Weddings That Give Back: Samantha and Ricky – Orlando, FL

We love alternative, tiny, weddings that have intention and generosity at their core! Skipping the traditional wedding HOOPLA, Samantha and Ricky went for a wetter alternative and decided to tie the knot the best way the knew how… in the water at Typhoon Lagoon! Instead of a first dance, they choose to ride their first wave as man and wife and we couldn’t be more in love with their non-confirmative way of getting hitched! Well done guys! Read more from Ricky below.

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“Samantha and I chose to have the ceremony we did because we wanted it to be a genuine expression of who we are, doing something we both love to do, with the people we love. Our intent was to keep it simple, fun, and relaxed for the small group that came.

Part of our strength, as a couple, comes from supporting, encouraging, and inspiring each other, and those around us, to be our best and pursue our dreams.

Whether it be making a difference directly through our work, Sam through her art and me through my books, speaking engagements, and You Are Valued – the movement to value others, or a random person we feel inspired to help, giving is instrumental in the richness of our relationship.”

The best part of their wedding story was that they packed up all their goods in storage and went on a cross-country road trip spreading the love and mission behind You Are Valued across the United States.

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You Are Valued is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing about change in our society by reminding people of the value in who they are and what they have to offer the world around them. From bullying, to teen suicide, to drug abuse, low self esteem is at the root of the negative behavior. When someone feels better about who they are, the more likely they are to make healthier choices. By embracing the value of others through various initiatives, lasting change will be inspired, cultivating peace in our world.

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Their programs on Empowerment, Goal Development, Cultivating Peace/Promoting Compassion for others, and Building Community/Being the Change have received approval by Pinellas County, Florida School Board to be used in the schools health education programs in their Middle School Health Education Classes, High School Classes (Hope, Life Managment Skills, Teen Pregnancy or Teen Parenting Classes, other Health Education or Family and Consumer Science Classes). Other organizations that have used the programs are the Pinellas County Council of PTA’s, FACE IT Program (Families Acting Collaborativel To Educate And Involve Teens), the Coordinated Childcare of Pinellas Overlay program, as well as various private schools and community centers.

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Wedding Photos by Keith Burnson

2016 Weddings That Give Back Review

What a fun year 2016 has been! We’ve shared so many great articles, guest collaborations, stylized shoots, and most importantly our real wedding features! Nothing validates our mission to change the wedding industry for GOOD, quite like sharing stories of REAL couples using their love to love others, through their wedding planning process! With that said, we want to celebrate this year’s couples with you all, cause their good deeds deserve extra LOVE!

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You know what I love most about what we do? I’ll tell you, our BSB love stories break boundaries like nothing else in the wedding industry that I’ve ever seen. BSB is extra special, because it is an amazing platform that brings people of all different walks of life, backgrounds, beliefs, passions, together as one, with one single thing in mind: SERVING OTHERS and living a life of gracious, generous intentionality. There is no style, or aesthetic, the only thing that aligns these couples is their KINDNESS, not our decorations, budgets, wedding designers, ethnicities, religions, political stances, lifestyle choices, nothing, but selfless love for others binds us together! I am so proud of what we have become over the past two and a half years, here is to many more!

 

Here is a recap of this years featured couples, and for those on our waiting list awaiting to get published, we are grateful for your patience and stoked to share your stories in 2017!

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Micah and Payne, Oregon | Photography by Tegyn Friedman Photography | Videography by: Unveiled Productions | Venue: The Historic Balch Hotel

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Michelle and Joey, California | Photo Andrew Abajian Photography

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Amy and Steffon, South Carolina | Photo Paige Schaberg Photography

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TLove and Jeannette, Maine | Photographer:  Molly Haley | Event Venue: Live Well Farm | BSB Vendor and Wedding Fashion Designer: Tara Lynn Bridal

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Megan and Chris, WA | Venue: Meadowbrook Farm, North Bend, WA | Photography: Courtney Bowlden Photography | Flowers: Blooms by the Box and SucculentsPlus

 

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Alyssa and Matt, Connecticut | Make Up: Makeup Artistry by Liz | Photography: Alissa Dineen | Prep: Simsbury Inn | Venue: The Riverview | Cinematography: JPod Films | DJ: CT Party Pros | Hair: Salon 511

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Antoinette and Martin, Ohio

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Emilie and Bryan, North Carolina | Photo: Gypsy Rain Photography

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Kim and Ben, Missouri | Photographer:  Imageclairity | Reception Venue: Weston Red Barn Farm

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Erin and Kevin, California | Planning: ‘Cause We Can Events | Photography: Danto Photography | Makeup: Nicol Artistry  | Flowers: Brie’s Honey Bees and Flowers |Venue: South Coast Botanic Garden 

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Ashley and Chris, Ohio | Photography: Janelle Putrich Photography | Event Design & Planning: Oak & Honey Events | Venue: Hines Hill Conference Center | Floral: Twig Floral + Event Design | Wedding Dress (skirt): Something White | Cake: Hummingbird Bake Shop | Caterer: Spice of Life Catering | Makeup: MKleinman Artistry | Hair: Fringe and Foundation Studio | DJ: DJ Goodwin | Bartender: Sweet Water Caravan | Tent and Rentals: Miller’s Party Rental Center

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Sarah and Max, Michigan | Photographer:   Apaige Photography//Floral Designer: Eastern Floral//Event Venue: Grand Rapids Downtown Market//Musicians: Music Host Entertainment//Dress Store: The Brides Project US//Hair/Makeup: Serendipity Hair Design//Cake: Cascade Confections

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Elizabeth Joy and Greg, North Carolina | Photography: Mackensey Alexander Photography | Florist: The Farmer’s Wife | Venue: Private Residence | Dress: Vintage | Rings: Heirloom & Hand Crafted in Ethiopia | Decor: Goodwill | Food: Food Trucks

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Julia and Matthew, Iowa | Photography: Lasting Memories Photography and Laura Lachman Photo | Videography: Rano Lovan | Hair: Linda Wright of Moda Salon Des Moines Iowa and Kierra Taylor | Wedding Venue: St. Augustin Catholic Church | Ceremony Music: Vanessa Burdine | Reception Venue: Tournament Club of Iowa | Sound: Jimmi Van Luong

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OUR FIRST WEDDING WORLD CHANGER RECIPIENTS : Astrid and Gary, Florida | Planning: Oh Hello Events | Ceremony Design: Bourbon and Blush Events | Reception Design: Amber Veatch Designs | Floral Design : Andrea Layne Floral Design | Photography: Jeanine Leigh Photography and Green Pearl Photography | Venue: CL Space Ybor | Hair + Makeup: Michele Renee |  Paper Goods: Citrus-Press Co. | Catering: Tastes of Tampa Bay | Cocktail Hour Catering: Chalk Board Special | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Cake : Trudy Melissa Cakes | DJ: Graingertainment | Bartending : Mix It Up FL | Ceremony Altar/Escort Card Display/Rentals: Wish Vintage Rental | Pipe and Drape: Coast To Coast Event Rentals | Smaller Wooden Signage: Aerie Lane | Rectangular Farm Tables, Chargers: Set Event Rentals | Media Partners: Creative Loafing and Marry Me Tampa Bay | Succulents: The Succulent Source | Lavender: Tin Can Events | Chairs, Square Tables, Dinnerware, Flatware, Glasses: A Chair Affair | Videography: The Portos | Bridesmaids Dresses: Two Birds Bridesmaid | Wedding Dress: The Bride Tampa | Tuxes: All Brides 2 Be Tampa | Hotel Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Ybor |

©AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer

Kim and Jose, Florida | Planning + Design: Bourbon and Blush Events // Photography: Alexis June Weddings // Linens: Kate Ryan Linens// Catering: Tastes of Tampa Bay // Venue: Rialto Theatre  // Floral: Inna Olimpiyuk Events // Table and Chair Rentals: A Chair Affair // Lounge Furniture: Danilyn Vintage Rentals // Dishes and Decor: Ever After Vintage Weddings // Stationery & Ceremony Backdrop: Blush Design Studio // Pet Sitting: FairyTail Planning // Wedding Cake: Trudy Melissa Cakes // Transportation: His and Hers Limousines // Entertainment: DJ Jenks // Mini Desserts: Sweetly Dipped Confections

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Katie and Adam, Pennsylvania | Participating Vendors:  Photography: Radian Photography | Catering: Jerry’s Kitchen | Composting: Bennett Composting | Invitations: VistaPrint | Wedding Dress: Cape May Antique Center | Venue: The Ridgeland Mansion | Dessert: Federal Donuts | Rings: Katie Carder Fine Jewelry | Flowers: Triple Tree Flowers 

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Jill and Jake, Maine | Photo Jake & Katie

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Kayla and Reece, Wisconsin | Photography: LIV Photography | Dress: Andrea’s Vintage Bridal | Rings: Ingle and Rhode UK | Getting Ready: Schlegelmilch House | Ceremony: Carson Park | Reception: Bye the Willow

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Rayna and Jon, Florida | Photographer: Savannah Lauren

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Bri and Chris, PNW | Eleven Eleven Films and Photography

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Amy and Jean- Francis, Ontario | Dress: Celia Grace Fair Trade Wedding Gowns | Florals: Marie-Eve Best | Paper Goods, Food, Cake, Decor, Wedding Bands: Bride, Friends & Family | Make-up: Oresta Organic Skin Care

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Heather and Matthew | Photographer: Kelly Ginn Photography | Fair trade/upcycling vendors and brands: Ten Thousand Villages | Mata Traders  | Toy De Jour | Brilliant Earth  | Ashlye McCormick  | DeepBlu

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Stephanie and Joshua, Florida (day after Hurricane Matthew hit) | Photo Finny Hill Photography

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Eco Elopement, South Africa | Photographer: Page & Holmes | Concept, styling & flowers: Runaway Romance | Venue: Emily Moon River Lodge | Décor: Amatuli Artefacts | Stationery: Rebelove Wedding Stationery | Hair & Makeup: The Art of Makeup | Bridal gown: Loca Vintage Bridal | Jewellery: Katy Valentine | Hike and getting ready outfits – Stitch & Steel | His & Hers Mini Cakes: Clare’s Cakes | Cocktails: Emily Moon River Lodge

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Andrew and Miki, New York | Photo Bridget Collins

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Gabrielle and Chris, California | Photographer: Chloe Moore Photography | Venue: South Coast Botanic Garden (non profit/botanical garden) | Hair/Makeup: Nicol Artistry | Styling: Circa Vibes  | Dress: Sugarcloth US

…and so many more to come in 2017! Here is to a new year, full of amazing love stories that serve a bigger purpose in helping the planet and our global community!!!

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!
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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!

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 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:
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‘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!! …’
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‘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.’ 
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‘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.’
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‘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.’

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‘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.’
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‘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.’
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‘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.
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‘Our getaway golf cart decorations came from Ten Thousand Villages in Chicago.’
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Photographer: Kelly Ginn Photography
Fair trade/upcycling vendors and brands: Ten Thousand Villages | Mata Traders  | Toy De Jour | Brilliant Earth  | Ashlye McCormick  | DeepBlu

Weddings that Give Back: Kim + Jose, Rialto Theatre, Tampa, FL

*EDITOR NOTE: We thought in honor of Veteran’s Day we’d pull out of our favorite veteran weddings from 2016. Share this story of community and unconditional love, once more, couldn’t be better timed and appreciated.  Enjoy friends and thank you to all who have served our country!
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It astonishes me how generous and GOOD the wedding world truly is these days. When Hope, from Rialto Theatre , originally shared this couple’s story in the Black Sheep Bride vendor Facebook group, and asked if anyone would be interested in gifting this couple, it had instant interest, volunteers and vendors coming together to make the day possible. You see, Jose and Kim met in the Army, and have since spent the last five years together in service to this country. Even one of our BSB photographers, Brandi of Alexis June Weddings, flew in from out of state to donate her time and talent, to this couple, because she was also in the service and knew the value of these individuals sacrifice.
(C)AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer
Jennifer Buono, of Bourbon and Blush Events, was the planning and design mastermind behind all of the magical details and logistics for the day. Here is what she had to share:
 When I think about the country we live in and the people who selflessly give their lives for the service of our country it moves me in a way that is so hard to put down in words. Their dedication and commitment to the protection of our people, their fight for our independence, their families fight; none of it goes unappreciated in my eyes. And I wanted to give back in a way that would be meaningful to them, so I donated my time, services and expertise to help plan one of the most special days of their lives. I was honored to be able to serve this couple and to create an entire day for them that they would remember forever. Every detail had it’s place and a special meaning to them.

