Cynthia Viola Photography

Becoming Brave on the Appalachian Trail

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Father, Can a man change his stars?
Yes William. If he believes enough, a man can do anything!
— A Knight's Tale
Female Appalachian Trail Solo Hiker

Changing My Stars

Where to begin?

I do my best to live my life without expectations.

I try to enter new relationships with an open mind, ready to learn anything a person might teach me. I try to take on new creative endeavors without thinking about the failures of the past; and I try to embark on new adventures with palms up, hands stretched out, ready to receive anything the universe might give me. That said, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect to dive deep into my psyche to pull out all the junk and clean house while off on my 100 mile Appalachian Trail adventure.

Instead, I found myself thinking… left foot, right foot, don’t trip, easy with the knees, watch that spider web, what’s that sound, just 2 more miles, don’t forget to hydrate.

Every time I consciously thought, “Alright focus. Time to deal with stuff.” I simply came up empty. All I could figure was that I just have no regrets. Period. Could I have made some better financial, business, lifestyle or relationships choices in the past? Sure. We all could. But I couldn’t think of anything I absolutely regretted or wanted to change about the path I’d chosen. And while unexpected, I guess that’s ok too. Not everyone has to have a mental or emotional breakdown in order gain a better understanding of the world.

Sunrise on Tennessee Appalachian Trail

From then on I tried to focus instead on what and who was in front of me. I allowed myself to take in the crazy stories of the incredible hikers surrounding me. Allowed myself to learn from their mistakes as they spoke of their pasts and really listen to what they each might teach me. Two lady day-hikers on Mount Blood shared of their regrets in waiting so long to really get out in nature (they were in their 50s). How they’d allowed family life bury them in responsibility and forgotten to take care of themselves. Another long-section-hiker shared that he’d gone too long without being in nature and planned to make time once/month to just be out in the elements. 9-5 desk jobs have a way of creating this frequent dilemma. He told me to make sure once every mile or so to make sure I look up, look left and look right just to take it all in. It’s far too easy to do the safe thing of staring at your feet and your footing the entire trail and miss the beauty around you. A perfect life lesson I think. A cancer survivor, proudly displaying her lost hair shared that she finally had to go against her doctor’s orders because she knew within herself that the best medicine to detox from the chemo was not more bed rest inside the hospital, but fresh air from the mountains. She hiked all the way to the top of Rocky Mountain to simply breathe the air. We sat for a long time just enjoying the silence and scenery together.

Instead of plowing down the trail as I had been doing (twice the speed and distance I had set out to do), I lingered longer on mountain tops, made myself get up in the middle of the night, exhausted, simply to marvel at the universe of stars. I took time to notice the hard work spiders put into their webs and tried to duck under them rather than sweep them away with my hand. I didn’t run off the family of chipmunks living the shelter but enjoyed watching them scurry about. I sat down in the middle of the trail to tell a turtle a secret and I simply stood in awe that I was blessed to share the trail for a moment with a momma bear, until she scampered off through the wildflowers.

Georgia Appalachian Trail Wildflowers

Life and people have so much to teach us if we’ll take the time to stop and listen. I know my career is unique in it’s ability to give me as much time as I had to really be on the trail. But everyone can take a day or an hour, turn off the noise, find a setting different than the norm and just be.

One hour alone with the stars was the only inspiration I needed to push on when I was started to feel physically worn down. It was a reminder that we CAN change our stars if we only have the heart and will-power to do so. If you look around your life and don’t see what you want, do something about it; I promise no one else is going to do it for you. That might be as simple as a consistent yoga practice and it might mean the scary step of leaving the secure 9-5 for the lower-paid but far more fulfilling dream job. If you hate 8-10 hours of your day every single day, you are simply torturing yourself with a slow and painful death. How is that any way to live? And sometimes, it’s not the job or the relationships or the location that need to change, but our attitude toward them. Allowing yourself some time on the trail (or in the gym, or on the lake, or with that old friend or driving to that place) does wonders to make you appreciate the good already in your life.

I haven’t looked at the stars in pitch-black night in years and I haven’t been able to see the “lines” that connect the stars maybe ever. But that night, with nothing standing in my way, no light, no moon, no distractions, only the quiet breeze and my destiny, I knew that the way I looked at my stars had changed and I was ready for this new life of constant change and adventure on every corner. When your daydreams mingle with your night dreams, the possibilities are simply endless.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world
— Harriet Tubman
Neel's Gap on Appalachian Trail

My Trail Name

If you’re unfamiliar, hikers get trail names while they’re hiking. These are usually due to a personality trait, or maybe where someone is from, the gear they carry or something they talk about a lot. My friend Corey is “Ridge Runner” because he was spotted literally running with his pack across the ridge to get down to the shelter before dark. My new friend Bill became “Inspector Gadget” this week as he had every possible toy you could imagine…he even brought his own hiker-friendly coffee pour-over set up. And I… I became “Brave Heart.”

I loved it right away, of course, but also didn’t feel worthy. I hadn’t wrestled a mountain lion or thrown myself on a rattlesnake to save someone else, I simply chose to hike a trail for a few days by myself. The more people I met however, the more people used words like “courageous” and “bold,” “fearless” and “full of grit.” It certainly sounds nice, but I’m still not sure I’m worthy. For me it was more about mind over matter. You can’t let yourself get worked up over every snapping twig and you have to understand resolutely that when it gets really tough, and your feet are about to fall off and your knees collapse and all you want to do is quit, you are the only one around to push yourself forward. If you can do that in the woods, you can do it in the “real world.” 

