Cynthia Viola Photography

Wedding Photography

Linville Land Harbor Wedding | Krista and Steve

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
To love is to be vulnerable
— C.S. Lewis
Linville North Carolina Wedding

As Krista made her way quietly toward Steve for their first look, you could feel their anticipation. They had gotten ready in the same house but were both so excited for this moment. The pressure of little details had been building all morning, as they tend to do on wedding days and all they both wanted was to finally spend some quiet time together. As Steve turned to look at his beautiful bride, he was all emotion and Krista’s eyes filled with tears as well. They were both right where they were supposed to be and the rest of the day flowed without a hitch.

Linville North Carolina Wedding
Linville North Carolina Wedding
Linville North Carolina Wedding
Linville North Carolina Wedding

Candis spoke during the ceremony of the many aspects of love and what binds couples together for the long haul. Her primary focus however, was on the the fact that they must each be vulnerable to each other with their love and vulnerable to receive it as well. It was evident from their tearful vows they had already opened up to each other over the past months and would continue to do so forever.

Their blending of families creates a vulnerability as well. Steve has 4 children Alexa, Brandon, Katelyn and Nicholas and Krista has two children Landon and Isabella. All must be willing to open up to each other and be willing to work together to make this beautiful relationship a success and everyone did so without reserve.

Linville North Carolina Wedding
Linville North Carolina Wedding
Linville North Carolina Wedding

Their friend Aspen said during her reception speech that no matter how wonderful and happy a couple can be they still have to fight for each other and for their relationship daily. At that moment they looked at each other with such a fierce love, I believe that’s exactly what they intend to do. And I’m so happy I got to witness it. Thank you for letting me be a part of your day you guys! You are truly blessed to have each other!

Linville North Carolina Wedding
Linville North Carolina Wedding

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue: Linville Land Harbor

Dress: Custom made by Alla Maksina

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Flowers: DIY

Officiant: Candis Parker

Catering: The Pedalin’ Pig

Cake: Publix:

Linen/Chair/Tent Services: Parties Too

Favors: Krista hand made every guest an Ellie badge (grape soda pin) as they are part of their club now.

Downtown Raleigh Wedding | Vidrio | Kristen and Scott

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Just in case you ever foolishly forget; I’m never not thinking of you.
— Virginia Woolf
Vidrio Raleigh rooftop wedding

You could almost hear his tears hit the ground in the silent groom’s suite of Vidrio as Scott read his letter from his bride. I was a big ball of emotion as I wanted to get close to capture those precious moments, but also didn’t want to intrude on such a vulnerable moment. It’s like you could see his heart grow bigger as he fell deeper in love reading her words just before he walked into the ceremony.

Similarly, as Kristen opened Scott’s letter surrounded by her girls, her eyes filled with tears. As did everyone else’s in the room as we watched her experience his love through his words. I’m still not sure how she saved her make up, but it was clear from that moment on, all the nerves were gone and she was ready to walk down that aisle.

Vidrio Raleigh Wedding
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Bridal Suite
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Groom Suite

My relationship with these two started a couple years ago when Kristen asked me to do some headshots for her. Her new, adorable boyfriend at the time came along for moral support and we all just followed each other on insta after that. When I saw them post about their engagement, I was so excited, and sure enough, just a couple days later Scott messaged me!

Seeing how they interacted together a couple years after that very first shoot was endearing. The sweet little looks they gave each other when we were walking between shooting spots, the way he helped her whenever she had to walk in heels through a rough patch of grass, and they way her whispers made him grin so big.

This was, of course, amplified tenfold on the big day. Between their letters to each other, their whispered secrets during their first dance, their heartfelt vows and excitement as they ran into their new life together, you couldn’t find a better match for either of them in the whole of the world.

Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Bridal Suite

She carried a Six Pence coin in her 'something blue' shoes that his mother gave her, and he chose to wear, "I Do" cuff links along with his other classy details.

Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Groom's Suite
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Ceremony
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Ceremony
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Party
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Couple Photos
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Couple Photos
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Couple Photos
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Reception
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Sunset Portraits
Vidrio Raleigh Wedding Reception

Kristen and Scott you are perfect for each other in every way and I cannot thank you enough for letting me be a part of your big day!

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Venue and Catering: Vidrio

Dress: David’s Bridal

Suit: Indochino

Hair Stylist: Lillian Self

Make Up Artist: Krista Massey

Florist: Leigh Garmhausen

Officiant: Leah Reed

DJ: DJ Sandman -Sandy Sutton

Cake Baker: Lynn Loomis

Invitations: Zola

What is your Wedding Photography Style?

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.
— Oscar Wilde

One of the most common questions I get asked from new couples when they’re first contacting me for their wedding is what my photography “style” is. I thought it might be a good idea, then, to create a post to help explain it for all future couples.

If you’ve found yourself scrolling through endless instagram hashtags trying to pinpoint what it is you like or dislike about certain wedding photos, this might help you put a language to it, so you might narrow it down easier.

First, I should mention that this question is really best broken into two parts: What is your coloring/editing style? And what is your personality/documenting style?

Coloring/Editing Styles

Over the past few years as digital photography and the powers of Lightroom and Photoshop have evolved, three different coloring/editing styles have emerged. One is often called “Light and Airy” or you might hear it called “Whimsical” or “Pastel.” In this style, you will find predominantly whites and other lighter colors, lower contrast and often desaturated colors. A quick Google search will show you plenty of examples.

