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Engagements With Purpose: Arwa + Zohaile, Joshua Tree, CA

Editor Note: Black Sheep Bride is a platform to uplift, empower and share stories of amazing people, with selfless love, and huge impact, actively involved in changing the world around them, in a variety of ways. The following engagement session is both breathtaking, as it is, highly inspirational and thought provoking. BSB encourages you to put yourself in this couple’s ‘wedding planning shoes’ and imagine the challenges they must face, when planning a multi-cultural wedding of international proportions. The present time in which we live has become a historic season of great action, great community and great love, that is why BSB is honored to share the story of how this couple, both first-generation Americans, has chosen to use their rights, passions, skills, and personal understandings to serve the least of these. Arwa is an talented Muslim Indian immigration lawyer, as is her partner, Zohaile, an Iranian-American, their love story began in NYC, but has continued onto the other side of the country, in southern California. Read their story, from Arwa’s words below. (Photography by Laura Goldenberger Photography) i-TnKZwpS-X4JO9C0183 My fiancé Zohaile and I (Arwa) met in 2011 when we were both working together at a class action administration firm. He came from Southern California to New York for law school and stayed, and I was a New York native, who had taken a slight geographical detour to Paris, France to pursue a fellowship with an NGO in women’s rights in Africa and the Middle East. I was greeted, upon my return, by a failing job market and started working at this firm, because, even though the market was hard on the private practice of law, it was even harder on those who wanted to work at underfunded non profit organizations. I continued taking cases pro bono in humanitarian immigration (asylum protection for the LGBTQ community and deferred action for our country’s young and undocumented “dreamers”) and vowed to one day make this my “real job.” AN4A5632i-w3FCH6V-X4 The firm was good to me, most especially, because it brought Zohaile together. After sitting near each other in an open workspace and learning we lived in the same Astoria neighborhood, we began seeing each other outside of work. We’d spend our weekends going on road trips, adventures, and camping – falling in love with each other and nature. i-QSBrwhB-X4AN4A5294  AN4A5199 A couple of years into our relationship, we decided to move to southern California. We quit our jobs, packed up our respective cars, and drove across the country over 21 magical days, camping and exploring along the way. I had always dreamed of living in California and now I was finally here. I promised myself that I would keep my word – to only work for a cause that I’m passionate about. I put it out there in the universe (and did a lot of hard work), and suddenly things started to fall into place. I was hired as the Asylum Director of a nonprofit organization in San Diego, moved into an amazing place located 5 minutes from work, and soon after found myself engaged to the love of my life. AN4A5921    i-zc5S3JZ-X4  i-zfrcM4T-X4 After certain executive orders (were signed) at the end of January, I find my work becoming more challenging, crucial, and relevant. I begin my workdays a lot earlier and leave a lot later. I spend my weekends protesting, writing letters to my representatives, or finding ways to engage the non-legal community in advocacy or volunteer efforts, and thinking about every single one of my clients – potential or actual. After a bout of tears and hopelessness, I decided I was going to put my actions where my mouth was, that I was a voice for my clients and the people I serve – not just inside the immigration courts and offices, but everywhere their rights were being violated. The ban on travel from 7 Muslim countries hits home for me personally as well. Members of my fiancé’s family from Iran, who were planning to come to the United States especially for our wedding, are no longer allowed to enter the country. While I have been talked out of making my entire wedding playlist resistance and revolution songs, my spirit of dissent is ever present and will be on my wedding day. |||| AN4A5229 Here are a few ways to help Arwa and Z continue to serve others: Donate to Casa Cornelia Law Center
Consider volunteering as interpreters and translate for immigration law clients.
Connect with the congressional representatives in your area, you can visit: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. Their bio will include ways to interact with them.
Photography by Laura Goldenberger Photography Special thanks to our BSB Vendor, ‘Cause We Can Events, for sharing this story with us!

Big Fake Wedding NYC Recap

Over the past year, of partnering, participating and promoting Big Fake Wedding, we have noticed one special nugget of goodness: when there are children involved… They come very close to stealing the show and at the Big Fake Wedding NYC…nothing was getting in the way of this family’s cuteness!
We just love the way the brick-walled beer hall venue complimented the feminine soft dainty florals and design elements incorporated into the big city experience. With ‘European Sky’ as the main focus of inspiration the vendor collaboration and vision was a piece of …BIG APPLE Pie, see what I did… BIG APPLE, instead of cake… HA! I kill me!
Photos below : Laura Lee Photography
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And you can never go wrong with a fun highlight video either:
Participating Vendors:
Bath + Body: Olivenar | Bridal Party Gifts: Things Remembered | Catering + Venue: Houston Hall | Ceremony Musician: Natalie Hall Classic Strings | Day-Of Coordination: Look Sharp Events | Dessert Bar: Got Cake! Cake Bar | Entertainment (DJ Shelly): EastCoast Entertainment | Floral + Event Design (Bouquets/Boutonnieres + Tables 4, 8): Flowers by G Bella | Floral + Event Design (Ceremony Backdrop + Table 2): LVR Events | Floral + Event Design (Head Table + Tables 3, 6): White Elephant Events | Floral + Event Design (Registration Area + Tables 5, 7, 9): Ashley Peraino Events | Groomsmen Attire: The Tailory New York | Guest Book: MDB Weddings | Hair + Makeup: Kookla | Hair Accessories: Kerry Ann Stokes | Hotel: Cambria Hotels + Suites NYC – Chelsea | Invitations (Gold Rush Suite): Cariad Lane Calligraphy | Invitations (Golden Floral): Engaging Papers | Jewelry: Chloe + Isabel | Paper Accents: Park Slope Press | Party Favors: Moments On Magnets | Photo Booth: Poppy Booth | Photography: Laura Lee Photography | Photography: Samantha Lauren Photographie | Photography: Sophie Kawalek Photography | Programs: My Darlin’ | Signage: Buffy Weddings | Videography: First Take Filmworks | Wedding Cake: Cake Heights | Wedding Dress: Theia | Whoopie Pies, Mini Brooksters + Mini Bars: Baked | National Sparkling Wine Sponsor: Ferrari Sparkling Wine | National Travel Vendor: Bliss by Luxury Concierge|

Fair Trade Friday- Inspiration for Engagements that Give Back

After the proposal and before the official ‘I do’s’ comes a time in every engaged couples lives… Engagement Photo time! We all want to look stylish and hip for the camera, so why not do it up right! Here is a super awesome way to take your engagement photo day and make it fair trade! engagementclothing
Ladies:
Connected Fair Trade Goods (www.connectedgoods.com), Amazon Tribal Statement Necklace, $120. Handmade in Ecuador by Fair Trade artisans.
Invisible Children (shop.invisiblechildren.com), Kaleidescope Ring, $19. All donations and purchases fund Invisible Children’s mission of civilian protection and rehabilitation of children abducted by the LRA.
Raven + Lily (www.ravenandlily.com), Taupe Short Dress, $57.  Socially conscious, lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering women through design with sustainable employment opportunities.
TOMS (www.toms.com), Black Crochet Wegdes, $69. One pair of shoes is donated to a child in need, with the purchase of every pair.
Guys:
Warby Parker (www.warbyparker.com), Garrett Glasses, $99. For every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.
Pitico, (www.pitico.com), Green T-shirt, $19. Supports fair trade
People Tree (www.peopletree.co.uk), Ewan Trousers, $80. Pioneers in fair trade and environmentally sustainable fashion.
TOMS (www.toms.com), Black Paseo-Mids, $69. One pair of shoes is donated to a child in need, with the purchase of every pair.