I also discovered quite a bit about peoples’ views of other people through this. So many people had endless questions about what I would do about bears, and what if someone attacked me, and what if I got sick, and what if someone attacked me, and what if I ran out of food, and what if someone attacked me… A lot of people were worried about the hurricane, but most were worried about other people. Then there were also the friends and strangers who cheered me on and wished me luck and told me to go for it and have fun and come back with stories….

In this, I noticed two trends. In the first example I found that many people who haven’t traveled extensively or who get their information about the world through the news tend to view the world and “those people” as a threat. Everyone has the capacity for evil and everyone will hurt you if given the right opportunity, (such as a girl alone in the woods). If however, like the second example, they’ve met enough real live people in their lifetime through their own travels and adventures, they’ve found quite the opposite to be true. That sure, there are a few bad eggs out there, but they will be found whether you’re on the trail or in the middle of the city or safe at home in your bed. The majority of people though, are good. Like really good. If you’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet new people from different places around with world, with different views and different backgrounds, of different ages and races, you’ve likely found that most people are very kind and willing to help in anyway possible. I believe that to live in fear of others is to prevent yourself a life of joy through learning and a life of depth and wonder at the beauty of the human race.

Georgia Appalachian Trail Overlook Blood Mountain

Enter Britney. The true heroine of my story. I spent countless hours on the trail and the most epic story to come out of it is when I finally actually arrived at my car. It was, in fact, dead. Like dead dead. Couldn’t even get the key to unlock it dead. Britney, a shuttler from Hike Hitchin’ rescued me over and over and over again. Not only tried to jump me (which didn’t work, because dead batteries don’t jump) but drove me into town 45 minutes away THREE times to buy a new battery and together we figured out how to install it in the car. (Not to mention her endless patience when we’d gotten almost back to the car before I realized I’d left the key ON THE COUNTER at the parts store). She is a saint. She asked for nothing in return, was just happy to help a stranded hiker.

I now have a new friend for life because I put myself in a situation where I had to rely on the kindness of a stranger. I also gained a wealth of knowledge as she told me stories of her grandfather, dreams she and her girlfriend have for the future and current challenges she was overcoming literally that day. This. This is what life is all about. If that makes me brave, then so be it.

I can’t think of a better way to have ended this trip. And endings are so important. No matter what you’re doing in life, whether having a conversation, going on a trip, or simply doing your job, if you can find a way to end well, anything that didn’t go so great in the middle will usually be forgotten. All the trudging through the rain and mice chewing through my backpack eating my food, poison oak and bruised knees…forgotten, all because of the kindness of a stranger. I drove away with a huge smile on my face, a feeling of triumph in my heart and of course had to pull over immediately because no less than the perfect rainbow graced me with its beauty.

I’m grateful for a life filled with stories of people from all different backgrounds, and grateful for a future that will only bring more. May we all take a moment every day to see past bad moods, and poor decisions to see the good inside the person standing in front of us. Happy Trails.

Rainbow on the Appalachian Trail
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage
— Anais Nin


Highgrove Estate Wedding | Jessica and Jeff

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola1 Comment
Just in case you ever foolishly forget; I’m never not thinking of you
— Virginia Woolf
Outdoor Ceremony Highgrove Estate

Every part of Jeff and Jessica's wedding weekend felt like a family reunion to me. Not just the fact that there were several other couples and families there I've had the privilege of shooting in the past, or the fact that I've shot at Highgrove before and worked with several of other other vendors before, but more for the fact that everyone was just so welcoming and friendly. From the bartenders and servers at their rehearsal dinner to their super helpful wedding party to everyone who pitched in to make sure the chairs got wiped down after the sudden downpour just before the ceremony started. 

These two have surrounded themselves with people who adore them and wish nothing more than to see them succeed in life and in their relationship. They even invited Jessica's family to participate in their engagement session which was so much fun! I love that they feel comfortable doing all their fun stuff together. You can view those images here, but it was great seeing everyone again and trying to recreate a few of the images throughout the day. 

Highgrove Estate Wedding Details
Highgrove Estate Wedding Details
Highgrove Estate Wedding Details

Jessica has the honor of having two fathers in her life so she was able to share a first look with each of them separately. There were plenty of tears to go around, I assure you :)

Highgrove Estate father daughter first look
Highgrove Estate Wedding Party
Highgrove Estate Wedding Party

I absolutely love working with Highgrove Estate! They truly go all out when it comes to client experience and making sure you have everything you need every step of the way. As I mentioned, the sky opened up just 30 minutes before the ceremony was to start but Jessica had her heart set on having the ceremony outside so Britnie worked her magic and held the guests inside just long enough to let the rain finish then they rushed in to wipe the chairs and saw to it that the show would go on as planned. 

Highgrove Estate Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
Highgrove Estate Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
Highgrove Estate Wedding Party
Highgrove Estate Bride and Groom Portraits

We seriously had so much fun capturing portraits for these two. Jessica and I were doing everything we could to get her groom to blush as we spoke of the upcoming honeymoon. So cute. 

Highgrove Estate Bride and Groom Portraits
Highgrove Estate Bride and Groom Portraits
Highgrove Estate Bride and Groom Portraits
Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception
Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception
Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception
Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception

Near the end of the evening a T-Rex and a Hippo showed up, I'm still not sure where they came from but there were definitely the life of the party, dancing with the bride and grandma and tons of other guests! So much fun!

Highgrove Estate Ballroom Reception

You guys I cannot thank you enough for letting us be a part of your day! We had an absolute blast! 