Light and Airy Wedding Photography

The next, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is often called “dark and moody” or “romantic” or “film style.” In this, you will see predominantly blacks and darker colors, heavy contrast, and an effort to mimic the look of film. Similarly, a quick Google search will make the comparison between these two quite clear.

Dark and Moody Wedding Photography

The third, a category I would consider myself to fall into, is often harder to name, but I would say it falls in between the former two. You might hear it called “True to Life” or “Bright and Bold” or “Natural.” A google search here, brings up such a vast array of images, it’s not worth the screen shot, but you can see my own interpretation of the style here and decide for yourself your preferences between the three:

Bright and Bold Wedding Photography

Personality/Documenting Style

Next we have something a little harder to pinpoint as every photographer will interpret the style differently, and for the most part, I would say every photographer does a little bit of all four styles, as you’ll see with my own images below.

Classic/Traditional

These are going to be photos you would expect to see at every wedding. They are standard bridal portraits, the couple looking at the camera, formal wedding party, family formals, the bouquet, the cake, the exit etc. Most of these you will find in your grandparents and parents wedding albums as well.

Traditional Classic wedding photography

Photojournalistic

These are going to tell the story a bit more. The candids. These will be full of laughter and/or tears. All the emotions of the day, the moving parts. They may not be “perfect” images because a car drove through the background or the kiddo ran in and insisted on a photo with daddy while something “more important” was happening, but they are the moments you remember the most.

Photojournalistic Wedding Photography

Editorial/Fashion

These are probably what you’ll find the least across my site, not because I don’t take them, but because I don’t find them quite as valuable for telling the story. These are what you’re going to find in a magazine. They are often from “styled shoots” that have been set up in advance with all the details fashioned just right, and all the lighting perfect, and the couple are usually models. That said, some of these can and do get taken on the wedding day as details are shot and a few extra moments with the couple are taken after all the other more important shots that do tell the story have happened.

Editorial Wedding Photography

Creative/Artistic

This is completely open to interpretation, as is all art, of course. These are the shots often taken by the second shooter, from a different angle, or during a portion of the day that is not on a time crunch. You have more freedom to play and do things a little different.

Creative and artistic wedding photography

As you can see, I can do a little bit of everything. So I wouldn’t say I am strictly one style or another, but if I had to put them in order, I would say I lean Photojournalistic first, then Classic, then Creative, then Editorial.

At the end of the day, more important than price, style or other preferences, I would say your connection to your photographer’s personality will make or break your photography experience on the wedding day. If you’re looking for someone carefree and relaxed and they end up being strict to schedule and demanding of specific poses, it’s going to stress you out, no matter how beautiful the images are. Similarly, if you’re looking for someone to keep you on a tight schedule and pose your every move and they end up joking around with the wedding party and not telling you exactly what to do and when, you’re going to feel unprepared, again, no matter how beautiful the images turn out. (For the record, I definitely lean carefree/relaxed, but I can usually keep us on schedule or at least roll with it if it needs to change).

I’m not sure if this answers everything you might want to know about a photographer’s style, and mine in particular, but hopefully this will at least point you in the right direction and help you know what questions to ask. Happy planning!

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

GTM Research Reserve Wedding | Rebecca and Lara

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola5 Comments
Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.
— Rabindranath Tagore
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding

The Florida heat was sweltering as Rebecca and Lara shared their vows on the patio of the GTM Research Reserve surrounded by their loved ones. No one seemed to care, however, because they were too busy crying over the beauty of all that was happening before them. As Rebecca spoke of the laws that once wouldn’t allow them a fundamental right, several couples in the crowd sat a little closer despite the heat. When she rejoiced over the new laws that celebrated their love, tears started to fall from several eyes (including my own). Many couples just looked into each other’s eyes at that moment and you could feel the love radiating out of that little circle of family and friends like an explosion. When they kissed everyone cheered and the celebration continued to the dance floor.

Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding

We were all in love with the fact that Lara’s dress had pockets!

Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding

 More tears erupted when they did the parent dances. There was so much love on the floor at one point both brides linked with both moms in an embrace that moved the whole room and Lara’s following speech reinforced how loved they felt and how grateful they were for a room full of people who supported them. It was such a beautiful moment.

Not every couple fits together as perfectly as these two. When one was stressed over a detail the other came to the rescue in a flash with just the right words or touch to let the other know it was ok and that they’d get through it together. I love so much being a witness week after week to people who were meant for each other in this way.

Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding
Jacksonville LGBTQ Wedding

Thank you guys for letting us be a part of your day! I wouldn’t have missed it for anything! Love you!

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photographers: Cynthia Viola with Kalypso Burley

Coordinator: Brooke Ellis with Yay Day Events

Venue: GTM Research Reserve

Hair and Make Up: MyDry Blow Out Bar and Mantra Hair Salon

Wedding Attire: David’s Bridal

Wedding Ring: Helzberg Diamonds for the setting, Diamond from Lara's mother :)

Florist: Jacksonville Flower Market

Officiant: Rev. Brendan Boone of FirstCoast MCC

DJ: Complete Weddings and Events - Eddie Castro

Photobooth: Complete Weddings and Events

Catering: Karen Wilson with 4Rivers Smokehouse

Cake Baker: Sweet Shop at 4Rivers Smokehouse

Rental Services: All About Events - Heidi

Lifepointe Church Wedding | Molly and Nick

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola3 Comments
Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale
— Anonymous
Molly and Nick Perry's Wedding

Molly and Nick had just shared their incredibly heartfelt vows with each other, they had jumped with excitement for that first kiss and were ready to be announced to run down the aisle into their new life together and Donnie, the pastor, her father, said he had a surprise for them.

