Cynthia Viola Photography

The Oaks at Salem

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.

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  

Oaks at Salem Wedding | Katrin + Ryan

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love doesn’t make the world go ‘round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile
— Franklin P. Jones
Oaks at Salem Wedding

Katrin and Ryan’s wedding was such a peaceful, laid back day! I love it when couples just go with the flow and don't let details overwhelm them. They knew they had a great team at the Oaks making everything happen so they took everything in stride and were that much more excited when they finally go to see each other!

The day started with an enchanting fog over the pond and ended in the most beautiful glowy light imaginable! Two of my favorite details from the day: the lace sown onto Katrin's dress from her mother's dress and the engraving Ryan had put into her wedding band, a phrase they say to each other often... I love ya, "to the moon and back." 

I think one of my favorite parts of the day was getting to watch Katrin interact with her sister Marissa. They are so similar and yet so different at the same time! They picked on each other, and Marissa definitely picked on Ryan, as she had been the entire engagement, but when it came to her reception speech, she poured on the love for them both. I also loved Katrin's dad’s reaction when he saw her for the first time. I could tear up just thinking about it. There were so many sweet moments that happened throughout the day!

Watching two people like Katrin and Ryan commit to loving one another for the rest of their lives is such a beautiful thing. I hope you love these two and their beautiful Oaks of Salem wedding as much as I do! Enjoy!

Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Bloomworks wedding bouquet
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding

They didn't want to see each other before the ceremony, but they did like the idea of just holding hands and being able to say "hey" and check on each other before hand. We found a perfect doorway to make that happen and they both eased each other's nerves perfectly. They were all smiles the rest of the day just knowing that the other was just as excited as they were!

Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Bloomworks wedding bouquet
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding groom
Oaks of Salem Wedding groomsmen
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding ceremony
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding bridesmaids
Oaks of Salem Wedding party
Oaks of Salem Wedding groomsmen

Oh my goodness, these guys cracked me up so much! Love it when the wedding party jumps right in and decides to play and just have fun celebrating the couple!

Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks of Salem Wedding
Oaks at Salem Wedding
Oaks at Salem Wedding
Oaks at Salem Wedding
Oaks at Salem Wedding
Oaks at Salem Wedding
Oaks at Salem Wedding
Oaks at Salem Wedding
Oaks at Salem Wedding first dance
Oaks at Salem Wedding reception
Oaks at Salem Wedding reception
Oaks at Salem Wedding reception
Oaks at Salem Wedding reception
Oaks at Salem Wedding reception
Oaks at Salem Wedding reception
Oaks at Salem Wedding reception

 

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photography: Cynthia & A.J. Viola with assistance from Brittany Sloan

Venue/Coordinator: Veni @ The Oaks at Salem, Apex

Bride's Gown: Lana Addison Bridal

Bridesmaids Gowns: Bella Bridesmaids

Groom's Attire: The Black Tux

Florist: Bloomworks

Officiant: Jody Welker

DJ: All Events DJs

Catering: Catering Works

Cake Baker: Clarke, a bridesmaid :)

Linen/Chair Services: Party Reflections

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

 

It's a Wedding, What Could Possibly go Wrong?

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

One of my new favorite gifts to give our couples is this epic 85 page wedding magazine I created to help make the photography timeline a little smoother, explain why a first look is so super special, give tips on healthy skin and hair, and generally make the day as smooth as possible. You can't experience over 100 weddings and NOT come away with advice on how to make the day a little smoother.  

In writing it, though, I realized JUST how many situations I've experienced that *could* have ruined the day. 

I've seen the "getting into the dress" moment take an extra 30 minutes because a button popped off and had to be resown on the fly. (Thanks grandma!)

I've seen grooms and whole bridal parties thoroughly trashed before they even walked down the aisle. (The keg stands that followed at the reception didn't help the situation).

Bridesmaids who couldn't arrive at the last second because they went into LABOR. 

