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Fair Trade Weddings that Give Back: Abigail + Keith- Covington, KY

Wedding planning can be the most magical, and equally most financially burdening, time of your life, especially if the engaged couple is the one paying. After much research, thought, and consideration, Abigail and Keith decided to get off Pinterest and Instagram, and started thinking outside the box. Abigail owns an amazing ethical marketplace, called Seven Seeds, and we wanted to honor their sustainable wedding story, on no better day than World Fair Trade Day! Below Abigail took the time to share with BSB, how she managed to pull off her socially conscious wedding, while on a budget. davidson-details-18 THE DILEMMA OF A SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS WEDDING   Throwing a 100% socially conscious wedding is quite the challenge. I knew that I wanted to do things as ethically as possible, and here again, we had to prioritize. Not everything about our wedding was done completely consciously when it came to sourcing everything we needed. At times, we sacrificed sustainability for budget. But we did what we could, and that’s what living a conscious lifestyle is all about: taking baby steps, doing what you can until you can do more.   THE DRESS More and more brides are stepping outside the box and choosing a less traditional wedding dress. I took my sister to try on dresses in my city’s bridal district, but something didn’t seem right. I didn’t feel beautiful in any of them, and even cheap wedding dresses are expensive. What was the point in spending thousands of dollars on a dress that I didn’t love and was made in a sweatshop anyway?! davidson-details-19 TOP: Style Saint ($88) The top of my dress I ordered from Style Saint. Style Saint’s clothing is all 100% sweatshop free. When you purchase an item from them, you receive a piece of paper that tells you how many hours of fair wage labor it took to make that item, how many gallons of water were saved throughout the production process, and how many yards of sustainable fabric were used. davidson-details-21 SKIRT: Made with love by my mom! I’m lucky enough to have a master seamstress as a mother. We spent months going back and forth to the fabric store and her house, looking for the right patterns and fabrics that would go perfectly with my top, creating a dress that was fancy enough to get married in, but reflected my personality more than a traditional gown. I’m so glad to have worn something that was made by hand just for me! davidson-getting-ready-49 MOH DRESS: my mom, again. Since we decided to have a smaller ceremony, I didn’t have a full bridal party. Instead, my sister and my husband’s best friend we the only ones who stood beside us as our Matron of Honor and Best Man. After again doing some shopping around and not being able to find anything we liked, my mom made my sister’s dress as well! This was so fun because we were able to make it compliment my dress perfectly. davidson-getting-ready-36 THE TUX: Instead of a tux, Keith wore a plain black suit he already had!   THE RINGS: ENGAGEMENT RING: Purchasing a diamond that was mined ethically was very important to me. The diamond industry is wrought with injustices like human trafficking and child labor, and diamonds and other precious stones and metals are often used to fuel civil wars and other types of violence in certain parts of the world. I knew that if I’m going to wear this ring for the rest of my life, I didn’t want to look at it every day wondering if this stone which is meant to symbolize selfless love and commitment was dug out by a seven year old being forced to do back-breaking labor for thirteen hours a day. davidson-details-04 Many of the “conflict-free” rings you’ll find in traditional jewelry stores are still far from ethically-sourced. In order to qualify as “conflict-free,” the stone must not be used to “finance rebel movements against recognized governments.” However, this leaves out a huge number of diamonds that are contaminated by violence, child labor, unfair working conditions, and environmental harm. In other words, it’s very possible for a diamond to qualify as “conflict-free,” yet was still obtained through extremely unjust measures.   So, my ring was purchased from Brilliant Earth. Brilliant Earth goes “beyond conflict-free” by ensuring that each of their carefully selected suppliers adhere to strict labor and environmental standards. They use only recycled metals and each ring comes with a “birth certificate” which shows you exactly where your stone came from. The team at Brilliant Earth is also passionate about advocating for awareness and education about the corruption and injustice in the jewelry industry and gives back 5% of its profits to communities harmed by the industry.   MY BAND: I wanted a super simple and delicate band to match my ring. I originally ordered a matching band from Brilliant Earth, but returned it because I didn’t like the shape. I decided instead to go with a local artisan jewelry maker, a friend of a friend. Old Hills Design Company created a perfectly dainty rose gold band for a really affordable price. Vanessa, owner and Chief Ring Maker, is super nice, flexible, quick, and cares about using eco-friendly metals and other materials in her jewelry. I highly recommend her! davidson-bride-groom-35 HIS BAND: My husband got his ring for like $15 off of ebay and I have no idea where it came from. Hey, you can’t win them all, right?! davidson-details-05 THE FLOWERS I am craaaazy about how my flowers turned out! Here again, we took the DIY route in order to save money. I’m lucky enough to have an artist as a best friend, who has dabbled in floral design for fun (although she could make a career out of it if she wanted). I essentially gave Jackie the reigns when it came to the flowers, and she was able to gather local, sustainably-sourced flowers from several different places and arrange them herself. Two Little Buds | That Girl’s Flowers | Jackie’s yard davidson-details-11  abbie-keith-preview-06 For my bouquet, my sister’s bouquet, small bouquets for the moms and grandma, and boutonnieres for my husband, best man, dads, and grandpas, I spent a total of $100 on these babies (yes, we were very resourceful and tactful, but I’m pretty sure we also got lucky with this price). Jackie, my sister, and I had a flower-arranging party a couple days before the wedding and had a lot of fun putting the bouquets together! davidson-bride-groom-38 HAIR, MAKEUP, NAILS I got my hair and makeup done by my friends Holly and Amy, who are pros at making people look and feel beautiful. We got our nails done at Spruce Natural Nail Shop in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati. Most typical nail salons are filled with chemicals that are not only harmful for you, but have found to cause problems like infertility among the workers after being exposed to them day after day. Not only that, but nail salons are a hotspots for human trafficking, abuse, underpayment, and other unethical practices. Spruce Nail Shop not only treats its employees well, but all of their products are natural, eco-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free. Plus, their shop is SO cute and comfortable! davidson-getting-ready-15 VENUE: Finding the right venue was quite difficult. Location is often one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, and it often comes with rules and stipulations about food and drinks which can increase your budget even more.   We landed at The Frock, a small studio and event space in Covington, Kentucky that is run by a florist, a photographer, and an event planning company. The ladies of The Frock are amazing and so helpful. Usually the space is used for events like showers, business meetings, launch parties and the like; this was the first wedding that was held there. We had both the ceremony and the reception there, which made for a different feel than a traditional wedding. Guests arrived, got drinks, and mingled for about 20 minutes. We rolled out a rose colored walkway for my dad and I, then had a short ceremony and everyone except parents and grandparents just stood to watch. We didn’t want a bunch of time in between the ceremony and reception, so we just combined it into one big party! We set up a DIY photo booth and brought out chairs for people to sit and eat following the ceremony. It was out of the box, but so intimate; I’m really glad we decided to use this space! davidson-details-22 DECORATIONS: The Frock didn’t need much decorating, as it was already so beautiful and elegant! We hung a “Best Day Ever” balloon, some twinkle lights, and a few vases with gold paper flowers, but kept the decorations minimal. davidson-details-39 FOOD & DRINKS: This was the one area where we sacrificed sustainability for budget. We catered a taco bar from a local joint and one of Hamilton Ohio’s best kept secrets, Allen’s Market, which came highly recommended by our brother-in-law. We purchased our beer and wine in bulk from a local liquor store and paid a couple really awesome friends of a friend to be our bartenders for the evening. We used regular old paper plates, cups, and utensils. davidson-reception-006 DESSERT: My Dad owns Maggie Moo’s ice cream in Centerville, Ohio. I looooove ice cream, and neither my husband nor I are big fans of cake, so we decided to just have an ice cream bar instead! It was so fun, and our friends and family loved it.   COFFEE BAR: I was so excited to have a La Terza Coffee espresso bar at our wedding. La Terza Coffee not only roasts the best coffee in Cincinnati, but they care deeply about social enterprise. All of their coffee farmers are paid and treated fairly, and David Gaines, La Terza’s primary owner, is one of Seven Seeds’ Co-Founders! Feel free to let him know if you’d like more information on getting a full-service coffee and espresso bar at your wedding or event.   Our guests loved the way we did our food, and I got a lot of comments about how they preferred the taco bar, ice cream, and espresso bar over the traditional sit down dinner with some food that was probably much more expensive and didn’t taste as good. Again, don’t be afraid to step outside the box and forget about tradition!   PHOTOGRAPHER: After speaking with lots of brides who had gone before me, this was the one thing that almost all of them said to prioritize. “You’re not going to be able to save your dinner, dessert, or decorations. Your photos you will keep forever,” they said. I took their advice and wanted to make sure to capture this day as beautifully as I could. I worked with Jenn Manor once before on a spread about the conscious scene in Cincinnati for Conscious Magazine Issue 04, and she did a wonderful job. I loved her style and felt it would fit well with my own. abbie-keith-preview-05   REGISTRY: Keith and I debated a lot about whether or not we even wanted a registry. Though there were definitely things we needed for our home, we are somewhat of minimalists, and the last thing we wanted was a bunch of new STUFF we didn’t need! However, I know most people (myself included) really enjoy getting gifts for others, so I created a couple registries anyway.   We ended up using Thankful Registry. Thankful is based on the concept of gratitude over greed, and values individuality, thoughtfulness, and equality. They make it really easy for you to create your own beautiful registry website and add products from any website on the Internet. So you can shop around and add products from all of your favorite ethical brands, as well as add a Honeymoon Fund where guests can give money through PayPal. davidson-details-30 GIFTS: We decided against giving party favors to all of our guests, mostly because it just seemed wasteful to spend a thousand dollars on some little trinket that would most likely get thrown out. I did a lot of research to find something that would be actually practical and wouldn’t use a bunch of plastic packing material, but didn’t come up with anything that would be worth it. I’m pretty sure no one cared.   As for gifts for our parents, officiant, MOH and best man, we carefully picked out and purchased very personalized gifts, most of them from Etsy. They were almost entirely handmade, from an initial charm bracelet for my mother-in-law, to a hammer engraved with my handwriting for my dad. For my good friend who did my makeup, we got a bracelet from The Shine Project, a brand that employs first generation college students. And for my friend who did my flowers (and like a ton of other stuff), a giftcard to Continuum, a favorite women’s clothing and accessory boutique in Cincinnati where everything is produced ethically and sustainably.   MORAL OF THE STORY: I am so, so happy with how our wedding day turned out. We celebrated with the people we love, we didn’t spend a ton of money, and I could feel good about what I was wearing. I was really happy to give up the comparing game of the Brides of the Internet and do things simply instead. abbie-keith-preview-14 Throwing an affordable, conscious wedding is a challenge. In the end, my advice to you is this:   Prioritize and be realistic. So, be yourself! Wedding “rules” are so outdated, so do things the way you want! If you don’t want a white dress, don’t wear a white dress. If you don’t want to have it in a traditional venue, then don’t. If people want to judge you, that’s their problem, and they can do things the way they want on their wedding day!   If you can’t afford to source everything 100% ethically, then do what you can. Choose a few things, and fight to find vendors, artisans, and brands that care about social justice and giving back to the community.   Set proper expectations. Remember: it’s a special day, but it’s still just a day. Chances are, not everything is going to go your way. That’s okay! Part of living a conscious lifestyle is learning how to choose your battles and decide what is important to stand up for. So, be kind. Go with the flow. Remember what this day is about. abbie-keith-preview-12 Use your resources! Perhaps the best piece of advice I can give you is: let people help you. Did you notice a trend in this post? My friends and family did practically everything! From my dress, to my flowers, to my hair and makeup, I called on my talented people and asked if they would contribute in one way or another. Of course the people who love you are going to be happy to do so. Not only does this cut down on costs (a lot!), but it also makes the day so much more speci davidson-ceremony-52abbie-keith-preview-16davidson-ceremony-07davidson-reception-058 Dress: Top – Style Saint | Skirt/MOH Dress: made by Bride’s mom (Tracie Hendrix) | Engagement ring: Brilliant Earth | Bride’s band: Old Hills Design Co. | Flowers: sourced from Two Little Buds,  That Girl’s Flowers and arranged by Jaclyn Stephens | Venue: The Frock | Nails: Spruce Nail Shop | Hair: Amy Michael (friend) | Makeup: Holly Mullinix (friend) | Food: Allen’s Market (local small business) | Ice Cream Bar: Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream, Centerville (local small business) | Coffee Bar: La Terza Coffee | Photographer: Jenn Manor | Registry: Thankful Registry

Herb Garden Inspired Wedding: Amy & Jean- Francis, Toronto, Ontario

One of the many joys of running Black Sheep Bride is witnessing countless wedding stories driven by selfless love, intentional community and giving back. This wedding will have you tearing up with each image. Joel Bedford’s intricate and intimate style of capturing all of these sweetly sustainable details, quiet moments and raw emotions truly captivated my heart. Thanks to our amazing BSB Vendor, Celia Grace Fair Trade Wedding Gowns, for submitting their story for us to share!
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In awe of what Amy, the bride, had to share:
‘We dubbed our wedding a DIT (do-it-together) wedding, because it was largely friends & family that contributed the food, decor, and everything really! Even our wedding bands were made by a very creative friend.  My sister-in-law, Marie-Eve Best, designed the floral arrangements and I designed our invites/stationary.  Also, our make-up was provided by Oresta Organic Skin Care, our of Ottawa and my gown was from Celia Grace Fair Trade Wedding Gowns.’
Photos courtesy of Joel Bedford Photography
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Paper Goods, Food, Cake, Decor, Wedding Bands: Bride, Friends & Family

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!

Real Weddings That Gives Back: Julia + Matthew, Iowa

Instagram is a MAGICAL place, full of inspiration, empowerment and most importantly… new friends! Julia, from J. Lovan Goods, ran across Black Sheep Bride on Instagram over a year ago, before she was even married and we have been anxiously awaiting the day to share her intentional, heartfelt, and socially conscious wedding with you ever since! Read their ‘Giving Back Wedding Story’ below.
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‘Matthew and I both try to live simply, but in different ways. He’s an old-soul curmudgeon who uses a quality bag or pair of shoes until it’s on its last thread, while I compost even tiny fabric scraps and try to upcycle anything.
I wanted a unique and beautiful wedding, but I also wanted to make it as sustainable as possible. My greatest wedding planning asset was my sewing, craft skills and help from my mom. I designed and created my dress, the bridesmaids dresses, the ties and vests, while my sister-in-law, Lorraine Goddard, made an adorable matching mini-wedding dress for the flower girl, my new niece Lucy, as well as the ringbearer’s pillow.’
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‘We bought our wedding invites that I absolutely adored, from the graphic designer Pretty Little Papers. Other things I loved buying from small businesses were our wedding favors, they were wildflower seed paper hearts made by my friends at Fancy That Loved. I hand-lettered a love quote by Mother Theresa.’ _IMG_3280
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‘Matthew purchased my lovely rose gold, fair trade, conflict-free wedding ring from Chicago-based Rosado’s Box.’1D8A5991
‘I did my makeup myself after hours of research on organic makeup and watching tutorials. I have an all-natural makeup setting spray I made myself that is amazing and makes my skin dewy and younger-looking.
Being so picky about my dress, six days before the wedding, I got a little too anxious, so I took it apart and started on a new top, but in the end used the original design anyway! I finished the dress the night before the wedding. (And on a whim had the idea to have my mom hand stitch a belt onto it. She finished 30 minutes before showtime.)’
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‘My bridesmaids and friends went above and beyond to arrange our bouquets the day before the wedding, under the direction of my special-events planner and bridesmaid, Dawn of Los Angeles-based, Tribe of Asher. I got items like ribbon from Something Blue, a bridal consignment shop in Ankeny, Iowa.’1D8A67311D8A6797_S8A8140
‘I love cake, so I wanted to have a whole cake bar. We had 11 different cakes with buttercream frosting to choose from, all thanks to my amazing friends, Melissa and Dianne. The cutest thing I saw was a few small finger skid marks on one of the cakes. Some little guests were hungry I guess! Melissa also made a gluten and dairy free chocolate cake that I heard was gone in the blink of an eye.’ S8A8454
‘Years ago I saw photos of a crepe paper wisteria tree that my über creative friend Ruthi made for Anthropologie, and I knew I wanted to include that in my wedding. For months I twisted purple and lavender crepe paper while I Skyped with Matthew (he lived in California while I lived in Iowa), with no end in sight! My family and friends helped finish it, and I just love how it looked hanging from the huge copper tree at Tournament Club of Iowa.’
Participating Vendors: Photography: Lasting Memories Photography and Laura Lachman Photo | Videography: Rano Lovan | Hair: Linda Wright of Moda Salon Des Moines Iowa and Kierra Taylor | Wedding Venue: St. Augustin Catholic Church | Ceremony Music: Vanessa Burdine | Reception Venue: Tournament Club of Iowa | Sound: Jimmi Van Luong

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