Cynthia Viola Photography


How to care for your People before the Wedding

Wedding Photography, PersonalCynthia ViolaComment
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted
— Aesop

Entering into the busiest season of your life can be daunting.

It seems like all my wedding couples right now are not only planning their wedding, but they're working full time jobs, they've just started graduate school, they're caring for their small children, they've just moved into a new home, or they're serving in the military all on top of figuring out what this whole new marriage dynamic is going to look like when it comes to bills and having a puppy and in-laws and responsibilities. 

It can really be so much. I've been there as a bride, I've been there as a bridesmaid, as a sister, as a best friend, as a pre-marital counselor and a photographer. I have seen over and over how much the stress can build up for months and explode at the worst possible moment on the big day.

Fortunately most couples also have a team of people who stand beside them to help carry the weight. Parents and college roommates and siblings and coworkers who work long hours in the weeks leading up helping you address invites, finish DIY projects, tell you how fabulous you look in every dress your try on, throw you epic bachelor parties, trudge through the mud to keep your dress clean, pray fervently for your marriage and bring you orange juice and cough medicine when you find yourself sick in the midst of it all.

This post is to remind you to care for them in return. It's easy to get overwhelmed and take out your frustrations on the people you know will forgive you, but don't take the easy road. Take the extra 10 seconds to breathe deeply before you say a harsh word and don't let yourself have regrets for taking advantage of the people you care for most. At the end of the day no one will remember if all the chair bows were tied perfectly, they'll remember how you treated them when you were stressed. So take some time today to write them a note or give them a hug. They'll love you forever. 

Boone North Carolina Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding

Try Not to Get Lost in the Details

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do rather than the ones you did
— Mark Twain

I see it over and over again: the build up.

At the wedding rehearsal there's always something that starts the break down. Maybe a favorite out of town guest has phoned in to say they're not going to be able to make it or the flower girl gets a stomach bug. The first note of stress appears in the couple's voices as they try to tell each other it's going to be ok. 

Then at the dinner they get more bad news: the linens have arrived one size too large for their reception tables the next day and they won't be able to change them. Guests will now have to wear a blanket in their lap as they're seated. 

As they're unloading all their bridal party gifts, she remembers she left one of them sitting at home on the table... now they have to decide if they're going to leave someone out tonight or give all the gifts in the morning. They disagree. Their voices raise another degree. 

I arrive the next morning ready to greet the beautiful bride and I see dark circles under her eyes. Oh no. She didn't sleep well because the hotel neighbors threw a party into the wee hours of the morning. She's now stressed from the rehearsal and sleep deprived (not to mention worried those circles are going to show in photos for the rest of her life).

When her mom enters the room to tell her the rain forecast just got pushed to the exact time of the ceremony I see a tear well up in her eye as she looks out the window and tries to hold it together. She's not mad at her mom, it's obviously not her fault, but she fusses at her anyway then immediately regrets it - causing another tear to trickle down her face. 

Just when she thinks she's going to be able to hold it together, her wedding director phones to say the caterer misunderstood their order and brought cheap plastic plates instead of the beautiful crystal she'd paid for. Cue the downpour. 

When you spend countless hours planning the perfect day and have an extraordinary vision; it can be devastating to watch it all unravel.

The last thing you want to be is a bridezilla and you know that nothing in particular is anyone's fault but you're so overwhelmed with details and sick and tired of making decisions all you can do is cry it out - or take it out on someone else. 

I see you. I hear you. 

I am here to remind you that your love is the only thing that matters today. People might have to eat on plastic plates, but they'll be doing so in celebration of you. You might get a little wet, but only because you're dancing in the rain celebrating the grandness of it all.

I promise, no matter how perfectly your details fall into place, no one will remember them outside of photos. What they'll remember is how you looked at each other with that shy smile, how you took time to come hug them and introduce them to your love during the reception, how you got choked up (and so did they) as you stated your vows before God and everyone.

I know your details are important to you and you simply want the day to be perfect, but trust me - just focus on living in the present and loving the people around you and the details will take care of themselves. And don't worry about the memories, I'll take care of those.