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Weddings that Give Back: Kayla & Reece- Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Nothing is quite as inspiring as tender, authentic, candid and intentional wedding stories! Today’s wedding feature is officially being added to the BSB list of all-time favorites, thanks to our BSB vendor, LIV Photography. Thank you Olivia for sharing their story with us and capturing their sustainable wedding with such delicate care, it is like reaching in and literally feeling all of the tender emotions in every single image. blog-55
‘Kayla and Reece met through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s campus chapter of International Justice Mission. They led the campus organization side by side serving as co-Presidents and developed a deep friendship with the same heart for seeing justice come for people worldwide. When Kayla took a semester off to do a Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Las Vegas, their friendship turned into a relationship. It’s obvious that these two are better together and they have a joined heartbeat to serve the poor, love others well, and change the world.’
[What is International Justice Mission (IJM): IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.
They combat slavery, sex trafficking, property grabbing, police abuse of power and sexual violence in nearly 20 communities throughout Africa, Latin America and South and Southeast Asia.
Their vision is to rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible.]
‘Their wedding day reflected these priorities. Kayla chose to do as many fair trade and ethical aspects as possibles. From thrifted and DIY decor, to foraged native florals, to a vintage custom made dress and sustainable wedding rings, they made the main aspects of their day line up with their core values. They combined budget, give-back, and amazing style together for one magical wedding.’ blog-13 blog-19 blog-23 blog-25 blog-87 blog-89 blog-50  blog-72blog-41blog-53  blog-59  blog-74 blog-76 blog-83 blog-84 blog-105 blog-106 blog-91 blog-93 blog-96 blog-98 blog-101  blog-108 blog-111 blog-112 blog-114   blog-126 blog-129 blog-130 blog-132 blog-136 blog-145  blog-157 blog-159 blog-161 blog-163 blog-165 blog-174 blog-178blog-146 Photography: LIV Photography | Dress: Andrea’s Vintage Bridal | Rings: Ingle and Rhode UK | Getting Ready: Schlegelmilch House | Ceremony: Carson Park | Reception: Bye the Willow  

Weddings that Give Back: Katie & Adam, Philadelphia, PA

Today’s real wedding feature comes from Radian Photography and we are truly giddy to share this story! Love everything Radhika had to share with BSB about Katie and Adam’s giving back wedding story!
 ‘Katie and Adam met while at grad school at UPenn, and Ian got to know them both there as well. What started out as close friendship quickly evolved into a deep love for each other and helping the world as well. They clearly took so much time to not only build an intentional relationship, but also create an intentional celebration at their wedding to honor their love and lives and share that with friends and families.
They were married on June 4th, 2016 in Philadelphia, PA and chose the Ridgeland Mansion to be their venue because their mission is to ensure that all families impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by the community. 100% of the cost of reserving the venue went to the non-profit.’
‘Invitations from Vistaprint were printed on recycled paper to cut down on paper waste (there were also no RSVP cards – instead, guests were asked to call or e-mail in their RSVP).
‘Katie’s dress was vintage from an antique store, Cape May Antique Center, in Cape May, NJ. Somehow it fit perfectly and no alterations were needed. The best guess as to its age would be 1950s/60s. The diamond in Katie’s engagement ring is vintage as well – probably from the early 1900s/1910s.  No blood diamonds there! The wedding bands were both from Etsy, and Katie’s is from Katie Carder Fine Jewelry, which donates a portion of profits ($2,000 in the last 3 years) to animal rescue organizations.’ _DSC0085_DSC0174 ‘The flowers in the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets were local from Triple Tree Farms in Gap, PA and were assembled by the bride herself! Decorations included vintage Ball jars either passed down to us from family members or re-used from friends’ weddings. The growlers are part of Katie and Adam’s collection. Decorations (fans/chalkboards) were all re-used from friends’ weddings. Katie and Adam are donating tablecloths and table runners to Goodwill.’ _DSC0207_DSC0226_DSC0230_DSC0232_DSC0240_DSC0250_DSC0260-2_DSC0262_DSC0280_DSC0489
[Added bonus]
‘Ian and I (Radian Photography) actually met while working for a nonprofit in Durham, NC that empowers students with the academic skills and personal well-being they need to be successful in college and beyond. I work there full time now and Ian is actually writing his dissertation on it as well. We already donate our time to photograph events and take the photos for the annual report, and are actively using our business, so that is directly benefits them, as well as other educational opportunities in Durham. While photography has our hearts, we want to make sure our business is benefitting the world!’
_DSC0539_DSC0579_DSC0662_DSC0725_DSC0915 ‘Katie and Adam rescued their cats and are huge animal lovers and therefore live a vegetarian lifestyle. The caterer at their wedding was a local Philadelphia food truck, Jerry’s Kitchen Food Truck, that provided an all-vegan meal at dinner. A large majority of the beer at the reception was also home-brewed. They made sure everything they used was either recyclable (as in bottles) or compostable (cups, plates, napkins, cutlery) , and worked with Bennett Composting to ensure that things were disposed of in the correct way.’ _DSC0983_DSC1149_DSC1255_DSC1270DSC_0165DSC_0506DSC_0708DSC_0784DSC_0846DSC_0981
Participating Vendors:  Photography: Radian Photography | Catering: Jerry’s Kitchen | Composting: Bennett Composting | Invitations: VistaPrint | Wedding Dress: Cape May Antique Center | Venue: The Ridgeland Mansion | Dessert: Federal Donuts | Rings: Katie Carder Fine Jewelry | Flowers: Triple Tree Flowers 

