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Weddings that Give Back: Natasha and Alexander- St. Elizabeth, Jamaica

Today’s Weddings That Give Back feature is one for the nostalgic destination wedding record books. Full of Jamaican voluntourism, supporting local farms, businesses and artisans, sustainable intentionality, this couple truly embraced their wedding day as an opportunity to serve those that have inspired their lives greatest! 91600002 Alex’s mother grew up in Jamaica, and Natasha’s family traveled to Jamaica frequently and she even studied abroad there. After their summer living in the parish of St. Elizabeth on the South Coast together, and working at BRED’s Treasure Beach nonprofit foundation, this place in Jamaica was forever sacred in their hearts. dscn2661_27937538083_o - Photo Credit- Betsy Basset E9ram91610004 The couple and their family and friends stayed at Jakes Hotel, Spa and Villas throughout the week leading up to their wedding. The hotel is known for its funding of the BRED’s Treasure Beach Foundation (where Natasha previously worked), and its focus is  devoted to improving the community. In lieu of gifts, the couple asked for donations to BRED’s. Volunteering was also a major facet of the wedding. Family and friends spent some time painting schools and coaching sports to the children of the Treasure Beach community, as part of the BRED’s foundation. They had a full week itinerary with optional activities for guests (a trip to YS falls, a boat trip to Pelican Bar, lunch at a local jerk hut, bike tours, etc.) Photo Jul 01, 1 15 02 PM Photo Jul 01, 1 34 20 PM IMG_2992 - Photo Credit- Betsy Basset IMG_2996 - Photo Credit- Betsy BassetIMG_5163-189 They also had gift baskets for all the wedding guests, with goodies curated and sourced by local business owners and artisans. Photo Jun 28, 9 48 57 AM Photo Jun 28, 9 49 24 AM Alex went on an epic beach walk with his friends to find the branches that they built into the hoopah. They made the big wooden piece that has their initials carved into it with seashells they found on the beach-this was a total surprise! (It’s now hanging in their Brooklyn bedroom.) All the jewelry Natasha wore and gave to the women in the wedding was made by Veronique, a local artist making amazing pieces from natural elements she finds in Treasure Beach. DSC_4042 - Photo Credit- Betsy Basset DSC_4115 - Photo Credit- Betsy Basset   DSCN3181 DSCN3194      IMG_4630-82 - Photo Credit- Daniel Sharp IMG_4644-96 IMG_4646-98   88670006 - Photo Credit- Daniel Holzman 88680012 dscn2856_28553174375_o - Photo Credit- Betsy BassetIMG_3872-48 88700001 All the kids in the wedding went to the local boutique store Callaloo, where they all picked outfits to wear for the wedding. The table cloths were also made from West African fabric the couple found in NYC, their friend sewed it together, and they brought it all the way to Jamaica. IMG_4736-188 - Photo Credit- Daniel Sharp IMG_4895-347 IMG_4337-161IMG_4920-372 Venue | Food | Florals: Jake’s Hotel, Spa and Villas  | Videographer : JussBuss TV | Jewelry : Veronique | Kid’s Clothing: Callaloo | Photography : Crowd sourced

Weddings That Give Back: Michelle and Joe- Key West, FL

One of our very own BSB Vendors, friends, and ethical fashion advocate, Michelle, of Michelle For Good and Co-Founder of The Tote Project, recently tied the knot in South Florida to her amazing guy, Joey!
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 True to form, Michelle and Joey made sure to incorporate as many ethical, charitable and sustainable wedding day details as they could and used their intimate destination wedding to shop small, waste less and serve others. Read more about how they were intentional throughout the post.
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Shop Small: ‘We are both advocates of fair trade and the sweatshop-free movement, so we tried to shop small when we could. We bought the flower girl basket and guest book from designers on ETSY, and I surprised Joey with a wedding day gift of a Brackish Bow Tie, (another amazing BSB find).’
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Michelle’s Bridal Jewelry: Her awesome bridal jewelry was designed by her good friend Destiny, of Destiny Conner Jewelry.  ‘She designed a custom hair piece and earrings for me. She donates 10% of her profits to the Imagine Foundation.’
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The Venue: The couple choose to get married at The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West, FL.  The venue is a non-profit museum. The house was built in 1851 and purchased as Hemingway’s home in 1931, all of the furniture is preserved in it’s original form. The estate still remains to be the single largest residential property on the island of Key West.
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The Bridesmaids Gifts:  ‘I bought my maids of honor (I couldn’t pick just one, all my bridesmaids were maids and matrons of honor haha) Purpose Jewelry for their gifts and asked them to wear the pieces in the wedding. Purpose Jewelry is made by human trafficking survivors and 100% of the proceeds go to them. I also surprised them with Sand Cloud towels to go with the destination wedding theme. They donate to protect marine life.’
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Tuxes: The Wedding Party Tuxes were rented from Generation Tux.  ‘We didn’t initially see a give-back component on their site, so I tweeted at them and asked if they’d be willing to donate if we chose them as a vendor. They agreed and donated 10% of the price we paid to UNICEF to support Syrian Refugees. They also said they are working to incorporate giving back into their business model..woohoo!’ (<<<< TALK ABOUT CHANGE MAKER! Go Michelle and Joey!)
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Wedding Rings: ‘My engagement ring and wedding band were from Brilliant Earth, and Joey’s band was from another Black Sheep Bride vendor, Tenzabelle. It was super important to us to get conflict-free rings and Brilliant Earth gives back to communities negative affected by the illegal diamond trade.’
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Photographer: We chose Andrew Abajian as our photographer. He’s not only a great friend of ours, he also does humanitarian work and has photographed the efforts of Saddleback/Rick Warren around the world.
Wedding Invitations: We ordered recycled paper wedding invitations from Minted.
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All Photos courtesy of Andrew Abajian.

