I met these cuties what seems like a lifetime ago in another world, but we have remained great friends through both our family's various transitions. A favorite tradition they taught us years ago was to throw a groundhog day party in February because everyone will be able to come! The holidays are over and it's not quite time for spring picnics or Easter so it's a great excuse to host a party! And anyone who knows us, knows we love a good excuse to have friends over :) 

I had only had a chance to meet little Eli once or twice so it was incredible to see how big he'd gotten and how much like them he was. Already playing the harmonica, his musician parents have taught him well. Scott and Samantha create a few holiday music tracks every year to share with their friends and family and it's a huge hit!  Samantha was also an enormous help to me when I transitioned my company from a hobby to a full time career a few years ago; she is an excellent project manager if you need one :)

We weren't sure what the weather was going to do this weekend; the threat of rain had us dancing back and forth for days, and while we didn't get the gorgeous golden sunrise glow I'm used to, the fog rolled in and created an incredible backdrop no matter where we stood at the Art Museum. We were so excited to have something unique to work with. I hope you love these images as much as I do!

family photos at the art museum
family photos at the art museum
family photos at the art museum
family photos at the art museum
family photos at the art museum

If you enjoyed these, you might also enjoy this family session or this NCMA engagement

Engagement Session at UNC Chapel Hiill | Annie and Stephen

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
If I had my life to live again, I’d find you sooner.
— Kobi Yamada
Engagement at the Well

Watching two people like Annie and Stephen commit to loving one another for the rest of their lives is such a beautiful thing. From the very first shot yesterday they were super comfortable with each other and with whatever crazy idea I threw their way. Their smiles spoke for themselves as they shared with each other their favorite things and laughed at each other's jokes. I cannot tell you how incredible it is to get a couple in front of the camera and know instantly they are your people. (You can guess at it at the initial consult based on their personalities, but it's hard to know for sure til they're actually in front of the camera). We had so much fun walking all over UNC Chapel Hill's campus where she graduated. 

Annie and I texted back and forth all week, prepared to move the session at a moment's notice if we needed to as the weather kept changing it's mind which day it wanted to be sunny and which a total wash out. We were all prepared to dance in the rain to make it happen but were SO grateful the sun came out and made the shoot a total dream. It was amazing seeing students out on every lawn across campus soaking in every ounce of sun they could before it could hide again behind a cloud. 

You guys I had a blast! Your love flows so freely with each other, I cannot wait to spend your wedding day with you! I hope you love your engagement photos!!

Engagement at the Well
Engagement at the Well
Engagement at the Well
Engagement at the Well
Engagement at the Well

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy: This Chapel Hill Wedding or  Gabrielle and Baron's Engagement

Engagement Session at Lake Norman | Susan and Ron

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.
— Ron White
Lake Norman Engagement

I cannot TELL you how excited I am to be capturing Susie and Ron's wedding in April. I was around when they first started dating a couple years ago and got to watch their love grow every month as I went to Charlotte to visit my brothers. Susie is their momma and basically mine. Together she and Ron are two of the most generous and welcoming people I've ever met. 

Susie is funny, affectionate, care free and full of life. She welcomed me into her life as a daughter from day one and I am blessed beyond measure to be able to call her anytime I need to chat about all of life's crazy moments. Ron is one of the hardest workers I've ever met, but he also loves to have a good time and be surrounded by his friends. In the few years I've known him he has opened his home to soooo many people who were in a tight spot and needed shelter for a season, he has the biggest heart their is, though he loves to mask it with his incredible sense of humor. Ron can take the worst of situations, turn it into a joke and make everyone more comfortable, it blows my mind. 

They are truly perfect for each other and I am SO honored that I get to participate in this next grand adventure! 

Lake Norman Engagement
Lake Norman Engagement
Lake Norman Engagement
Lake Norman Engagement

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Matthew and Hollie's Proposal or Rudi and Nick's Engagement.

