Cynthia Viola Photography

first look

Heather and Adam - All Saints Chapel Wedding, Raleigh, NC

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola4 Comments
Could never have dreamed that we’d find enough
On our very first date
— Josh Walker
All Saints Chapel Wedding

Ok, so do you want to hear the sweetest thing ever? Heather and Adam were sharing the story of how they fell in love with Adam's brother-in-law Josh and he joked that there was a song in there somewhere. After all, Adam had pursued her at her job for a long time, and their first date was at a cute little wooden playground where they ended up talking for hours through the night falling in love along the way. Then Josh actually wrote them a song about their first date and then sang it for their first dance. And I die from cuteness overload. 

All Saints Chapel, built in 1875, was just perfect for them. It has this classic and timeless feel to it due to its beauty and having Oakwood Cemetery out the front door adds an element of history that really suits their personalities. I love that not only was Heather "ok" with doing the first look in the graveyard but when I said I could make it not look like a graveyard with my angle she said she really wanted the graveyard in the photos! The coolest bride ever. 

Heather and Adam also share a mutual love of gaming. They even brought their gaming controllers to the engagement shoot which was so fun, and in his first words in his vows Adam talked about having a player number 2 for life - bringing a knowing laugher from everyone in the room and a huge smile to Heather's face. They are just a perfect match. 

I hope you guys enjoy reliving the day as much as I did! Here are a few favorites!

All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding

We all know how much I love first looks. They just make the day so seamless and allow so many emotions to be had in private with only your love. However, I am also quite partial to father-daughter first looks. Especially when they have as sweet a relationship as these two.. Oh my goodness, I was just a pile of mush after this moment. Brian was being his usual self, full of jokes and trying keep it cool, but I think it just made Heather realize she adored him that much more. Bring on the Kleenexes!

All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding
All Saints Chapel Wedding

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue/On-site Coordinator: Diane at All Saints Chapel

Dress: David's Bridal

Groom's attire: Men's Warehouse

Rings: Ultimate Concepts by Brad Dingler

Flowers/Coordinator:Jane at The Wedding Woman

DJ: Todd Moody

Cake: Once in a Blue Moon Bakery

Caterer: Empire Eats Catering

Rehearsal Dinner: Gravy 

Hair: Lauren Meyers Stevens

Make Up: Melinda Ewbank

Invitations: Made by groom :)

Honeymoon: Washington D.C.

 

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

Sarah Jane and Taylor - Lifepointe Church Wedding, Raleigh, NC

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Happiness, not in another place, but this place. Not for another hour, but this hour.
— Walt Whitman

Taylor and Sarah Jane met just a couple years ago while attending church together. They both played in the band and kept running into each other at practices. They worked well together in that setting and it wasn't long before they found themselves hanging out longer after practice and later with other friends. Before they knew it, they were in love and the rest is history. 

Raleigh Fall Wedding

As their pastor, Joel, recalled during the ceremony, they had both thought of each other as opposites when they met. He thought she was a little loud and she thought he was a little quite. This was not a problem, Joel pointed out though, because as musicians they could appreciate the dynamic both forces could make in a song. Without the forte' we couldn't understand the quiet moments and without the piano we couldn't realize just how resounding the music could be. 

I love that analogy so much. Especially for them and for their story. They both wanted to incorporate music throughout the day and did so in such moving ways. Rather than a first dance they decided to offer a first song to their guests. As they took the stage the room got quite and their harmonies filled the space with their love for each other. They followed with songs dedicated to each of their parents for all the support and encouragement they've been given and finally they joined a group of their closest band friends to get everyone on their feet.

You guys! I had the best time with you this weekend! (It didn't hurt that practically all your friends are also my friends and three or my former couples were also there celebrating with you, but that's beside the point) ;) I hope the mountains are treating you well and can't wait to see you when you get back! 

Raleigh Fall Wedding
Raleigh Fall Wedding
Raleigh Fall Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding
Fall Raleigh Wedding

 

Vendors:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Lifepointe Church, North Raleigh

Bride's Dress & Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal 

Groom's and Groomsmens' Attire: Belk

Rings: Johnson's Jeweler's of Raleigh

Coordinator & Florals: Dave Duty

Hair and Makeup: Rebecca Ledbetter

Band: Scott Gratton, Ryan Hughes, Douug Upton, Stephen Wesner, Tad Akers, David White

Officiant: Joel Close

Cake: Joyce Ledbetter

Catering: Milton's Pizza 

Photobooth: Laugh Out Loud Photobooth 

Invitations: David's Bridal

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. 

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. :)