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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

Weddings that Give Back: Heather & Matthew

There are couples that get us on a level that would seem un-get-able to most, but when we find said couples, we can’t help but want to daydream about being their best friends and just enjoying their intentionally light hearted and joy-filled love stories! Heather and Matthew are one of those types of couples. Every tiny detail was planned out with intention, consideration for others, and with giving back in mind, all of which were wonderfully captured by Kelly Ginn Photography. Oh man… and I almost forgot the most important part, their 90’s memorabilia is FUN as heck! Without further adieu, here is what Heather (the bride) had to share with BSB:
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‘Featuring as much fair trade and upcycled material for our wedding was of utmost importance to us, because this is the most money we have ever spent in our lives and the biggest party we may ever throw (until hopefully one day our kids let us fair trade-up their weddings).  We strongly believe that we vote with our money and I have a pledged to myself to try and only make fair trade/eco friendly purchases, when possible.  I fail at this every day, but trying it has been a great challenge and one that opens my eyes so often to how much production out there mistreats employees and gives no regard to the Earth.  I am so happy to know your blog exists to spread the word on the vendors and brands that give back and treat their employees fairly and with respect.  Thank you for being a blog that I love!! …’
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‘Our engagement ring and wedding bands were purchased from Brilliant Earth with ethically sourced and recycled stones and bands. My husband made our wedding invites (as pictured underneath our rings) himself and we printed them on recycled paper, and sent them in recycled envelopes.’ 
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‘My something blue and something borrowed was a small pillow that my Great Grandmother hand made herself for her own wedding passed down to my Mom, and then me. My Nana hand made our wedding quilt guest book also.’
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‘The shoes I’ve had for 6 years that my dad glued on extra fabric from the Mata Traders dresses after they were tailored to match my bridesmaids.’
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‘Our florist worked with us to make a lot of our arrangements be live plants that our guests could take home. We also reused the cups that a family friend got us for our engagement party to use to blend soil from the houses we each grew up in to plant a tree.
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‘The toys for the groomsmen’s flowers and bridesmaid’s bouquets were bought from a second hand vintage toy store.’
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‘I bought all our bridesmaids dresses, and some jewelry, from Mata Traders (fair trade fashion brand, also a BSB Vendor), and the Mother of Bride, Mother of the Groom and my sisters-in-law’s dresses were from Mata Traders also.’
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‘I borrowed my grandmother’s necklace that contains her wedding ring diamond and borrowed my mother’s earrings, my dad gave her when they got engaged, for my jewelry instead of buying new.’
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‘My Godson and one of my best friend’s daughters were our ring bearer and flower girl.  Kai my godson and best friend’s son was dressed as Frodo from Lord of the Rings and my mom made his here comes your precious sign.  My Nana hand made the flower girl’s pokeball flower basket.’
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‘We used my husband’s parents’ cake toppers from their wedding cake and our charizard pokemon figurines to represent us, equally bad ass charizards, in our own ways.’
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‘My best friend’s sister-in-law is an incredible artist who made some original art to fit our “A Tribe Called Prest..on” wedding, based on how much my husband and I love A Tribe Called Quest.’kgp-1470
‘I also scored some roller skates from a second hand used sports equipment shop to relive my glory days at the roller rink, on the dance floor at the reception.
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‘Our getaway golf cart decorations came from Ten Thousand Villages in Chicago.’
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Photographer: Kelly Ginn Photography
Fair trade/upcycling vendors and brands: Ten Thousand Villages | Mata Traders  | Toy De Jour | Brilliant Earth  | Ashlye McCormick  | DeepBlu

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.]
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‘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  

