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Weddings that Give Back: TLove & Jeannette, Maine

In honor of Pride Appreciation, we wanted to celebrate this incredibly compassion-driven love story with you all one more time. This incredible couple used their wedding day to serve and positively impact their family, their community and the environment around them. Thank you to our BSB Vendor, Tara Lynn Bridal, for sharing their story with us and for creating the ethical wedding attire. Molly Haley captured the day in all of it’s locally sourced, organic and intentional goodness. Upon receiving their ‘giving back story’ we were blown away by the sheer magnitude of kind thoughtfulness that went into making their socially conscious wedding a success! See what the couple had to share below: Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900002 ‘For our wedding, we wanted to infuse as much of our personalities and our consciousness into the day as possible.  We are passionate about local farms, the local economy, and local arts as well as cooperative living communities.  Our intention was nurture our guests by practicing consciousness for the environment, our community and ourselves.’ Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900007   Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900044 ‘Our flowers were also organic and purchased from local Maine farms and from a friend’s personal garden. We also had both of our wedding outfits custom-made out of organic hemp and cotton from Tara Lynn Bridal (Tara Lynn is not only eco-friendly, she also donates a portion of her annual profits to a Vermont-based domestic violence non-profit and a few other causes)’. Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900017 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900018 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900021 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900024 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900025 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900026 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900029 ‘As part of our ceremony, we included a group guided kaleidoscope yoga circle with over 120 participants, our guests.’Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900031 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900036Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900033  Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900038 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900039 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900040 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900042  Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900010Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900046 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900047 ‘Our dinner menu was buffet-style, vegan, organic with all produce from local Maine farms and prepared and cooked by us and our friend, who is a vegan chef. We composted everything from our community meal, including our dinner wares, and donated it to Zero Food Waste.’ Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900008Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900050Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900053 ‘Our take away gifts were reusable vintage purple Ball Jars with lids to be used to drink from at the wedding day and beyond. We also held a safe and sober space for the entire weekend.’ Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900004 ‘To support local arts, we hired several local musicians, a local swing dance instructor to help choreograph a group dance for our wedding party, as well as visual artists (live painters) to celebrate the day’Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900055 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900056 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900060 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900061 Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900062 ‘For our gift registry we accepted donations for a cross country road trip to explore and document cooperative living communities throughout the U.S.. We will be compiling this trip into a video documentary screening as a way to educate and give back to our community.’ Smith_Richelson_Molly_Haley_Haley2015082900066 Photographer:  Molly Haley//Event Venue: Live Well Farm//Fashion Designer: Tara Lynn Bridal//    