 

The Vendors who made the day possible:

Photographers: Cynthia Viola with Brittany Sloan

Coordinator: Britnie Jaynes

Venue & Catering: Highgrove Estate

Bride's Gown: Curvaceous Couture

Bridesmaid's Gowns: Azazie

Bride's Perfume: Tease - Victoria's Secret

Groom and Groomsmen's Attire: Executive's Cutting Edge

Rings: Diamonds Direct

Hair and Makeup: Taylor Downs

Etsy Earrings or whatever: Mkedesignwedding

Officiant: Rob Perry

Florist: Ruth Payne/ Norma Talley

Videographer: John Defino

Bakery: Donna @ Sweet Memories Bakery

DJ: Eddie Leonard Productions

Linen Services: CE Rental

Invitations: Etsy- ArtePapery

Rehearsal Dinner: Nina's Ristorante

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy viewing, this Highgrove Estate Wedding, or this Raleigh Wedding

 

Five Lessons from Florida

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For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be who you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you find the strength to start over.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
Florida Marshes

It’s about time for an update on all things Florida and what the next few months are going to look like for me. I’ve loved every minute down here in the glorious sunshine but sometimes life and business just have other plans. Yep, I'm moving back to North Carolina. But I'll get to that part in just a second.

It doesn't take long to glean a wealth of knowledge from a place if you enter it with your eyes, heart and hands wide open, ready to receive whatever may fall into your lap. Florida has been no different. It took no time at all to make friends and begin learning new rhythms and new ways of doing life. In case you missed it, you can also check out my Life Lessons from NC if you're so inclined. 

Florida Lesson #1: Stay Cool

I'm not talking about the air conditioning. Florida people have the chillest vibe of anyone out there, and that crosses all generations. Retirees on sail boats, teens with long boards and surfer hair, neighbors who meander into your yard while you're working just to say hello - no shirt, no shoes, no problem. Seriously though, life moves a little slower down here, people aren't nearly as focused on arriving to a meeting on time as they are arriving with a smile on their face. I wasn't sure what to expect when we moved down here, but this was certainly a pleasant surprise. I feel like I fit right in instantly and am quite sad to say good bye so soon.

#2: Tervis Cups and Yeti Coolers are Legit. 

When I lived in NC I'd receive these weird plastic cups with weird shirt-like patches inside them for Christmas and birthdays and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why someone would think I'd want that. Dude. They're sooooo handy on the beach. Just swallow your pride and get yourself one. 

#3: Water Doesn't Have to be Scary

Apparently I'm no longer afraid of water. Well, that's not true. I'm definitely less afraid though. I'd only had a half dozen experiences with the ocean from birth to 30 and three of those ended in me being rescued by a lifeguard because the undertow seriously has it in for me. I may be strong, but I'm not a great swimmer. I never did learn how to put my head under water without holding my nose. But clear water springs, bioluminescent plankton, 75 degree weather in February, pool floaties and friendly manatee opened me up to a world I never knew existed. I'm not 100% sure where I'll be living next, but I'm thinking water will need to be close by. 

#4: Don't apologize for being who you are

I feel like I keep coming back to this lesson over and over because I'm such a people pleaser. It's so easy to fall into the trap of making everyone else comfortable with your decisions. (Hiding tattoos in front of grandparents, drinking certain beverages around some friends and other beverages around others, changing language in front of parents, listening to certain music while alone and other music around people, agreeing with one friend politically in one conversation only to agree with the opposite point with the next friend...yes I've been guilty of all these things through the years) Why do we do this? It is a never ending battle that will never be won. If one decision could please every single person on the entire planet, yet leave you feeling empty or fake, it would not be worth it. Knowing yourself is half the battle, but once you do, own it. Be you, no one else can. 

#5: Plans Will Fall Through

And that's ok. My thriving photography business had a hard time catching on in the Florida market and I keep finding myself spending more and more time traveling back up to the Carolinas in order to pay the bills. I’ll still be traveling back and forth but I’ll primarily stay in NC at least through this wedding season. As always, you can find my schedule and whereabouts pinned to the top of my Facebook Business page and I frequently post them to Instagram as well. Travel for all my current (and new!) NC clients is no longer an issue and I’m looking forward to seeing all my favorite NC peeps again!

Also!! Bonus Lesson, I've found that I'm never more in my element than when I'm off on a new adventure. For an ENFP, the driver of my car is Exploration and Florida has some incredible opportunities to explore new and exciting things and the more I do, the more I want to. Next weekend I'll be taking up the Appalachian Trail again for about 15 days. I'll tell you all about it then, but I am so excited to challenge myself in a new way. Conquering a mountain is one thing, conquering yourself alone in the wilderness is quite another. I never want to be too comfortable for too long, growth requires change and challenge and I've never been more ready. 

A person does not simply exist but always decides what their existence will be, what they will become in the next moment.
— Viktor E. Frankl
Colorado Mountains

Boho Family Session in Wendell, NC | The Ritch Family

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
There are always flowers for those who want to see them
— Henri Matisse
Boho Photography in Sunflower Field

When I walked into the Ritch's home this year for their yearly photoshoot I was overwhelmed, nearly to tears, that their home is filled wall to wall with our photo sessions from the past six years. Some in small frames, some in giant canvases but all placed with love and adoration for their little family. I always love seeing the occasional final product of my shoots on walls and fridges and desks and in wallets, but to see just so many brought me joy I can't explain. I love what I do so much and could not be more grateful for families like the Ritch's who get excited about it every year. 