He shared a story of how Nick’s family, every year at Christmas held stockings for their children’s future spouses. They prayed over them and for the life that they would some day have with this person, knowing that these moments brought before God mattered and would make a difference in the people who would some day be a part of their family. Donnie then pulled the stocking from behind the arbor and handed it to Nick to give to Molly. You could hear the gasps across the room.

Next, he shared how they had also prayed as a family over their daughters’ future spouses and how Molly had made promises and vows from a very early age to her God and to her future spouse, to remain pure of body, heart and mind. She wore a promise ring to signify this huge commitment. Donnie, pulled the ring out of his pocket and handed it to Molly to give to Nick. All the handkerchiefs in the room gained a few tears in that moment. These two have been made for each other, prayed for, sought after and now finally joined for life.

Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding

In what was arguably the most anticipated wedding of the year for so many people, myself included, everyone got to experience a love like no other. These two families have such a deep and powerful love for each other, it radiates throughout the entire church. I have been mentored by all 4 of their parents in various capacities through the years and I mentored Molly through middle and high school. The deep well of connection and love we all have for each other is palpable.

One of my favorite parts of the day was, of course, their first look. It was brought up several times in toasts, their self written vows, the sermon, just what an adventurer Molly is and how Nick adores her for it so there was no question as to whether or not they’d be willing to go a bit off the beaten path in order to get the best photos. We had to drag some fallen trees out of the way and push through the brush a bit, but it was worth it for these magical moments. I love couples willing to do what it takes for the best light.

Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding

If there’s any moment in a wedding that is going to get me teary-eyed, it’s always the moments involving beautiful father-daughter relationships. I’m lucky enough to have a great relationship with my dad and when someone else does too it brings on all the feels. This day was even more so because not only does Molly have a great relationship with her dad, but Donnie has been like a father and mentor to me in many ways through the years. We have similar back stories and as he was getting emotional during the sermon talking about his little girl growing up I couldn’t help but be proud of her and thankful for the huge circle that has tied us all together so tightly.

Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding
Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding

Every single detail from the welcome signs to the desserts were DIY projects completed by the whole family. It was even Nick’s idea to write thoughtful notes to every family in attendance. With much anticipation, so many wonderful people from the church family helped with set up and tear down. Having been a newly planted church just a few years back it is built into the DNA of the people to jump in and help wherever needed and that was realized in real life for this couple that has been so well loved by us all.

Molly and Nick Perry's Cary Wedding

Molly and Nick I cannot thank you enough for letting me be a part of your day and your lives. I love you both for exactly who you are as individuals and who I know you will become as a couple. So excited for this next chapter.

The Vendors and Friends who made the Day Possible:

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Venue: Lifepointe Church

Coordinators: Cinda Williams and Leslie Arthur

Her Dress: Reagan Dress from BHLDN

His Suit: Reaction by Kenneth Cole

Bridesmaid Dresses: Pink Blush

Groomsmen Attire: H&M & Etsy

Engagement Ring: Minimal VS

Wedding Bands: Brummitt Studio

Florist: Dave Duty

Officiants: Rob Perry and Donnie Williams

Videographer: Grace Copeland

Catering: DIY, friends and family

Cake Baker: Cinda Williams





Marywood Center Wedding | Beth and Sean

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams
— Dr. Seuss
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Rehearsal

I remember talking to Beth several months ago as it was raining on their second photoshoot with me and we decided that the chances of it raining a third time, on their wedding day, had to be very slim, so we accepted it and waited for the big day. The universe did not disappoint! They had the MOST beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and a perfect cool breeze coming in off the lake at Marywood Retreat. We were practically jumping with joy!

They had tons friends and family come in from out of state and it was wonderful to see them all able to celebrate together. A couple times while they were getting ready the girls talked about different people being there and Beth got a little choked up. I love it when couples have such wonderful relationships with their guests. They were laughing and dancing all night long, so grateful for the time together.

Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Details
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Bride
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Details
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Bride

Beth’s nieces are super important to her, and they loved seeing her all dressed up. Addy thought it would be cute during the photos to run off and hide at one point though. After every bridesmaid kicked into full momma-bear mode and scoured the grounds we found her hiding under one of the beds just giggling. She was happy to pose for the photos after that. Gotta love a little adventurer.

Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Bridesmaids
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Groomsmen
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Ceremony
2019-04-29_0009.jpg
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Reception
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Reception

Steve and Jessica gave heartfelt speeches about how kind Beth and Sean are, how they’re perfect for each other and committed to one another no matter the trials they’ve had or will have. With plenty of tears shared they gave out hugs then turned to the dance floor to dance the night away. It was such a beautiful evening.

Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Reception
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Reception
Marywood Retreat Center Wedding Sparkler Exit


We wish you guys all the happiness in the world! Thank you for letting us be a part of your big day!

The Vendors who made Today Possible:

Photographers: Cynthia Viola with Kalypso Burley

Venue and Catering: Marywood Retreat Center

Coordinator: Ansley Beaver and Matt Achorn at Marywood

Bride and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Melissa Sweet from David’s Bridal

Groom and Groomsmens’ Suits: Men’s Warehouse

Hair Stylist: Lauren Burks with Braid Bar

Make Up Artist: Kelsey Sgroi

Florist: Flowers by Shirley

Officiants: Father Guy Noonan & Deacon Mark Sciullo

DJ: DJ Richard Levine

Cake Baker: Publix

Invitations: Vistaprint

Favors: WeddingsByChelsie (Etsy)


Backyard St. Augustine Wedding | Angelica and Billy

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own
— Robert A. Heinlein
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

It was so much fun being back in St. Augustine this weekend! Especially for the wedding of two of my former neighbors! I literally walked right past my house with Letty Girl smiling through the fence to get to Angelica and Billy’s house for the festivities Sunday Morning. I knew from their Engagement shoot at Washington Oaks Garden State Park that we were all going to have a great time. They’re both so easy going and all their friends are same. The whole day was nothing but smiles and laughter (and a little bit of bug spray…backyards in Florida are notorious for mosquitos).

