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5 Gifts That Give Back: Love Others This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s is upon us, friends. In honor of this day of Love, we decided to do something a little different and highlight a few select gifts that give back, as well as charity opportunities, to honor your loved ones in this time of great global need.   1. One Hope Wine Gift Crate, $79: Glitter, bubbles, candle and chocolate – need we say more? Oh yes, they also donate half their profits to WhyHunger – feeding children. Sip for fun, Cheers to charity. Shop the event exclusives for the crate. 16386862_1574895229191915_7617625494053732116_n 2. Trades of Hope, Rosalie Necklace, $38: These Blush colored beauties are empowering women and families in India to be the heroes of their owe stories. 💕 16427771_10101270712159960_6990082596535006227_n 3. Heartful.ly’s Valentines Giving Campaign.: Honor those you love with the most thoughtful gift available. Provide comfort and support to a Syrian Refugee family with a donation in their honor, via Heartful.ly’s Valentines Giving Campaign. Donation levels: $10: basic hygiene and baby kits for Syrian refugee family, for a week. $15: clean drinking water for Syrian refugee family, for a month $20: basic mattress for Syrian refugee family $30: Comfort-for-Kids workbooks for a class of 12 Syrian children $40: basic hygiene and baby kits for Syrian refugee family, for a month. $50: three blankets to say safe from the cold for Syrian refugee family $75: kit of warm clothing for one Syrian refugee, including a coat, sweater, hat, poncho and rubber boots. $100: Art supplies for 100 Syrian children, that will assist them in healing from their trauma. $250: supplies and warm winter clothing for a Syrian family of five. 16406600_776672302479810_356973417718450828_n 4. We Belong to Each Other T-Shirt, $25 Every shirt you buy helps fund Preemptive Love’s peacemaking work on the front lines of conflict—in Syria, Iraq, and in your community. Catalog-Product-photos-shirt-We_belong_to_each_other_e0e4a2b2-2a61-4e35-b6ee-0e8a9e581d2c_large-2   5. Lifesaving Heart Surgery for Children in Conflict Zones, $1000 *GROUP GIFT IDEA* For nearly a decade, Preemptive Love Coalition has provided urgent medical care, including nearly 2,000 heart surgeries for children in war-torn Iraq, Libya, and beyond. Your gift brings lifesaving care to families disrupted by war—equipping medical clinics, rushing emergency aid to the front lines, and providing heart surgeries for kids who have no other way of getting the care they need. Catalog-Product-photos-medical-2_large Catalog-Product-photos-medical-3_large-2 We wish you all a special Valentine’s Day and hope that you use your love to uplift and impact those around you.

10 Ways to Waste Less on Your Wedding Day!

According to Green Bride Guide the average wedding produces roughly 400-600 lbs of waste, per event. Between left over food, flowers, decor, etc there is a lot of waste that comes along with that Pinterest Perfect Wedding Board most couples desire! Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.44.02 PM   So let’s talk about 10 ways your Big Day can WASTE LESS !   1. Food : One of the biggest wastes that can be avoided on a wedding day is FOOD! Buffets, cake, prime rib, untouched cocktail hour veggie platters, the possibilities are endless and sadly I have seen it all land in the trash! With hunger at an all time high, it seems so silly to take perfectly good food and throw it away, when there are organizations everywhere across the world taking waste food. Blog 1200px-0083 Photo by Gray Kammera Photography When I was in LA, last year, I had the opportunity to tour the L.A. Kitchen and learn how they are using unwanted waste food to make amazing dishes for assisted living communities and also employing aged-out foster kids and the previously incarcerated members of society to learn a trade in culinary arts! These places exist all around the country, find a food bank in your area via Feeding America or a food rescue center via The Food Rescue Database. Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.19.45 PM Image via Feeding America Disclaimer: It is common for caterers or food service providers to push back because of the substantial liability for such food donations. Thankfully any good-faith food donations are free from such liability due to the latest federal government law 42 U.S.C. 12672, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.   2. Flowers: Imagine the scene… The Bride and Groom are on their way off to their honeymoon and the clean up team is hard at work. As they put away the chairs and dishes they notice one thing they are unsure of what to do with…. Thousands of dollars worth of left over flowers! ‘What should we do with them, we can’ t take them back on the plane’ and the perplexed helper regretfully places piles of fresh roses and hydrangeas in the trash bin! Blog 1200px-0035 Photo by Gray Kammera Photography PLEASE FRIENDS! There are so many organizations out there ready to take your leftover flowers and uplift and inspire those in hospitals, nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers. Do the research, call ahead and let them know you want to donate these blooms to their cause. They will even give you a tax-write off for your love offering! Random Acts of Flowers, Petals with Purpose, Floranthrophy, Repeat Roses are just to name a few of the organizations