Each year they come up with a new theme and they all participate whole-heartedly. I was excited about their boho theme in a sunflower field this year but was greeted by an extra special surprise when I walked through the front door. Samson, their sweet new 10 week old Bullmastiff puppy was full of kisses and snuggles. I can't wait to take their photos again next year and see him as the giant 140 pound lap dog he's about to become!  

Additionally I got a private concert from Phoenix who's been playing drums for several years now and simply blew me away with his talent. I'm visualizing band photography in my future with this guy. Seriously, so talented. 

Boho Photography in Sunflower Field
Boho Photography in Sunflower Field
Boho Photography in Sunflower Field
Boho Photography in Sunflower Field

Thank you for bringing so much adventure and fun into your shoots guys! Can't wait to see what you come up with next year! 

Rita's 60th Bday Bash in Saint Augustine

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive
— Howard Thurman
60th birthday portraits

When Emily messaged us all saying she wanted to organize a giant family get-together for her mom's upcoming 60th day, everyone was on board immediately. We helped pick the best Saint Augustine restaurants and bars, a tee shirt design started happening, flights were scheduled and plans were made. Everyone loves Rita and the whole Havron family loves any excuse to get together. 

With six siblings all over the country and countless kids and grandkids it was a big endeavor but we are all here now and so excited to kick the weekend off with a bang. The first official event happened last night at their beach house with a photo shoot and slideshow of old photos. Everyone had so much fun remembering good times and creating new ones. Tonight and tomorrow night we'll be out on the town and Sunday in a boat, I'm so blessed to be a part of such a fun loving family! We're so happy for you Rita! You're so vibrant and full of life, hope you get to dance the night away!

60th birthday family portraits
60th birthday family portraits
60th birthday family portraits
60th birthday family portraits

If you enjoyed this post you might also like our nephew's first birthday party or Connie's 60th Birthday Session.

Joe's 50th Birthday Bash in North Myrtle Beach

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
If you have crazy friends, you’ll have everything you’ll ever need
— Anonymous
50th birthday celebration on the beach

There are no words to describe how fun this weekend with Joe and Angela turned out to be! Joe asked for a simple, low key thing to celebrate his 50th birthday, so, naturally, she invited a ton of their friends to the beach and had the biggest extravaganza ever! Complete with custom made Koozies, Tervis cups, an Instagram cutout, a professional chef, and well, me and A.J. :)

When we walked in the front door Friday night and the collective greeting was "catch up" we knew we were going to have a blast. The food, the pool, the beach, the banter and the constant teasing of Joe made the whole weekend so much fun! I think this just might be my new favorite style of shoot. We stayed the whole weekend, capturing things as they happened as well as had a time for portraits for every couple on the beach. I seriously can't say enough good things. 

50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach

Every time Joe got kissed or grabbed or dog-piled on (which was frequently) he raised his hand and yelled "I'm uncomfortable!" making everyone stop for a second then press in that much more. Such an awesome group of friends!  

50th birthday celebration on the beach

Sometimes with wedding parties, if I have the right crowd, I'll play around and prompt them to kiss the person closest to them...this is always just to make them laugh. THIS group, of course, took me completely seriously, however, and the shenanigans that followed had me rolling.

50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach

You guys I love you all dearly! Thank you so much for inviting us to participate in such a fun weekend! You are the very best friends Joe (or anyone) could ask for. :)

St. George Street Engagement | Kendall and Alfred

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Love isn’t losing yourself. Love is finding who you are in the arms of another person
— Marisa Donnelly
St. Augustine Engagement photos

You guys, I had so much fun last night! Kendall and Alfred drove down from Raleigh to have an engagement session here in St. Augustine with their sweet pup Macy and we had a blast! We had planned to start on Saint George Street and move along to the beach, but we were having so much fun there they decided to buy a couple drinks and cigars and just hang in the city. We were so glad too because one of Florida's daily rain storms rolled in when we were finishing up and we got trapped under an abandoned house's garage over-hang to stay dry!

It's always fun to walk around a crowed street and take portraits while people bustle by because it captures a moment in life that shows no matter how many things or people are trying to distract your attention, you only have eyes for your love. It's also fun because sometimes people see you being adorable and say things like "what a picture perfect moment you guys!" and you get to say, "we know!" and point out your photographer hiding in the bushes. Haha! 

They will be eloping to the gorgeous cliffs of California in March then coming back here for a Trash the Dress Session and I cannot wait!! Kendall said she doesn't let her adventurous side out much but she wants to let loose for a day and I couldn't be more happy to help her do it!

St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos

Thank you guys for letting me participate in your St. Aug adventure! Can't wait til the spring!

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy this St. Augustine Trash the Dress Session or this St. Augustine Engagement Session

Choose Your Life

PersonalCynthia Viola6 Comments
An ENFP is: Body of a woman, soul of a child, mind of the free and heart of the wild
— Ashley Lemaine
#12newadventures

I don't know about you, but while I like myself as I am, I definitely don't want to stay the same forever. I thought I liked myself at 16, but looking at that arrogant know-it-all, I have to roll my eyes. She thought the world revolved around her and could not be told any differently. I thought I liked myself at 22, but looking at what a naive child I became, I cringe. She took everything given to her without question, without pause. She nearly lost herself entirely in an effort to please others. A worthy goal, perhaps, but not worth the cost.

My thirties have been full of adventure, exactly as I hope the rest of my life to be, but also a bit reckless at times, so at Thirty Four years young I want to see if I can become the best version of myself to date. I want to keep the confidence of my youth, without being callous. I want the childlike joy of my 20s without losing my intelligence. I never want to give up adventure, but also don't want to achieve it at the risk of losing people I love. There must be balance to everything.

