Cynthia Viola Photography

Vendor Series

Guest Post! A History of the Wedding Dress by Heidi Stouder

Vendors, Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Heidi Stouder at Endless Possibilities

You guys! I have been having TOO much fun these past couple weeks getting acquainted with St. Augustine and all it's beautiful people. I've been meeting lots of kind people, like sweet Mrs. Smith at the coffee shop who let me go first in line because she could tell I was there for a meeting and she "didn't have anywhere important to be." How sweet is that?!? I feel like I'm back in Boone all over again!

Well, one of my favorite new people, Heidi, was gracious enough to give me the run down of the wedding industry down here and we had a blast this afternoon as I took a few quick head shots for her in the parking lot of her new office space at Endless Possibilities!

When I was checking out her website the other day I discovered this blog she wrote recently and knew immediately I HAD to have it! I realized immediately I didn't know the answer to the question of why we wear white wedding dresses and her discovery fascinated me. It's not been around for thousands of years like I'd supposed, the answer might surprise you too! Check it out below!

History of the white wedding dress

I just had the opportunity to experience the grand adventure of trying on wedding gowns.

It sparked my curiosity on "when did the wedding dress fad even start?" "Have brides always wanted to wear white, or was that even an option for most?"

So I brewed some coffee and stat down to read any information I could find on the subject.

I wasn't surprised to read that there is little to no information on the subject. What you can find out, is wedding dress colors and styles pertaining to what culture you were raised in.

Like how most Eastern cultures wore red, a symbol of favored fortune.

Wedding dresses have changed drastically throughout history, but the earliest information on Western culture, dates back to the Middle ages. Brides were expected to dress in the manner that befitted their social status.

Wealthy families wore rich colors, exclusive fabrics, furs, velvet and silks. The poorest brides wore their best church dress they had.  But when did the white wedding dress become the fashion?

The first documented white wedding gown was worn by Philippa of England, in 1406.  She sported a white silk tunic with a cloak trimmed in grey squirrel fur.  Defiantly not PETA approved.

History of the white wedding dress

Then the next bride we find out about is Mary Queen of Scots.  She wore white in 1559, at the time the French style, was to wear white if you were in mourning. It just so happened that Mary Queen of Scots was marrying Francis II of France.  Kinda makes you think is was a subtle way of stating how she felt about the union.

The white wedding gown didn't come into fashion till the Victorian era when Queen Victoria wore white in 1840.   Wearing white had a rough start.  White was a very hard color to come by and to keep clean.  White was a sign of social status and still only used by the wealthy from 1840's through the 1920's.  Due to the depression, WWI and WWII, wedding dresses again became what the bride had on hand, such as church clothes or borrowed dresses from a family member or friend.  After WWII the white wedding gown's, like we see today, made its smashing hit and come back with Grace Kelly in 1956.

History of the white wedding dress

Wedding dresses truly reflect a bride's personality as well as the theme of the wedding.  More and more you will see brides are incorporating color back into the wedding dress. However, I feel that the white/Ivory gown will stand the test of time and remain the most sought after gown color for years to come.

History of the white wedding dress
History of the white wedding dress

Thank you so much Heidi for sharing your findings!! Cannot wait to work with you on our first wedding this spring!! 


If you liked this post, you will probably also like: The Vendor Series or How to Choose Bridesmaids Dresses

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

Vendor Series - The DJ & Videographer - Damien Maass

Wedding Photography, VendorsCynthia Viola2 Comments
What I love most about this crazy life is the adventure of it.
— Juliette Binoche

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. 

Damien Maass Videographer

This week I want to highlight one of my favorite humans on the planet. Damien and I met at a Bat Mitzvah two years ago and it's been quite the adventure ever since. He is one of the most genuine, kind, and cheerful people I've ever had the pleasure of working with. He never has a harsh word for another vendor or a client, he's easy to work with; if I want to try something a little crazy he's totally down whether he's DJing or holding the camera. He has the same mission I do...to work well together so we can serve the clients better. 

Patrick and Madi are part of his video team and are equally amazing to work with. Professional, lighthearted and so very talented. 

Damien Maass and Team

Once, we were doing a Bar Mitzvah together and one of my off camera flash batteries died right as Damien was getting ready to start the Hora dance... he and I locked eyes and he saw the panic in mine. Without a second's hesitation he backtracked and announced it would actually start in just a second then asked me what I needed. He gave me time to swap the batteries out and get back in place so they were able to get the best photos. Being a videographer too he is so knowledgable about everything the photographer needs and goes out of his way to accommodate, which only helps to serve our clients better. I would have him at every wedding I shoot if I could. 

