Engagements with Purpose- Ashley & Josh

Black Sheep Bride has this super mundo amazing squad of vendors in Michigan that make my heart so happy! Their hearts for helping others, amazing style and passion for couples and weddings is worthy of admiration!

Emily of EverPhoto recently photographed one of her fellow Black Sheep Bride Vendor – Friends, Ashley, of Ashley Paige Photography.

Ashley has big plans for her wedding and I just feel in love with her heart as she shared her vision for their Big Day! See what she has to say …

‘Wedding planning drastically changes when you are around weddings constantly. For me, my wedding ideas changed from completely traditional to uniquely different.  Josh and I knew we wanted a fun day, but we also didn’t want to get so wrapped up in traditions, rituals, and “things,” that we forgot why we were actually getting married.’

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‘Three years ago I changed up my lifestyle to help the planet, and reduce as much suffering as possible – this altered my thought process for my wedding as well. I didn’t want to harm anything or kill more of Earth’s resources just to celebrate on a specific day. This led me to my wedding planning alterations.

All of Josh and I’s vendors include Black Sheep Bride vendors, vendors that simply give back to the earth, charities and local businesses within our community. My bridesmaids, Moms and Sister-in-laws gifts are all bracelets produced by a company that gives back to charities around the world (Pura Vida), My dress is actually my mothers being altered by local designers, the sweetest older ladies you will ever meet, Nimble Needles.’

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‘Our wedding will be trash free for the most part – our plates are made from Sugar cane, and are compost able, we are giving the guests mason jars so that they can have one cup for the night to reduce the cost and trash of cups, our silverware is actually made of recyclable bamboo, and even our straws will be recyclable.

We aren’t having a cake but we are having vegan cupcakes. This is a major part of my life, so I wanted to make sure that I could eat these all night.. Im obsessed a bit. All crafts are recycled or used and redecorated. From wine bottles, to spaghetti jars, I am painting and crafting everything.’

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‘Our florist will be a local florist in Bridgman, Michigan, and we will focus mostly on Baby’s breath flowers -since they are cheapest and easiest to grow, and hey, pretty cute too. I also love the way my mom is taking hold of this entire idea. She has so many connections with amazing local, craft individuals who want nothing more than to help out. From people making their own local popcorn and flavors, to our friend that is a DJ. From hiring friends to create wonderful snacks and food, to family donating coffee cups to create a unique look – I am completely excited about the date.’

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But it’s not just marrying Josh that I am so excited about… I’m excited to show people that you can have a big party, while saving the Earth (or not destroying it), that you can help out 50 plus people, support their good businesses, and recycle, while enjoying a wonderful life event. We will be labeling all of our vendors and explaining why they are so amazing.’

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‘I own my own photography business, as mentioned at the beginning. I am currently doing a project “shine bright” to really take a stand on society’s perception of beauty and focus on natural, beautiful woman – showing why each woman is beautiful. Really its a stand against the porn industry and the “sex” society we have become – because lets be real – every girl feels compared – and this project is to stand against those made up , ridiculous standards. So far, every model has been overwhelmed at how beautiful they feel after the shoot and when the images are released. It’s so .. so exciting.

I also have been teaching a few newbies at photography and let them hang out with me on occasional shoots to help them on their photo journey. My entire business is about promoting self confidence and beauty. This year I am also involving myself in a few Cancer events to help promote beauty and strength in those people as well. My cousin passed away a few years back to some hard cancer – and through it all  – her strength and beauty continued to shine- which really encouraged me to show that side of people through struggles.’
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Photo Courtesy of EverPhoto – Thank you so much Emily!

On a Mission to Love

So there is an amazing photographer in Atlanta, GA that stumbled upon Black Sheep Bride recently and knew instantly she had the perfect couple to submit for a Socially Conscious Wedding Feature… Katey Penton Photography, You weren’t lying… This joyfully infectious wedding couple, Bryan and Jenn, will have you swooning over their vibrant colors, candid emotions and gorgeous scenery, but the best part of this Real Wedding Feature… Their story! We asked Katey to have Jenn (the bride) write about how their love story was formed out of their hearts to help others.. and we are just in awe of their journey to the alter…

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‘We have both always had a love for culture, seeing the world and being a part of helping meet others’ needs.  After college, Bryan served as a missionary with Youth with a Mission and worked throughout the world.  Before starting graduate school, I served as a short-term missionary teaching English and American culture classes to refugees, and my job in public health has afforded me the chance to work internationally as well. I think we were both naturally drawn to someone that had a passion to serve others around the world. Bryan says when he first met me, he was intrigued because I not only knew of random cities he had visited, but I had also been there!…’

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‘Giving back is such an integral part of our relationship because serving others has been at the core of who we each are individually. When we got married, we knew that we wanted to make it a central part of our new family. Giving encourages us to serve one another better and is a reminder that loving each other is putting the other person before self.’

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‘When we were thinking about all of the details of the wedding, the idea of wedding favors came up. Wedding favors give guests a small token of appreciation, but we also felt like they end up being thrown away most of the time. We wanted to do something personal, but that would also make a difference. So we decided that we would make a donation in honor of our guests to a non-profit that was important to both of us.  CAREforAIDS works with people in Kenya who have been affected by HIV/AIDs. They provide medical and spiritual counseling as well as job training to help others lead long and sustainable lives.’

