Weddings That Give Back- Maureen & Burke (Mata Traders)

The more we explore and learn about socially conscious/ethical fashion brands the more we are excited to learn about their own personal wedding journeys and how they incorporated giving back into the planning process! Today’s Real #WeddingsThatGiveBack feature couple has an active voice in the Ethical Fashion world, since she founded and runs Mata Traders! Mata Traders is an independent fair trade company from Chicago, IL.  They work with women’s cooperatives in India and Nepal to produce beautiful hand-made clothing and accessories using traditional hand block-print fabrics and natural dyes.  Their designs are contemporary, young, and fun with bold patterns and lots of hand-stitched details.

They decided to have their intimate wedding at her in-laws home in Montana. They knew it had to be a small guest list, because they had to accommodate enough space for everyone to eat dinner on their gorgeous patio area. They ended up with roughly 60 guests in attendance. Green Door Photography was present to capture all of the gorgeously intimate (and ethical) details and the beautiful backdrop that the Montana Mountains had to offer.

Set up

Her gorgeous gown and the groom and groomsmen’s ties were designed by one of our amazing Black Sheep Bride vendors, Celia Grace. Celia Grace is an ethical/fair trade wedding gown company devoted to empowering female artisans in Cambodia and providing clean drinking water through every eco-silk gown purchased!

burkeFull set of jewlery

‘I brought a lot of jewelry options, as you can see. I waited until the dress was on to take care of the final touches and see what jewelry worked the best. Although a Faire Collection horn necklace from Vietnam and Mata Traders’ very own Queen of Heaven necklace were very close runners up, a simple long stranded green and brass necklace given to me by Burke’s 96-year old Grammie was the winner.’

Best picture ever  Candid couple Music First look Putting ring on

‘I tried to be simple about designing them and picked the Flights of Floral cut in the red petal print from the Spring ’14 collection. I think I pulled it off, and I love the fact that my girls can keep wearing these dresses post-wedding since they are just the right amount of casual.’



Habitat Events in Missoula did the floral design – and incorporated lots of local wildflower blooms’


The Bride’s good friend, Jen Parsons, from Tiny Pine Press created the custom place cards, menus, and the little note attached to each guest’s party favor.

‘I was so in loooove with all of it – Jen watercolored the inspiration for the floral designs herself and they were so sweet and colorful. Speaking of the party favor, I had one of our women’s cooperatives in Rajasthan hand-bock print an original Mata floral design on a napkin and add hand-embroidery. Then I found sleek bamboo napkin holders from fair trade company Zen Zen to for the finishing touch.’ FT Napkin holders  FULL table setup  Seating2MaureenWedding_Stuff1Louisa  maureen_burke      0131 0302 0339low   Magical

And here we have the lovely bride and groom at the end of the evening!

‘I am one happy camper as you can tell. I got some good advice from somebody before the wedding to remember to take a few private moments throughout the day to process, take it all in, and be in the moment. We did that and it helped! It IS one romantic, fantastic blur though, one I will recount many times over for the rest of my life. And, thank goodness for amazing photos from Green Door Photography to help remember the day!’

Wedding that Give Back- Natalie & Chris

There is one proven and universal ‘fact’ that I have learned from a very young age…. June, July and August are the fastest months of the year! Summer is officially coming to a close and we thought we would give you one last chance to savor the season with this gorgeous socially conscious-natural wedding set up, courtesy of Photography by Lauryn!

Natalie, the bride, gave some sincere thought to be socially conscious and eco-friendly in her wedding planning process. Here is what she shared with us about their Big Day:

‘Our ceremony and reception were both held at a park district nature center. It is a beautiful natural place, and the building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified, so we were excited to support that. We were able to be married outside, which was important to us. In lieu of wedding favors, we decided to make a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation. Every dollar plants a tree so we had one tree planted for every guest who attended.’


‘My dress was purchased secondhand at a Brides Against Breast Cancer charity dress sale. I have plans of donating it back, as well.’
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‘I wanted to find a florist who uses locally and sustainably grown flowers, and I was very lucky to find a local and very talented grower. I basically told her our general color scheme (creams, pinks, peaches) and gave her free reign to design the bouquets with whatever seasonal flowers she had. She also did our table flower arrangements.’


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‘We tried to reduce waste and energy consumption wherever possible. We rented our table linens and dishes. We used a lot of secondhand and rented decorations. It was a great experience knowing we gave back in so many small but powerful ways.’ Broadhurst_Curtis_Photography_by_Lauryn_resized29 Broadhurst_Curtis_Photography_by_Lauryn_resized32   Broadhurst_Curtis_Photography_by_Lauryn_resized38

Photographer:  Photography by Lauryn//Dress Store: Brides Against Breast Cancer //Floral Designer: Fox Flower Farm//Caterer: Gina’s Pizza //Event Venue: Hickory Knolls Discovery Center//Baked Goods:Trader Joes//

Weddings that Give Back : Becca & Gordan

In the midst of one of the hottest months of the season, we thought we’d share a little cooler inspiration of what’s to come with fall!

When the wedding couple is studying Environmental Science, its only fair that their wedding be ECO-FRIENDLY to the umpteenth power. One of our awesome Black Sheep Bride Vendors, Tara Lynn Bridal, recently shared this earth-friendly wedding story with us and it has us ‘Green with Envy’!

