Cynthia Viola Photography

Downtown Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh Family Session | The Leathermans

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about
— Marilyn Monroe
Sibling photos

I seriously work with the greatest families on the planet. It was such a joy to spend time with these guys last night and catch up on the past year. If you haven't been following along, you need to check out last year's shoot when they brought little Josie home from the hospital. Her story, and subsequently theirs, is inspiring. 

We had made a rain back up inside the co-working space in Matt's office downtown because it'd been threatening rain all week, but then the sun decided to join us after all so we just utilized both the office and the park down the street. It was so cute when the family showed up to meet him and the girls ran right into Matt's arms. Little Maya also couldn't get enough of her new favorite game, ping pong. :) 

Downtown Raleigh Family Photos
Nash Square Family Photos
Nash Square Family Photos

The girls had the time of their lives, Josie has learned to walk and was loving the attention, she also loves giving high fives and gave them generously (sometimes to the face) ;) Maya loved jumping off the bench and anything that involved flying or her little piggy. It was such a great day. :)

Nash Square Family Photos

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this Downtown Raleigh session or this Extended Family Session

Alaria + Drew | 1st Anniversary

Anniversary PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen!
— Winnie the Pooh
Downtown Raleigh Anniversary

After my very first meeting with Alaria and Drew before their wedding she said I was like her spirit animal...and I'd have to say that definitely works both ways! She is so fun to be around and Drew definitely completes her! I absolutely love working with adventurous couples, willing to try new things and who are free to be themselves while we wander around. 

These high school sweethearts had no problem sharing with each other their favorite memories and talking about the struggle of living as a military family constantly separated. Drew will be heading to Korea early next year and they both felt the weight of that. We were so glad to get in these photos before hand so they can still have the memories while they're apart. 

Downtown Raleigh Anniversary
Downtown Raleigh Anniversary
Downtown Raleigh Anniversary
Downtown Raleigh Anniversary
Downtown Raleigh Anniversary

I was so excited to get some extra time with you guys before we're all worlds apart! Thanks for spending the afternoon with me!

Jordan's Bar Mitzvah at Traine

Bar/Bat MitzvahCynthia ViolaComment
The ship is safest in the port. But that’s not what ships were made for.
— Paulo Coelho
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah

More and more, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are becoming my favorite events to shoot, and it's because of incredible young adults like Jordan. I met him a couple months ago when we began the planning stages of his big party and thought he was incredibly polite and had a sweet 12 year old excitement in him, (he's a huge baseball fan). Similarly when I met up with him a few weeks ago for his baseball portraits I thought he was adorable and super fun. 

The transformation that happens in the last few weeks of Bar and Bat Mitzvah training, however, never ceases to amaze me. The stress of memorizing so much Hebrew, the pressure to fully understand a passage of scripture and make it relatable to your family and peers and to actually stand up in front of them with confidence that all the hard work put in made a difference - it changes them. 

Raleigh Bar Mitzvah

They're only thirteen of course, so they still have a liveliness about them and ability to play and enjoy the world, but they're also somehow much wiser than they were at twelve. Listening to Jordan practice his Torah Portion during the rehearsal I almost choked up. He made it relevant to his love of baseball, and connected the dangers of favoritism in a simple school sport with the greater dangers facing world today in a growing racially divided world. His maturity both on and off stage this weekend was awesome. 

Additionally, you will not find a more awesome family. Their love for each other pours out in everything they do, Jeff and Jodi have set such an incredible example of what it means to love each other fiercely and make life an epic party. Their extended family attests to that as well, they poured in from all over the country to celebrate this weekend. And I've said it before but nothing makes me happier than a great sibling relationship; Rachel and Jordan are the very best of friends, they pick on each other relentlessly and always have time for a huge bear hug. Love them. 

I'm so glad I got to participate in your huge day Jordan! SO proud of you!

Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah

(The three of us *might* have agreed not to tell mom that he jumped off a train before entering the party lol. I mean, who am I to deny a teen two of my favorite things: risk and adventure) :)

Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah
Raleigh Bar Mitzvah

 

The Vendors who made the weekend possible:

Photographer: Cynthia Viola Photography

Synagogue: Beth Meyer

Rabbi: Eric Solomon

Tutor: Cathy Kaplan

Reception Venue: Traine

Flowers: Fallon's Flowers

Catering: Catering Works

DJ: Damien Maass

Photobooth: ZimZoom

 

6 Tips for Rocking your First Couple’s Photoshoot

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.
— Robert Fulghum

I lit up like a summer lightening bug when I saw that Safy had made a blog post about our photo session together! They were simply one of the best couples I've ever worked with and quickly became friends I know we'll hang out with again soon. We all have similar adventuring passions and love to try new things. We've even been texting back and forth ever since checking to see if the other has tried each new place we love (Like Sir Walter Coffee!) 

When I saw that she had posted the blog to help other couples know how to prep for their own sessions I immediately asked if I could use it as a guest blog post, she has such great advice! So without further ado, here's Burly and Puff's 6 tips for Rocking Your First Couple's Photoshoot

 

Burly and Puff

You and bae have signed up for a couple’s photoshoot. Now what? You’ve got the outfit and the posing to worry about. Need some help? Look no further! Here are 6 tips to help you rock your first couple’s photoshoot.

Burly and Puff

In the month of March, I had this crazy streak of luck. I won $2 in the North Carolina Lottery. Chickfila gave me three extra nuggets during lunch one time. I also won a free couple’s photoshoot through an Instagram giveaway for a local photographer!

This was a huge deal for Randy and me. When we got engaged, no photoshoot. We didn’t have a wedding so we didn’t think a wedding photoshoot was necessary. Winning this photoshoot was amazing! We were so happy to have our own set of super cute photos. With this being our very first photoshoot as a couple (and Randy’s first photoshoot ever) we were a little nervous about the process. What do we wear? Will we be hella awkward? You know… normal fears.

The day came and we ended up rocking our shoot! The weather was beautiful. Our photographer was the bomb. Our outfits photographed well. Everything just seemed to fall into place. After going through this experience, I want to share 6 tips for rocking your first couple’s photoshoot.

Burly and Puff

1. Build a Relationship with your Photographer

This is really key in shaking away the jitters of your first couple’s photoshoot. Our photographer was Cynthia Viola and she was AH-MAY-ZING. After we won our photoshoot she reached out to us, gave us her contact information, her helpful tips, etc. Leading up to our shoot she sent us friendly reminders and was always there if we had questions. When we met her on the day of our photoshoot, it felt like we already knew her and that she knew us. That in itself made us feel more comfortable.

Burly and Puff

2. Research Couple’s Photoshoot Poses, Don’t Practice

Google and Instagram are great resources! The key to looking natural is to let the poses flow. If you practice the poses before your couple’s photoshoot, you may just go through the poses and your photos will look too posed and stiff. By researching your poses you can at least get some ideas of what to do. A lot of my favorite photos were captured in between the poses we tried out.

Burly and Puff

3. Mind the Weather

This goes for those of you doing outside shoots. When we scheduled our shoot it was supposed to be a warm and sunny Saturday morning. When we checked the forecast a day or two before, turns out the weather changed drastically. FREEZING AND FOGGY. That was where #1 came in. Cynthia messaged me and asked if we wanted to reschedule. If your photographer doesn’t ask you, don’t hesitate to ask them. Being too cold or too hot will show on your face and in your body language.

There is nothing cute about chapped lips, chattering teeth, watery eyes, and red noses in cold weather. Same thing goes for melting makeup and sweating through a shirt in extremely hot conditions. Hey, you’re paying for these bad boys! It’s all about your comfort.

Burly and Puff

4. Avoid Coffee

You’ll want your smile to shine in your photos. Avoid coffee and foods/drinks with a lot of dyes. Drinking coffee right before your shoot could leave you with coffee teeth. Coffee breath could also make the kissing shots a little less enjoyable. Just saying… However, we did shoot a few snaps at a coffeeshop. If you’re doing any food or coffee scenes, save them for last.