ready to take your blooms. Video via Random Acts of Flowers   3. Gift Registries:  Back in the day, couples would leave their parents homes and have to make a home from nothing and hence the wedding guests would bring them all the welcome home goodies their newlywed hearts would need. Nowadays the statistics show that couples are getting married later and later in life. They want to have their careers in place and independence aligned before nuptials are even thought of so most of those engaged love birds already have a lot of crap! So let us do our wedding guests a favor and skip the gifts! OR consider a gift registry that doesn’t involve wrapping paper and plastic wrap. Here are a few charitable/sustainable wedding registries that can help your wedding impact others: Heartful.ly– A gift registry that empowers couples to fund life changing projects around the world. So Kind Registry – A registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more -OR- If you do still need goodies consider a few fair-trade online options: Bambeco– Recyclable, sustainable home goods that give back. West Elm– Support fair trade and often local artisans in each store, West Elm is the perfect one stop shop for any soon-to-be newlywed’s love nest needs! ZOLA – You can combine all of the things/brands you might need for your new home under one roof and then ship all the goods at once and reduce your waste/carbon footprint. You can also fund a honeymoon, portion of the wedding costs, or donate to charity as well.   4. Transportation: Carpool, Uber, Bicycle, Smart Car, Moped, or charter a boat taxi to take your bridal party to the reception! The eco-friendly options are endless!   5. Favors: Having been to my fair share of weddings I’ve seen a variety of cheaply made wedding favors that no one will ever use again and it breaks my heart. Try sponsoring a child, or redirecting your favor budget toward the charity you plan to support, such as these sweet doggie cookies that support a local dog shelter. 1175_061213 Photo By Alissa Dineen   6. Paper Goods/Invites:  Paper goods can be one of the most obvious waste makers, but it is equally one of of the easiest parts of the wedding that can lead to positive change. There are so many options like: Recyclable/Sustainable Paper Types, design shown below by Citrus Press Co. / Photo by Regina As The Photographer Wedding-World-Changing-Day-Promo-14 Or if you are a bit more new school, try an e-vite, or video wedding invite, etc and save some trees and postage along the way!   7. Function vs. Fancy Fancy is fun, we get it! There is a certain level of exclusivity and experience that comes along with black tie affairs, however they aren’t always the most functions and sometime the more wasteful events can be those that are the highest end people with the abilities and budgets to make more sustainable choices. This is where functionality comes into play… The best things in life are simple, functional and intentional… Here are a few examples: Glass Jars to take home vs. Champaigne Flutes ALP_7608 Photo by Image Clairity Decomposable Bamboo Utensils vs. Polished Silver © EVERPHOTO www.everphoto.net www.facebook.com/everphoto Photo by Emily Dykema Ceremony Programs that double as Pop Corn Bag Holders (or any other reception treat you might choose) © EVERPHOTO www.everphoto.net www.facebook.com/everphoto Photo by Emily Dykema 8. RENT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE Renting is far more waste-preventing, and minimally impactful to the environment than flat out buying things you’ll never use or wear again. Literally there are rental options for practically every aspect of your wedding day process,  your dress, your tuxes, the bridesmaid’s dresses, your decorations, you name it and it can most likely be rented! Here are few rental companies to consider: Menguin – Tuxedos Borrowing Magnolia– Wedding Dresses Rent the Run Way– Elopement, wedding attire, rehearsal dinner garb. Happily Ever Borrowed– Rentable Bridal Accessories, Veils, jewelry, etc. BLACKSHEEPBRIDE (6 of 61) The biggest misconception about DIY Weddings is they will be better on the pocketbook, but after the time is spent buying the materials and flea market finds to put the projects together, you are in better use of your time, dollars and energy to rent the things you are trying to faux-antique and you will save yourself space after you’re married. Not only will it save you money, it will be reused multiple times by others and treated just like new! 9. Reuse/ Reduce/Recycle This is obvious friends. If you have reusable goods, save them aside, donate them to your local non-profits, half way houses, etc. Reduce and Recycle what you can! Set out separate bins for recyclable trash vs. regular trash vs. compost… When given the opportunity people will make the right choices.   10. Composting is your friend!  At the end of the day, if you aren’t able to find a non-profit locally that will take your flowers, or food…. COMPOST your biodegradable waste, so the earth can benefit from your waste in a productive and positive manner, like using it in a co-op garden vs. ‘wasting’ good soil nutrients in a land fill. COMPOST NOW has pick up services across the nation ready to grab your garbage and turn into garden goodness! 225903_446643672053078_1378420870_n   Now Happy Waste Less Wedding Planning to You and Have an Intention and Impactful Earth Day! Let us make every day about helping making the world a better place!

Guest Post: 5 Organizations Fighting Against Child Marriage, via Heartful.ly

Planning a wedding is exciting! From Pinterest perfection to generations of family and traditions, weddings are the ultimate celebration of love. And while planning your dream wedding can be stressful, I’ll wager that the easiest decision you ever made was saying YES! when your partner popped the question. Unfortunately, this is a distant fairytale for far too many brides-to-be. An estimated 39,000 girls become child brides every single day. This stat is almost too difficult to process. You might even be thinking, of course this awful, but what difference can you and I really make? What I’ve learned as a former Peace Corps Volunteer and founder of an organization that works with over 1,000 nonprofits worldwide, is that the world’s problems are not insurmountable when we tackle them together. There is good news. Hundreds of nonprofits and thousands of dedicated, passionate people around the world are fighting to ending child marriage. Below are five nonprofits in particular that are doing fantastic work. Learn about their efforts and consider incorporating these worthy organizations into your wedding day or bridal shower.  Too Young to Wed sinclair_workshop-11-1024x684 Source: TooYoungToWed.org Too Young To Wed’s (TYTW) mission is to protect girls’ rights and end child marriage. Through the use of powerful portraits and short films of child brides, TYTW serves as the bridge, connecting girls’ stories to governments, policymakers, and the public. TYTW’s Adolescent Girls Photography Workshops provide survivors and girls at-risk of child marriage a chance to heal, tell their own stories, and return to their communities as leaders in the fight against child marriage. Global Grassroots screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-2-03-25-pm Source: GlobalGrassroots.org Global Grassroots’ Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change offers a curriculum for vulnerable yet motivated recent high school graduates in Uganda who wish to initiate social change in their communities. They focus on issues such as early marriage, teen pregnancy, street children & school drop-outs. Partnered with Cornerstone Development, the Academy offers social entrepreneurship skills, leadership training, personal transformation exercises, mindfulness practices & university scholarships.   CREA pict_large Source: CreaWorld.org CREA’s “It’s My Body!” campaign will inform 200 adolescent girls in India about their sexual and reproductive rights through the medium of sports. Through empowering young girls, CREA hopes to initiate the process of building an understanding among the girls on connections among control over their own bodies, sexuality, health, leadership, diversity, and rights.   Kakenya’s Dream 5663431096_4f3d78e434_z Source: KakenyasDream.org The Kakenya Center for Excellence seeks to empower and motivate young girls through education to become agents of change and to break the cycle of destructive cultural practices in Maasai, Kenya such as early forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Each camp session instills leadership skills, team building, and basic health education, while also teaching at-risk girls to speak up and prevent harmful traditional practices.   Afghan Institute of Learning pict_original Source: AfghanInstituteofLearning.Org Each year, the Afghan Institute of Learning aims to provide education, health services and training in human rights, leadership and health to at least 70,000 adolescent girls. By training girls a variety of vocational and leadership skills, the organization hopes to provide women with a greater degree of independence and put them on a trajectory of success. _______________________ About The Contributor: Kate Glantz is the co-founder and CEO of Heartful.ly, a wedding registry for charitable giving. Heartful.ly connects generous couples and their communities to over 1,000 development projects around the world. Learn how you can share your happily ever at www.heartful.ly.    

