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Weddings That Give Back: Poonam & Nishkaam- Santa Monica, CA

Did you know?
It only takes 50 cents to provide a day’s rations to a hungry child in the midst of a conflict zone.
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Poonam Kaushal and Nishkaam Mehta, of California, knew the statistics and they shared in their concern for the global hunger pandemic. Upon their exciting engagement announcement, Poonam and Nish decided to do something totally different with their $20K wedding budget. They used their wedding dollars to feed the children of Cameroon, through World Food Programme’s Share The Meal app.
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‘Right now you have 20 times more smart phones, than hungry children around the world,’ said Nish to a local Santa Monica news station. That statistic alone is mind blowing and sobering enough to make you think twice about that most recent iPhone upgrade.
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 Instead of a traditional multi-day Indian wedding and registry, the couple donated the large majority of their wedding budget to support 40,000 meals and raised hundreds of thousands of more meals through their crowd sharing campaign.  Their Million Meals for Love campaign launched on January 14 and concluded on Valentine’s Day with a simple civil ceremony and intimate reception. They have since raised 270K+ meals and are simply grateful to their loved ones and honored to be a part feeding and empowering the children of Cameroon through their Million Meals for Love campaign!
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If you would like to get involved and Share the Meal with hungry children worldwide, Download the app today and donate!   
Photographer credit: Matei Horvath Photography

10 Ways to Waste Less on Your Wedding Day!

According to Green Bride Guide the average wedding produces roughly 400-600 lbs of waste, per event. Between left over food, flowers, decor, etc there is a lot of waste that comes along with that Pinterest Perfect Wedding Board most couples desire! Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.44.02 PM   So let’s talk about 10 ways your Big Day can WASTE LESS ! 1. Food : One of the biggest wastes that can be avoided on a wedding day is FOOD! Buffets, cake, prime rib, untouched cocktail hour veggie platters, the possibilities are endless and sadly I have seen it all land in the trash! With hunger at an all time high, it seems so silly to take perfectly good food and throw it away, when there are organizations everywhere across the world taking waste food. Blog 1200px-0083 Photo by Gray Kammera Photography When I was in LA, last year, I had the opportunity to tour the L.A. Kitchen and learn how they are using unwanted waste food to make amazing dishes for assisted living communities and also employing aged-out foster kids and the previously incarcerated members of society to learn a trade in culinary arts! These places exist all around the country, find a food bank in your area via Feeding America or a food rescue center via The Food Rescue Database. Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.19.45 PM Image via Feeding America Disclaimer: It is common for caterers or food service providers to push back because of the substantial liability for such food donations. Thankfully any good-faith food donations are free from such liability due to the latest federal government law 42 U.S.C. 12672, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.   2. Flowers: Imagine the scene… The Bride and Groom are on their way off to their honeymoon and the clean up team is hard at work. As they put away the chairs and dishes they notice one thing they are unsure of what to do with…. Thousands of dollars worth of left over flowers! ‘What should we do with them, we can’ t take them back on the plane’ and the perplexed helper regretfully places piles of fresh roses and hydrangeas in the trash bin! Blog 1200px-0035 Photo by Gray Kammera Photography PLEASE FRIENDS! There are so many organizations out there ready to take your leftover flowers and uplift and inspire those in hospitals, nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers. Do the research, call ahead and let them know you want to donate these blooms to their cause. They will even give you a tax-write off for your love offering! Random Acts of Flowers, Petals with Purpose, Floranthrophy, Repeat Roses are just to name a few of the organizations ready to take your blooms. Video via Random Acts of Flowers   3. Gift Registries:  Back in the day, couples would leave their parents homes and have to make a home from nothing and hence the wedding guests would bring them all the welcome home goodies their newlywed hearts would need. Nowadays the statistics show that couples are getting married later and later in life. They want to have their careers in place and independence aligned before nuptials are even thought of so most of those engaged love birds already have a lot of crap! So let us do our wedding guests a favor and skip the gifts! OR consider a gift registry that doesn’t involve wrapping paper and plastic wrap. Here are a few charitable/sustainable wedding registries that can help your wedding impact others: Heartful.ly– A gift registry that empowers couples to fund life changing projects around the world. So Kind Registry – A registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more -OR- If you do still need goodies consider a few fair-trade online options: Bambeco– Recyclable, sustainable home goods that give back. West Elm– Support fair trade and often local artisans in each store, West Elm is the perfect one stop shop for any soon-to-be newlywed’s love nest needs! ZOLA – You can combine all of the things/brands you might need for your new home under one roof and then ship all the goods at once and reduce your waste/carbon footprint. You can also fund a honeymoon, portion of the wedding costs, or donate to charity as well.   4. Transportation: Carpool, Uber, Bicycle, Smart Car, Moped, or charter a boat taxi to take your bridal party to the reception! The eco-friendly options are endless!   5. Favors: Having been to my fair share of weddings I’ve seen a variety of cheaply made wedding favors that no one will ever use again and it breaks my heart. Try sponsoring a child, or redirecting your favor budget toward the charity you plan to support, such as these sweet doggie cookies that support a local dog shelter. 1175_061213 Photo By Alissa Dineen   6. Paper Goods/Invites:  Paper goods can be one of the most obvious waste makers, but it is equally one of of the easiest parts of the wedding that can lead to positive change. There are so many options like: Recyclable/Sustainable Paper Types, design shown below by Citrus Press Co. / Photo by Regina As The Photographer Wedding-World-Changing-Day-Promo-14 Or if you are a bit more new school, try an e-vite, or video wedding invite, etc and save some trees and postage along the way!   7. Function vs. Fancy Fancy is fun, we get it! There is a certain level of exclusivity and experience that comes along with black tie affairs, however they aren’t always the most functions and sometime the more wasteful events can be those that are the highest end people with the abilities and budgets to make more sustainable choices. This is where functionality comes into play… The best things in life are simple, functional and intentional… Here are a few examples: Glass Jars to take home vs. Champaigne Flutes ALP_7608 Photo by Image Clairity Decomposable Bamboo Utensils vs. Polished Silver © EVERPHOTO www.everphoto.net www.facebook.com/everphoto Photo by Emily Dykema Ceremony Programs that double as Pop Corn Bag Holders (or any other reception treat you might choose) © EVERPHOTO www.everphoto.net www.facebook.com/everphoto Photo by Emily Dykema 8. RENT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE Renting is far more waste-preventing, and minimally impactful to the environment than flat out buying things you’ll never use or wear again. Literally there are rental options for practically every aspect of your wedding day process,  your dress, your tuxes, the bridesmaid’s dresses, your decorations, you name it and it can most likely be rented! Here are few rental companies to consider: Menguin – Tuxedos Borrowing Magnolia– Wedding Dresses Rent the Run Way– Elopement, wedding attire, rehearsal dinner garb. Happily Ever Borrowed– Rentable Bridal Accessories, Veils, jewelry, etc. BLACKSHEEPBRIDE (6 of 61) The biggest misconception about DIY Weddings is they will be better on the pocketbook, but after the time is spent buying the materials and flea market finds to put the projects together, you are in better use of your time, dollars and energy to rent the things you are trying to faux-antique and you will save yourself space after you’re married. Not only will it save you money, it will be reused multiple times by others and treated just like new! 9. Reuse/ Reduce/Recycle This is obvious friends. If you have reusable goods, save them aside, donate them to your local non-profits, half way houses, etc. Reduce and Recycle what you can! Set out separate bins for recyclable trash vs. regular trash vs. compost… When given the opportunity people will make the right choices.   10. Composting is your friend!  At the end of the day, if you aren’t able to find a non-profit locally that will take your flowers, or food…. COMPOST your biodegradable waste, so the earth can benefit from your waste in a productive and positive manner, like using it in a co-op garden vs. ‘wasting’ good soil nutrients in a land fill. COMPOST NOW has pick up services across the nation ready to grab your garbage and turn into garden goodness! 225903_446643672053078_1378420870_n BONUS! 11. Buy with Purpose! Even if you have the budget dollars in the world, or would rather buy new, do so with integrity and value businesses that put the environment and humanity first! A few examples of sustainably-minded wedding brands are Rebecca Schoneveld Bridal, MiaDonna Eco Diamonds! IMG_0179 Photo: Rachel Gomez Photography    IMG_0178     Now Happy Waste Less Wedding Planning to You and Have an Intention and Impactful Earth Day! Let us make every day about helping making the world a better place!