Weddings that Give Back: Rayna + Jon, Tampa, FL

We featured an engagement session a few months ago, of this lovely couple doing big, intentional and wildly purposeful things in their community, with their non-profit, Four Letter Word! You can catch up on that side of their wedding story here. Fast forward a few months and they’re now married and had one heck of a socially conscious wedding to boot! The amount of thoughtful consideration that went into every, I repeat… EVERY, aspect of their BIG day is absolutely awe-inspiring! Grateful for this couple’s hearts for others, the bride’s amazing recap (shared below), and our BSB vendor, Savannah Lauren, who was there to capture every moment! raynajonyborwedding-492 ‘Including our community and the environment into our wedding day was a very special experience. We did this not only to bring awareness, but it is important to us, and a lifestyle we pursue daily. We learned a lot about people and got to know our community in a more intimate way. We experienced humility, and we are thankful for the efforts everyone put in, to not only making our day great, but making our community great. Our hearts are to bring not only us, but also our community, together as one. jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-1
We met many local vendors and got to talk about values and giving back in Tampa Bay. It is great to see a group of people that are now collaborating because our wedding was just the catalyst to many great relationships in our community.
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We saw our neighbor cutting up his fallen oak tree and asked him to cut us a few “slivers” it was refreshing to be outside talking to the people who surround you. We often forget to do life this way.
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We made our signs in the garage, and got excited to see progress every week. It was hot, but we got to encourage each other to keep going, even when we wanted just to go buy what we were making.
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We planted our own babies breath, because we wanted to learn something new about gardening and farming, it was an unsuccessful harvest, but we tried our best. We used seed paper in our invitations to get people to do the same.
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We chose Amazing Love Ministries, because we serve there and know the homeless that come in and out of their doors every week to get a hot meal. In fact, that’s where all our leftovers went.
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We made our ceremony unplugged because we wanted people to pause for a brief moment and enjoy their surroundings, to share the moment with us, and remember our voices and our faces.
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We got to connect with many vendors through word of mouth recommendations. It was a “treasure hunt” where one person would lead us to the next. Honestly it was one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, and we had so many wonderful surprises and we made life-long friends through the process.jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-104 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-105 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-108 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-114 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-115 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-117 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-122 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-125 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-127 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-129 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-142 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-149 jonraynayborcityclspacewedding-152
We used compostable plates because instead of filling up a land-fill with paper and plastic, we can use the nutrients to grow, healthy, sustainable food in our garden.
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We harvested pine cones on our walks around the neighborhood at night, holding hands and talking about our future, then eventually our hands would be full of prickly pine cones. We learned you can really only hold so many, we made a lot of trips.
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The Bride and Groom chose to Give Back directly to following non-profits: Amazing Love Ministries, Tampa Christian Fellowship, Tampa Bay Harvest, and their own non-profit, Four Letter Word. And the giving didn’t stop there, here are the amazing vendors and aspects of their day and how they give back in their own way:
Wedding Coordinator: Rhonda Abdalla, From Yes to I Do and Events
“Rhonda at a young age was giving back to the community, growing up she spent most of her weekends with her family volunteering. She volunteered making meals for the homeless or arts & crafts and playing board games with the pediatric wing of her local hospital. Rhonda says, “ she was lucky enough to understand how important it was to give back, it’s truly a priceless and liberating feeling!” When Rhonda launched From Yes To I Do, she had no doubt in her mind that she wanted to incorporate this into her business. Rhonda proudly coordinates events for local nonprofit organizations. Having the opportunity to give back through her business is a dream come true and something she always planned on doing. Rhonda says she lives by the motto “you make a life by what you give to others” and because of this she can truly say her life is full of peace and prosperity.”
  Ceremony Venue:Amazing Love Ministries, Ybor
 “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.”
  Reception Venue:CL Space, Ybor
 “Creative Loafing focuses on connecting the Tampa Bay area through their free online and print publication, which is a great source for events, restaurants, concerts and shows, Visual Arts reviews, news and opinions.”
  Caterer:Holy Hog BBQ 
 “Holy Hog BBQ is heavily involved in the local communities surrounding our stores in and around Tampa. The Hog donates various products and services to numerous organizations through out each year. We offer a 15% discount to all military and police including Fire and EMS all day every day. We most recently donated to the One Orlando Fund and and participated and Eat, Drink Red last year as well. We believe it is important to give back and help support the local community in any way possible.”
  Photographer:Savannah Lauren
“Savannah is affiliated with Feeding America, she volunteers her time and donates her photography services to food kitchens and underprivileged communities, she even created a series called The Intrepid Sessions.”
Second Photographer: Ivana Cajina
DJ/EmCee:Will Jackson
Will Jackson is the Creative Director for Grace Family Church in Tampa, Florida. He invests in youth and worship ministries, he is very passionate about his career in ministry and serves well as a leader to his community.   Officiant:Sixto and Susan Ward  
Violinist: Sarah Taylor
“Sarah gives back by supporting Ezra/Beat NB (A childhood cancer research foundation) and by donating her old clothes and furniture to Salvation Army. Sarah has a career as a music teacher in Hillsborough County, Tampa a truly finds passion in teaching the next generation music.”   Transportation:Jolley Trolley    Cake:Publix Bayshore
 “The founder of Publix, George Jenkins was once asked what he thought he would be worth had he not given so much away. Humbly, he answered “Probably nothing”. Publix gives to thousands of local non-profit organizations, tailoring giving to the needs of each local community. We put the weight of the company behind these campaigns; Special Olympics, Food for Sharing, March of Dimes, Children’s Miracle Network, Food for All, United Way, Tools for School and many others. If you shop at Publix, there’s a good chance you support them, too. “
  Hair: Sally Bakalyar “Sally donates time at her salon to give free back-to-school haircuts. She serves on the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary. Sally also advocates for the homeless, women’s shelters, and is involved with many churches and charities in the Tampa Bay area.”
  Small Paper Flowers: Made from old recycled bibles and hymn books, bought locally at Oldsmar Flea Market, crafted by Rayna and Robin Cohen – also seen in Brides Bouquet, Grooms Boutonnière, and Centerpieces.  
Makeup: Maribel Guisto InvitationsForever Fiancés  Envelopes: Recycled paper bag envelopes from Amazon RSVP and Details: Designed by Rayna, printed locally by Ashtay Printing/Zebra flyers  Bride Rings: Bought locally from a Gemologist, conflict-free diamonds Grooms Ring: Alamea, crafted from sustainable harvested Koa wood from Hawaii Bouquets and Hair Pieces: Babies Breath – grown in the Brasier garden and filled with additional babies breath from Carlstedt’s Confetti: Made from the remnants of the paper flowers Large Paper Flowers: Bought second- hand. Artist: Yanet Ademan Centerpieces: Wood rings – from a neighbor’s fallen tree, Manzanita – from Blooms and Branches Pallet Signs: Painted by Beverly Bakalyar  Party Favors: Trail mix bar, local fruit bought from Bearss Groves and dried by Rayna and Jon Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Ybor Pipes and Drape/Uplighting: BayStage Live (www.baystagelive.com) Tables/Chairs/Linens: Rent All (www.rentallcity.com) Broccoli Bouquet: Bearss Groves Market Grooms Bowtie: Two Guys Bowties  Groomsmen watches and sunglasses: TreeHut  Bridemaids Skirts: Space46 Boutique  Dress and Veil:Allure – CC’s Bridal Boutique Featured local craft brews: Cigar City Jai Alai, 3 Daughters Beach Blonde, Florida Avenue IPA, Green Bench Brewing Sunshine City IPA All other goods made by the bride and groom, bought locally, or supported skilled artisans; bridesmaids robes, parent gift photo albums, garter, hour glass, flower girl basket, stamps, pearl head piece. ________________ To learn more about the bride and groom’s desire to serve others with their non-profit, Four Letter Word, visit their website!

