Women (& Wedding Dresses) that Inspire ~ Help Celia Grace Name a 2017 Dress Style

Our amazing friends at Celia Grace recently asked Black Sheep Bride readers to help them name one of their new 2017 fair trade wedding gowns! 
So we want to know – who inspires you? Celia Grace recently released their 2017 wedding dress collection and is looking for help naming one of their stunning new dress styles in honor of an amazing woman.
Celia Grace connects women around the world – brides get a stunning wedding gown that makes them look and feel more beautiful than ever before – and dressmakers works in safe conditions for fair pay so they can take their kids to the doctor and send their girls to school.
By naming each dress after an inspiring woman Celia Grace continues this cycle of building positive connections between women around the world. Some existing styles include Amelia (Earhart, pilot), Rachel (Carson, environmentalist), , Eleanor (Roosevelt, humanitarian), and more. 
The 2017 collection features fine silks and vintage-inspired laces, illusion necklines, keyhole backs and a few dresses that convert from long to short and two organically-dyed colorful dresses.
What we need to do is brainstorm as many inspiring women as possible after whom this dress can be named.  Public figures (past or present) are best but all suggestions are welcome.
The dress we are naming is this gorgeous open back lace gown shown throughout this post. 
Refer to these images and allow your creative juices to run wild with all the possible name choices! So what name would you select?
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So what name would you select? Let us know below, on our Facebook, Instagram, or email us at Hello (at) blacksheepbride (dot) com.

Engagements with Purpose: Gabrielle and Chris, Southern California

 We love it when our very own Black Sheep Bride vendors get engaged and use their personal wedding stories to do good, alongside their wedding businesses! Thanks to our very own California-based BSB vendor, Gabrielle from ‘Cause We Can Events for sharing her Engagement with Purpose Story with us! We also love how they used South Coast Botanic Garden , as the main backdrop for their magical engagement photos,  since it is a non-profit botanical garden… well done guys!
How we met: Well as much as we were a little embarrassed to say this at first, we are now totally embracing the fact that we met on Tinder! Almost 3 years ago, I was living in Manhattan Beach, CA in a 300 square feet garage and Chris was living in Thousand Oaks, CA which is some 50 miles away (our Tinder radius only went to 25 miles!) so how we actually connected is a bit of a mystery. Our first date was a hike in Malibu State Park which was great! 3 months later, I asked him to come to my family reunion in Pennsylvania (he actually agreed) and everyone loved him of course.

He proposed 2 years later at a cute little winery that we stumbled upon (definitely not planned!) on our way up to the Big Basin Redwoods in Northern California where we were going to camp for a few days!
How we give back: Chris is the ultimate craftsman. He’s a woodworker, a welder and a creator of all things upcycled. Last year we did a Glampling Wedding in Utah and after the wedding was done, the client took apart the stage they made and Chris asked if we could take the wood home and repurpose it. A few weeks later, he made this awesome wooden bar! He rents it out to clients but he also lets the local nonprofit botanic garden borrow it at no cost for their fundraising events.
With my Wedding Planning business, I donate 10% of proceeds or my own time to some of my favorite non profits like the Red Bucket Horse Rescue! I also encourage my wedding clients to look for green alternatives when they can and offer a few ideas for post event sustainability like donating leftover flowers to senior homes.
Our wedding: We’re only at the beginning stages of our wedding planning and our only requirement is that we want to have as much natural beauty as possible. We want to limit decor, skip the favors and focus on quality food and good times with friends and family. As we’re searching for venues, we tend to lean towards the idea of tall trees for our ceremony and some sort of water feature (waterfall, lake) for our celebration backdrop. We also want our guests to bring their dogs!


 Photographer: Chloe Moore Photography | Venue: South Coast Botanic Garden (non profit/botanical garden) | Hair/Makeup: Nicol Artistry | Styling: Circa Vibes  | Dress: Sugarcloth USA