DJs who packed up their gear and left halfway through the reception because there was a miscommunication on how long they were to stay. (Luckily A.J. was still DJing at the time and he was able to grab his gear and finish the night for them).

Very close family members who died the week of the wedding. 

I've seen a ceremony start an HOUR late while half the guests sat quietly in the church and the other half in traffic as an unexpected PARADE started up through the neighborhood. Tip: You're going to want to make sure to check road closures/races/parades/construction in the area directly around your venue(s).

A flower girl bit by a very venomous snake at the rehearsal placing her in the ER and on crutches for the wedding.

Torrential downpours, flooding, a hurricane, a foot of snow and sweltering 100+ heat. 

The point of this post is not to scare you out of your big day or force an elopement but to remind you that no wedding is perfect. Things are going to go wrong and people are going to disappoint you. At the end of the day, every single wedding ended with an "I do" and a happy, albeit exhausted couple waving good bye to their friends as they set off on a new adventure...together. 

Bubble Exit

If I can leave you with just 3 tips, I would say:

1. Don't sweat the details. Noone but you knows what color the napkins were supposed to be, and everyone expects the ceremony to start a little late. Shake it off and remember this is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life!

2. Plan some downtime. It's not a matter of IF the timeline will get backed up, but by how MUCH. If you can plan an extra 15 minutes for hair or an extra 30 minutes to drive from venue to venue and especially an extra 15-30 minutes ALONE with your new spouse to take it all in, savor the moment and clear your head, I promise your day will be far less stressful. If you need help with this please just ask. I've become an expert at finding extra hours in the day. Failing to plan for something to go wrong means planing to fail when it does.

3. LOVE your people well. I've seen so many couples say hurtful things to the people they love the most. It's not worth hurting your relationship with your mother or best friend or future spouse because they dropped the ball on something. Do your best to remember that they've given you so much of their free time to help you plan and they only want what's best. Love them well with kind words and generous hugs. If you can throw in a gift or two, do. They will always remember how you treated them over how perfect the day was. 

Remember, you're getting MARRIED! This is supposed to be fun! Let the mistakes roll off your back and savor the sweet moments. 

Vendor Series - Hair and Makeup - WINK

Vendors, Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
WINK Hair and Makeup

I've been having so much fun highlighting the wedding vendors and members of the community that I love to work with and think will be helpful for our couples and families. When you work in an industry filled with artists, you tend to work with a lot of people who truly enjoy their careers who barely feel like they're working half the time. It's so fulfilling and I love seeing others love what they do.

The lovelies at WINK Hair and Makeup are no different. I worked with Kristi at Alaria and Drew's wedding this past October and loved Kristi right from the start. She was very easy to work with and more than willing to do the "dance" as I captured photos of Alaria getting ready. (Not all stylists and artists are willing to move around to make the shot better).

I was further blown away when I got to meet (almost) all the girls when we shot team portraits. They are all SO friendly and knowledgable. I was asking all the questions especially to Janna and Jeanette who happened to arrive first. They are both makeup artists for WINK and lash extension techs so I had a ton of mascara questions lol. Afterwards they all took me out for a drink and we had the BEST time. You will seriously love working with any of them whether for your big day or your engagements or family portraits. Below are a few of the questions we discussed. :)

Krystal with WINK Hair and Makeup
Jeanette at WINK Hair and Makeup

Why is it important for a bride to hire a professional for her hair and makeup the day of the wedding? What are common regrets when they don't? Hiring a professional to do you and your bridal party's hair and makeup for your wedding is definitely a luxury purchase, but when hiring a professional hair and makeup team, you ensure that you will have years of training and expertise. We know what products photograph well and stay on the best. We use high-quality products and know how to tame the most unruly of hair. We create timelines that keep everyone on track and on time and we are well equipped to solve any problem thrown our way. When hiring experienced and educated beauty professionals, you get the peace of mind that Aunt Gertrude won't be wearing that hideous fuchsia eyeshadow with her spider lash mascara and cousin Tina's contour will be more natural rather than drag queen.

