Last week I attended an amazing fundraising event, co-sponsored by one of our BSB vendors, Tastes of Tampa Bay (a.k.a. Street Surfer Food Truck), that completely transformed my perspective on our local food bank and community needs. The event was called the Hunger Dinner, put on by Feeding Tampa Bay.
‘In Tampa Bay, over 700,000 people are food insecure, meaning they lack consistent and easy access to safe and nutritionally adequate food. In the United States 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger.’
The premise of the Hunger Dinner was simple: 1. Every guest received an envelope at the time of arrival. 2. After a fun cock-tail hour, they were addressed by FTB’s Director, explaining the purpose of the evening: discussing the true disparity of being food secure and how limited nutritional, sustainable food options are for those that are food insecure. 3. He then instructed the audience to open their envelopes. Each envelop had one of two messages inside: a. You are food secure and will have a nice three course meal, catered by Tastes of Tampa Bay (including formal flatware and plates) or b. You are food insecure and have a very limited budget available to purchase the non-catered food items available (on paper plates). This envelop option also came with one of two stories, explaining why someone might be food insecure. As people went onto their tables, they were met with half of the seats filled with place settings and salad plates, and the other seats were empty. It was truly humbling to watch as the tables filled up with guests and see their reactions as some guest received gourmet meals, and the others, not so much. Conversation continued over dinner as each table discussed how important it is to support organizations fighting food insecurities and to be sensitive to those in need of help.
For more information about giving back to Feeding Tampa Bay visit their website HERE. For every $1 donated you are providing 10 meals to the community. To find your city’s local food back visit Feeding America HERE.
*EDITOR NOTE: We thought in honor of Veteran’s Day we’d pull out of our favorite veteran weddings from 2016. Share this story of community and unconditional love, once more, couldn’t be better timed and appreciated. Enjoy friends and thank you to all who have served our country!
It astonishes me how generous and GOOD the wedding world truly is these days. When Hope, from Rialto Theatre , originally shared this couple’s story in the Black Sheep Bride vendor Facebook group, and asked if anyone would be interested in gifting this couple, it had instant interest, volunteers and vendors coming together to make the day possible. You see, Jose and Kim met in the Army, and have since spent the last five years together in service to this country. Even one of our BSB photographers, Brandi of Alexis June Weddings, flew in from out of state to donate her time and talent, to this couple, because she was also in the service and knew the value of these individuals sacrifice.
Jennifer Buono, of Bourbon and Blush Events, was the planning and design mastermind behind all of the magical details and logistics for the day. Here is what she had to share:
When I think about the country we live in and the people who selflessly give their lives for the service of our country it moves me in a way that is so hard to put down in words. Their dedication and commitment to the protection of our people, their fight for our independence, their families fight; none of it goes unappreciated in my eyes. And I wanted to give back in a way that would be meaningful to them, so I donated my time, services and expertise to help plan one of the most special days of their lives. I was honored to be able to serve this couple and to create an entire day for them that they would remember forever. Every detail had it’s place and a special meaning to them.
The Retired Jose Cabrera and active duty Kimberlee Ashton joined together and were married by Jose’s Uncle on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, June 5th 2016. It was so important to them that their family was a part of their union and celebration.Kim’s stationery was all handmade and designed around the navy details infused into her wedding, by Blush Design Studio.
Kim and Jose had never before had professional portraits of themselves. So they were deeply moved when Brandi, Alexis June Weddings, an Air Force Veteran and incredibly talented New York based photographer offered to fly down to capture their special day. In fact, one of Brandi’s favorite moments was the first look. “They were so nervous. It was such a magical moment as the two of them took that time to be with only each other.”Inna of Inna Olimpiyuk Events did such a beautiful job on bringing in a romantic and lush feel to the room. The soft ivories in Kim’s bouquet really stood out against the vibrant pops of burgundy red garden roses and navy in the bridesmaids dresses. Kim and Jose chose to have their wedding at the historic Rialto Theatre in downtown Tampa. The old brick walls, blue tile and painted details create the perfect combination of old and new. This venue is a gem for our city providing a grand space with 27 foot ceilings and a beautifully remodeled, historic backdrop.
