Weddings That Give Back- Carmen & Justin

Today’s Real Wedding Couple comes courtesy of Lawrence Photography and seriously couldn’t be cooler… literally. And if you know Carmen and Justin, then you know how fitting a January wedding in Milwaukee was for them. They both work at Montana State University (Justin is from Wisconsin so the wedding locale worked out great!) & are extremely fond of winter weather and all the activities that come with it. Heck, they even commute to work on their super rad snow bikes! No amount of snow, cold weather, or bitter temperatures would put a damper on their day. If anything, it enhanced it!! They live such an adventurous, spontaneous, healthy, and active lifestyle… giving back just came hand and hand. Their wedding embodied all of the characteristics that make Carmen & Justin the wonderful people that they are! In lieu of a first dance, C & J opted for a Matrimonial Mile with their guests around the Urban Ecology Center. The run was their way of getting all their guests active before celebrating at the reception.

The Urban Ecology Center is an environmental education center located in Milwaukee. This “green” environmental community center was once a vacant tavern at 37th and Pierce. Designed by Uihlein Wilson Architects, the branch will soon open to serve eight schools and grow to serve 22 south side schools who are clamoring for our Neighborhood Environmental Education Project. Gin & Gingers, Montana & Wisconsin craft breweries on site, along side coffee (purchased from farmer and co-op partnerships) from Colectivo, baked goods from Troubadour Bakery, and great conversation filled the venue. They absolutely nailed it!

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On top of everything else they incorporated into their Big Day plans… The groom’s ring is a Mokume Gane Ebb and Flow Solstice ring (made from recycled metals and representative of the ebb and flow of nature) and her ring is a YOGO Sapphire from Alara Jewelry (100% recycled precious metals) located in Montana. Fun Fact: The Bride is a food & nutrition professor at Montana State University and the sapphire is local to the Bozeman, Montana region.

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Thanks to Lawrence Photography for sharing this gorgeous day with us and fun fact … They also gives back!

‘Aside from being a wedding photographer, I am also a behavior Therapist for children with Autism and every year we donate a portion of our profits to Autism Speaks. I have a HUGE passion for children with autism and love that Autism Speaks goes above and beyond to research Autism, increasing awareness and providing advocacy.’

Vendors: Photography: Lawrence Photography | Hair: Samantha Harden  |  Makeup: Desiree Byker  |  Venues: The Iron Horse Hotel & The Urban Ecology Center  | Food: Colectivo Coffee & The Troubadour Bakery also drinks by New Glares Brewing  |  Dress: Anthropologie

NYC Wedding Venue with Purpose

In leau of last week’s National Women and Children’s Aid’s Awareness Day, we wanted to share with you this super sweet wedding, with a even sweeter wedding venue, Housing Works Bookstore, that actively supports Aid’s Awareness and Causes that Fight for Aid’s Research and Survivors. Thank you to Sarah Tew Photography for sharing this awesome couple and venue with us!

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Photographer: Sarah Tew Photography | Venue: Housing Works Bookstore | Florals: Montano Grant | Cake: Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery  | DJ: Scratch Weddings

Engagement with Purpose- Anthony and Kayla

One of our amazing Atlanta-based BSB Vendors, Shutter Sweet Photography recently shared this amazing engagement story with us that will leave you inspired. Read what Ashley, from Shutter Sweet Photography, had to say about her amazing clients.



‘This couple just got engaged, but their love story started years ago when they both went on tour to volunteer for the African Children’s Choir. Anthony is from Uganda and is a leader with the choir. Kayla volunteered to be a leader/chaperone for the 16 months they were traveling around the US and Europe. They built a strong friendship on the tour and after the tour was over, tried to visit each other as much as possible as they continued growing closer despite the long distance. They just got engaged at the beginning of the year and are excited to plan their wedding and plan for the future.’






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‘They both have huge hearts and are beautiful servants to those around them. I was able to meet them while I photographed the choir and enjoyed getting to know them as a couple during the engagement shoot. The best part about this amazing organization that ignited their love story is… an upcoming documentary at the Atlanta Film Festival, called Imba Means Sing, will be sharing the journey of the African Children’s Choir and the film is donating 100% of the profits back to the organization.’

IMBA MEANS SING Trailer from imba means sing on Vimeo.


Shutter Sweet’s Photography Gives Back program donates 10% from each session to non-profit organizations and we also donate our time and talents to serve organizations like Imba Means Sing and the African Children’s Choir, Help-Portrait, and families in need.

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.’


‘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.’






‘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.’





‘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.’








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.’






‘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.’
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…


‘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!…’


‘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.’



‘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.’






‘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.’









‘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.’












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.’





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.’


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