Eco Wedding in Costa Rica – Viviana & Jesse

Loving this Eco-Destination Lodge Wedding we featured last year, from Costa Rica!

We recently received this Wedding Feature from Madison Baltodano Photography and we knew it was going to be saved for such a day as this! Take a look and learn, from the bride, how she used recycled goods, sustainable vendors and eco-friendly wedding planning to make an extra special day!


‘We wanted our wedding day to be as relaxing as possible, for ourselves and our guests. My sister has done my hair and make up for some of the most special events in my life, and I could not think of a more perfect way to prepare for my wedding day. I got ready with my sister and three other bridesmaids in a bungalow facing the beach at Milarepa. It was perfect, fun and relaxing to just have them there with me. I gave each bridesmaid three handmade flower pins for their hair, as well as a necklace and earring set from stones I hand hand picked on a trip to Mexico. We shared champagne and local granola bars, and had a fun and relaxing time time getting ready.

We wanted our wedding day to reflect our love for Costa Rica, the ocean, and the simple beauty found in nature. We picked saphire blue as our theme, because it is my favorite color, and it reminds me of the ocean. Jesse also designed my ring with an ocean theme and beautiful sapphires. We felt the blue would also blend in naturally with the ocean background, and the natural green hues that surrounded the property. We picked Milarepa Resort for the secluded beach, natural wood structures, and serene setting.’


2015-04-21_0003 ‘We were also lucky enough to find a wedding coordinator team, Mal Pais Green Weddings, that truly understood our wedding vision and felt the same about minimizing the amount of waste a typical wedding generates. Our coordinator used recycled glass lanterns, reusable vases and string of lights, and our flowers were varieties with minimal impact in transportation and growing conditions. We also wanted to add many of our personal touches to the wedding, and all of the succulents at the tables (and my bouquet!) were picked by my mother from her yard.’ 2015-04-21_0004 2015-04-21_0005 2015-04-21_0006 2015-04-21_0007 2015-04-21_0008 2015-04-21_0009 2015-04-21_0010 2015-04-21_0011 2015-04-21_0012 2015-04-21_0013 2015-04-21_0014 2015-04-21_0015 2015-04-21_0016   2015-04-21_0017 2015-04-21_0018 ‘We also saved and collected blue bottles from our favorite gins for over a year, and used these as vases for the reception. Our wonderful chef also used as many local ingredients as possible, including the wonderful local fresh catch we had that day!’ 2015-04-21_0019 2015-04-21_0020 2015-04-21_0021 2015-04-21_0022 Vendor Credits: Photographer: Madison Baltodano Photography | Event Designer: Mal Pais Green Weddings | Event Venue: Milarepa | Caterer: Soma Chef Services

Bride Blogger- Engagements with Purpose- Rayna & Jon

The following Engagement with Purpose feature was written by amazing bride-to-be and Four Letter Word non-profit founder, Rayna Cohen, and photographed by the ever so talented Savannah Lauren Photography. rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-5 We like to think we are people who care about the environment, the nations, and those who are less fortunate, but you don’t have to donate all your money to charity or volunteer every bit of your spare time to be the best you.  After all, it is small steps that lead to big changes.  Soon after starting Four Letter Word, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, in 2014 jumpstarted a lifestyle for my fiancé and I to be intentional about where we spend, what we buy, and how it impacts our community and environment. Four Letter Word provides resources, education, and empowers both individuals and communities to build healthy self-sustainable habitats. We currently work in 6 countries and have community farms where we teach people how to provide for themselves using the resources they have available. rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-10 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-13 It’s easy to get caught up in the moments and details of planning a wedding. It’s not always in the forefront of our minds to think about how our spending can impact the environment and people around us, how it could make all the difference or significantly take away from local small businesses in our communities. We’ve noticed the wedding industry thriving on over abundance and opulence, and were overwhelmed trying to plan a wedding that didn’t feel like “us”. We saw an opportunity and it became fun and extremely important picking options that gave-back-to or benefitted our local community; now every detail has a purpose and a plan that will last longer than our “one big day”.  Although we have nothing against fortune 500 companies, because let’s be honest who doesn’t love Target, this quote captures how we feel perfectly; “when you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom put food on the table, a dad pay a mortgage or a student pay for college.” That is why we became motivated to give back in everything that we do, and in that there is peace. rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-18 All of our vendors are either word-of-mouth recommendations, or people that we already know. Each person that is part of our day is here with a purpose, and most of them sew into the small communities in which they live in their own unique ways. We will be having our wedding ceremony at a local homeless ministry, Amazing Love, which we volunteer a few times a month. 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. rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-22 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-23 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-25 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-30 We wanted our Engagement photo shoot to reflect and showcase a few of our favorite things; like how important it is to buy local. At one of our favorite local produce markets, Bearss Groves, we had an amazing time picking out freshly picked fruits and veggies that we would use in the days to come.  rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-32 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-39 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-43  rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-54 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-57 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-64 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-68 We chose our second location at a friend Julie Shematz’s farm, where she and her husband help victims of human trafficking. Julie started Beauty from Ashes in 2005 and developed faith based programs in prevention, intervention, and restoration for victims of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and sex trafficking. She specializes in Equine, Art, and Creative Therapies, which are evidence-based treatments for abuse and trauma. To take this one more level into sustainability we decided to use Smart Press to print our Save the Date magnets (because magnets are reusable) that has a “Green Choice” initiative where they use earth-conscious printers, recycled paper options, environmentally superior printing presses, and continue to plant trees to better the environment. For our invitations we are looking into options like seed paper; a type of handmade paper that includes any number of different plant seeds. The seeds themselves can still germinate after the paper making process and they can sprout when the paper is planted in soil.  rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-71 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-80 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-88 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-95 We are currently growing our own Baby’s Breath and also incorporating paper flowers (recyclable) and fruits and veggies (edible) into our flower and table arrangements. We, along with a team of friends, are making most of our own hand-crafted decorations out of wood and found items from thrift shops and flea markets. We plan on using eco-friendly palm leaf plates and wooden cutlery to recycle and compost everything consumed at our reception. rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-102 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-108 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-111 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-114 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-117 We will be donating proceeds to a few different local ministries and non-profits in honor of our guests as part of our wedding favors.  We are also going to do a build-your-own trail mix bar, where we will be purchasing all locally grown seasonal fruit and dehydrating it ourselves so our guests can enjoy some native Florida delicacies. rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-130 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-135 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-138 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-140 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-142 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-147 rj-engagement-field-farm-fruit stand-local-161 Planning intentionally and not over-buying are little ways you can be more sustainable. Being earth-conscious doesn’t mean you make your Bridesmaid’s wear brown paper dresses but find something they can all re-wear in the future. Its little details that can make a big overall difference, we are very excited to include our community and the environment into our special day. Photography: Savannah Lauren | Rayna and Jon’s non-profit – | Wedding Ceremony – | Produce Market/Engagement- | Human Trafficking Ministry/Engagement – | Save the Date printer –

Sienna Cole Bridal Feature

While scrolling through our Instagram a few weeks ago we came across this stunning image of a beautiful Sienna Cole Gown and asked the amazing photographer, Julia’s House Photography, if Black Sheep Bride could feature a few images from this lovely shoot! Sienna Cole Bridal offers gown designs in eco-friendly silk,cotton, and hemp fabrics.   She also offers re-designed, upcycled, and vintage bridal gowns in her charming little shop in Forest Lake, MN.  Her goal is to offer one of a kind bridal gowns to walk down the aisle wearing, without leaving a big carbon footprint!     Sienna Cole Bridal connected Julia’s House with Lacea Violet Artistry, specializing in conscious beauty make up, for a softly organic, whimsical, eco-friendly shoot in Minnesota and we couldn’t be more in awe! 1V2A6079 1V2A6227 1V2A6512 1V2A6890