Engagement Session at Ravine Gardens | Kristin and Emerson

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
When you meet the one who changes the way your heart beats, dance with them to that rhythm for as long as the song lasts
— Kirk Dietrich
Engagement Photos at Ravine Gardens

So Kristin is basically my sister. We met a couple years ago when my brother and sister in law were getting married (her sister) and became fast friends as we helped set up the wedding. And Emerson too! He is a ninja with wood work and all things handy, the wedding just wouldn't have happened on time without him. I'm pretty sure Kristin and Emerson were the only ones on the dance floor more than AJ and I as well, and they were fantastic! I love watching people who love to dance. So obviously we had to incorporate that into today's session a bit. ;)

We had never been to Ravine Gardens State Park before but it looked so beautiful online it seemed like a great place to check out. We were not disappointed. Gorgeous Spanish moss, bamboo, bridges, rock walls, and we barely even got past the main entrance! Can't wait to explore the whole thing. 

The season of engagement is so so fast. You spend the whole thing planning the big day and it can be easy to forget to plan for your marriage and also to just step back and enjoy this sweet time. Engagement sessions are my favorite way to give couples the opportunity to love on each other, laugh, play and tell each other what they are most looking forward to in marriage and what they love most about each other.

Watching Emerson and Kristin share their whispers and giggles made me smile every time. I SO loved exploring this new park with you both! Congratulations on your engagement! 

Engagement Photos at Ravine Gardens
Engagement Photos at Ravine Gardens
Engagement Photos at Ravine Gardens
Engagement Photos at Ravine Gardens
Engagement Photos at Ravine Gardens
Engagement Photos at Ravine Gardens

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Beth and Sean's couple session or Anna and Anthony's engagement. 

Ideal Wedding Planning Timeline

Wedding Photography, VendorsCynthia ViolaComment
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
— Maya Angelou
What to do before the wedding day

I will be shooting the weddings of five close friends and family members this year and as such, I've been a bit more involved in the planning of their big days. Along with that, I've found the same question keeps presenting itself in different ways:

"If I send my save the dates now, how long do I wait to send my official invites?"

"When should I expect people to RSVP by?"

"How early do I need to order..."

"When is the best time to..."

"At what point do I need to...."

"Is it too late to...."

Now, I'm certainly no expert here, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND hiring a wedding coordinator to help you with these questions, but hopefully this will give you some ideas for what might work for you. Particularly as it relates to your photography. :)

Please do not feel like you need to follow this exaclty...or at all, but if you're just looking for a place to start, hopefully you'll find this helpful. I am basing it off of a 12 month timeline. If your big day is in 6 months, cut the times in half, 18 months, you have a little leeway etc...

what to do 12 months before wedding

12-18 Months:

  • Start a binder to keep everything together (vendor info, price comparisons, receipts)  
  • Sit down with with your future spouse and any parents who might be helping with the cost and determine not only an overall budget but how much of it you'd like to designate to each area. 
  • Start a guest list, it will need to be adjusted as you go along (most likely cut due to costs) but go ahead and get a ballpark idea of how many you'd have there if everyone you loved came, this will help you choose your venue as some only hold a certain amount. 
  • Hire a planner.  (In St. Augustine, I love Heidi) This will save you SOOOO much stress. They are naturally good at details (that's why they're planners) and they know a ton about the industry and what vendors and details will suit you best.
  • Choose a season you'd like to be married in, and even a month, just don't set your heart on a specific date until you know your venue and other main vendors are available. 
  • Choose your Venue(s). Popular ceremony and reception venues book up sometimes two years in advance. Once you know your venue is available for the date you want, you'll be able to choose your other vendors accordingly and send out save the dates. Check to make sure they don't host multiple weddings in one day, that can make it stressful if you're trying to get in and out at very specific times.
  • If you like, Throw an Engagement Party! We will always take ANY reason to celebrate with the people we love. Just don't feel like you have to... especially if you'd rather save your budget for better options on the wedding day.
what to do 9 months before your wedding

9-11 Months:

  • Determine which vendors are most important to you and secure them for the date asap in order of importance. This will also deplete the budget the fastest, so if you know you can't live without a specific DJ, book them first and you can get a second choice caterer if the budget gets tight.  I personally think photography is most important because it's the only thing you get to keep after the big day besides your spouse, but definitely figure out what is most important to you and your future spouse.  
  • Register for gifts at various stores, most you can do online these days, Wedding Wire also helps streamline this process.  
  • Say yes to a dress. (or two for two brides both wearing dresses, double the fun!) It's fine if you're borrowing it, just know where it's coming from and whether or not it will need to be altered. This tends to take a couple months. 
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests at 2-3 different hotels at different price points near the venue. 
  • Schedule your engagement session with your photographer. If you plan to use these photos for save the dates, you'll need to be closer to 11 months out, if not, I've shot them as late as the day before the wedding. :)
  • Launch a wedding website if you'd like, through a free service such as Weddingwire.com. This will be helpful for guests needing info leading up to the big day. (It's also fun to put it together, and you can show off photos from your engagement session if you choose to have one) 
what to do 7 months before wedding

7-8 Months:

  • Choose your wedding party. If you know for sure that, say, siblings will be in the party, feel free to let them know asap. But we chose ours while still in college a year and a half before the big day with friends changing constantly and by the time our day rolled around we weren't even sure a couple of them would show up! ALSO, don't feel like it has to be all women or all men based on your gender. If you want your brother AND sister standing by your side, do it. 
  • If you're choosing specific dresses for any ladies in your party to wear, get them ordered now, it often takes as much as six months for them to arrive, then you need to consider alterations. It's also common practice today to just choose a color and length and allow the girls to choose their dress, this way price point and body type for each one can be considered. 
  • Start planning your honeymoon. Do you need passports or shots?
  • Choose wedding shoes and begin your alterations, make sure to bring the shoes with you to each fitting. (It usually takes about 3 fittings) 
what to do 6 months before wedding

5-6 Months:

  • Meet with your officiant and decide if you'll want to do pre-marital counseling. I HIGHLY recommend this, regardless of your religious affiliation. Having a couple sessions to talk through some of the big things you can expect in your marriage will help you get through those tuff times so much better. 
  • Reserve your structural necessities. If an outdoor wedding, you might need a tent, portable toilets, extra chairs etc, it will depend on your venue, just make sure you check in with them. 
  • Florists can come a little later due to the fact that they can usually book multiple weddings in one day, but if you have your heart set on one, make sure you lean closer to 6 months. 
  • Arrange any transportation you might need for yourselves, your wedding party or the entire guest list if there will be heavy drinking at the reception. Consider trolleys, limos, busses and pre-paid uber passes. 
  • Finalize your menu with the caterer. 
  • Choose your cake or other desserts if your caterer does not provide them. Doughnuts, cupcakes, truffles and ice cream bars are all popular options as well. 
what to do 3 months before wedding

3-4 Months:

  • Schedule hair and/or make up artists and decide if you'll also be providing them for your girls/moms/sisters etc... It's a great idea to have them do your trial run the day of your engagement or bridal session so you'll know what to expect on the big day and whether or not you like the way you look in photos. 
  • Order favors for guests if you so desire, or welcome baskets for out of town guests. You can also plan gifts for those who helped out, like parents and wedding party etc. 
  • Purchase the wedding bands now in case you need any resizing.  
  • Nail down your guest list and send invitations. Feel free to get fancy with a calligrapher or keep it super simple with social media, either way, make sure everyone you want to be there has it in their calendar. RSVP cutoff is usually about 2-3 weeks prior to the wedding so you can inform your caterer of exact food amounts. 
  • If you're choosing to have a bridal session, now is the time to get it done if you'd like to have any images printed to canvas and displayed at the reception. Keep in mind you will also need to bump up the time your wedding gown is completed. (If you don't plan to have prints at the reception you can just make sure to set aside enough time for your photographer to take bridal portraits on the morning of the big day)
  • Rent or buy the attire for the groom (or grooms) as well as any men in the wedding party (or ladies wearing suits).
what to do 2 months before wedding

 1-2 Months:

  • Create a day-of timeline. This is best done WITH your coordinator and photographer to make sure you're on the same page with how long certain pieces take. They have experienced hundreds of weddings and can guide you. It is also good to send this to your other vendors to make sure they don't see any red flags. (If you accidentally only planned 5 minutes to hand deliver 300 plated meals, your caterer will catch that)
  • Book rehearsal dinner, day after brunch and any other venues for special meals before and after the big day for out of town and special guests. 
  • Make sure your DJ or band know what music you want played and more importantly, what you don't. Guests will inevitably make requests, if there's something specific you don't want to hear on your happy day, make sure they know to kindly tell your guests, "no."
  • Make sure you inform those you'd like to make a toast well in advance so they have time to prepare. Some will still "shoot from the hip" on the day of, but others appreciate having lots of time to write the perfect speech. 
  • Sometimes it's easier on planning to hold bachelor and bachelorette parties a month or two in advance, especially if you plan to travel somewhere like Vegas, but if all your friends are from out of town, it can be easiest to schedule it the night BEFORE the rehearsal so you have time to recover. :)
what to do 1 month before wedding

Month of:

  • Finalize the ceremony timeline as well as any readings, songs, or special moments. Make sure you are on the same page with the officiant and anyone else you'd like to participate.  Marriage licenses take about a week, so give yourselves some leeway. 
  • Confirm arrival times for all vendors and make sure you've exchanged answers to any final questions. 
  • Send out as many final vendor payments as you can so you do not have to worry about it at the reception while you're trying to dance. 
  • If any guests have not RSVPd by the cut off, it's a good idea to call them or check in via social media one last time to make sure. 
  • If you will be assigning seating for the reception, do this after your final RSVP date so you know exactly what you're working with. It can also be a good idea to plan a "did not rsvp" table if your caterer allows the flexibility. It's also wise to consider your vendors here, do you want your photographer,  officiant or band sitting with the guests and a plated meal, or will you ask the caterer to provide a vendor meal in the back. 
  • Write your vows if necessary, or letters to exchange with each other on the morning of. 
what to do 1 week before wedding

Week of:

  • Delegate small tasks like bustling the dress, paying and tipping vendors, giving out party gifts, bringing snacks to the getting ready suites, creating a getting ready playlist or anything else you don't want to have to fret about on the morning of. 
  • Send a timeline to the wedding party and answer any questions. 
  • Pick up your dress(es) and tux(es)
  • If you're doing a mani or pedi make sure it's booked for the morning of the rehearsal, or even the day before. A stress-relieving couple's massage is always a good idea as well. It will help you both destress. 
  • Pack for the honeymoon. 

Night Before:

  • At rehearsal confirm any readings, answer any questions for the family and wedding party and make sure everyone know where they need to be and when. (It's a good idea to tell them 30-60 minutes earlier than necessary if they tend to run late)
  • Pass out any gifts for the party or parents (especially if you expect them to wear them the next day). 
  • Bring anything to the ceremony site that you're allowed to leave (candles, programs etc)
  • Give marriage license to the officiant
what to do the day of your wedding

Day of:

  • Have all items you want photographed delivered to one of your getting ready suites so that your photographer can capture it all together (before you give the rings to the best man etc...)
  • Just take it all in. It will go by SO fast. Things are not going to go quite as planned and that is JUST FINE. As long as you both say, "I do" all the other details will work themselves out. Relax and enjoy watching all your hard work play out before your eyes. You're almost MARRIED!

Please do NOT feel like this is comprehensive or that you need to follow all or any of it. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to not stress about the big day but enjoy the process and love each other through all the decisions. 

No matter what decisions you make, who's opinions you heed to or kindly turn down - the way you treat your future spouse and all those trying to help you make good decisions will FAR outweigh what final decisions were actually made. No one will care that you had the most beautiful flowers if you yelled at them for not holding them the right way, they won't care how good you looked in your gown if you yelled at them for stepping on the train, they won't remember that your food was amazing if you told them their ideas for food were terrible.

Treat your people with kindness above all and everyone will remember what an incredible couple you both are and how you had the most beautiful wedding they've ever seen.