Thankful Thursdays- Jennifer Juniper Photography, Daytona, FL

Thankful Thursday’s is a series we started at the beginning of 2016 to bring awareness to our amazing BSB Vendors that Give Back and share how they use their businesses to serve the environment and their local and global communities! Today we are sharing The Giving Back Story of one of our newest BSB vendors/photographers, Jennifer Juniper Photography. Jennifer Juniper Photography provides Wedding Photography in Florida – Orlando, Daytona Beach, and surrounding areas and is actively involved in giving back to her community. 12716093_774783595956175_3597218092598964552_o Outside of her photography business responsibilities she also founded a non-profit, called FLOWERFLOWER is a local non-profit organization based in Volusia County, Florida, composed of some of the area’s most talented wedding and event professionals. They believe that by coming together, they can help their local community through events, seminars, wedding-related fundraisers, and charitable acts.  They are not only working to improve their businesses, but also improving the lives of the people around them who allow them to do what they love to do every day. They recently held a charity dinner benefiting a local soup kitchen and provided an elegant dining experience for some of Daytona’s homeless neighbors. FLOWER-0007 crop FLOWER-0023 crop FLOWER-0027 crop Visit Jennifer Juniper Photography and FLOWER to learn more about their upcoming events! Thank you Jennifer for using your wedding business and passion to serve others!