The guys started the morning fishing on the beach, while the ladies prepped for the party. With the help of some friends Angelica and Billy planned everything themselves. They even catered the event themselves with a DIY taco bar. It was flawless. Throughout the night they had a slideshow going in the living room of all their photos and I just loved that they had photos from their high school prom. They’ve loved each other for most of their lives. :)

Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

They made sure to give a special gift to each of their parents throughout the day for being such a huge part of who they are and making the day happen. There were plenty of tears to go around :)

Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

Their grandparents may not have been able to be there in person but they still got to have a front row view of the ceremony and first dance. So special.

Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

They had a halfpipe in their backyard for Brayden to use and it doubled as a perfect dance floor!

Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

You guys I cannot thank you enough for letting me be a part of your day! Congratulations!!

The Vendors who Made the Day Possible

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Venue: Their Backyard :)

Her Dress: David’s Bridal

His Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Her ring: Tamara McFarland

His Ring: Resin and Wood World

Her Perfume: Heavenly by Victoria's Secret

Make Up and Hair Stylist: The Bardot

Officiant: Billy Knight

Catering: DIY Taco Bar

Rentals: Taylor's Rental

Invitations: Shutterfly

Rehearsal Dinner: Back 40

St Francis Barracks Wedding | Rochelle and A.J.

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage
— Lao Tzu
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding

Saint Augustine was picture perfect this weekend as we strolled down the cobblestone capturing Rochelle and A.J.’s big day. The morning started with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and a Celtic Festival, bringing thousands of people into the city! In the girls’ room we had a perfect view of everything and had fun seeing all the different costumes and characters walking by the window. While I was setting up a few photos of her details I managed to get my top knot deeply tangled into the room’s sprinkler system and all I could think of was that I was going to set it off completely soaking her beautiful dress! But Angela, her stylist, came to the rescue and got me loose!

Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding

Since these two were already technically married the stress was at a minimum as they were there to have a good time and celebrate their already flourishing family. They chose the Saint Francis Barracks as their venue because they really wanted the beauty and feel of Saint Augustine without the beach vibes.

The morning was going very smoothly considering all the people in town and then little Everly got hurt and poor Rochelle instantly had to switch into momma bear mode to make sure she was ok. I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to pull off the first look (or even the wedding) as we were discussing the emergency room. But once she determined she was ok, she pulled it together and began walking toward the love of her life and as soon as she laid eyes on him I watched the stress fall from her face. With a great big smile she grabbed him and they were able to breathe and savor the moment.

Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding

They allowed us to steal them away from their guests right as the sun was setting in order grab a few more glowy portraits, and I’m so glad they did! A horse carriage walked by right as we got back capping off the day with quintessential Saint Augustine flair.

Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding


You guys thank you so much for trusting us with your day! We had the BEST time!

The Vendors who Made the Day Possible:

Photographers: Cynthia Viola with Kalypso Burley

Coordinator: Heidi Ford with Endless Possibilities

Venue: Saint Francis Barracks

Rochelle’s Dress: David’s Bridal

A.J.s Suit: Men’s Warehouse

Rochelle’s Ring Designer: James Allen

Hair and Make Up: Angela Byrd

Florist: Jade at Endless Possibilities

Officiant: Rev. Deborah Montana with Goddess Wedding Ceremonies

DJ: DJ Atlys

Catering: Peter Kenney with The Purple Olive

Cake Baker: Arlene Fores with Sweet Weddings

Lighting & chair rental: St. Johns Illuminations

Invitations: Shutterfly

Transportation: Red Roadster, Cornelius Redington

Love for my LGBTQ Friends

Portraits, Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Creativity is born of risk and refined from failure... This is the courage of the artisan - to know ourselves and be true to that knowledge. The artisan rejects all that makes us false and takes the huge risk of being true... There is no riskier way of life than the artisan way. Anything less is just existing
— Erwin McManus
Lesbian Wedding with flower girl

At the beginning of the year, as I was moving to Florida, I posted a blog about things I'd learned living in North Carolina. One of those things was the beauty of the LGBTQ community.

They'd taught me so much through the years and I'd wanted to give back. I vowed to give away a portrait session, or $500 off a booked wedding to one couple every month in 2018. I've posted several of them here already and some I'm sorry to say I was unable to post due to job constraints and some still having to live in fear of persecution. That said, I thought it would be fun to recap as best I could in a final post, to show the love that flows through us all equally. I'm so incredibly grateful for so many new friends. 

And yes I realize there are more than 12 couples here, so sue me ;)

In January, I met up with Joshua and Daniel on a trip back to NC, they met me downtown in the brightest colors I've ever seen and we had an absolute blast. 

Gay Couple Shoot in Downtown Raleigh

In February I attended a Rainbow Wedding Expo in St. Augustine where I was able to meet several new couples, fueling the following months, but I headed back to NC again in the cold and rain to capture Becca and Katie at their home with little Vivi. They made me breakfast and we talked for hours. I adore them. 

