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Weddings that Give Back: Rayna + Jon, Tampa, FL

We featured an engagement session a few months ago, of this lovely couple doing big, intentional and wildly purposeful things in their community, with their non-profit, Four Letter Word! You can catch up on that side of their wedding story here. Fast forward a few months and they’re now married and had one heck of a socially conscious wedding to boot! The amount of thoughtful consideration that went into every, I repeat… EVERY, aspect of their BIG day is absolutely awe-inspiring! Grateful for this couple’s hearts for others, the bride’s amazing recap (shared below), and our BSB vendor, Savannah Lauren, who was there to capture every moment! raynajonyborwedding-492 ‘Including our community and the environment into our wedding day was a very special experience. We did this not only to bring awareness, but it is important to us, and a lifestyle we pursue daily. We learned a lot about people and got to know our community in a more intimate way. We experienced humility, and we are thankful for the efforts everyone put in, to not only making our day great, but making our community great. Our hearts are to bring not only us, but also our community, together as one. jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-1
We met many local vendors and got to talk about values and giving back in Tampa Bay. It is great to see a group of people that are now collaborating because our wedding was just the catalyst to many great relationships in our community.
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We saw our neighbor cutting up his fallen oak tree and asked him to cut us a few “slivers” it was refreshing to be outside talking to the people who surround you. We often forget to do life this way.
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We made our signs in the garage, and got excited to see progress every week. It was hot, but we got to encourage each other to keep going, even when we wanted just to go buy what we were making.
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We planted our own babies breath, because we wanted to learn something new about gardening and farming, it was an unsuccessful harvest, but we tried our best. We used seed paper in our invitations to get people to do the same.
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We chose Amazing Love Ministries, because we serve there and know the homeless that come in and out of their doors every week to get a hot meal. In fact, that’s where all our leftovers went.
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We made our ceremony unplugged because we wanted people to pause for a brief moment and enjoy their surroundings, to share the moment with us, and remember our voices and our faces.
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We got to connect with many vendors through word of mouth recommendations. It was a “treasure hunt” where one person would lead us to the next. Honestly it was one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, and we had so many wonderful surprises and we made life-long friends through the process.jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-104 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-105 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-108 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-114 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-115 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-117 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-122 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-125 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-127 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-129 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-142 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-149 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-152
We used compostable plates because instead of filling up a land-fill with paper and plastic, we can use the nutrients to grow, healthy, sustainable food in our garden.
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We harvested pine cones on our walks around the neighborhood at night, holding hands and talking about our future, then eventually our hands would be full of prickly pine cones. We learned you can really only hold so many, we made a lot of trips.
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The Bride and Groom chose to Give Back directly to following non-profits: Amazing Love Ministries, Tampa Christian Fellowship, Tampa Bay Harvest, and their own non-profit, Four Letter Word. And the giving didn’t stop there, here are the amazing vendors and aspects of their day and how they give back in their own way:
Wedding Coordinator: Rhonda Abdalla, From Yes to I Do and Events
“Rhonda at a young age was giving back to the community, growing up she spent most of her weekends with her family volunteering. She volunteered making meals for the homeless or arts & crafts and playing board games with the pediatric wing of her local hospital. Rhonda says, “ she was lucky enough to understand how important it was to give back, it’s truly a priceless and liberating feeling!” When Rhonda launched From Yes To I Do, she had no doubt in her mind that she wanted to incorporate this into her business. Rhonda proudly coordinates events for local nonprofit organizations. Having the opportunity to give back through her business is a dream come true and something she always planned on doing. Rhonda says she lives by the motto “you make a life by what you give to others” and because of this she can truly say her life is full of peace and prosperity.”
  Ceremony Venue:Amazing Love Ministries, Ybor
 “Amazing Love Ministries feeds over 300 people in the Ybor City area every week. In addition to providing hot meals and cold drinks, people are also given a to-go bag full of food to take with them. The ministry also provides many of the items that people need to live on the street: clothing, backpacks, shoes, blankets, toiletries, etc.”