Burly and Puff

5. Wear Outfits you LOVE

Just because a photoshoot seems fancy, you don’t have to go out and buy a new wardrobe. The outfits we’re wearing came out of our closet. If you do opt for a new outfit, wear it before the shoot. Make sure you love the color and the fit. You’ll want to be comfortable. There’s nothing worse than putting on a new top the day of your shoot and it’s itchy, ill-fitting, or too sheer. Your photoshoot is the perfect time to show off YOUR style.

Burly and Puff

6. Be Yourselves and Have Fun

Seriously. If you’re not enjoying yourself IT WILL SHOW IN YOUR PHOTOS! Whether you’re a quirky couple or a reserved one, do what makes you feel comfortable. This photoshoot is all about showcasing you two as a couple. Enjoy your little moments together and pretend the camera isn’t even there.

Somehow Cynthia was able to edit out most of the awkwardness, (but she couldn’t get it all). 

Somehow Cynthia was able to edit out most of the awkwardness, (but she couldn’t get it all). 

Burly and Puff

Gabriel Turns One!

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Girl, n. A giggle with glitter on it.
Boy, n.: a noise with dirt on it.
— Not Your Average Dictionary
Raleigh Family of 4 photos

Oh my goodness, I've been capturing memories for these two since little Noelle was still in her momma's belly. Now Gabriel is turning one and it's hard to imagine where the time went!

We planned this shoot months ago for the NC History Museum expecting it to be freezing outside so Gabe and Noelle could marvel at the dinosaurs and we could all stay a little warmer. That ended up not being necessary though; it's almost 80 degrees outside today! I will take it, love me some spring weather in the middle of winter! We ended up hanging out on the Capitol Building's lawn so we could include some green trees and grass with Gabe's one year balloons.

I just love how these two already love each other! Sometimes kiddos don't respond well to snuggling and kisses but Noelle was more than happy to stay right by her Gabe and make sure he could walk around without falling. I hope you enjoy a few of these favorites from this morning! 

Raleigh Family of 4 photos
Raleigh Family of 4 photos
Raleigh Family of 4 photos

Community Series - Real Estate - Matt Polinchak

PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment

As a way to better serve our couples and families, over the next few months I will be highlighting and interviewing a few of our favorite people in the community who directly impact the new life of a young couple or family. I want to ask them why they love what they do, some tips for couples navigating this new territory and pitfalls that can be avoided. 

The first in the community series is none other than Matt Polinchak from Live Raleigh Realty. I met Matt almost 2 years ago when I was still baking at BREW Coffee Bar and we became instant friends. I wasn't able to learn about his business without immediately discovering his love for the community and desire to help people who are dealing with life transitions. He told me about how hard it can be for young couples to transition out of their apartments (or parents homes) into a new home with their new spouse and about what he does to ensure a smooth transition. 

Matt really cares for the people he works with and does his best to help them make the best decisions for them. I wish he'd been around when A.J. and I bought our first house at 21 years old, still in undergrad. He would have told us it was a terrible decision and for our lifestyle and uncertain future, renting would have been better. Alas, we made some poor choices due to peer pressure and have since dealt with the consequences, but I know Matt and so many other great friends in the community will be there for us when we're ready to make that decision again. In the meantime, here's a few questions I asked him to help you navigate this part of your journey. 

Matt Polinchak Live Raleigh Realty

Q. Before we get started, what makes you love real estate so much?

A. I just really love helping people. I have been a REALTOR for over 6 years now, but before that, I used to be a 3rd Grade teacher here in Downtown Raleigh.  I try to serve my clients with the heart of a teacher and one who is looking out for my client's best interest, not my own. Buying a home can be stressful and so it's important to educate and break down the buying process for each of my clients, one step at a time. By breaking it down, the process is much easier to digest. They are about to make one of the most important decisions of their life and I get to be part of the process. How awesome is that!?!