Big Fake Wedding Recap: New York City, NY

The Big Fake Wedding New York City : Bold Colors, Skylines, Foraged Florals and Acrobatic Fun! As always, New York City did not disappoint at this past Big Fake Wedding NYC! Check it out for yourself and take a look at the killer list of participating vendors, at the end of this post! Grateful to Heartful.ly for being our represented BSB Vendor and sharing their charitable wedding registry platform with the amazing guests in attendance! Photos below courtesy of Olli Studio OLLISTUDIO_0039AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0057AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0071AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0089AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0102AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0112AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0123AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0161AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0163AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0165AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0188AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0197AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0205AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0206AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0214AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0218AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0291AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0294AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0297AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0303AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0305AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0348AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0351AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0368AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0384AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0393AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0402AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0405AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0430AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0460AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0477AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0485AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0495AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0515AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0518AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0524AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0576AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0624AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0646AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0662AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0667AFTER OLLISTUDIO_0674AFTER Photos below courtesy of Authentic Photo D4S_2237-13 D4S_2372-26 D4S_2509-37 D4S_2529-39 D4S_2555-41 D4S_2606-44 D4S_2638-45 D4S_2646-47 D4S_2650-48 D4S_2660-50 D4S_2737-60 D4S_2744-62 D4S_2770-67 D4S_2800-69 D4S_3186-90 D4S_3215-95 D4S_3224-98 D4S_3231-100 D4S_3234-101 D4S_3248-106 D4S_3250-107 Photos below courtesy of 13 One Photography _MG_1559 F30A0077-2 F30A0085 F30A0098  F30A0135 F30A0315  F30A0337  F30A0346  F30A0385 F30A0391 F30A0394-2  F30A0419 F30A0449 F30A0493-2  F30A0604 F30A0634  F30A0669 F30A0671 F30A0681  F30A0686  F30A0848 F30A0888 F30A0716F30A1043 F30A1099 F30A1111 Also take a moment to check out the NYC fun in action via Yamean Studios Films   Participating Vendors: Presenting Partner : WeddingWire| Bridal Hair Accessories : Untamed Bridal| Bridesmaid + Groomsman Accessories : Symrik | Catering : Neuman’s Kitchen| Custom Love Songs : MelodyWed| Day-of Coordination + Tables 2, 10 : Dee Weddings | Dessert Bar : Sweet Pistachio Patisserie | Dessert: Cake Shooters : Got Cake! Cake Bar | Doughnuts : Keyhole Doughnuts | DJ + Emcee : Scratch Weddings | Entertainment: Band : Silver Arrow Band | Entertainment: Cirque Performance : Cirque Central | Event Lighting : Universal Light and Sound| Floral + Event Design (Ceremony Backdrop + Table 1) : You’re the Boss! Weddings + Events | Floral + Event Design (Personal Flowers + Tables 4, 6, 8) : Wyld | Floral + Event Design (Registration Table + Tables 3, 7, 11) : Campbell Events | Floral + Event Design (Sweetheart Table + Tables 5, 9) : LVR Events | Gifts : Wedding Flats : Talaria Flats | Gifts + Favors : Jefais Club Wedding Favors | Hair : Pinned & Proper | Helicopter : Wings Air Helicopters | Hotel : The Washington Jefferson Hotel | Invitations + Programs : Bella Figura | Jewelry : Cosh NYC | Makeup : Best Face Forward Makeup Studio | Menswear : The Groomsman Suit | Paper Accents : Pineapple Street Designs | Photo Booth : Photobooth Creative | Photography : 13 One Photography | Photography : Authentic Photo | Photography : OLLI STUDIO| Registry : Heartful.ly | Rentals : Party Rental Ltd. | Spa : Shimmer Medspa | Venue : Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers | Videography : Yamean Studios Films | Wedding Dress : Paisley Bridal | National Sparkling Wine Sponsor : Ferrari Sparkling Wine