6 Steps for Planning Your National Park Wedding

It comes of no surprise that some of our most popular, shared weddings, to date, are outdoor, natural settings. It’s just feels good to be outdoors, embracing all of the lovely landscapes surrounding us, so why not get married in a National Park, State Park or Beach! Here are some tips to help you plan an ‘Al Naturale’ wedding :

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Photo credit: Tegyn Friedman Photography

1. ‘…So here’s my number… CALL ME MAYBE!’

I feel pretty confident that I may or may not have just ruined your day with that earworm (that is a song that gets stuck in your head), but I wanted to get my point across loudly! This step is most important! If you are looking to have a wedding on public property, national park, beach, etc… MAKE SURE YOU CALL! However it may seem like there is enough space for the whole world to get married at that location, most limit the amount of weddings held per day and have strict guidelines for doing so. SN: When I got married 11 years ago there were 5 other brides within a mile walking distance from my beachside ceremony, it is a small price to pay for sharing paradise… errr public places…  with others!

Contact the National Park Services or State Park Directory for a park weddings.

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Photo Credit: APaige Photography | Dress: Celia Grace 

2. Paper Trail :

You must receive a permit to have a wedding at any of the public places you’ve been dreaming about- NO EXCEPTIONS! For national parks, you can request one hereAPA_6380

Photo Credit: APaige Photography | Dress: Celia Grace

3. The Smaller, The Better: 

When considering a park wedding, go small on the guest list. The more intimate the better, because of the impact of a larger scale event could have on the environment. Most vendors wouldn’t be able to disturb the grounds, ex. no stakes, digging, etc,  and work off of little to no power driven machinery for the event, so the more intimate the less to worry about. Just enjoy the view, enjoy each other, explore the space and then have dinner at a local farm to table restaurant/venue down the road.

NOTE: What you bring in you must take out! So sort your recyclables, waste and compostables and plan with minimalism in mind.

4. Make it an Adventure!

Utilize your wedding as an opportunity to fully explore the parks offerings. Most National Parks/State Parks have camping/lodges on site, renting a canoe/kayak, etc.

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Photo credit: Tegyn Friedman Photography

5. Always be prepared for Plan B:

When planning a park wedding it is always in your best interest to prepare for all appropriate forms of weather. Bring umbrellas, coats, etc. and have a back up plan, in case you are rained/snowed in.

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Photo Credit: APaige Photography / Dress: Celia Grace

6. Give Back :

Overall, park based ceremonies are a more budget friendly alternative. After a fun day, full of love, and natural beauty, consider using the money you saved and donating a portion back to that park’s preservation efforts for the generations to come. BONUS: Tax write-off.

Visit the National Park Services or your state’s tourism site for more information.

 

6 Ways to Celebrate Earth Hour

Today is the day, the day we turn our lights off, to shine light on our planet! At 8:30pm (your local time) join the world in dedicating one hour without electricity and bringing awareness to climate change! Each year, millions come together to make Earth Hour happen. Coordinated by World Wildlife Fund and other volunteer organisations, together we’re shining a light on the need for action on climate change.

Around the globe, millions of people, businesses, and landmarks set aside an hour to host events, switch off their lights, and make noise for climate change action and the 300 billion + individuals that live without electricity every day.

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Here are few ways to have fun with Earth Hour, today and throughout the year!

1. Invest in Solar Powered Jars (Consol Solar Jar) and go on a hike (or just hang out outside, around the soft magically moody solar light source)!

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2. Create a romantic dinner by candle light.

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3. Camp out at the beach and share spooky stories around solar jars, or by the fire!

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4. Grab a couple pillows and blankets and spend the evening star gazing!

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5. Find a couple kids, or kids-at-heart, and organize an epic battle of Flash Light Tag!

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6. Take it back to the old school days and start a glow stick dance party!

Here is some inspiration we found on Youtube, via Moke Jacobs.

For more ways to get involved visit Earth Hour to take action and shine a light on our planet!

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All images sourced from Unsplash or Consol Solar Jars.

Giving Back When You Don’t Have The Time, Via MG Hair and Makeup

Giving Back When You Don’t Have the Time
By Megan Garmers, MG Hair and Makeup

**Editor Note: Thank you MG Hair and Makeup for your ongoing support as a National Partner and believer in the BSB Mission.**

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Spring is coming up soon and it serves as a great reminder. It is a time for new life, new opportunities and second chances. No, this is not a plea for you to carve even more time out of your already busy life, but rather a note of encouragement to find a few hours on a couple days throughout the year to make a difference with your talents and time.

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One of the ways we (MG Hair and Makeup) like to give back is through volunteering at Covenant House. They have a program for homeless teen moms and we sponsor a fun makeover night for these ladies. These moms have been through a lot during their short life and are forced to grow up quickly. Covenant House does a great job at helping get them off the streets, provide a safe place for the moms and babies to stay, and also provide life and job skills for self-sufficiency.