I decided to experience twelve new things at the beginning of this year and I don't intend to stop there, for changing horizons somehow have a way of changing us.

#12newadventures

I'm not sure at my half way point I've yet discovered any grand mystery of the universe, but I feel at peace with my life choices and grateful to be afforded the opportunity TO choose them. I am grateful that I've never lost a love of learning, and grateful the world is so big and grand and full of opportunity to always experience new things. 

For example, did you know that you can drink spring water right out of the ground without filtering it on the Appalachian Trail? (Not after it's flowed for a few feet, but as it's coming, unpolluted, out of the ground) Or if you use a long straw to blow on your campfire, instead of just your mouth, the concentrated air will help the flames really burst to life. Also, hang gliding is a much more relaxing and serene form of air adventure; I was surprised to find I liked it better than skydiving, which was actually a bit painful. Diving chest deep into water that's below freezing will force your body into defense mode to warm your core. (teeth chattering, shivering etc) It will also sacrifice your extremities for the sake of your core. This makes normal functions like climbing a rope or picking up an object infinitely more difficult. 

I wouldn't say any if these individual adventures have changed the course of my life, but I would say that choosing to have them regularly will indeed continue to change me forever. And that's all I ask out of life: adventure, growth and change. 

If you find yourself stuck in a rut, go do something new. Try some escargot or take a boxing class or volunteer at a refugee organization to meet people you could never possibly share the same story with and LEARN. You never know who you're going to meet or what you're going to gain, but the chances of meeting someone new or experiencing something new while stuck in the same routine day in and day out are slim. The people we have yet to meet are the ones who bring us new opportunities, and the things we've yet to do are the things that teach us something we don't know about ourselves. It's always worth the risk. 

And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later
— Randy Komisar

Anse and Allie's One Year Anniversary | Roan Mt. State Park

Anniversary PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
I’m not good as making specific plans. Just meet me under the sky somewhere and be alive with me
— Victoria Erickson
LGBTQ Camping Photos

You guys.

Never has a photoshoot been more suited to me. One of my favorite couples, celebrating a milestone while CAMPING and letting me tag along to capture the whole thing! When they asked if we could turn their anniversary session into a camping adventure I didn't even blink before jumping with joy. Our first attempt got rained out, but it worked out to add this to the end of my Appalachian Train Section Hike this weekend. I told them I'd probably be super smelly but of course, they didn't mind. They promised to bring the s'mores and bourbon and have a tent for me to sleep in so it worked out perfectly. 

After setting up the tent we went on a little hiking adventure then came back and built the most difficult fire ever. Our wood was wet so the three of us put in a serious labor of love to get that thing going, finally a super friendly neighbor gave us a little fire starter to help us out before we lost too much light. (People who love the outdoors are just the nicest people).

After making s'mores and hotdogs we just sat and talked about life til midnight then passed out in the tent and woke to a torrential downpour complete with massive thunder and lightening. I've never had so much fun! Thank you for such an awesome weekend you guys!

LGBTQ Camping Photos
LGBTQ Camping Photos
LGBTQ Camping Photos
LGBTQ Camping Photos

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy Anse and Allie's Wedding Day or this Anniversary Session

Alpine Groves Engagement | Beth and Sean

Engagement PortraitsCynthia 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
Rainy engagement shoot

It has been nothing but adventure with these two from the moment we met. Beth and Sean actually won a session with me right when I moved down here last year. I was trying to get to know new families and couples and we hit it off right away! Hurricane Irma had just swept through leaving behind scattered storms and a billion mosquitos so we got to know each other real quick as we sat in the car waiting for a particularly heavy storm to pass. (In Florida, I learned very quickly, you just wait out the storm, you rarely need to cancel the shoot).

 Their first couple photoshoot  involved dancing in the rain and this one was no different. You could say they're pros by now, but it's important to know how to take on less than pleasant situations with your love. How you handle them together will either grow your relationship or hurt it. These two don't seem to even blink when life throws crazy at them. I know they're going to be amazing together for life. 

They've been dating for 5 years, and still blush when the other gives them a compliment. I love it. We attempted to stay dry with the umbrellas at first, but eventually just let it go, there was no use. Nothing makes me happier than a couple willing to let loose and just let life happen. The images are more real and the memories lasting. After all, there's nothing memorable about a shoot where you did everything you were told, smiled when you were supposed to, and nothing went wrong. You'll end up with pretty images, but they won't tell a story. The story comes in the pouring rain and the wet feet and failed "Dirty Dancing" jump attempts. It comes in the secrets given and laughter shared.

I'm grateful for you both Sean and Beth! Can't wait til April!

Rainy engagement shoot
Engagement shoot in the rain
Engagement shoot in the rain
Engagement shoot in the rain

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy this rainy couple session, and this one at North Beach Pier

 

Snipes Farm Retreat Family Portraits | Tiffany, Carlie and Remi

Family Portraits, Anniversary PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
To love is to soar in the wild unexpectedly
— Robert M. Drake
LGBTQ wedding

When Carlie and Tiff said they wanted to celebrate their five year wedding anniversary going back to their wedding venue, getting back in their wedding clothes and having a photo session I was more than excited... like, overjoyed! I love these two anyway and their little Remi, and thinking of them reliving such a special moment with her brought all the feels. 

They found the tree where they said their vows and just spent a few minutes there sharing the memory then we showed Remi around the farm and danced in the tall grass. It was so beautiful. Remi couldn't stop talking about how excited she was to put on her mommy's wedding gown but when it came time to actually do so, she was less than thrilled, lol. Gotta love kiddos. 