Captured at The Wild Center Natural Museum in Tupper Lake, NY, Becca and Gordon live and love to share awareness of living eco-friendly and environmentally conscious. They both had very unique attire, as well as vegetarian food and setting for their wedding. The bride bought her unique wedding dress from an organic farm in Calfornia, at an auction to help support the farm. The groom’s suit was 100% hemp, made in Vermont by Tara Lynn Bridal. They used sustainable air plants for their florals and both adorned wooden wedding bands, as well.

Photography by Out of the Ordinary Photography
















Weddings that Give Back: Jamie and Kyle

With a name like Black Sheep Bride we couldn’t miss an opportunity to get a little WILDDDD, so today’s ‘WEDDINGS THAT GIVE BACK’ feature is going to the zoo!

Emily Katharine Photography recently submitted this love wedding story about a couple head over heals for animals! Take a look at what she had to share:

‘Jamie and Kyle met six years ago while they were spending an afternoon at the beach with mutual friends. They hit it off, but were hesitant to move forward at the moment. Every time their paths crossed with friends, they would find themselves together, practically oblivious to everything else going on around them. They began dating and working for the same firm. Everything was falling in line. Jamie’s dogs adored Kyle almost as much as she did.

After getting engaged at the base of a beautiful waterfall in Costa Rica Jamie wasted no time planning her wedding. She purchased her dress from Brides Against Breast Cancer and they got married at the zoo! An unusual venue, but the two of them felt strongly about how costly the wedding was going to be and decided they wanted that money to go to the zoo (a non profit) and back to the animals.

On the side, they participate in charity bike rides at least once a month. Jamie is part of a program called Vanderkitten – that encourages community involvement through sports. She’s an avid bike rider and Kyle has joined her.

Jamie also volunteers her time by helping write a quarterly newsletter for the women’s interactive network at work. And they are also huge animal lovers and have adopted numerous pets.’


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VENDORS: Photography: Emily Katharine Photography | Dress: Brides Against Breast Cancer | Florist: Carters | Venue: Lowry Park Zoo | Hair and Makeup: Elegant Brides | DJ: Celebrations Tampa Bay | Cake: Publix | Catering: Lowry Park Zoo

Weddings that Give Back- Gina & Edward


Black Sheep Bride just celebrated our first birthday this week. It has been a momentous 12 months and sincerely couldn’t have been accomplished with out the love and support from a very small community of wedding industry leaders. One person in particular that has had a huge influence on this process over the past year is the founder of Love Gives Way, Andy Brophy. Love Gives Way is a wedding directory of vendors that give back specifically to human trafficking organizations within their specific communities. So it was such an honor it was to receive this submission from a LGW vendor,  Claire Diana Photography, and read about how this couple was impacted to STAND OUT and do so much more with their love and wedding day planning by GIVING BACK!

Here is what  Claire Diana Photography had to share with us about this amazing couple:

“Gina & Edward’s paths had crossed before, but it wasn’t until the Peachtree Road Race that their romance really began. As it turns out, one of Edward’s earbuds got stuck in his ear during the race. At the finish line, Gina & Edward ran into each other (not literally) and Gina helped him pry the earpiece out (after she took a photo of it!). Edward got Gina’s number by asking her to text him the photo… and that’s how it all began. :) The couple has run the Peachtree Road Race every year since, first as friends, then as an engaged couple, and this year they will be running it as a married couple. What I love most about this sweet couple is their love and heart for others. When they began looking at their wedding day budget and realized how much money goes into a single day, they wondered what they could do to make it “bigger” than themselves… They wanted to use their day to give back to others, and that’s when they found me….”

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“Gina & Edward were my first-ever Love Gives Way couple. Essentially, a portion of their wedding photography package was donated to Out of Darkness, a nonprofit organization in Atlanta who’s mission is to reach, rescue, and restore victims of sex trafficking in the city. But Gina & Edward didn’t stop at that; many of their vendors give back in one way or another. Gina’s good friend & wedding planner, CarolynA Events, is also apart of LGW and partners with Wellspring Living.”Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm12 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm14 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm18 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm21 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm34 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm41 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm67 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm73

“You’ll notice in the photos that the entire bridal party is wearing TOMS shoes and DivvyUp socks. The shoes that Gina & Edward decorated at their gorgeous Fall styled engagement session were signed by wedding guests during the reception. They also used The Modern Gent for the (groomsmen apparel), Headbands of Hope (for the flower girls), Feed Bags, and Writefully His for ‘Thank You’ cards.”

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“Even Gina’s ring was chosen carefully and purposefully; Edward found a company, Mia Donna, that made a custom made/ethical ring and they also give back to those that were affected by the blood diamond industry with every purchase.”Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm169 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm177

“And in lieu of wedding favors for their friends/family, Gina & Edward decided to spend money on toys, supplies, and equipment for kids in Cancun. They planned a joint bachelor/bachelorette trip to Cancun and spent a day at Back2Back and Tree of Life playing with the children and cooking/feeding them. Gina and Edward were not just a pleasure to photograph, they became an inspiration and reminder to think of others and how to make things bigger than ourselves.” Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm181 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm188 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm192 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm198 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm201 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm218 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm223 Lee_Kim_Claire_Diana_Photography_clairedianaphotographyweddingginaedwardchukkarfarm226


And the best part about their wedding story … They got engaged at The Big Fake Wedding (Courtesy of Incer Studios) !


Photographer:  Claire Diana Photography | Cinema and Video:Bob’s Eye View Weddings | Event Designer: carolyn a. events | Event Venue:Chukkar Farm Polo Club | Caterer:Freckled & Blue | Shoes: TOMS |Grooms Apparel: The Modern Gent