The biggest regret we have come across from women that decide to either do their own hair and makeup or have a friend do it is that hair and makeup didn't look as they imagined it should be and that it added more stress to their day.

Are there any skin conditioning regimens you suggest in the weeks leading up to the big day? If you have any concerns when if comes to your skin, take the time to visit a dermatologist. Otherwise, skin regimens are going to be based on your skin type and it is extremely important to have a routine for day and night.  Making sure that you are consistent with your skincare regimen months before the wedding will only help to ensure that your makeup goes on smoother and looks its best.  Exfoliate 1-2 times a week and get an amazing moisturizer for your face, neck, and lips. We love Sonia Roselli skincare and keep it in our kits! Get plenty of rest and water. Drink lots and lots of water. 

Do not get waxed the week of your wedding (makeup won't adhere to the areas that you got waxed the same as the rest of your face), also, do not get spray tanned less than 2 days before the wedding day.

Do you suggest anything specific with makeup knowing that they will be having multiple photos taken? Make sure that there is no more than an SPF 15 in your makeup or moisturizers, use primers and setting sprays, don't use too much shimmer. Faux lashes always photograph beautifully. They just add a little more polish to your look and you can get them as natural or as dramatic as you are comfortable with. If you aren't planning on hiring your artist to stay for touch-ups after the ceremony and before pictures are taken, we would suggest putting together a little touch-up kit that includes a pressed blotting powder, lipstick (ALWAYS make sure your lipstick looks good before photos!), blotting papers, a moisturizing and setting spray and a little lash glue. Also, remember to cry pretty and try to catch your tears (pat dry don't rub/wipe away tears).

With an updo, what precautions do you take to make sure it hasn't fallen by the time of the ceremony? For updos, we ensure that it is secured by using a ton of bobby pins and crisscrossing them if hair is thick. Finish with firm hold hair spray and wiggling or lightly shaking the client's head to make sure everything feels secure. We also always do touch ups before we leave to make sure nothing has fallen. 

WINK Hair and Makeup

Is a trial session really needed or is the day of enough? Our contract actually requires a hair and makeup trial before the wedding day. The trial is our chance to get to know each other, play with different looks to discover your wedding day style. We always suggest scheduling your trial on a day that you will be taking pictures (i.e. engagement pictures or bridal portraits) so you can see how beautifully the hair and makeup look with your wedding dress, how well it photographs, and how well your hair and makeup last throughout humidity or smooches ;)

Why do you love doing hair and makeup, what brings you back to it week after week? As far as bridal hair and makeup go, we absolutely love bringing out a woman's beauty and seeing her face when everything is put together. You can see a woman's demeanor change immediately when she feels beautiful. She poses in the mirror, she smiles bigger and laughs louder. We adore being a part of that. 

Kristi and Krystal WINK Hair and Makeup

Krystal and Kristi are incredible business owners who love what they do, love their team and love making women of all shapes and sizes feel and look their best. Their passion is refreshing and will ensure that you are in the very best hands. I recommend them to all by brides and families! 

Vendor Series - The Venue - The Oaks at Salem

Wedding Photography, VendorsCynthia ViolaComment
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful
— Mae West
The Oaks at Salem

As a way to better serve our couples, over the next few months I will be highlighting and interviewing a few of our favorite wedding vendors as well as others in the community who directly impact the new life of the young couple. 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. 

This week I'd like to highlight The Oaks at Salem in Apex. Oh my goodness. I have worked with so many venues in the area, and I am telling you, no one has it all together quite like The Oaks. We are talking a GORGEOUS white house, beautiful lake, dreamy barn complete with giant oak trees and a plethora of other hidden gems on their 11 acre estate. Additionally they provide both the ceremony and reception space so your guests don't have to drive around, indoor and outdoor options depending on the weather, valet parking so guests don't have to hike up to their car in the field, full on-site coordination (which I'll get into in a second), and the most perfect getting ready spaces you've ever seen.