Photo shoot with Lesbian couple and daughter

As a bonus, I got to spend some time with them again in the fall after they moved to their new home in Charlotte!

LGBTQ Family of 3

Two different March couples fell through multiple times, so I planned to catch back up with them later in the year. April involved a couple I love and have known for years, we'll call them Steve and Dave; they came to St. Augustine to visit and stayed with us for a night, taking us to dinner and everything, it was so great to catch up. Unfortunately, Steve's job is yet unaware of his orientation and he would likely be let go. Ergo I won't be posting them here. Suffice it to say, that they are both incredible human beings who have done immense good in the world. 

May's shoot actually fell through as well, as Florida went through several torrential downpours, one actually resulting in massive hail damage and a neighbor's house catching fire from a lightening strike! So the May one will show up shortly as well. May did consist of Tiffany and Carlie's 5 year anniversary, that was not actually a part of the giveaway, but you should definitely go see all their cuteness anyway.  

June introduced me to Sam and Jess, who met up with me at the St. Augustine Pier, then afterwards took me to breakfast where we discussed relationships and faith and change. It was beautiful. 

LGBTQ Engagement Session

In June I was also able to make up for one of the earlier reschedules in one of the most fun photo shoots of my life. I had shot Anse and Allie's proposal, engagement and wedding last year and for their anniversary they thought it would be fun to go camping and capture all the fun in that setting. I was SO excited! We met up at a Roan Mountain State Park campsite, and I just captured everything from building the fire to roasting s'mores to snuggling in a hammock. It was glorious. 

Camping photo shoot

In July I drove up to Myrtle Beach, SC to capture the birthday party of an old friend and while there had the pleasure of capturing Sherry and Becky again! I'd shot their courthouse wedding three years ago and it was just a couple weeks shy of their anniversary! 

As and added bonus at the birthday weekend, I got to meet so many new friends and capture their beautiful relationships as well. :) This is Lisa and Jeannie, Tomi and Angie, who were all about adventuring with me on the beach for some portraits.

In August, while I was in Asheville to race the Spartan Super, I met up with Cindy and Marianne, who run the Rainbow Wedding Expo. We were able to get some fun anniversary and family photos in the Botanical Gardens. 

Asheville Botanical Gardens LGBTQ photo shoot

Fun fact: they both planned a secret proposal to each other years earlier on the same day! They knew it was meant to be when they both showed up with a ring! They were on a bridge together and wanted to recreate the moment at the shoot. So fun!

 In September I was busy moving back to NC and Hiking the Appalachian Trail, but I more than made up for it in the fall.

October is wedding month and as such, I was able to shoot Christy and Tina's big day as well as Jeff and Jeff’s. They had a fun-filled days surrounded by so many of their beautiful friends (who I’ve also included, because I can) ;)

LGBTQ farm wedding
LGBTQ wedding
LGBTQ couples

Additionally, while shooting Jessica and Jeff’s wedding this summer, I met and fell in love with the adorable relationship between Ryan and Henry. I loved they way they danced and generally interacted with each other and everyone around them. We caught up on Facebook afterward and I asked if they’d be interested in a shoot. Their 5 year anniversary was coming up so they were all for it. They even took me out for tacos and tequila after! So much fun!

LGBTQ couple downtown raleigh

In November Sandra and Caitlin married in Saint Augustine and I was able to capture them afterwards at Washington Oaks Garden with their little Mari who stole my heart instantly. She loved them both so much and loved helping me find the best spots to pose them.

LGBTQ wedding at washington oaks garden

When April, one of my former students contacted me to say she was interested in a shoot, I was of course, all about it, but when she said she needed to clarify and make sure it was ok that it was an engagement shoot…with another woman, I was simply heartbroken. That she had to clarify with me tells me I have a lot of work to do still, and that she had to clarify at all means we all have a lot of work to do. If people are not free to be themselves 100% of the time the rest of us suffer because of it. The world needs people who think outside the box as well as those comfortable inside it. We need every race, every gender, every background, every experience, every story.

April and Reese were supposed to meet up with me in Asheville this weekend but it didn’t work out, so I’ll have to share their story next year, in the meantime, here’s a few other couples along the way at family gatherings and paid shoots and weddings who I can’t help but thrown into the mix, if for no other reason than to show just how many unique and beautiful people there are in the world and that love knows no bounds.

LGBTQ couple portraits

I received a bit of push back from my own family and former clients who did not approve of this endeavor in the beginning. I lost a few relationships, and a few clients but what I've gained is immeasurable love and acceptance from a community I adore with my whole heart. I wouldn't change the decision for anything in the world. I hope that this small offering can help others take off blinders and see only love.

I am grateful to everyone who has been patient with my own journey through the years and who has helped formed my current world view. May we all continue to grow in love and welcome people different from ourselves into our lives. Allowing our hearts to love bigger, deeper, stronger and wider will never shrink who we are or pull us into darkness. It will serve instead to propel us forward into the light where we all see our mutual flaws and idiosyncrasies and stand united on common ground.

To dare - is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare - is to lose oneself
— Soren Kierkegaard

Palm Coast Wedding | Kristin and Emerson

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
We are still kids, but we’re so in love
Fighting against all odds
I know we’ll be alright this time
Darling, just hold my hand
Be my girl, I’ll be your man
I see my future in your eyes
— Ed Sheeran
Backyard Wedding

I must say, this weekend’s wedding was one for the books! When Kristin told me their idea to invite all their friends to their beautiful new home and then surprise them with a wedding, I was allllll about it. And it’s such a Kristin and Emerson thing to do to begin their marriage by thinking of what they could do to serve their friends and make the experience more fun and enjoyable for them. The first time I really had the chance to get to know them they were helping to set up and tear down Amber and Tony’s wedding. They worked tirelessly the entire time and asked for nothing in return. They are such incredible individuals, and together even more so.