 The Retired Jose Cabrera and active duty Kimberlee Ashton joined together and were married by Jose’s Uncle on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, June 5th 2016. It was so important to them that their family was a part of their union and celebration.

(C)AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer

Kim’s stationery was all handmade and designed around the navy details infused into her wedding, by Blush Design Studio.

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Kim and Jose had never before had professional portraits of themselves. So they were deeply moved when Brandi, Alexis June Weddings, an Air Force Veteran and incredibly talented New York based photographer offered to fly down to capture their special day. In fact, one of Brandi’s favorite moments was the first look. “They were so nervous. It was such a magical moment as the two of them took that time to be with only each other.”

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Inna of Inna Olimpiyuk Events did such a beautiful job on bringing in a romantic and lush feel to the room. The soft ivories in Kim’s bouquet really stood out against the vibrant pops of burgundy red garden roses and navy in the bridesmaids dresses. 

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Kim and Jose chose to have their wedding at the historic Rialto Theatre  in downtown Tampa. The old brick walls, blue tile and painted details create the perfect combination of old and new. This venue is a gem for our city providing a grand space with 27 foot ceilings and a beautifully remodeled, historic backdrop(C)AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer©AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer

One of our favorite planning moments was being able to tell Kim + Jose that their border collies, Thor and Loki, would be able to attend their wedding as the flower girl and ring bearer, thanks to FairyTail Planning. Kim was so happy she began to tear up and at that moment we were so humbled to have been able to make such a special detail come to life for them.

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The floral details were carried out throughout the reception, where vibrant navy crushed satin linens provided by Kate Ryan Linens adorned the tables, complete with burgundy red dupioni napkins and the most elegant ivory china place settings from Ever After Vintage Weddings.

©AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer

Blush Design Studio did a beautiful job of incorporating a calligraphy escort card display, menu cards and stationery suite.(C)AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer©AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer(C)AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer(C)AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer

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(C)AlexisJuneWeddings | Kim + Jose Married, Rialto, Tampa Florida | NYC + Destination Wedding Photographer

The Icing on the Cake to their whole day, was that the couple PAID IT FORWARD and donated their wedding registry to Fisher House Foundation. The Bride shared why Fisher House Foundation was important to them as a couple:
‘We chose Fisher House because it helps accommodate military members, and their families, while they visit their loved ones being treated in the hospital. These houses offer rooms at no cost to the families. We both have a personal connection to this foundation because in early 2014, less than a year after we got back from deployment, I got a call from Jose’s Mom that he was in the ICU due to having acute pancreatitis. He was in excruciating pain and was losing too much fluid. They pushed fluid and he literally ballooned up from water weight to keep his organs from shutting down.
 
After almost a week they were finally able to move him from ICU to a normal room. He was in Georgia still at this point at Fort Gordon. His mom could only be with him for a couple of days, but I packed a bag and drove up to be with him for the remainder of the time he was hospitalized. I had no idea how I was going to be able to afford a hotel room for 2 weeks. Luckily, Jose’s Mom found out from one of his surgeons that they secured a room in the Fisher House for me to stay while taking care of him. I came very close to losing him that week. Had it not been for Fisher House, I would have been stuck and he wouldn’t have had support after his Mom had to go back home.
 
Fisher House homes are normally built within walking distances of the hospitals on base. They have full kitchens – full of food, laundry rooms with supplies and the rooms are fully furnished. These houses can have a few rooms. I think the one I stayed in had maybe 8. So it can be very difficult for families to get a room here, but when they do, it is one of the best gifts family of military can get, because it is completely free accommodations for the guest/s.’
Thank you to the amazing vendors that made this day possible for this deserving couple!  
Planning + Design: Bourbon and Blush Events // Photography: Alexis June Weddings // Linens: Kate Ryan Linens// Catering: Tastes of Tampa Bay // Venue: Rialto Theatre  // Floral: Inna Olimpiyuk Events // Table and Chair Rentals: A Chair Affair // Lounge Furniture: Danilyn Vintage Rentals // Dishes and Decor: Ever After Vintage Weddings // Stationery & Ceremony Backdrop: Blush Design Studio // Pet Sitting: FairyTail Planning // Wedding Cake: Trudy Melissa Cakes // Transportation: His and Hers Limousines // Entertainment: DJ Jenks // Mini Desserts: Sweetly Dipped Confections