Honeymoons with Purpose: Jade Mountain, St. Lucia

Jade Mountain has been a favorite destination of ours since we started researching sustainable, eco-friendly, charitable honeymoon hotspots, so we are so thrilled to share this beautiful tropical paradise with you all today! From the architecture, to the locally sourced organic produce, to the chocolate farm with on-site production, to the community service and all the way down to the eco-friendly/sustainable operational practices, we couldn’t be more impressed with the level of thoughtful consideration that went into creating this socially conscious luxury honeymooning destination. (All content and imagery sourced directly from Jade Mountain)

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Rising majestically above the 600 acre beach front resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia’s south-western Caribbean coastline is a cornucopia of organic architecture celebrating St. Lucia’s stunning scenic beauty.

Architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy has expanded upon his philosophy of building in harmony with Caribbean nature in his creation of Jade Mountain St. Lucia. The bold architectural design – individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool sanctuaries and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky – makes Jade Mountain St. Lucia one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing resort experiences.

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Jade Mountain opened in December 2006. Here is an overview of sustainable practices as they relate to Jade Mountain specifically.

1.The resort provides alternative transportation for its employees. On a daily basis, shuttles are scheduled hourly to transport workers from the resort to the local community, keeping carbon emissions to a minimum.

2.  The design of Jade Mountain reinforces the connection to the natural environment with passive ventilation of the rooms and natural day-lighting. Heating and cooling of the sanctuaries (rooms) is based entirely on the natural rhythms and cycles of the world around us.  Not being dependent on artificial cooling or lighting of the rooms decreases the use of precious energy resources and minimizes the carbon footprint of the resort.

3. The exterior plaza of Jade Mountain was designed to capture all the rainwater in Koi ponds and planting areas.  The plants are then harvested for use in the resort’s restaurants.

4. A natural coral tile was used for exterior walkways and roof areas. It is highly reflective and effectively diminishes any “heat island” effect in the local micro-climate.

5. Potable water for the resort is produced by collecting it in a reservoir that was originally constructed and used by the British and French to power the water wheels that crushed sugar cane. The reservoir was repaired after decades of not being used and now collects over 1.5M gallons of water annually that is processed via a state-of-the-art water purification system.

6.The reed beds that are operating were designed and built to naturally purify effluent from the resort. The end product is gray water that is used to irrigate landscaping, when necessary.  This is a low tech, but highly efficient means to treat effluent. Solids are first allowed to settle out in tanks, and then the sands and gravels used in the design are the first step in the filtering process. The reeds (indigenous plants) continue to pull impurities out of the effluent until it becomes “gray water”.  The plants are periodically harvested to be used in the landscape around the resort.

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Emerald Farm:

Organic produce for our kitchens and artisanal chocolate making.

Flower Pots Guests at Anse Chastanet Resort are able to visit our organic farm Emerald’s located in the Soufriere hills, approximately 20 minutes away from Anse Chastanet. A visit to Emerald Farm can be combined with a tour to the Sulphur Springs and Botanical Gardens which all together will take about 3-4 hours.

Since 2007, Emerald Estate has been growing organic produce – from vegetables, micro greens, salads to fruits, spices, nuts and herbs- for the resort kitchens, under the supervision of consulting chef Allen Susser, taking the farm to table concept to a completely new level.

There are over 1000 cocoa trees providing the cocoa beans used in the resort’s own chocolate production.

There also is a myriad of flowers and ornamental plants and soon, an orchid house.

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Sustainable Sourcing:

The resort emphasizes fresh, local products with a purchasing plan that includes certified organic foods, sustainable agriculture eco-labeled foods, and locally produced foods.

The resort has provided guidance and training to local farmers. The resort operates aorganic farm using certified seeds only to further support the locally purchased produce.

The resort has began a local chocolate making program, using the 2000 cocoa trees on the resort estate.

The resorts actively encourages customers to visit small, locally-operated businesses and the excursion program is built around this.

The resort actively supports the maintenance of local infrastructure (water, roads, electricity, etc.) through economic or in-kind means.

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Community Involvement:

The resorts are involved in many different levels of support for:

• Sponsorship of sports and educations events

• Feeding programs in the primary schools

• Scholarships

• Internship opportunities in all departments, including scuba.

• Membership of the various local and regional organizations with focus on environmental and/or social issues.

• The resort for several years ran a Soccer Cup competition, the Jade Mountain Cup

• The resort promotes local cultural attractions and events to its customers.

• The resort regularly meets with members of the local community to ensure supplier operations support local and/or indigenous norms and customs.

• The resort stores actively promote and sell locally produced artwork, handicrafts and other local goods.

Karolin Troubetzkoy, the Executive Director of Marketing and Operations, has been instrumental in working closely with local artists and craftsmen to develop attractive artwork and crafts for sale in the resort boutiques. 25 years ago she opened the first art gallery on island, to showcase specifically artworks by local artists, and give guests the opportunity to meet the local artists. Mrs. Troubetzkoy was instrumental in curating the resort’s art collection on display all over Anse Chastanet, rooms and public areas, an eclectic blend of both local artists and international visiting artists who created artworks inspired by Saint Lucia during their stay.

For more information and ways to book your Honeymoon with Purpose, please visit Jade Mountain.