It feels like just yesterday we were wandering around Ravine Gardens State Park for their engagement session and they were wowing me with their incredible dance skills, and then they blew me away further still at their reception; I could have watched them for hours. They know each other so well they made it look effortless, as if they were the same person in two bodies. Simply beautiful.

Backyard Wedding

When they made the surprise announcement the whole backyard erupted into cheers. Everyone was so happy for them!

Backyard Wedding

They quickly ran inside to change their clothes while friends and family pulled out the chairs from hiding and set up the ceremony space.

Backyard Wedding

They were both in tears at the sight of each other and in the excitement of being surrounded by their favorite people at their beautiful new home.

Backyard Wedding
Backyard Wedding
Backyard Wedding

Everyone followed them to reception venue just down the street and the celebrating and dancing commenced. It was such a fun night!

Palm Coast Arts Foundation Wedding Reception
Palm Coast Arts Foundation Wedding Reception
Palm Coast Arts Foundation Wedding Reception

Thank you for inviting me to participate you guys! I had so much fun!

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Hair Stylist: Holly Poulos

Make Up Artist: Amber Viola

Officiant: Donna Banks

Photobooth: Photo Booth St Augustine

Reception Venue: Palm Coast Arts Foundation

Venue Coordinator: Nancy Crouch

Caterer: Dahlia's Mexican Kitchen

DJ: LTH

Cupcakes: Marie Gammero

Rentals: Andy's Taylor Rentals

Angus Barn Wedding | Marianne and Brian

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other
— Audrey Hepburn
Pavillions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding

Watching two people like Marianne and Brian commit to loving one another for the rest of their lives is such a beautiful thing. They have been together for years, and of course, known for years they would be together, 2018 just seemed like the right time to make it “official.” Their families could not have been more thrilled. I loved hearing them talk about how excited they were that this day was finally here! During speeches they were not “welcomed to the family” because they already were family and the comfort in the room was palpable. It’s rare to find couples whose families are an absolute perfect fit for each other, their moms were laughing and giggling together the whole morning and both families were dancing together and intermingling at tables during the reception. It was beautiful. These two will be starting their own beautiful legacy now, and I have no doubt it’s because of the example their families set, their love is strong and genuine.

Pavillions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding

Each wedding leaves me with a favorite detail, and this one had to be Marianne’s grandmother’s dress. She had a small piece of it sewn into her dress, a reminder that just a short time ago, white was not the norm for wedding dress colors, and her grandmother wore a gorgeous blush dress. As for traditions her dress was new, her earrings and veil were borrowed from her sister and she had bright blue polish on her toes.

Grandma's dress detail
Pavilions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding
Pavilions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding
Pavilions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding
Pavilions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding
Pavilions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding
Pavilions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding
Pavilions at Angus Barn Wedding Ceremony
Pavilions at Angus Barn Fall Wedding
Pavilions at Angus Barn Wedding Reception
Pavilions at Angus Barn Wedding Reception

During toasts, Marianne’s sister Sara told a funny story about shrimp that was long running in their family. The final word being that Marianne, while a lover of life and laughter and a good joke… is incredibly kind and considerate of the feelings of those around her. Brian saw that too when he first met her, as his best man, Justin recounted; she makes every day brighter. It is very clear that their love for the other people in their lives is deeply reciprocated by their friends.

Pavilions at Angus Barn Wedding Reception
Pavilions at Angus Barn Wedding Reception

This weekend could not have been any more beautiful and we were so grateful to be a part of it!

The vendors who made this day possible:

Photographers: Cynthia Viola with Guillermo Delgado

Venue and Catering: The Angus Barn

Coordinator: Sarah Leach

The Dress: Allure

The Suit: Custom made Men’s Warehouse

Maid of honor’s Dress -Alfred Sung

Groomsmen’s Attire: Custom made Men’s Warehouse

Her Ring: Custom made using his grandmas diamond - setting by Stonehaven Jewelry, Cary NC

His Ring: David Yurman

Perfume: St. Kitts, Tommy Bahama

Cologne: Polo Ralph Lauren- Black

Hair and Make Up: Margo Williams with Belloviso

Florist: Kelley Kennedy with Teacup Florist

Officiant: Reverend Barbara Lodge

DJ: Frank with Joe Bunn Entertainment

Napkins and Chargers: DeeJay Rentals

Invitations: Papersource

Favors: Chad's Popcorn via Angus Barn

Signs: Fastsigns

Honeymoon: Ritz Carlton Maui, hawaii

Seed Mill Barn Wedding | Christy and Tina

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love her but leave her wild.
— Atticus
LGBTQ Wedding in North Carolina

I met these two lovelies when I captured Anse and Allie's wedding last year. Christy was in the wedding party and we became instant friends, she was just so helpful with every aspect of their day. Then we relived it all over again as Allie and Anse and dozens of their other friends jumped in to provide support both in the form of laugher and hugs as well as manual labor and borrowed details. From private conversations with the wedding party in the bridal suites to the grand toasts during the reception, their friends and family showered them with praises for their kindness and and adoration for their love.