Weddings that Give Back: Megan + Chris, North Bend, WA

There is nothing more refreshing and uplifting than an outdoor wedding feature! Megan owns an amazing social enterprise jewelry brand, called Tuli, based out of Uganda and decided that her wedding would be a perfect time to debut their new bridal line of upcycled paper bead jewelry. She used her entrepreneurial resourcefulness and created one stellar DIY Wedding, and the $ saved was donated to serve others in Uganda! Read below to learn more about how they planned their day with intention and purpose. m_c656 ‘When Chris and I first met in Jacksonville, Florida, we bonded over being from the west — he’s from Denver and I’m from Seattle — and over the things we missed about our respective homes: mountains and craft beer. So, it was only fitting that we had our wedding at an old hops farm at the foot of the Cascade Mountains.’m_c49 ‘I founded Tuli, a social enterprise that sells jewelry made in Uganda, and had been getting a lot of requests for a line of wedding jewelry. So, I decided to debut a new line at our wedding, and each of my bridesmaids and I wore a piece from the new collection. The jewelry is made using recycled paper and creates fair-waged, sustainable work for Tuli’s partners in Uganda.’m_c409 ‘We made most of our wedding decor ourselves, with help from family and friends, and what we couldn’t make, we bought from small, independent businesses and Etsy vendors. My family owns a custom home company, so I stained and painted scrap wood leftover from job sites to make signs. My favorite was a twist on the classic ceremony/reception signpost: I included directions for Denver, where Chris is from, and Tokyo, where the two of us live and work currently.’ m_c546 m_c556 m_c222 m_c214m_c474 m_c536 ‘To save money, we bought wholesale flowers and succulents and spent a day putting together the wedding flowers ourselves. It was a great way to bring all our friends and families from around the world together before our big day!’ m_c608 m_c638 m_c557 ‘My brother built us a bar so we could have craft beer on tap for our guests — it tastes better and we didn’t have to worry about litter from bottles and cans!’m_c645  m_c391 m_c317 m_c259  m_c121m_c797  m_c866 m_c877 ‘Overall, we kept things simple, fun and inexpensive. We wanted to have a small ceremony and a special day to celebrate with our friends and family, and we donated to Uganda what was left over from the money we would have used on a fancy wedding.’ m_c801 Participating Vendors: Venue: Meadowbrook Farm, North Bend, WA | Photography: Courtney Bowlden Photography | Flowers: Blooms by the Box and SucculentsPlus | Menus, place cards, signs, etc: Designed by bride | Pint glasses: Designed by bride; printed by DiscountMugs | Food: Double Barrel BBQ | Dress hanger: Handmade by Breanna | Bar: Handmade by Father and Brother of Bride  of AJ Development | Flower girl headband and basket: Handmade by Bride | Jenga: Handmade by Bride and FOB (of AJ Development) using recycled scrap wood | Wedding arch: Handmade by Bride’s brother (of AJ Development) using a tree from bride’s parent’s property | Cake topper: Top of the Cake | Makeup: Cris Make Up | Hair: Natasha Nadvorna

Wedding World Changer Day- Mass Wedding in Dominican Republic

Before I begin I want to take a moment and offer a very special, heart-felt, THANK YOU to the 4 vendors that helped sponsor this trip: Buy the Change, Vinson Images, Jennifer Jupiter Photography, Jeannie Capellan Photography… It wouldn’t have been possible without your love and support! IMG_1514 If you have been following our Instagram at all, you may have seen that we’ve been busy (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘me': Danielle, a.k.a. The Leading BSB Lady), traveling this past week in a town about an hour away from the border of Dominican Republic and Haiti, called Bara Hona. Our good family friend, and pastor, Ricky Navarro, called me one day last month and invited me to join him (and my 17 year old nephew) to help photograph a mass wedding of 27 couples at once that he was going to officiate. It was in connection with a Miami -faith-based organization founded by an amazing, dare I say ‘Saint’ of a woman, named Christine, with a heart for the hurting Haitian Communities in the midst of the political unrest in the DR. I knew little about her story (another blog post will explain soon enough) and little about what I was getting into, but man … I have been so incredibly gifted by this experience… However It is not the average wedding feature it is worthy to be shared. There were lots and lots of people, lots of sweat and lots of laughter…. I’ve never shot a wedding with so much happiness and joy like this in my life… and then multiply that by 27 couples!!!! All of the dresses, rings, tuxes, shoes, food, everything…. were donated for these couples in need. Twice a year, once in Haiti in January and once in Dominican Republic in July, they organize these mass weddings and I am so excited to further our Black Sheep Bride involvement in the future. IMG_0036 IMG_0067 IMG_0173 Here is my nephew working hard with the camera (ssshhhh… for the first time) IMG_0239 IMG_0397 IMG_0527 IMG_0548 IMG_0589 IMG_0623 IMG_0680 IMG_0690 IMG_0713 IMG_0752 And then the best part! All of the amazingly joyful and fun kisses! The crowd started off calm and then with each kiss… It got louder and louder and crazier and crazier… It was so awesome, like one massive kissing contest! and this image also gives some reference to how hot it was inside this space as well. IMG_0804IMG_0774  IMG_0923 IMG_1007 IMG_1219 So grateful for everyone that supported this trip and for helping make it a success… It was truly an honor to represent so many connected with Black Sheep Bride.