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Weddings That Give Back: Michelle and Joe- Key West, FL

One of our very own BSB Vendors, friends, and ethical fashion advocate, Michelle, of Michelle For Good and Co-Founder of The Tote Project, recently tied the knot in South Florida to her amazing guy, Joey!
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 True to form, Michelle and Joey made sure to incorporate as many ethical, charitable and sustainable wedding day details as they could and used their intimate destination wedding to shop small, waste less and serve others. Read more about how they were intentional throughout the post.
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Shop Small: ‘We are both advocates of fair trade and the sweatshop-free movement, so we tried to shop small when we could. We bought the flower girl basket and guest book from designers on ETSY, and I surprised Joey with a wedding day gift of a Brackish Bow Tie, (another amazing BSB find).’
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Michelle’s Bridal Jewelry: Her awesome bridal jewelry was designed by her good friend Destiny, of Destiny Conner Jewelry.  ‘She designed a custom hair piece and earrings for me. She donates 10% of her profits to the Imagine Foundation.’
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The Venue: The couple choose to get married at The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West, FL.  The venue is a non-profit museum. The house was built in 1851 and purchased as Hemingway’s home in 1931, all of the furniture is preserved in it’s original form. The estate still remains to be the single largest residential property on the island of Key West.
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The Bridesmaids Gifts:  ‘I bought my maids of honor (I couldn’t pick just one, all my bridesmaids were maids and matrons of honor haha) Purpose Jewelry for their gifts and asked them to wear the pieces in the wedding. Purpose Jewelry is made by human trafficking survivors and 100% of the proceeds go to them. I also surprised them with Sand Cloud towels to go with the destination wedding theme. They donate to protect marine life.’
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Tuxes: The Wedding Party Tuxes were rented from Generation Tux.  ‘We didn’t initially see a give-back component on their site, so I tweeted at them and asked if they’d be willing to donate if we chose them as a vendor. They agreed and donated 10% of the price we paid to UNICEF to support Syrian Refugees. They also said they are working to incorporate giving back into their business model..woohoo!’ (<<<< TALK ABOUT CHANGE MAKER! Go Michelle and Joey!)
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Wedding Rings: ‘My engagement ring and wedding band were from Brilliant Earth, and Joey’s band was from another Black Sheep Bride vendor, Tenzabelle. It was super important to us to get conflict-free rings and Brilliant Earth gives back to communities negative affected by the illegal diamond trade.’
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Photographer: We chose Andrew Abajian as our photographer. He’s not only a great friend of ours, he also does humanitarian work and has photographed the efforts of Saddleback/Rick Warren around the world.
Wedding Invitations: We ordered recycled paper wedding invitations from Minted.
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All Photos courtesy of Andrew Abajian.

Bridal Party Gifts that Give Back – Featured Social Enterprise: Latch Co.

Continuing with our Sustainable Summer Series, we wanted to share an awesome social enterprise company called LatchCo. They have all the goods to help make your sustainable bridal party gift giving complete! LatchCo is a one stop shop for all things socially responsible. Each item has a story and helps a specific cause. The idea for the site came when Founder, Jenny Long was traveling abroad assisting with humanitarian causes. Realizing just how many socially responsible companies and products were out there, she wanted to not only help promote these great companies that are giving back, but make it easier for the socially responsible shopper to find great products. Each product at LatchCo has a story; bags that give to education, eco-friendly eyewear that plants trees, jewelry made by women that have escaped human trafficking, coffee that funds adoption projects.. and much more. In addition to searching the site by product categories, shoppers can search by region benefiting from the purchase or initiative benefiting from the purchase. Here are a few LatchCo gift ideas for your wedding day pose: The Bridesmaid Gift: Brave Collection (multiple colors)
This delicate, handcrafted cotton and brass bracelet  says “Brave” (Klaa-han) in Khmer and was handmade in Cambodia by a local artisan to empower women across the globe. 10% of their profits are donated to fight human trafficking in Cambodia.
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The Groomsman Gift: Socks to Give Clean Water
The purchase of these unique and ethically made socks provides 18 months of clean water to someone in need through water.org.
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This elegant, white beaded drop necklace is made by women in Uganda. Giving them employment enables them to provide food and education for their children.
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Proceeds from the purchase of this handmade, cotton linen necktie go towards building water wells in Nicaragua.
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Proceeds from these handmade leather sandals support clean water efforts in Guatemala. Bonus – they come in just about any color you want. Sandals
If you would like to see more socially responsible gift and bridal products, check out LatchCo.

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