Christy and Tina said they ran in the same circles for a couple of years before they started dating, they got along great especially since both have more than one motorcycle each. For our pre-meet we met in a biker bar in Charlotte, which was so fun to see that side of their personality shine. They both have played many sports together like kickball and dodgeball and Christy has done a Spartan Race before, so of course we were practically besties by the end of our conversation. We all realized right off the bat also that none of us are fond of the most traditional aspects of weddings and I couldn't wait to see how they would make this day their own. 

LGBTQ Wedding in North Carolina

They chose to do a first look, but wanted to make sure they didn’t see each other before that moment. This presented a slight challenge as their suites were right next door to each other, but everyone chipped in to watch out for them and I thought it was adorable that even though they couldn’t see each other, they simply spoke loudly through the doors so that they could still talk with each other, excitement growing with each passing conversation.

LGBTQ Wedding in North Carolina

When Christy couldn’t find the exact jewelry she was looking for, her friend Brandis made it for her. (In addition to the box that held it all) They have so many different talented friends, it was awesome seeing it all come together.

LGBTQ Wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina
LGBTQ wedding in North Carolina

Tina proposed inside a castle in Ireland while they were on a vacation and they will be going to Hawaii for the honeymoon; a lifetime of adventures has already begun. I’m so excited for you both!

 

The vendors who made the day possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola with Brittany Sloan

Venue: Seed Mill Barn

Wedding Party Attire: The Tuxedo Shoppe

 Hair Stylist: Kate Duffy

Florist: Flower Diva 

Officiant: Darrell Materi

DJ: Brian Smith

Catering: City BBQ

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this 5 year Anniversary or this Barn of Chapel Hill Wedding

 

Barclay Villa Wedding | Jessica and Tyler

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love has nothing to do with what you’re expecting to get – only what you’re expecting to give – which is everything
— Katharine Hepburn
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC

There’s something moving about capturing a family’s memories from the time their kids are in high school until they start walking down the aisle. I feel like I’ve been a part of Jessica’s family forever. It’s been nearly ten years since her aunt Colleen’s wedding, then with senior portraits for all three sisters, holiday parties and working with them on Help Portrait events, I’ve watched them all grow up and go off on their adventures and come back with tons of stories.

This story, will be their best yet though. Tyler and Jessica have been inseparable for years and already traveled the world together, this fairy tale wedding was the perfect portrait of their journey together. Barclay Villa set the castle backdrop and in addition to her gorgeous wedding rings, Jessica wore a custom ring with her mom's first engagement diamond and blue topaz that her parents bought for her when they were on vacation 20 years ago. The 3 stones represent the three sisters and all of them plan to wear it on their wedding days. Between that, her mother’s veil lace wrapped around her bouquet and Tyler’s confirmation candles being used for the unity candle, the whole day was wrapped in history and the love of their families.

Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Bridal Portraits at Barclay Villa in Angier NC

I couldn’t wait to finally show some of Jessica’s bridal portraits from a few weeks ago! She is so stunning.

Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC

Between grandpa’s in tuxedos and grandmas who can seriously boogie on the dance floor, I’m pretty sure they win the award for most adorable grandparents.

Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC
Wedding at Barclay Villa in Angier NC

This weekend was pure magic you guys! Thank you so much for including us in your fairy tale! 

 

The Big Day was made possible by these Vendors:

Photographers - Cynthia Viola with Brittany Sloan

Coordinator -Jaclyn @ Party Designs By Jax

Venue - Barclay Villa

Wedding Dress - Classic Bride - Cornelius, NC

Bridesmaid's Dresses - Azazie

Rings - Malak Jewelers - Charlotte, NC

Custom Ring - Custom Jewelry Lab - Charlotte, NC

Hair and Make-Up - Wedded Kiss - Raleigh, NC

Florist - Dragonfly Florist

Officiant - Kevin Holland

Violinist - Udeshi Hargett

Live Painter - Tesh Parekh

Band - Lucky Pocket

Videographer - Milestone Media Group

Catering - Jeff @ Rocky Top Catering

Cake Baker - Publix

Bus Rentals - White Glove Transportation

Invitations - Minted

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy viewing, this Barclay Villa Wedding or this Raleigh Wedding.

 

 

 

The Oaks at Salem Wedding | Ann and Stephen

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
When you’re a kid, you assume your parents are soulmates. My kids are gonna be right about that.
— Pam - The Office
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding

When I met Ann and Stephen I knew I’d found a couple that was meant to be together. Just the way they glance at each other and laugh at each other jokes and flirt is truly endearing. Then I really got to see their love shine as we explored the UNC campus for their Engagement session in February.

You know you’re loved when people will come from all over the country to celebrate with you. Almost everyone there, including the bride and groom were from somewhere else: DC, New York, Michigan, Denver, Seattle, and it’s easy to see why, these two are very lovable from the moment you meet them, both individually and as a couple. Everyone just wants to see them succeed and I loved being a part of it.

So lovable in fact, they rival Jim and Pam from “The Office.” You see, just before Ann put her dress on she noticed a tear in the fabric right on the very front of the dress, it wasn’t super noticeable, but still pretty devastating. She immediately sent Stephen a message telling him the news and, sensing how upset she was, said, “It’s just like Pam, you want me to cut my tie like Jim?” Cue ALLLLLL the tears from all of us! Oh my goodness he could not have said a more perfect thing. In their vows later she mentioned how he always knew how to say exactly the right thing at the right time to make her laugh. They are truly perfect for each other.

Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding Ceremony
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding
Oaks at Salem navy and burgandy Wedding
Oaks at Salem navy and burgandy Wedding
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding Reception
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding Reception
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding Reception
Oaks at Salem Fall Wedding Reception

Thank you so much for letting us participate in your most perfect day you guys!!