  Reception Venue:CL Space, Ybor
 “Creative Loafing focuses on connecting the Tampa Bay area through their free online and print publication, which is a great source for events, restaurants, concerts and shows, Visual Arts reviews, news and opinions.”
  Caterer:Holy Hog BBQ 
 “Holy Hog BBQ is heavily involved in the local communities surrounding our stores in and around Tampa. The Hog donates various products and services to numerous organizations through out each year. We offer a 15% discount to all military and police including Fire and EMS all day every day. We most recently donated to the One Orlando Fund and and participated and Eat, Drink Red last year as well. We believe it is important to give back and help support the local community in any way possible.”
  Photographer:Savannah Lauren
“Savannah is affiliated with Feeding America, she volunteers her time and donates her photography services to food kitchens and underprivileged communities, she even created a series called The Intrepid Sessions.”
Second Photographer: Ivana Cajina
DJ/EmCee:Will Jackson
Will Jackson is the Creative Director for Grace Family Church in Tampa, Florida. He invests in youth and worship ministries, he is very passionate about his career in ministry and serves well as a leader to his community.   Officiant:Sixto and Susan Ward  
Violinist: Sarah Taylor
“Sarah gives back by supporting Ezra/Beat NB (A childhood cancer research foundation) and by donating her old clothes and furniture to Salvation Army. Sarah has a career as a music teacher in Hillsborough County, Tampa a truly finds passion in teaching the next generation music.”   Transportation:Jolley Trolley    Cake:Publix Bayshore
 “The founder of Publix, George Jenkins was once asked what he thought he would be worth had he not given so much away. Humbly, he answered “Probably nothing”. Publix gives to thousands of local non-profit organizations, tailoring giving to the needs of each local community. We put the weight of the company behind these campaigns; Special Olympics, Food for Sharing, March of Dimes, Children’s Miracle Network, Food for All, United Way, Tools for School and many others. If you shop at Publix, there’s a good chance you support them, too. “
  Hair: Sally Bakalyar “Sally donates time at her salon to give free back-to-school haircuts. She serves on the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary. Sally also advocates for the homeless, women’s shelters, and is involved with many churches and charities in the Tampa Bay area.”
  Small Paper Flowers: Made from old recycled bibles and hymn books, bought locally at Oldsmar Flea Market, crafted by Rayna and Robin Cohen – also seen in Brides Bouquet, Grooms Boutonnière, and Centerpieces.  
Makeup: Maribel Guisto InvitationsForever Fiancés  Envelopes: Recycled paper bag envelopes from Amazon RSVP and Details: Designed by Rayna, printed locally by Ashtay Printing/Zebra flyers  Bride Rings: Bought locally from a Gemologist, conflict-free diamonds Grooms Ring: Alamea, crafted from sustainable harvested Koa wood from Hawaii Bouquets and Hair Pieces: Babies Breath – grown in the Brasier garden and filled with additional babies breath from Carlstedt’s Confetti: Made from the remnants of the paper flowers Large Paper Flowers: Bought second- hand. Artist: Yanet Ademan Centerpieces: Wood rings – from a neighbor’s fallen tree, Manzanita – from Blooms and Branches Pallet Signs: Painted by Beverly Bakalyar  Party Favors: Trail mix bar, local fruit bought from Bearss Groves and dried by Rayna and Jon Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Ybor Pipes and Drape/Uplighting: BayStage Live (www.baystagelive.com) Tables/Chairs/Linens: Rent All (www.rentallcity.com) Broccoli Bouquet: Bearss Groves Market Grooms Bowtie: Two Guys Bowties  Groomsmen watches and sunglasses: TreeHut  Bridemaids Skirts: Space46 Boutique  Dress and Veil:Allure – CC’s Bridal Boutique Featured local craft brews: Cigar City Jai Alai, 3 Daughters Beach Blonde, Florida Avenue IPA, Green Bench Brewing Sunshine City IPA All other goods made by the bride and groom, bought locally, or supported skilled artisans; bridesmaids robes, parent gift photo albums, garter, hour glass, flower girl basket, stamps, pearl head piece. ________________ To learn more about the bride and groom’s desire to serve others with their non-profit, Four Letter Word, visit their website!

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