Weddings that Give Back: Heather & Matthew

There are couples that get us on a level that would seem un-get-able to most, but when we find said couples, we can’t help but want to daydream about being their best friends and just enjoying their intentionally light hearted and joy-filled love stories! Heather and Matthew are one of those types of couples. Every tiny detail was planned out with intention, consideration for others, and with giving back in mind, all of which were wonderfully captured by Kelly Ginn Photography. Oh man… and I almost forgot the most important part, their 90’s memorabilia is FUN as heck! Without further adieu, here is what Heather (the bride) had to share with BSB:
‘Featuring as much fair trade and upcycled material for our wedding was of utmost importance to us, because this is the most money we have ever spent in our lives and the biggest party we may ever throw (until hopefully one day our kids let us fair trade-up their weddings).  We strongly believe that we vote with our money and I have a pledged to myself to try and only make fair trade/eco friendly purchases, when possible.  I fail at this every day, but trying it has been a great challenge and one that opens my eyes so often to how much production out there mistreats employees and gives no regard to the Earth.  I am so happy to know your blog exists to spread the word on the vendors and brands that give back and treat their employees fairly and with respect.  Thank you for being a blog that I love!! …’
‘Our engagement ring and wedding bands were purchased from Brilliant Earth with ethically sourced and recycled stones and bands. My husband made our wedding invites (as pictured underneath our rings) himself and we printed them on recycled paper, and sent them in recycled envelopes.’ 

‘My something blue and something borrowed was a small pillow that my Great Grandmother hand made herself for her own wedding passed down to my Mom, and then me. My Nana hand made our wedding quilt guest book also.’
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‘The shoes I’ve had for 6 years that my dad glued on extra fabric from the Mata Traders dresses after they were tailored to match my bridesmaids.’
‘Our florist worked with us to make a lot of our arrangements be live plants that our guests could take home. We also reused the cups that a family friend got us for our engagement party to use to blend soil from the houses we each grew up in to plant a tree.
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‘The toys for the groomsmen’s flowers and bridesmaid’s bouquets were bought from a second hand vintage toy store.’
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‘I bought all our bridesmaids dresses, and some jewelry, from Mata Traders (fair trade fashion brand, also a BSB Vendor), and the Mother of Bride, Mother of the Groom and my sisters-in-law’s dresses were from Mata Traders also.’


‘I borrowed my grandmother’s necklace that contains her wedding ring diamond and borrowed my mother’s earrings, my dad gave her when they got engaged, for my jewelry instead of buying new.’
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‘My Godson and one of my best friend’s daughters were our ring bearer and flower girl.  Kai my godson and best friend’s son was dressed as Frodo from Lord of the Rings and my mom made his here comes your precious sign.  My Nana hand made the flower girl’s pokeball flower basket.’
‘We used my husband’s parents’ cake toppers from their wedding cake and our charizard pokemon figurines to represent us, equally bad ass charizards, in our own ways.’
‘My best friend’s sister-in-law is an incredible artist who made some original art to fit our “A Tribe Called Prest..on” wedding, based on how much my husband and I love A Tribe Called Quest.’kgp-1470
‘I also scored some roller skates from a second hand used sports equipment shop to relive my glory days at the roller rink, on the dance floor at the reception.
‘Our getaway golf cart decorations came from Ten Thousand Villages in Chicago.’
Photographer: Kelly Ginn Photography
Fair trade/upcycling vendors and brands: Ten Thousand Villages | Mata Traders  | Toy De Jour | Brilliant Earth  | Ashlye McCormick  | DeepBlu

Guest Post: Sustainable Farm to Table Thanksgiving Inspiration

Sustainable Farm to Table Thanksgiving Inspiration

Written/Designed by : MiBellaRosa  | Photography by: Smith House Photography | Ribbon Accents: Silk & Willow | Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Calligraphy Cult

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-9

We wanted to bring a bounty harvest to the table to show the au-natural beauty of what American farmers work so hard to provide for us. It’s also visually stimulating to be able to see the produce used for our Thanksgiving dinner feast as the centerpiece.

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-11

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-12

Vegetables used were: sweet potatoes, yams, beets, radishes, carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic. After Thanksgiving is over and done, these veggies would still be able to hold up long enough to be used in meals days and weeks after.

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-10Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-16

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-6

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-22

Foraged greenery and berries were used to dress the veggies on the table over our own studio’s hand-dyed table linens. We used Hand-dyed ribbons from Silk and Willow that we had from other projects to tie the gold flatware.

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-1Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-18

Michelle from Calligraphy Cult penned simply elegant place cards on handmade paper and one lucky yam to put the finishing touch on the simple table decor. The entire design was under $30 and all is completely reusable.

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-3 Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-5

Smith House Photography | MiBellaRosa Designs | Calligraphy Cult | Houston Wedding Photographer | Houston Wedding Planner | Houston Wedding Calligrapher-21

For more design inspiration check out MiBellaRosa’s website here.