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While the world of beauty can seem full of superficiality, to these ladies, it means something different. Many have never had their makeup done before so sometimes even just some lipstick and being pampered helps restore their self-esteem and confidence to face other life issues. We also help volunteers paint nails and provide polish or makeup samples for the teens to take with them. Something small that can serve as a reminder and be functional to uplift their mood is important when they have so few physical possessions.

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There are lots of ways you can volunteer with your skills, even if you’re not a hairstylist or makeup artist. These girls just enjoy having someone make them feel special and beautiful to inspire self-esteem and confidence. Whether it is at a teen shelter or other program, there are lots of ways you can be involved in special events throughout the year. Volunteering your time and talents this way allows you to give back without a weekly commitment many don’t have the extra time to give. Even though it might be one or two nights a year, never underestimate the reach of your kindness and how it encourages another in their own journey.

Learn more about MG Hair and Makeup  and Covenant House by visiting their websites today!

More of What Matters, Featuring: SoKind Registry

More of What Matters, Featuring: So Kind Registry

**Editor Note: Thank you SoKind Registry for your ongoing support as a National Partner and believer in the BSB Mission!**

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Friends and family. That’s what wedding receptions boil down to, right? It would be a lot less work and cost if a wedding consisted solely of a ceremony. No need to worry about finding a venue or coordinating entertainment. No need to worry about menus or seating arrangements. Yet despite the hassle, many people still choose to commemorate one of life’s biggest events with a celebration.

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Why? Because, as humans, we’re hardwired for connection. Connection is what gives our lives purpose and meaning. And connection is what we crave when we celebrate momentous occasions. We want our loved ones to share in our joy and to support us with their presence.

Yet U.S. consumer culture has created an expectation in this country that weddings must be extravagant affairs in order to be special, thereby distorting some of the most important milestones of our lives. Celebrations that should be joyful and meaningful are now often occasions that generate stress, waste, and debt.

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SoKind Registry is a registry service designed to provide options for those of us who want to plan celebrations that reflect our lifestyles, promote our values, and enhance our lives. SoKind is for people who want to host more environmentally friendly celebrations, as well as for folks who simply refuse to start a new chapter in their lives with a mountain of debt. It’s for people who don’t view their wedding as an opportunity to impress, but rather as an opportunity to involve their friends and family in one of the most important occasions of their lives.

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So go ahead, be creative. What gifts do you truly want? Donations to your favorite charity? Home renovation help? Catering help for the big day? A museum membership? Through SoKind, you can register for gifts of time, experience, and skill, as well as traditional material gifts and secondhand items. The registry is entirely customizable, so the possibilities are endless!

Here’s to more fun and less stuff… to more joy and less stress… and to more love and less waste!

For more information about setting up your wedding, or milestone, registry visit SoKind Registry today! 

Your Honeymoon Could Save Someone’s life- TraffickCam App

The best part of wedding planning, hands down, is the honeymoon. It’s a time to grow closer together, relax and renew your relationship for the new marriage journey ahead of you. What if I told you, you could quite literally save someone’s life within the first few minutes of your honeymoon arrival, and it would literally take you less than 2 minutes to do so.

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Did you know: Among couples that plan a formal/traditional wedding ceremony and reception (excluding elopements and courthouse ceremonies) 99% of them go on a honeymoon, estimated around $4000 for an average of 7 days long. With over 1.2 million couples traveling domestically and internationally 78.3% of those honeymooners are spending their first wedded days in Hotels, Motels, and Resorts. The growing (social media obsessed) honeymoon industry brings in over 12 billion dollars annually. (Source: Wedding Clickers)

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TraffickCam is a web app that uses crowdsourced images of hotel images across the world to compare and identify where sex-traffickers are holding their victims.

Traffickers regularly post photographs of their victims posed in hotel rooms for online advertisements. These photographs are evidence that can be used to find and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. In order to use these photos, however, investigators must be able to determine where the photos were taken. The purpose of TraffickCam is to create a crowd-sourced database of hotel room images that an investigator can efficiently search, in order to find other images that were taken in the same location as an image that is part of an investigation. You check into your room, open the app, identify the hotel name, room number and snap 4 images of the room’s interior and surroundings and submit.

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TraffickCam was created in 2015 by the Exchange Initiative. The Exchange Initiative is committed to combating commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Their mission is to provide resources, information and networking solutions to combat sex trafficking in the United States.

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Download the free app today:

TraffickCam for iPhone and iPad at the App Store

TraffickCam for Android devices at Google Play

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Let’s start actively using our privilege and engaged/newly married love to start loving others!