We had to reschedule the photos three times due to bad weather, and almost had to again, but the clouds let up just long enough for us to dance around the farm a bit finally capture the moment. We had so much fun. 

LGBTQ Family Portraits
LGBTQ Family Portraits
LGBTQ Wedding
LGBTQ Family Portraits
LGBTQ Family Portraits

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy their shoot at the Rose Garden last year or Jen and Erin's family session in Goldsboro. 

Banner Elk, North Carolina Wedding | Becca and Clay

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses
— Ann Landers
Mountain Wedding

Wow, I have so many things to say. I feel like I helped raise Becca (and her sister Hannah) in a way. Really, we grew up together. I spent a few hours every week with them at their home discussing life, faith, movies and future dreams. Their incredible mother Robin made a huge dinner every time, entirely from scratch and almost entirely from their massive garden. Little did she know that she inspired the gardener in me; when I moved to Raleigh it was because of her I started my own little back porch box garden and now have quite a collection of vegetables in our back yard now. They lived the type of life that stops to have a good conversation and works long hard hours because that's what makes you feel good at the end of the day. 

The girls expanded my appreciation for literature and classic movies and challenged my beliefs every time we met. I felt truly like a sister, and a part of the family. Now seeing Becca married this weekend brought me back to those wonderful, slower days and made me grateful for the journey of life and all the different places it can take you.

Clay came into Becca's life about 10 years ago and I remember him being a part of our conversations off and on and now here they are, a decade of friendship behind them and a lifetime of love and laughter in front of them. They were truly meant to be.

The entire county was flooded with torrential downpours the week leading up to the wedding; several landslides made the roads questionable and all our nerves were on a rollercoaster ride as we watched the radar. It held off just long enough to capture every single pre-ceremony portrait they wanted, however, poured during the ceremony again, and lifted one last time after the ceremony to allow for family portraits outdoors. The bright greens that came after the storm only made the photos that much more beautiful. Quite the silver lining. Always grateful for unexpected beauty .

Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Becca decided to wear her mother's incredibly gorgeous veil and I was super excited about it. There's just something so classic about a long veil, and it adds so many more portrait options. 

Bridal Portraits
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Becca and her girls got together the night before and created all their bouquets as well as the ceremony and reception arrangements. DIY bouquets have never looked more beautiful. 

Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Clay knew the right things to say every single time to make his bride light up with smiles and laughter. I absolutely love it when couples know how to tease each other well and have a good time. 

Mountain Wedding
Mountain Wedding

You guys I couldn't be happier for you! Thank you for including me in your big day, I wish you all the happiness in the world!

 

 

The vendors who made the day possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue: Banner Elk Christian Fellowship

Bride's Gown: David's Bridal

Groom's Attire: Men's Warehouse

Perfume: Clinique Happy Heart

Bride's Rings: Skattles Jewelers & Zales

Groom's Ring: Stonebrook Jewelers

Hair Stylist: Hannah McCormick

Officiant: Carl Clawson

Cake Baker: Stick Boy Bread Co.

Invitations: Jaime Johnson Photography

 

 

 

Anniversary Sessions

Anniversary PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things that are missing.
— Ann Landers
Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos

I cannot tell you how much fun it is to spend some time with our couples around their one year anniversary. I love hearing about what their first year has been like and all the adventures they've had and challenges they've faced. The images always show their love to be deeper and their friendships stronger. 

I spent the last three weeks in North Carolina shooting weddings and spending time with so many clients who I only get to see on my short visits up there. The last post highlighted the moms and families I got to spend time with, this one will highlight the anniversaries I got to celebrate. 

Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos

Torrie and David met me super early at Fred Fletcher Park which can be challenging enough, but David had only gotten back from a trip 4 hours prior...like 3:00 in the morning, and still showed up with his bride to our 7am session. I'm pretty sure he gets bonus points for that one. They were of course, just as sweet as the day they wed

Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos
Rose Garden Anniversary Photos

Jacqueline and Jon met up with me at The Raleigh Rose Garden downtown and I felt like a drug dealer as I passed them cookies from my car to their's after the shoot. :) We've been friends a long time and I used to bake cookies for BREW Coffee Bar as well as any house party or gathering we attended together so they requested some. So fun! I fell in love with their venue, Highgrove Estate, on their wedding day and can't wait to head back there again this fall for another special day. 

Rose Garden Anniversary Photos
Rose Garden Anniversary Photos

Its awesome to be able to be a part of each couple's life as they make their transitions and experience new adventures. It only makes me that much more excited to celebrate number 13 with A.J. at the end of summer. 

 

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this anniversary session or or this Fletcher Park Family Session. 

 

Ocean Isle Beach Wedding | Alexa and Landon

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola6 Comments
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Howard Thurman
Trash the Dress photography

These two have been on quite the adventure from the moment they met. With a love of traveling and jobs that encourage it, they have lived and traveled all across the country and beyond. When they told me the wedding was going to be on Cinco de Mayo, I knew an epic party was about to happen. 

They rented a house in Ocean Isle and invited their closest family and friends to stay the weekend, celebrate life, love and new adventures. We've never had so much fun! From the second we arrived on Thursday we threw our stuff in our rooms and made our way to the beach to share stories and take in the moment. Everyone adores Landon and Alexa so much it was effortless to come together to celebrate them. 

OIB wedding photography
OIB wedding photography
Beach wedding details
Beach wedding details
Beach wedding details
OIB wedding photography
father daughter first look
beach groom details

While they were getting ready they couldn't resist telling everyone how excited they were and as everything built toward the first look they were practically dancing with anticipation. You'd never know there were hundreds of people on the beach watching them, they only had eyes for each other. 

pier first look
pier first look
pier first look
pier first look
pier first look

Have you ever seen a more joyful bride?!? You just can't resist loving Alexa from the very first moment you meet her and Landon is, of course full of his own charms. 

pier first look

All Alexa wanted for her ceremony was to be surrounded by as much color as possible. Their guests did not disappoint. 

beach wedding ceremony
beach wedding ceremony
beach wedding

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know Trash the Dress sessions are my favorite... I usually tend to shoot them on anniversaries or some time down the road from the wedding day, but Alexa had another dress ready to go for the reception and couldn't wait to jump in the ocean! A true mermaid.

beach trash the dress
beach wedding reception food truck
beach wedding reception
beach wedding reception
beach wedding cake cutting
beach wedding reception
beach wedding reception
beach trash the dress
beach trash the dress

You guys I could not be happier for you! I loved every single minute of this weekend and cannot wait to come visit in Cali soon!! Love you!!

 

The Vendors who made the Day Possible:

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Videographer: Jerry Moore Luminous Event Films

Venue: Southern Comfort

Bridal Gown: Maggie Sottero from Dar Lynns Bridal

Groom's Attire: Men's Warehouse

Bride's Ring: Simon G Engagement

Perfume: Lancome la Vie est Belle

Cologne: Gucci Guilty

Hair Stylist: Brandi from Coral Tree Salon

Make Up Artist: Sabrina from Coral Tree Salon

Florist: Dave Bryant Designer

Officiant: Terrence Richards

Catering: Catch the Food Truck and Art Catering

Cake Baker: Cakes by the Sea

Linen/Chair/Tent Services: Art Catering

Light and Sound- Michael Pirozzolo Event Excellence

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Jenelle and Billy's Trash the Dress Session or Heather and Kyle's Beach Engagement

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  

Lake Norman Extended Family Session | Elzey Family

Family PortraitsCynthia Viola2 Comments
I sustain myself with the love of family
— Maya Angelou
Lake House Photo Shoot

Oh my goodness I love this sweet family so much. It started with Anna and Anthony's adorable engagement session and Wedding, and continued with multiple Instagram and Facebook comments and conversations. I feel like I've known them forever, so when they asked if I could capture their lake weekend while I was in Charlotte, I assured them I would have driven from Florida for this. 

They were here to celebrate Connie's 60th birthday and I think they all decided they just wanted to stay forever, the house was amazing, and the view absolutely perfect. Everyone had such an amazing experience and we finished it off with a photo shoot to capture the memory! 

We had to adjust the timing of the shoot at the last second to avoid the rain and we were SO glad we did, it started drizzling on us about 5 minutes before we finished, but they stuck it out to get the last couple shots. Connie I'm so glad you have such an amazing family to celebrate you on this happy occasion. May your heart be full of love and your walls with tons of photos after this weekend :)

Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this Extended Family Session or this Lake Norman Family Session

Mooresville, North Carolina Wedding | Susan and Ron

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola1 Comment
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Lake Norman Wedding

When you get to watch a relationship bloom from the very first date until they say, "I Do," it gives you a whole new appreciation for love. Through the life transitions, disagreements, home repairs and wedding planning Susie and Ron have only grown more and more in love. I feel like we just did their engagement session yesterday and here we are a house brimming to the top with friends and family and every one of us ready to celebrate. 

I adore meeting and spending time with all the extended family members of my couples, but these guys hold and extra special place in my heart. My brothers, of course, at the center, but also half-step brothers, adopted cousins and feisty grandmas, neighbors who've become friends and the very best celebration anyone could ask for. Guests traveled from all over the country to celebrate with Susie and Ron (and of course for Betsy's 95th birthday). 

Everyone had so many wonderful things to say about them both, as they are one of the most welcoming, gracious hosts you could ask for. I heard story after story of how individually and as a couple they've been there to support their loved ones; they take care of so many people and live life to the fullest every day. It has been such an honor and a blessing to become a small part of this huge and incredible group of people. 

Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding

I asked Susie what Ron has to do to make up if he makes her mad, "He just has to make me laugh," she said. (and he promptly whispered something to her causing a huge belly laugh) ;) Susie loves to laugh and no one is better at it than Ron. 

Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more
— Christina Perri
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding

I love all of you SO MUCH! Thank you for an incredible weekend, an incredible life. 

 

 

The Vendors who made this day Possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue and Catering: Hilton Gardens Inn, Mooresville

Bridal Gown: David's Bridal

Groomsmen Attire: JC Penny

Rings: Brownlee Jewelers

Hair Stylist: Leanna VanWasssenhove

Florist: Lowe's Foods

Officiant: Gino Cassano

Cake: CynTucci's Bakery

DJ: Roland Tate

Dance Floor: Jump Start Events

Invitations: Ann's Bridal

 

If you enjoyed these photos, you might also enjoy this Mooresville Family session or this

Rose Garden Wedding.

 

Oak Bridge Club Stylized Wedding with Lauren and Nathan

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
You wear white and I’ll wear out the words ‘I love you,’ and ‘you’re beautiful’
— Train
Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks

I must say, in ten years of weddings, I've never participated in a stylized wedding session, but we had SO much fun. Having the freedom of no timeline and a couple who's been together for years with no jitters or wedding stress holding them back was a dream. 

We actually had the added bonus of a precious little flower girl and ring barer to join us while we walked around the grounds, Lauren and Nathan's cute kiddos couldn't help but jump in once they saw how much fun we were having. 

Working with and around other vendors at every weeding is a fun part of the job, but it was so unique to be able to partner with them in the actual planning process for this one. Let me tell you, they didn't shy away, these vendors pulled out all the stops and made the whole process a blast!

Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks

First of all, our gorgeous bride owns Braid Bar of St. Augustine and therefore styled her own incredible hair, not once but twice, to give two different looks for the shoot. She's braided my hair into a mohawk before which was to die for! If your looking for braids or twists of any kind, she's the bomb. 

Rachel Ashley styled her Make Up perfectly while we chatted in Oak Bridge's beautiful lounge area. She knew exactly what Lauren needed and made sure she had touch up supplies throughout the shoot. 

Lori with Lori Parker Floral Studios in Ponte Vedra had a vision for the boho style and included the most unique florals in the bouquet, boutonniere and ceremony arbor. I honestly didn't hire a florist for my own wedding because I'm not much of a flower person but working with someone who loves what they do makes you change your mind. Lori loves her work so much it she actually made me excited about these flowers throughout the entire process. 

Daria at Adagio Weddings built the incredible arbor and set it to stand against some significant winds that whipped through the fairway. There were multiple times I just knew it was going to collapse as we chased other materials across the green, but it was strong and resilient. She really knows what she's doing. Additionally, she provided the beautiful violin accompaniment for their ceremony and first dance. She has a whole team of skilled musicians to provide for your ceremony or event, she's been playing herself since she was five years old!

Adagio Weddings Violinist Daria
Adagio Weddings Violinist Daria

Oksana at Dress to Impress saved the day when our lovely model's original dress plans fell through and provided the most lovely gowns to choose from at the last second. We were SO hoping to use one but didn't have quite enough time to altar one to fit our bride just right. We went with a trusty back up from her closet but we were SO grateful to Oksana for her willingness to come to the rescue!

ABC Beverage Concierge Services for Ponte Vedra Beach district provided the champagne toast as they are promoting their new hospitality division and were excited to help in any way.

Kelli with KROMA Printing and Design made the beautiful invitations and has vast array to choose from. She was even able to get engraved champagne glasses for the toast!

Of course the Oak Bridge Club is pulling out all the stops to make it a premier wedding destination at an incredibly affordable price. Under new management they're upgrading all the main buildings and golf course areas to better accommodate weddings and events this year, go check them out! Mariel is amazing to work with and a gracious host, she'd love to show you around. 

Lori Parker Floral Studios
ABC Fine Wine and Spirits St Augustine
Adagio Weddings Arch
Kelli Taylor Kroma Printing
Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks
Lori Parker Floral Studios
Adagio Weddings Arch
Lori Parker Floral Studios
Oak Bridge Golf Club

I couldn't be more grateful to everyone who made this day a success! This truely is the best job on the planet. I work with the most incredible people who also love what they do and love working together as a team to make couples' dreams come true. Thank you everyone! Can't wait to work with you again soon!! 

 

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this Golf Club Wedding in Raleigh, or this Golf Club Family Session in Charlotte. 

Couple Portraits in Palm Coast Kalypso and Roma

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
The world’s a roller coaster and I am not strapped in
Maybe I should hold with care, but my hands are busy in the air
— Incubus
2018-03-29_0001.jpg

Her instructions were to drive down a specific road until you saw a red bridge, park in the grass nearby and we'd figure out the rest together. I'm pretty sure that's how every adventure is supposed to start. 

There is one thing I know for sure though: Kalypso and Roma know how to have a good time. From the very early sunrise to the first silly prompting to the jungle safari, these two love birds were all in and that makes all the difference on a photo session. They were willing to try new things, be silly and just have fun together. I knew we'd become great friends before we even met. (It doesn't hurt that Kalypso is also a photographer

I'm also not the least bit surprised that one of their happiest memories together was running out of gas, walking two miles and ending up in a random state park napping in a hammock for 4 hours. That sounds like the very best kind of adventure to me: carefree, full of life and undaunted by little mishaps. 

I'm so happy to have met you both! I'm definitely hoping we can make some camping adventures happen soon, and either way, thank you for getting up extra early to make these images happen!

Palm Coast Florida couple portraits
Palm Coast Florida couple portraits
Palm Coast Florida couple portraits
Palm Coast Florida couple portraits
Palm Coast Florida couple portraits

If you enjoyed these photos you might also enjoy Beth and Sean's adventurous couple portraits or Why Sunrise is the Perfect Time for Portraits

Friendship Fountain Engagement | Chessie and Carlile

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
— Ann Landers
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos

When you've known a person since middle school, and fallen slowly in love over the years, there's just something a little different about the relationship. It has a permanence to it that is not easily shaken and a depth that can be seen with every quiet glance or gentle touch. 

Chessie and Carlile chose Friendship Fountain in Jacksonville as their location for their sunrise portraits and I must say, it was well worth the early drive. The city, so quiet at this hour was alive with possibility. The fountain area, we found when we arrived, was actually being transformed into a festival so we had to dance around workers and dodge tents in the background but I am in love with this new location! 

These two love birds were such naturals I barely felt like I was prompting them at all, full of laughter and great stories, their smiles spoke volumes and we had so much fun exploring the park. You guys I am so excited for you and cannot wait for your Bowing Oaks Plantation Wedding in December!

Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos
Jacksonville Skyline Engagement Photos

Venue: Friendship Fountain

Hair: Miss.Kash

Make Up: Jafaea Patterson

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Safy and Randy's Anniversary in Downtown Raleigh, or Rudi and Nick's Engagement on Beech Mountain