NYC Celia Grace Bridal Session

We love our Black Sheep Bride vendors a whole lot! They give so much to their communities, environments and personal passions, it is always a pleasure to receive surprise submissions with their names attached to the vendor list! So when we received this beautiful sunrise Brooklyn Bridge Bridal Shoot for Celia Grace we had to share!  We thought you might like a little New York bridal inspiration to start off your work week with, courtesy of  Jerrit Pruyn Photo and Celia GraceCelia Grace is a lovely vintage inspired, handmade silk & lace giveback wedding dress collection. Each Wedding dress is fair trade, ethical & eco friendly. This also serves as an announcement- Yippeeeee! Black Sheep Bride has been invited, along side some of the world’s most popular niche wedding bloggers, to attend the New York Bridal Fashion Week (Bridal Market) next month! Our focus will be to connect with as many ethical/socially conscious wedding designers as possible during our visit and also chronicle our trip by showcasing ways to travel ethically! If you know of any brands/products interested in joining us on this social media journey, please send them our way (hello@blacksheepbride.com). __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo24 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo21 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo23__Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo26 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo10 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo11 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo12 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo14 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo16 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo8   __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo6 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo2 __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo1   __Jerrit_Pruyn_Photo_jppbridaldressdumbo19 Photographer:  Jerrit Pruyn Photo//Floral Designer: Adria//Model: Ashley Blankenship//Reception Venue: BROOKLYN BRIDGE//Dress Designer: Celia Grace//Makeup Artist: Lieth//  

Stylishly Sustainable Wedding Inspiration – Houston, Texas

When our BSB Vendor, Smith House Photo, submitted this Sustainable Stylized Wedding Inspiration Shoot we were awe-stuck by the dainty, industrial, organic softness that came with such a big message: You don’t have to sacrifice beauty and details to have a sustainable wedding! Here is what she shared with us about their vision:  ‘Our goal in planning this inspiration shoot was to encompass all that Black Sheep Bride stands for: Gorgeous weddings that support and give back in the community. We wanted to show that simply by selecting vendors who GIVE BACK, your wedding day can make a huge impact.’   2015-06-13_0001 2015-06-13_0002 2015-06-13_00112015-06-13_0012 2015-06-13_0003 2015-06-13_0004 2015-06-13_0005 2015-06-13_0006 2015-06-13_0007 2015-06-13_0008 2015-06-13_0009 2015-06-13_0010 2015-06-13_0013 2015-06-13_0014 2015-06-13_0015 2015-06-13_0016 2015-06-13_0017 2015-06-13_0018 2015-06-13_0019 2015-06-13_0020   Participating Black Sheep Bride #VendorsThatGiveBack : Celia Grace Wedding Dresses We were so excited to include Celia Grace for our bridal gowns and we couldn’t possibly describe her business better than the designer does herself on the Celia Grace Website , “Each Celia Grace wedding dress is exquisitely handcrafted using vintage-inspired lace, exclusive hand woven silks, and stunning beading and detail work. Celia Grace wedding dresses are made in safe, fair, and empowering Fair Trade conditions and we give back locally with each dress sold. Our eco silks respect and protect the environment.” On top of that, each and every gown is totally swoon-worthy. Metalicious Metalicious is an incredible, hand made jewelry company that aims to leave the world a better place for our kids and future generations. Recycled materials are used in each step of the process, from the metals to the materials they’re shipped in. Not to mention, every single piece is gorgeous. Plan Our Day Event Services Inspired by the eco-friendly wedding trend, Samantha decided to push her creative boundaries to design a wedding that would reduce waste, and support sustainability without sacrificing a gorgeous detail. Vintage plates and silverware graced the picnic-style Bride and Groom table, and each place setting had a gorgeous stemmed glass. Scrap wood placecards were adorned with names and napkins were made of recycled materials. Smith House Photo From the moment the planning process began with Samantha, Becki knew her job of capturing the details would be easy. There is nothing more exciting than connecting with other vendors who have a heart for our community, giving back and perfectly planned details.   Other Local Participating #VendorsThatGiveBack: Floral Concepts by Cynthia Cynthia, Owner of Floral Concepts by Cynthia was an easy choice for our bouquets and floral arrangements. As a small, local business owner she aims to use in-season flowers to promote sustainability and always goes above and beyond for her clients. Jolly Roger Sweets Every couple wants something unique at their wedding, and Jolly Rogers Sweets is bound to be making appearances in the upcoming wedding season. This newly launched business is Houston’s first bicycle cart that serves vegan raw cookie dough! Jolly Rogers also makes delicious Jams that would be a perfect wedding favor. Allison Katherine Designs It’s no secret that calligraphy is a hot topic in the wedding world, but Allison Katherine is not your average calligrapher. While her paper goods are beautiful, we especially love her recycled mediums and unique signage. Plus, we never turn down the opportunity to work with another local business! Tout Suite Ever since this bakery opened up in our neighborhood, we’ve been fans. They use support local farmers, serve on recycled paper goods, and have a menu that tastes as good as it looks. Model: Annie C Patten