Q. Do you suggest a newlywed couple rent or buy their first home? 

 A. That's such a hard question because every couple is different. Each couple has their own personal, financial, and lifestyle goals, as well as determining their current financial situation. Some couples like to find a home first to plant roots and then get engaged or married later. Some prefer to wait until after they are married and start off renting. There really isn't one right answer. The most important thing any couple can do though is communicate and make the time to discuss any thoughts, ideas or questions they may have.

Q. So what discussions and questions should couples have before making the decision to buy or rent?

A. Just like a planning a wedding, I feel that it's so important to communicate financial, personal and lifestyle goals. Purchasing a home is a big decision and you both need to be on the same page. If one person is committed to the process and the other is not, that can be very frustrating and stressful for everyone. Here are just some of the important questions couples should discuss: What do our finances look like? Is it cheaper to rent/buy? How does purchasing a home affect our lifestyle? How important is location to us? What's important to you/us with our 1st home? If you decide to rent, how can we put together a plan to save money and on the flip side, if we decide to purchase, do we have enough money saved for the down payment and other fees involved? How long do we plan on renting or if we decide to buy a home, how long do we anticipate living in that home? There are some who never want to purchase a home and that's okay too.

Q. Once making the decision to move forward and buy, what's the first thing the couple should do to start the process?

A. The first thing I do to help potential clients is sit down with them and provide to them a Buyer Consultation. We talk about their goals: Both financial and lifestyle, to make sure we are all on the same page. We go over their Wants/Needs List for the home they hope to purchase. Then I talk to them about what the process looks like moving forward, including any up front costs involved, when they go under contract on a home. Lastly, we go over expectations we may have for each other. I think that last part gets overlooked the most. Expectations are so important and should be communicated early and often. The buying process is about YOU and YOUR wants and needs. It's not about me.

Q. After meeting with you for the consultation, what do you encourage couples to do next?

A. If they haven't talked to a mortgage lender yet, that is the most important thing to do. In order to purchase a home, a seller is going to want to know if you have been pre-qualified by a lender. Getting pre-qualified is so important because it not only helps you understand the process better, but you can also ask them any questions about different loan programs and what your mortgage payment will be at a certain price point, which is very helpful. You don't want to waste time looking at homes you cannot afford because they can be deflating and at the same time, a lot of people are surprised they can afford more than what they originally thought. 

If they have already been pre-qualified, then comes the fun part- If they are ready, we get to start looking at homes!

Q. What are the biggest hurdles couples come across when looking for a home?

A. I think the initial discussions are the most challenging. You have two people coming together with possibly different views on what's important regarding finances/money, details of a home, location, etc. and so naturally it can be difficult at first. Each person also has a different comfort level when it comes to making important or financial decisions. However, it's better to have those conversations before and throughout the process.

We are also in a very strong real estate market here in the Triangle and it can be competitive. Buyers are having to compete with other buyers over homes. That's why it's so crucial discussing expectations with your real estate agent or when you're interviewing one, to find out what's currently happening and what to expect regarding the real estate market in particular to their wants/needs

As you can see, Matt really cares for this community and wants nothing more than to see the people in it thrive and fall deeply in love with their city. If you're considering buying a home, you should definitely give him a call, he'll be happy to help you work through the process! 

Best of 2016 Weddings and Engagements

Engagement Portraits, Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola2 Comments
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
Engagement photos roan mountain

After racing through the busiest season of my career followed by an intense family roller coaster of love, pain, joy, sorrow, death and new life, I am actually pretty excited to coast into this first week of the new year with little more to do than reflect on what has been good, what needs improvement and dream of all that might be in 2017. 

A.J. and I have had the incredible joy of meeting new couples whose love overflows for each other and makes our own love stronger from witnessing it. It never gets old. This will be my tenth year capturing love and memories for couples, and the lover-of-new-things within me thought I'd be tired of it by now.  But I can say with all the honesty I possess, I cannot get enough. 

When Jon teared up watching his beloved Abbie walk toward him in all her radiance, my heart exploded and I loved them both even more. When Heather and her dad, Bryan, shared a father-daughter first look through tears, light teasing and perfect joy I could barely see through my own tears to even capture the moment. When Alaria and Drew found themselves at the very end of the night surrounded by all their beloved friends whom they rarely got to see due to distance and the trajectory of their future I burst with happiness for them.