The Oaks at Salem

Now, I've seen other beautiful venues, but April has intentionally laid everything out with your memories in mind. Not just the beautiful backdrops, but very intentional natural window light in the bridal suite, neutral walls, and private areas both indoor and out for the first look and bridal party photos. These details make such a big difference in your final images, as well as the flow of photography on the big day.  

The Oaks at Salem Apex

If the grounds themselves weren't enough, they have THE BEST on-site coordinators around. Veni, Joslin, Tina and Katie go out of their way to make sure the day is flawless. They even hold vendor meetings with the couple and/or parents a month before the wedding to ensure everyone is on the same page and working as a team to make the couples' dreams a reality. They are so good at what they do. Vendors working together as a team to make sure the couple is taken care of makes me SO happy. (You'd be surprised how often it's not the case)

The Oaks at Salem Coordinators
The Oaks at Salem Coordinators

Here's a few questions we discussed to help you navigate the venue world:

How many weddings have been hosted at the Oaks? 

We have hosted over 300 successful weddings. 

Why is it important for a couple to choose a venue with everything in one location? 

Our venue provides a seamless experience for couples looking to host both ceremony and reception with us, or for couples looking to have their ceremony off-site.  Our Oaks Coordinators create comprehensive timelines that cover all the moving parts!

What are some of the biggest hurdles couples face when choosing a venue? 

Couples face hurdles deciding between their top choice venues, and often focus only on aesthetics. In choosing a venue, couples should compare the venues apples to apples. This includes factoring in their inclusions, weather contingency plans, organization, and the overall flow of the space. We strive to educate potential couples and provide them with all the information they need to make a well informed decision.

How does your team manage to keep up with so many unique details at each wedding, especially when you have multiple events in the same month? 

Our team has a very organized system in place so that we can keep up with all the details! Upon booking, clients are assigned a lead coordinator that they correspond with via email.  Using email for communication is very convenient for the client, generates a fast response from us, and helps us keep all of the planning details documented in one place. The lead coordinator organizes an on-site meeting with the client and their vendors before the wedding to create a timeline and layout for the big day.  Every wedding is unique and these meetings allow us to discuss and account for all of those fine details. In addition to an on-site lead coordinator, every couple is also assigned an assistant coordinator for the day of the wedding.  The timeline and layout are a life source for us and all of the vendors on the day of the wedding, they include reminders and detailed notes down to the minute! 

What brings your team the most joy at a wedding and makes you want to host them week after week? 

We love to see the life-long memories being made and the abundance of love and happiness. It is a pleasure to be a part of these momentous occasions!

As you can see, The Oaks at Salem is a premier wedding venue that is capable of covering everything you could need. Trust me, you won't regret choosing them to make your day happen exactly as you envision it! To see my most recent wedding there, check out Alaria and Drew's blog post. 

The Oaks at Salem
The Oaks at Salem Apex

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

Alaria and Drew - The Oaks at Salem Wedding, Apex, NC

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola6 Comments
After all this time? ~ Always.
— Dumbledore to Severus
The Oaks at Salem Wedding

Oh my goodness, I knew I loved these two before I even met them just by hearing the tiniest snippet of their story which can be summed up pretty well with in their adorable hashtag #agypsyandasoldierwedding 

They met in 5th grade, were friends all through high school, fell in love in college and the rest is history. Most of their bridal party were even friends from all the school years together. They chose to be married at my favorite wedding venue in the Raleigh area, The Oaks at Salem. A gorgeous white house surrounded by 11 acres of land, trees and a beautiful lake. Veni is an amazingly organized coordinator and I adore working with her. Their team is just the best! 

