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Bride Blogger Feature: Antoinette & Martin’s Wedding Plans with Purpose

The following content was written by a dear friend and newly engaged bride, Antoinette, I had the pleasure of meeting while photographing a missions trip in the Dominican Republic back in January of 2015. *The faces are blurred out to keep everyone’s identities safe. unnamed-51 “I believe I found my passion in 2009 when I learned of the harsh realities of sex trafficking in the United States. I feel everyone has that one thing that just “gets them”, that one thing, whether it be hunger, disease, or orphans that they can’t turn their head from. Mine is human trafficking. I began searching for ways to make a difference in the lives of those affected by this horrific crime. In my search I found many organizations that I was able to work with throughout the next few years. The first one being Wellspring Living and then others, such as, the Not for Sale Academy in San Francisco, Traffic Free, and We Are Cherished-Ohio. I had a passion to bring light to this issue and was able to pioneer and lead a few social awareness campaigns. unnamed-48 On a short term mission trip to the Dominican Republic in 2014 I learned of an incredible organization called Lily House through SCORE International. Lily House not only houses, but employs survivors of human trafficking. I majored in Business Management so their employment piece thrilled me! The ladies at Lily House learn to sew, make jewelry, and bake. To expand on their business efforts they also have a salon, bakery and gift shop! Through much prayers, deliberation and even some hesitation (this wasn’t in “my” plan)… I was SO blessed to return to the Dominican Republic for 6 months in 2015! Throughout my time there I was given the opportunity to work on the business side of Lily House, as well as stay in the home with the girls. Honestly, there are not enough words to describe the changes that took place in me while I was there. unnamed-49 What a blessing it was to be a small part of their journeys! I got to stand beside them as they chose beads and tools to create their very own unique pieces. I was honored to watch their smiles as customers came through and purchased their very first creation! This is just one small piece of the transformation that takes place at Lily House. unnamed-50 My fiancé and I have decided to use our wedding as a platform to positively impact more than just ourselves and our wedding guests. We created a wedding registry through myregisty.com. This gave us the chance to add items from any website. We were able to register from organizations such as Servv, The Little Market, Equal Exchange and more! We are also purchasing gifts for our wedding party from organizations that give back such as Fancy Freedom Designs. Our invitations are printed on eco-friendly and recycled paper, handmade and cut to order! Another organization we’re using is Dot Products for our wedding guests! 12771921_10157033738520497_1411709455819282290_o I learned first-hand why buying products from organizations that sell ethically sourced, fair trade, and hand made products is so important! It is far too easy to allow ourselves to shop without thought. But there is this incredible feeling you get when you hold, in your hand, a product that is uniquely created by a human being. Usually, that feeling is even more exciting than the product itself.”    

Fair Trade Friday- Wedding Gifts that Give, V1

It’s Friday, it’s Friday!  I know we all love Friday, but it’s extra special here on the blog because it’s FAIR TRADE Friday!  We will be highlighting some awesome Fair Trade and socially or environmentally conscious home decor the next 2 weeks.  They make the perfect wedding gift…. hint, hint, Aunt Martha! 😉 Fair trade home   1. Cultural Elements– Mango Wood Tea Light Holders, $35. Made from Mango wood of trees that are no longer sustainable for commercial use.  These trees are replaced with newer, younger trees.  Fair Trade and handmade
When a mango tree reaches 20-30 years, its fruites are no longer suitable for commercial use. Older trees are harvested and replaced with young trees in a process that protects the mango forests. – See more at: http://www.culturalelements.com/set-of-2-mango-wood-bark-decorative-tea-light-candle-holders-honey.html#sthash.aqoktaBq.dpuf
This product is sourced from controlled, sustainable mango plantations. When a mango tree reaches 20-30 years, its fruites are no longer suitable for commercial use. Older trees are harvested and replaced with young trees in a process that protects the mango forests. – See more at: http://www.culturalelements.com/set-of-2-mango-wood-bark-decorative-tea-light-candle-holders-honey.html#sthash.aqoktaBq.dpuf
This product is sourced from controlled, sustainable mango plantations. When a mango tree reaches 20-30 years, its fruites are no longer suitable for commercial use. Older trees are harvested and replaced with young trees in a process that protects the mango forests. – See more at: http://www.culturalelements.com/set-of-2-mango-wood-bark-decorative-tea-light-candle-holders-honey.html#sthash.aqoktaBq.dpuf
This product is sourced from controlled, sustainable mango plantations. When a mango tree reaches 20-30 years, its fruites are no longer suitable for commercial use. Older trees are harvested and replaced with young trees in a process that protects the mango forests. – See more at: http://www.culturalelements.com/set-of-2-mango-wood-bark-decorative-tea-light-candle-holders-honey.html#sthash.aqoktaBq.dpuf
2. Canvas Home– Soapstone Placemat/Charger, $8.  Produced under Fair Trade principles in India. 3. One World Fair Trade – Alabaster Lamp, $150.  Handmade by Fair Trade artisan partners in Cairo, Egypt. 4. The Spotted Door– Teak Side Table, $225. Work with eco-conscious designers, artisans, craftsmen and innovators who capture landfill-fated materials and give them a new purpose, a new life, a new existence! 5. Indego Africa– Cow Horn Vase, $75.  Profits fund educational training programs for the women who hand craft the products. 6. All Modern– Organic Silk Table Runner, $74. Hand woven on bamboo looms by indigenous women weavers in India. 7. Indego Africa– Copabu Wooden Bowl, $55. Profits fund educational training program for the women who hand craft the products.