Watching our couples revel in each moment and knowing that they trusted us to capture each one for a lifetime of joyful memories brings me more joy than I know how to put properly into words. I'm excited to see who is going to walk into our path this year and to hear all the love stories that will undoubtedly make our own love continue to grow. 

Thank you for an incredible year!

Engagement Photos Beech Mountain
Engagement photos fisher farm park
Engagement photos beech mountain
The Oaks at Salem Wedding

Ben's Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer & Sitti

Bar/Bat MitzvahCynthia ViolaComment
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things
— Henry Miller
Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer

As soon as I met Ben's parents, Mara and Jon, I knew I was going to get along well with Ben. Not only are they super relaxed and easy to work with, but you could tell they really enjoyed each other. When the whole family got together, it was effortless for them to laugh and really live in the moment of the day. That is so important in a family. 

Ben is on the ultimate frisbee team at his school and he used his love of sports to infuse his studies for his Torah portion. For his service project he served at Miracle League of the Triangle. By helping kids with disabilities play baseball, he said he now appreciates the fact that his body is whole and he's able to play his favorite sports. He's able to empathize with how others cannot.  

Ben is quite the life of the party. It seemed as if every moment during his party he was completely engulfed in a crowd of his friends. Not only that, his whole family came to celebrate, from California, Florida, Virginia and more, they all showered him in love. 

Sitti is, of course, an amazing venue. The courtyard is perfect and provided an intimate and stylish downtown feel for the celebration. Amy and her team were so easy to work with, I highly recommend them. And well, Damien is forever my favorite DJ. He can keep the party going all night and always seems to know exactly what the crowd needs. 

I hope you guys enjoy reliving a few of these favorite moments from the weekend. Congratulations again Ben! 

Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer
Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer
Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer
Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer
Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer
Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer
Bar Mitzvah at Beth Meyer
Bar Mitzvah Sitti Raleigh
Bar Mitzvah Sitti Raleigh
Bar Mitzvah Sitti Raleigh
Bar Mitzvah Sitti Raleigh
Bar Mitzvah Sitti Raleigh

The Vendor Team

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Ceremony Venue: Beth Meyer

Party Venue: Sitti

Rabbi: Eric Solomon

DJ: Damien Maass

Balloons: Blooming Balloons

Photobooth: All Events DJs

Caity and Al - Caffe Luna Wedding - Raleigh, NC

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
All of me loves all of you
— John Legend

These two.

Downtown Raleigh Wedding

Somewhere between Long Island and Wilson, NC these two romanced each other over a good meal and are happily here today, dedicating the rest of their lives to each other and little Gabe. 

They just seem to have this way with each other where they don't need to say much, Caity just giggles (which Al loves) and they give each other a look and you know they mean it. 

First looks are always my favorite part of any wedding, but you guys, Caity decided to include Gabe in the first look as well and he was absolutely precious! As Al stood there in the Marriott hallway anticipating his beautiful bride, little Gabe had to go ahead and get a sneak peek and we were, of course, SO ok with that. He just loves his mommy.

Before the big day Caity asked Gabe why she and Al were getting married and he not only said it's because they love each other (which he repeated during the middle of the ceremony) but he also said "because we want to be safe." Is that not the sweetest response ever!?! He just knows it's good. 

In lieu of wedding favors, I love that Caity and Al made a donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Wake Forest in honor of their guests. It just makes it so special. The fact that they had Monica and her incredible team at Nouveau Events design and coordinate the day at Caffe Luna was just icing on the cake. I don't think I've ever seen a wedding so completely flawless from start to finish. 

Hope you guys have as much fun reliving your perfect day as I did! Here's a few favorites!

Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding
Downtown Raleigh Wedding

The Vendor Team:

Photography: Cynthia and A.J. Viola

Venue/Catering: Caffe Luna

Wedding Coordinator: Monica at Nouveau Events

Officiant: Marianne Dotson

DJ: DJ Supreme 

Stylist/Make Up: Cori Lee from Atomic Salon 

Florist: Doug at Purple Poppy Florist, Wake Forest

Bridal Suite: Marriott City Center

Rings: Neil Lane, Kay Jewlers

Cake: Publix

Limo: A Formal Affair

Preparing for Your Engagement Session

Engagement Portraits, Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love doesn’t make the world go ‘round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile
— Franklin P. Jones

The first thing to remember as you arrive for your engagement session is that this is supposed to be fun! We'll have plenty of pressure from timelines and schedules on the wedding day, no need to be stressed now. These sessions usually take anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on how far we walk around and how many outfits you have etc. But if we knock it out in 45 minutes that's totally fine, if we need an extra 30 it's totally fine. Just be prepared to roll with it. 

This is our chance to get to know each other well before the big day so that we're both comfortable when we do have the time crunch. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like and know that I'll do the same. When you learn how I work and the types of poses I'm likely to move you into, it'll make you a pro on the wedding day. It also gives me a chance to see how you two interact together. If you don't enjoy kissing in public, or prefer not to sit on the ground, it's better for me to find out at this session rather than when I ask you to do so on the big day. :)

1. When to plan your session. Time of year is totally up to you, though, if you book your wedding out far enough, a lot of couples like to choose the opposite season of their big day. If you have a fall wedding then a spring engagement etc. Regardless of what month you choose, we will always, only shoot at either sunrise or about 2 hours before sunset. This ensures golden light that will make all your images dreamy and romantic. 

2. Outfits: Most couples choose 2 outfits, one casual to start and one dressier as you get more comfortable with the whole flow of the session. Once you've gotten used to the idea of a camera in your face, you'll warm up to the more romantic poses. That said, if you prefer one outfit or three, I'm perfectly ok with that. You can see my post HERE to see ways to coordinate them.

3. Location. I always recommend choosing a location that is important to you if possible. A family farm offers legacy, the place where you actually got engaged or had your first date can be a great way to capture that memory, or just a place that you find beautiful can ensure beautiful backdrops for when you print them for your home. If you can't think of any places like that, or you're not from the area where we'll be shooting, have no fear, I have a long list of places that are wonderful and I'm happy to check out a spot in advance if I'm unfamiliar with it.

4. Trust me. I certainly do not expect you to be a professional model. I will guide you when you need it and give you the freedom to be yourselves as often as you let me. I have hundreds of posing ideas floating around up there and am perfectly happy guiding you into them, I also really love letting you interact in your way. It always takes about 15-20 minutes to warm up to the idea of making out in a public space so we'll work up to it slowly and have some fun along the way. I'll never make you do something you're uncomfortable with. 

5. Drink ALL the water. Think a gallon a day every day for a week leading up to it. (and then every day after that for the rest of your life) ;) It's not only healthy, but for the purposes of the shoot, it will get rid of dark circles under your eyes. 

6. Prepare your fiance'. Sometimes one person is really excited about the photography portion of the wedding, and the other is well, not so much. They may be planning to show up, smile at the camera standing in 2 or 3 locations and then calling it a day. If they aren't prepared when I tell you to snuggle or nuzzle, they may not know how to respond. I recommend choosing your top 3-5 favorite images on my site or blog and showing your fiance' so you're both on the same page when you arrive. If you're going to err on one side or another, over communication is usually a good bet. (Feel free to use that one as a general marriage tip as well...you're welcome) ;) 

It can also be fun to practice some of the snuggling and flirting in advance... just sayin ;)

7. Ring, Hair and Make Up. Some ladies like to take this opportunity to get their hair and/or make up trial arranged with their stylists so they can see what they'll look like on the big day as well as taking the pressure off of preparations for the engagement session. Certainly not a necessity, but if you're having a trial anyway, this is a good time to do it. (This or the bridal session if you choose to add one). There will definitely be photos of the ring, so it's a good time to get it shined up as well. 

And just for fun, here's a few couples showing off their snuggling and flirting skills both at their engagement and their big day. Have fun!