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‘We are so fortunate to be surrounded by so many friends and family who have incredible talents.  We wanted our wedding day to be a time that we could celebrate with those we love, including sharing the gifts of our friends with others. We have a friend who has a dream to own her own bakery, another friend who is a graphic designer, others who have an eye for interior design. We knew that we could work with anyone to plan our wedding, but we have people we know and love, and wanted to provide an avenue to support them in their gifts.’

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‘In talking about our purpose, as humans, the pastor of our church challenged us to think about what breaks our hearts. The things that break our hearts are usually things that God wants us to invest in. We tend to look for opportunities to give to the issues that have tugged at our heart strings. In every opportunity to give, Bryan and I try to assess our current load and what time or resources we can give.  We don’t want to say yes to everything, but instead be intentional and active in the things we do give to.’

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When asked what their plans are for the future of their giving, this was Jenn’s reply: ‘While we were dating, we both went to Kenya to serve with CAREforAIDS. We’d like to go back to Kenya this summer, now as a married couple, and spend time serving our friends in Africa.’

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Jenn’s advice to the Socially Conscious Planning Bride: ‘First and foremost, I would say remember why you’re planning the wedding – it’s not about having a perfect day, it’s about standing before your closest family and friends with the one you love and making a commitment. In every aspect of planning, look for ways that you can help those around you – whether it’s friend who you can give business to or organizations you can donate excess decorations, food or money.’

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Photographer:  Katey Penton Photography//Caterer: A Silverware Affair//Dress Store: Formally Yours//Specialty Foods: King of Pops//DJ:Simply Celebrate Events//Hair Stylist:Tease Salon//Reception Venue: The Barn at High Point Farms//
Submitted via Two Bright Lights

 

#50Acts – NYC Couple Skips Dream Wedding and Gives Back to all 50 States Instead

Ismini and Mark Svennsson fell in love at Georgetown University and quickly knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After planning the wedding and honeymoon of their dreams, they decided to ditch their traditional elaborate wedding plans and use their saved wedding budget for good! They have been traveling to each state and completing one awesome act of kindness per State-stop, with the hopes of completing their two year journey this spring. This nationwide campaign to help organizations, and encourage voluneteerism, in all 50 states was hash tagged #50Acts. It became such a hit and grew so much support they decided to start a non-profit called Stay UNITED and the rest is Do-Gooder history.

Naturally upon reading this super compelling story on CNN this morning,  BSB reached out to the couple and was surprised to receive an almost instant reply! Watch their video below and get to know the hearts behind this inspiring couple…

PSA- Have klennex ready!

 

Ismini and Mark // StayUNITED from Simple Flare Productions on Vimeo.

(Photo Credits below courtesy of Ismini/Stay United)

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There good deeds have not gone unnoticed and their organization and story has been shared across the country/world on various media outlets!

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To find out more ways to connect with their #50Acts of Giving Back Campaign, follow them on Twitter and/or search hashtag: #50acts !

 

Ultimate Black Sheep Bride

So grateful for our network of vendors that share stories of selfless love, like the one below! Thank you Lauren Lindley Photography for submitting this gorgeous wedding story to Black Sheep Bride!

‘When a life threatening disease dashed her sister’s Olympic Dreams as a competitive figure skater while in college, Amanda Sanchez saved her best friend’s life by donating a kidney.  This is the kind of person that Amanda is: the ultimate giver.  She is the person that donates her kidneys, her time and her love endlessly to others.  A local Reno news anchor,  Amanda is a strong supporter  of organ donation and animal/veterinary causes.

Years after donating a kidney, Amanda herself found herself in chronic pain.  Frustrated, Amanda saw a number of doctors who were unable to diagnose her problem correctly, until she met Dr. Bruce Crawford.   She was diagnosed with endometriosis, a painful, chronic disease that affects 5 1/2 million women and girls in the USA and Canada, and millions more worldwide.   Bruce referred her to a specialist and to this day, Amanda credits Dr. Peter Lim with saving her life.

There was magic in the silver lining of Amanda’s journey: she fell in love with her doctor.  Amanda and Dr. Bruce Crawford were married in August at the breathtaking Rancharrah in Reno, NV amidst family and friends.’

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They also had more than just a wedding to celebrate this fall: Amanda’s sister, Hillary, was just elected as the Mayor of Reno, NV!

Photographer:  Lauren Lindley Photography//Dress Store:Blue Garter Bridal and Tux//Cake Designer:Delicious Designs Cakes//DJ:Dick Stoddard//Floral Designer:Petal to the Metal//Event Venue:Rancharrah//Caterer:SoDo//

Engagements with Purpose

At first glance this amazingly cute couple looks like any other couple you’d find strolling the shore of some super cool North Western, Coastal, Hipster Town…. but wait.. there’s more than what the eyes can see. Thanks to Samantha McFarlen Photography for sharing these images and connecting us with their story !

Karlie and Sam have Big Plans for their Big Day! Giving Back has been a huge pillar in their relationship, as Sam is a firefighter and volunteers to fight forest fires each season. They plan to show their love for the forest by incorporating baby Cedar trees as centerpieces at their wedding day. They are also donating a portion of their cash gifts to the local Clallam County Humane Society in Washington State, where they reside.

As they continue to plan for their wedded rad’ness… They are also researching ways to donate their leftover food/flowers from reception to local organizations looking for love.

And seriously … You gotta love the STACHE! :)

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