Designed by : MiBellaRosa  | Photography by: Smith House Photography | Ribbon Accents: Silk & Willow | Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Calligraphy Cult

9 Helpful Tips to Responsible Wedding Day Foraging, via Runaway Romance

9 Helpful Tips to Responsible Wedding Day Foraging  

Written By : Runaway Romance | Photography by: Page & Holmes Photography


Mother Nature has so much to offer and if you look closely there is an endless supply of inspiration and small wedding day décor to be found in her.

This said, we all know how seeing nature as an ‘endless supply’ can devastate landscapes and the delicate balance of fauna and flora… so here are a few of my own tips inspired by my “foraged” Modern African elopement with its locally found bouquet, flower crown and table decor. em-490

1. Don’t repeatedly forage in the same place.

Or from the same plant. It takes time for the life cycle of plants to come full circle so make sure you aren’t cutting out any stage of that regeneration by not giving the plant or patch of nature time to restore itself.


2. Try not take the entire plant or all the flowers or seeds from a plant.

That delicate lifecycle we were talking about needs adult plants, flowers for pollination and seeds to be spread. If you take all of them not only do you interfere with its next generation, there are tons of little creepy crawlies, bees and birds that could be affected by the lack of pollen, fruits or seeds.

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3. Try foraging things that have already fallen.

It’s always better to try and forage things that have already fallen vs still growing. This is especially true for fruits or edibles (It’s amazing to save something from waste rather than pick something that could later be eaten)

The up side to this is that once a leaf, seed or branch has fallen it is normally at its peak of interesting’ness or beauty and you can get some amazing textures and colours that are just so much more exciting than green. (I say this like green isn’t interesting but you know what I mean)


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4. Sometimes foraging is Illegal.

In South Africa it is illegal to pick wild flowers and foliage form parks, reserves and/or open public spaces. So make sure wherever you are looking to forage you have permission and aren’t breaking any laws.

Also don’t use ‘foraging’ as a nice way of stealing! If its food, crops or flowers that actually do belong to someone else do the right thing – ask them first…


5. If it’s someone’s home leave it alone no matter how pretty it is.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law (or so I’ve heard in movies) so if that ‘oh so stunning’ something is some creature’s home admit defeat and move on… there is plenty of pretty to go around without needing to demolish a little critters home.  em-533 em-535

6. Some things are poisonous. 

So this is more for you than nature… but unless you know more than a thing or two about nature it’s always better to err on the side of caution. There are a number of plants, leaves, fruits and mushrooms that shouldn’t be touched never mind used for table decor.

Very, very basic rule of thumb – if you are in a wild area and the fruit tree or tasty looking treat you want to include in your shoot has not been touched by a bird or insect you probably shouldn’t touch it either.


7. Know what to wash and paint and what to keep raw.

Finding your natural treasures is only the first step. The second step is knowing how to use and display them in a way that showcases the best of their natural, raw and probably rough beauty.

I know it’s tempting to foil, dip and spray everything to fit into your colour scheme…but instead try make your décor set up or creative direction work around your found treasure not the other way around.


8. Always try to eat, or donate, the food you use in shoots or décor.

Hunger is a real thing and beauty without purpose or thought is a luxury we no longer have. Being able to eat it after you use it will also mean knowing if it is poisonous, not spraying it or painting it…

This can be (very) difficult to do when you have time constraints, when you have been on site all day and are exhausted and stuffing everything into the rubbish bin seems a lot easier than separating out edibles and recyclables…but again see it as a challenge. Do it as often as you can and don’t quit because you caved once.

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9. When getting rid of seeds, leaves or other foraged goodness try compost them in a neutral place or return them to where they came from.

Again this may seem like more effort than it’s worth especially when it’s been a long day/week/month.

But spreading seeds that aren’t local or from that area can introduce invaders. These invaders can destroy eco systems and full landscapes! Just ask Australia or any other history book that shows the repercussions of introducing animals or plants to a place they don’t belong.

I know these steps can sound like a lot of effort or a bunch of ‘hippy’ rules and nobody likes rules… but we are coming into a time when going slowly and thinking before we take or consume is important if not critical to ourselves and planet.

SO do what you can, tell other people about what you learn and don’t underestimate the bigness of your small actions (…and also ENJOY some of our favorite highlight images from this gorgeously sustainable elopement)

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Participating Vendors: