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Engagements with Purpose: Jill + Jake, Acadia National Park, Maine

Editor Note: We’re pulling this magical engagement out of the archives to include with this week’s National Park Week celebrations! Enjoy! jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_127 Before we begin to share the giving back story of Jill and Jake, I feel it is important we lay out some ground work, for the WILDNESS of this engagement session….. 1. They are not from Maine, but actually drove from Tampa up the East Coast to meet their photographers Jake & Katie (whom where also visiting) in New England for one EPIC Engagement. 2. They camped at Acadia National Park, in Maine, the night prior to their photo session and woke up got started on their journey to the summit of Cadillac Mountain at around 3:30am, to catch the sunrise at 4:30am… Dedication much? 3. Refer to 1. and 2. … Isn’t that enough!? I’m exhausted just looking at these amazing, natural, love filled (and exertion filled) images. Photography by: Jake & Katie jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_107 How they give: They both work with refugee children from Myanmar and Congo (mentoring/tutoring/teaching) each week. Jill also helps teach English to adult refugees. Jake works for a non-profit called LYF Inc. teaching adult special needs. He is also a youth director and spends time leading and encouraging the youth on Wednesday and Thursday nights and Sunday mornings. Also before relocating to Tampa, Jill was dedicated to coaching soccer for young girls, in Texas. jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_009 How they met (from Jill): ‘We met at age 12, in the seventh grade. We had friends who were friends but did not get in touch again until age 20. We became BEST friends for a whole year and then as I was leaving for Africa for the summer, he told me he was going to miss me. That was when everything changed. We both started considering dating each other and asked advice/prayer to see if this should happen. God changed our hearts from best friends in to loves and now we have been dating for almost three years.’ jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_004 They got married in January, with their reception set at The Rialto Theatre (BSB Vendor) and their intentional wedding kindness didn’t stop there. After announcing our winners for the Wedding World Changer Day last Spring, Jill went out of her way to reach out to several of those volunteering vendors to show her appreciation and support their businesses with her own wedding planning… It was the sweetest gesture of continued generosity! jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_016  jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_021 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_024 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_031jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_025   jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_037 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_039 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_043 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_061 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_064 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_070   jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_094 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_106  jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_116  jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_144  jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_153  jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_163  jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_186 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_194 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_201 jakejill_engagement_jakeandkatie_203 Thank you Jill and Jake for your amazing dedication to others! ____________________________ WAYS TO GET INVOLVED DURING NATIONAL PARK WEEK! Did you know that the National Park Services has over 12 billion dollars of outstanding repairs and needs across the 2000 parks and forests they maintain? Go grab your annual NPS Pass today and help support the future of our planet for generations to come! April 15-16 and April 22-23 : Free Admission to any National Park in the United States Buy a National Park Pass (for $80). There are also FREE Passes available for active military, and students in the 4th grade, as well as discounted passes for Seniors. Learn more HERE. Find the closest park to you and volunteer or support their fundraising initiatives!

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 – www.fourletterword.org | Wedding Ceremony – www.amazinglovemin.org | Produce Market/Engagement- www.bearssgroves.com | Human Trafficking Ministry/Engagement – www.beautyfromashes.org | Save the Date printer – www.smartpress.com