Cynthia Viola Photography

WRAL Azalea Gardens Elopement | Dawn and Darren

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Raleigh Elopement

“Your smile just jumped off the paged and captured me,” Darren shared with Dawn as he read his vows with a tear rolling down his cheek. They had met on a dating site and he shared with her that from her photo she glowed from within and spoke to him in a way that he couldn’t explain, and he loved her for it.

“I’ve never told you this before, but you make me feel safe. More than I have ever felt in my life.” Dawn too, read her vows through tears and each of their friends and I cried right along with her.

I’ve not had the opportunity to shoot many elopements, but it was so special to be so close to them the entire ceremony and hear every word so clearly and feel each emotion as they felt them. These two share a bond that is hard to match and it was palpable as they laughed and cried together throughout the ceremony.

Raleigh Elopement

We began the day with a few casual portraits at JC Raulston Arboretum and Darren arrived first explaining Dawn’s map had sent her another direction. So we took a few headshots and chatted about how they met and such. The sweetest moment for me, however, was when Dawn arrived and got out of the car, Darren couldn’t help but say allowed, “Wow, look how beautiful she looks.” She couldn’t hear him and I don’t think he even realized I could, he just had to state allowed what he felt and the look on his face as he did was filled with so much love. I knew the rest of the day would be magical.

Raleigh Elopement

We hadn’t planned any sort of first look moment, but it just worked out that Darren was finished setting up right as Dawn was arriving and with a few quick adjustments I was able to hide Dawn before he saw her and set it up properly. The added anticipation made the moment so much more special. They couldn’t wait to see each other!

Raleigh Elopement
Raleigh Elopement
Raleigh Elopement
Raleigh Elopement

The running joke during the ceremony, (besides the fact that Darren wrote a novel) was that they couldn’t stop touching or kissing each other. They were so excited they couldn’t wait until they were “allowed” to. So precious!

Raleigh Elopement
Raleigh Elopement
Raleigh Elopement

Their first date was at Second Empire so they decided to celebrate there as a way to start off their official married life as well. Congratulations again you guys! I’m so happy for you both, thank you for letting me participate in your sweet day!

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Ceremony Venue: WRAL Azalea Gardens

Reception Venue: Second Empire

Dress: Adrianna Papell

Rings: Gabriel & Co. of NY

Officiant: Rev. Robert Chalnick