Bar Mitzvah Hora

Here are just a few of the questions I asked about how he works and what couples need to know, he is always ready and willing to answer any and every question you may have though, just contact him on his website here. 

Q: How do you manage to DJ and Video at the same time at a wedding? What do you delegate to your team and what do you do yourself?

A: A lot of planning goes into a wedding as you know and when we are providing both DJ & Video services great teamwork is essential alongside all the planning. There are three main parts to the wedding day when we provide both services; Bridal Party prep, Ceremony and the Reception. I will shoot for the first part of the day before transitioning into a DJ and my two other videographers will take over full time from that point. It is very seamless and I am lucky to have an amazing team in place. Two of our team members are also FAA licensed drone pilots for our aerial videography. We work at our craft constantly to ensure things happen, as they should on the wedding day.

DJ Damien Maass

Q: Why is it important for a couple to have a cinematographer capture their wedding when they already have a photographer?

A: It’s funny but I hear it all the time from married couples who chose not to have one that they regret not having a wedding video. There is so much the couple will miss during the day. Photos & video tell the same story but in a different way and both if are done well, they are amazing keepsakes. A great video becomes something that you’ll watch over and over initially and then every anniversary you’ll get to revisit that incredible day in a special way. This isn’t your parent’s wedding video anymore either. We specialize in short-form wedding films, which means we focus on making amazing cinema style productions that you’ll want to watch over and over again. We use only the best possible cameras & lenses along with real storytelling techniques in our editing to make our films unique to whatever event we are filming.

Q: What do you think a couple will regret the most by not having a cinematographer?

A: So much of the wedding day will be a blur especially with everything that is going on so fast and a great wedding video can bring that amazing day back to life. To me there is nothing like capturing the emotion of day with not only video but with the actual audio. To hear the vows, people laughing, to see all the places you couldn’t be, it just brings the entire day to life in a fun, emotional and entertaining way.

Q: What are some of the biggest hurdles couples face when choosing a DJ that fits their unique style?

A: First and foremost: is this someone I want to work with on one of the most important days of my life! Will they listen to my detailed requests, can I choose my own music, do they work well with other vendors, are they professional sounding, do they use top sound equipment, etc. Every couple and wedding day is different and a big part of my job to be really good at listening to what couples want or don’t want. We take into account their venue, guest list, music tastes and what kind of party flow they want. We want to make sure that the reception is a blast with the music they want to hear and done in a style that fits in, without being over the top.

Damien Maass DJ

Q: What do you do to ensure that you play music the couple will love as well as the mixed crowd of guests attending?

A: One thing that experience does is give you the ability to read a crowd quickly, use the couple’s requests along with what you know will work to keep the dance floor popping! We have two very helpful online wedding planners that couples can use before the wedding to select music and plan the reception details. We try to stay as organized as we can so things come off as they should. These are things we go over with couple’s beforehand so they are comfortable and can look forward to having a great time. Guests requests are also important; and as long as those songs go with the energy on the floor I am all for it.

Q: What do you do if you get a crowd that just doesn't seem to want to dance? 

A: Great question and again this is an area where experience and honing your craft make a big difference. Whether it’s by playing a really familiar fun song, one of the many interactive fun dances, bridal party requests or even a great slow song to get the floor packed. Once you got people up build on it and keep it going!

The Oaks at Salem Wedding Reception

Q: What brings you the most joy at a wedding and brings you back for more week after week?

A: Its kind of cliché but this is a real passion for me. I hosted a morning show on radio for several years as well as acting, doing voiceovers but there nothing like a live event. And what’s better than being a part of a celebration? Seeing how happy these couples are and how much fun they are having during their wedding day is incredible and I feel so lucky to be doing this for a living. We started providing the wedding video part of the business about 5 years ago and that just opened up a whole new level of excitement and fun. I truly look at each event we do as unique and different. It’s a major reason why I decided to keep the business small so we can give each wedding the attention that it deserves. I love it!

I hope you find this helpful and you see why I give Damien all the stars! He, Madi and Patrick are so great to work with and I know they won't disappoint. I also wanted to include one of his highlights from the most recent wedding we all did together, enjoy!