A little giving goes a long way – Weddings that give back

472Brown Almost 2 years ago I helped with a nation wide shoe drive for Dando Amor… It was a huge task! I had schools collecting unwanted shoes across the city of Tampa and ended up with almost 4,000 pairs to add to the final tally (nearly 100,000 collected altogether). While picking up a car load of shoes at a local school I met a lovely teacher with a recently engaged daughter, whom also had a heart for Africa. We swapped information and not a week later Jamie and I were sipping coffee with her finance, Robbie, and we were selected as their wedding photographers. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected: 1…. Collecting unwanted shoes would lead me to one of my most cherished client/friendships in personal business history. 2. … the following summer she would also end up collecting shoes and sitting on the plane next to me heading to West Africa. There is great opportunity for Brides and Vendors to join forces for good… Take a moment to look around and see the needs you could fulfill with  your wedding partnerships and shared passions, a little giving goes a long way. 10350997_10154325961205601_5786844973546307755_n

Jax is where it’s at!

A few months ago I decided impulsively to participate in Jacksonville’s Annual Crowd Funding Festival- One Spark, along side several hundreds of other amazingly creative people. I signed up on the last day of registration, I knew nearly no one in the city and I stalked out The Landing’s venue director – to host my last minute project.. like a cheetah about to attack a gazelle… Real Talk People- It was serious! Everything about the trip was challenging, last minute and hard, hard work… but at the end of week of networking, pitching and acquiring a million more freckles (standing in the direct sunlight 5 days straight)… I was so encouraged for the future of Black Sheep Bride’s success. 2014-07-17_0002 Never in a Million years would I think, one of those countless One Spark Connections… would lead BSB back to Jacksonville to accept an awesome opportunity to work hand and hand with KYN (Business Accelerator Program.) For the next 6 months Black Sheep Bride will be working side by side the awesome KYN team (business/branding minded rad folks) to bring BSB up to speed, and get our mission out to the world! Make sure to like our BSB Facebook page to follow along with all the new progress! 10478596_785888028099930_7730218306428533512_n

10 Ways to SAVE… the world! Weddings that Give Back!

Let us pretend for a moment… that we ALL fall into the average wedding budget category. According to Wedding Stats the average wedding in 2014 cost roughly $28,671… and if you took 10% of that budget and dedicated it to completely selfless awesomeness… that would be $2,867 !! 2014-07-17_0003 Here are some ways to take your 10% and Change the World! 1. 102 orphans could be fed for 30 days. (Dando Amor) 2. 28,000 trees planted (Trees for the future) 3. 10 girls would be able to attend school (Heifer) 4. 1892 meals will be provided to the homeless. 5. 143 people will receive clean water (Let it flow) 6. 5 oncology  family support groups/Dinners (for up to 100 people)  can be organized for children diagnosed with cancer.  (Children’s Cancer Center) 7. 76 children sponsored for one month. (Compassion International) 8. 50 Microloans rewarded to impoverish women to start a business. (Global Giving) 9. 2,867 of Malaria Treated lives saved (malarianomore.org) 10. 11,468 children everywhere will get one meal to eat. (Feeding Children Everywhere) Isn’t it crazy how such a small number… 10%… can make such a big impact on others! How will you use your 10% of wedding change to make world change?