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  

Sustainably Stylized Inspiration Shoot: Ice Cream Inspired Wedding Shoot, National Ice Cream Day

Did you know today is also National Ice Cream Day? It’s like THE CHERRY ON TOP of this glorious Sunday! To honor this fun holiday we have a Schhhweeeet Stylized Shoot full of creamy greatness! Thanks to our amazing BSB vendor, Styled by Kelsey V., for thinking of Black Sheep Bride for this submission. View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled
Giving Back Story :
Fat Cat Creamery is both sustainable and supports local farmers.  Their milk and heavy cream come from Texas dairy farmers Mill-King Creamery in McGregor, Texas, and the eggs used are delivered twice weekly by Ole Dad Farms. Their good friends at The Barry Farm bring figs, citrus, and other fresh ingredients that they put in the many flavors of fresh ice cream.
The ‘cats’ believe in sustainability, evidenced by the packaging. The ice cream packages are made of leftover wheat straw and are compostable, while the shakes come in vintage glasses which are washed and reused. The ‘cats’ also use spoons made of environmentally friendly materials, such as bio-plastics and cornstarch.
Meg and Chris took some time for themselves to celebrate their anniversary by participating in this inspiration shoot. They both are involved with the local animal shelter, and have two adopted fur babies.
Styled by Kelsey V. (BSB Vendor) upcycled the cake stand and the mint chair.  These were both Salvation Army finds that were stripped and spray painted to bring new life into rusty metal pieces. Kelsey is a personal stylist and donates her time to various projects, in relation with her trade, from helping cancer patients learn proper make up technique and empowering confidence, to teaching single mom’s how to dress for their job interview.
Danielle Calhoun Favorites-0022 View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled  View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled  Danielle Calhoun Favorites-0023View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled Danielle Calhoun Favorites-0014 Danielle Calhoun Favorites-0015 Danielle Calhoun Favorites-0021View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled Danielle Calhoun Favorites-0001  View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled  View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled  View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled  View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled  View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyledDanielle Calhoun Favorites-0028 View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled Danielle Calhoun Favorites-0032 View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled View More: http://ronniebliss.pass.us/mintstyled Danielle Calhoun Favorites-0036
Participating Vendors: Photography: Ronnie Bliss Photography | Event Planning: EA Design Events | Calligraphy: Lily and Rose Studio | HMUA: Styled by Kelsey V. | Cake: Jade Magnolia | Dress: Private Label Wedding Dresses | Venue: Fat Cat Creamery
 

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.
Brave Bracelet
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.
La Flor necktie
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.