The Vendors who Made the Day Possible:

Photographers: Cynthia Viola with Brittany Sloan

Venue: The Oaks at Salem

Coordinator: Becky Chapman with Lily Rose Events

Bride's Dress: Global Bridal Gallery

Bridesmaids' Dresses: The Dessy Group

Groom and Groomsmens' Attire: Men's Warehouse

The Rings: Custom designed with family heirlooms at Ascot Diamonds

Hair and Make Up: Tiffany Mentrak

Florist: Petals on the Go

Officiant: Libby Mayock

DJ: Damien Maass

Caterer: Rocky Top Catering

Cake Baker: Cinda's Creative Cakes

Linen Services: CE Rental

Shuttle Bus: Ecostyle

Invitations: Minted

Rehearsal Dinner: Lake Johnson Waterfront Center


If you liked these, you might also like this Oaks at Salem Wedding, or this one.

Our Lady of Lourdes Wedding | Evelyn and Lawrence

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
— Aristotle
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding

You just never know where you’re going to find your next favorite couple. Evelyn sent me a message after having seen a comment I’d made on the Blind Barbour’s Instagram Page. We both share an affinity for the place and of course Joey and Michelle who own it. After a quick conversation we decided to meet up at The NC Museum of Art where she and Lawrence had shared their first date and I knew right away we’d be a perfect fit.

Evelyn wasn’t a typical bride; she made it very clear, while this day was about both of them, of course, she wanted me to focus my attention on her groom. “I want him to feel loved and adored,” she said. Such a refreshing concept. While the day in general moved pretty quick, I know they’ll be talking about it for years to come.

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Wedding

Every one of the guests couldn’t stop talking about just how happy they were for them. When Lawrence crooned “I can’t help falling in love with you,” to his new bride the whole room was in tears and we all loved them that much more.

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Venue: Our Lady Of Lordes Catholic Church

Florist: Flowers on Broad

Officiant: Father Garneau

Catering: Neomande

Cake Baker: Raleigh French Bakery

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like this Brewery Reception or this Raleigh Wedding.

Highgrove Estate Wedding | Jessica and Jeff

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola1 Comment
Just in case you ever foolishly forget; I’m never not thinking of you
— Virginia Woolf
Outdoor Ceremony Highgrove Estate

Every part of Jeff and Jessica's wedding weekend felt like a family reunion to me. Not just the fact that there were several other couples and families there I've had the privilege of shooting in the past, or the fact that I've shot at Highgrove before and worked with several of other other vendors before, but more for the fact that everyone was just so welcoming and friendly. From the bartenders and servers at their rehearsal dinner to their super helpful wedding party to everyone who pitched in to make sure the chairs got wiped down after the sudden downpour just before the ceremony started. 

These two have surrounded themselves with people who adore them and wish nothing more than to see them succeed in life and in their relationship. They even invited Jessica's family to participate in their engagement session which was so much fun! I love that they feel comfortable doing all their fun stuff together. You can view those images here, but it was great seeing everyone again and trying to recreate a few of the images throughout the day. 

Highgrove Estate Wedding Details
Highgrove Estate Wedding Details
Highgrove Estate Wedding Details

Jessica has the honor of having two fathers in her life so she was able to share a first look with each of them separately. There were plenty of tears to go around, I assure you :)

Highgrove Estate father daughter first look
Highgrove Estate Wedding Party
Highgrove Estate Wedding Party

I absolutely love working with Highgrove Estate! They truly go all out when it comes to client experience and making sure you have everything you need every step of the way. As I mentioned, the sky opened up just 30 minutes before the ceremony was to start but Jessica had her heart set on having the ceremony outside so Britnie worked her magic and held the guests inside just long enough to let the rain finish then they rushed in to wipe the chairs and saw to it that the show would go on as planned. 

Highgrove Estate Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
Highgrove Estate Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
Highgrove Estate Wedding Party
Highgrove Estate Bride and Groom Portraits

We seriously had so much fun capturing portraits for these two. Jessica and I were doing everything we could to get her groom to blush as we spoke of the upcoming honeymoon. So cute. 

Highgrove Estate Bride and Groom Portraits
Highgrove Estate Bride and Groom Portraits
Highgrove Estate Bride and Groom Portraits
Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception
Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception
Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception
Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception

Near the end of the evening a T-Rex and a Hippo showed up, I'm still not sure where they came from but there were definitely the life of the party, dancing with the bride and grandma and tons of other guests! So much fun!

Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception

You guys I cannot thank you enough for letting us be a part of your day! We had an absolute blast! 

 

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photographers: Cynthia Viola with Brittany Sloan

Coordinator: Britnie Jaynes

Venue & Catering: Highgrove Estate

Bride's Gown: Curvaceous Couture

Bridesmaid's Gowns: Azazie

Bride's Perfume: Tease - Victoria's Secret

Groom and Groomsmen's Attire: Executive's Cutting Edge

Rings: Diamonds Direct

Hair and Makeup: Taylor Downs

Etsy Earrings or whatever: Mkedesignwedding

Officiant: Rob Perry

Florist: Ruth Payne/ Norma Talley

Videographer: John Defino

Bakery: Donna @ Sweet Memories Bakery

DJ: Eddie Leonard Productions

Linen Services: CE Rental

Invitations: Etsy- ArtePapery

Rehearsal Dinner: Nina's Ristorante

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy viewing, this Highgrove Estate Wedding, or this Raleigh Wedding

 

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

 

 

 

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  

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.