You are going to love these details:

First of all, Alaria's bouquet was wrapped in a piece of her mother's wedding dress, giving it a timeless feel. For the unity portion of the ceremony Alaria held a vase of water while Drew placed a single rose in it: the rose symbolizing love while the water symbolized everything needed to make the love grow. So beautiful. 

They also chose to have a Ring Warming Ceremony. As every guest entered the space they placed the rings in their hands and wished good tidings and blessings on their marriage. Alaria happens to be a lover of words and reading, so they brought a beautiful typewriter for guests to type out their congratulatory notes on, something they'll be able to read throughout their marriage as they need it. 

Damien of course rocked the party with his amazing DJ skills, and he and his team will have an incredible cinema story up soon, I'll be sure to add the link here as soon as it's ready. Beau blew everyone away with his incredible menu and it was a night to be remembered for all. 

You guys, I was truly overwhelmed with all the beauty. Of course you were gorgeous, but your spirits were beautiful and the love brought by your many friends and family just surrounded the whole day with something special. Thank you for letting me be a part of your day, I hope you enjoy reliving it with a few of my favorite images. 

The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding

Being huge Harry Potter fans, they had the groomsmen take the personality quiz on Pottermore and had them wear socks representing their house! So cute! (I *might* have also taken the quiz out of curiosity, discovering that I'd be a Gryffindor...in case you were wondering) ;)

The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding
The Oaks at Salem Wedding

Vendors:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue/Coordinator: Veni at The Oaks at Salem

Videographer: Damien Maass

DJ: Damien Maass

Hair and Make-up: Kristi Martinson at WINK

Dress: Bridal Boutique of NC

Groom/Groomsmen attire: Egara by Men's Warehouse

Rings: designed and custom made by Samantha Laddin at Green Lake Jewelry, Seattle

Bride's Shoes: Ophelia by Vince Camuto

Groom's Shoes: Heritage by Joseph Abboud

Groommen's Socks: Harry Potter Hogwarts houses socks :)

Officiant: Darren Granniss 

Perfume: Armani Code for her

Cologne: John Varvatos Vintage

Catering: Beau Catering

Florist: Teacup Floral

Cake and pies: Laura at Confectionate Cakes

Truffles: Chocolate Smiles

Get away car: Dave's Classic Cars

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

First Dance: Work Song by Hozier

Why You Shouldn't Anticipate Their Reaction

Wedding Photography, Engagement PortraitsCynthia 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

It's not uncommon for a mom or perhaps a bridesmaid, even an officiant to pull me aside before the ceremony or first look begins and say, "Now make sure you get his reaction, I just know he is going to lose it!" I, of course, assure them I will do my best and that the moment is just going to be perfect. 

While this sentiment is meant as excitement for the couple, and nerves just make people say things because they've heard others say them; I've found in practice that it sets up both the couple and those who love them for failure or disappointment. 

If you expect your love to cry and they don't, or drop to their knees and they don't, or do a happy dance and they don't, it immediately makes you wonder if maybe you're not dazzling enough. Maybe he doesn't like the dress you chose, or she thinks your hair looks funny. Maybe they're just ready to get this part over with so they can get to the party. Maybe they're getting cold feet. In reality, maybe your love is just not a crier. Maybe instead you've rendered them speechless and all they can do is take you in. 

Might I suggest instead to have no expectations, only love.

Rather than worrying about how they're going to respond to you, focus instead on taking them in, fully. Notice the way her curls fall across her face (her stylist put in a lot of work to make that happen you know), notice that he put on your favorite cologne and breath in deeply, notice the shy look on her face as she twirls (she's a little nervous you won't like her dress), notice how he fidgets with his watch and sways back and forth (he's a nervous too, this feels like a first date after all).

When you commit to just living fully in the moment and allowing your love and your family and friends do the same, I promise the day will be more fulfilling, more surprising, more memorable. You be you and let them be them.

Live in the present and let me capture the memories. 

Annnnnnnnd the same theory applies to the proposal of course... 

And one more...can't resist. :)