One of our favorite planning moments was being able to tell Kim + Jose that their border collies, Thor and Loki, would be able to attend their wedding as the flower girl and ring bearer, thanks to FairyTail Planning. Kim was so happy she began to tear up and at that moment we were so humbled to have been able to make such a special detail come to life for them.
The floral details were carried out throughout the reception, where vibrant navy crushed satin linens provided by Kate Ryan Linens adorned the tables, complete with burgundy red dupioni napkins and the most elegant ivory china place settings from Ever After Vintage Weddings.Blush Design Studio did a beautiful job of incorporating a calligraphy escort card display, menu cards and stationery suite.
‘We chose Fisher House because it helps accommodate military members, and their families, while they visit their loved ones being treated in the hospital. These houses offer rooms at no cost to the families. We both have a personal connection to this foundation because in early 2014, less than a year after we got back from deployment, I got a call from Jose’s Mom that he was in the ICU due to having acute pancreatitis. He was in excruciating pain and was losing too much fluid. They pushed fluid and he literally ballooned up from water weight to keep his organs from shutting down.
After almost a week they were finally able to move him from ICU to a normal room. He was in Georgia still at this point at Fort Gordon. His mom could only be with him for a couple of days, but I packed a bag and drove up to be with him for the remainder of the time he was hospitalized. I had no idea how I was going to be able to afford a hotel room for 2 weeks. Luckily, Jose’s Mom found out from one of his surgeons that they secured a room in the Fisher House for me to stay while taking care of him. I came very close to losing him that week. Had it not been for Fisher House, I would have been stuck and he wouldn’t have had support after his Mom had to go back home.
Fisher House homes are normally built within walking distances of the hospitals on base. They have full kitchens – full of food, laundry rooms with supplies and the rooms are fully furnished. These houses can have a few rooms. I think the one I stayed in had maybe 8. So it can be very difficult for families to get a room here, but when they do, it is one of the best gifts family of military can get, because it is completely free accommodations for the guest/s.’
Thank you to the amazing vendors that made this day possible for this deserving couple!
A week ago Black Sheep Bride officially organized our first Wedding World Changer FREE WEDDING to a deserving couple, Astrid and Gary! The premise was simple, couples were nominated on our site and shared how they are actively involved in their community. If they won the Wedding World Changer wedding, they would also have to donate 100 service hours in the first year of their marriage back into their community. Astrid and Gary were one of the last couples to enter the contest and won the hearts of our vendor team. They’re love, gratitude and sincere appreciation for all those that served on their BIG DAY could not be quantified. My heart is full knowing the Black Sheep Bride and Tampa vendor community came together and gave back to this amazing couple, that have forever touched our lives.
Thanks to The Portos, Jeanine Leigh Photography and Green Pearl Photography for providing us with the video and photo highlights from their BIG DAY!
Here is their story: Gary is a firefighter in Palm Harbor with a tender heart for serving others and his community, and Astrid is currently working towards her degree in Pediatric Occupational Therapy, while also volunteering her time on Sundays with her local children’s ministry, at their church. They were planning for a wedding in a few years, however Astrid’s mother’s recent battle with cancer had them seeking ways to plan their wedding sooner. Out of the applications available the Tampa Vendor Team voted and their story touched our hearts most.
When we called to tell Astrid, they were the voted winners, she surprised Gary at his fire station with the news, and luckily for us, recorded the whole thing, refer below!
A HUGE THANK YOU to all of the participating vendors, sponsors, and donors that helped make their WEDDING POSSIBLE:
Planning: Oh Hello Events | Ceremony Design: Bourbon and Blush Events | Reception Design: Amber Veatch Designs | Floral Design : Andrea Layne Floral Design | Photography: Jeanine Leigh Photography and Green Pearl Photography | Venue: CL Space Ybor | Hair + Makeup: Michele Renee | Paper Goods: Citrus-Press Co. | Catering: Tastes of Tampa Bay | Cocktail Hour Catering: Chalk Board Special | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Cake : Trudy Melissa Cakes | DJ: Graingertainment | Bartending : Mix It Up FL | Ceremony Altar/Rentals: Wish Vintage Rental | Pipe and Drape: Coast To Coast Event Rentals | Smaller Wooden Signage: Aerie Lane | Rectangular Farm Tables, Chargers: Set Event Rentals | Media Partners: Creative Loafing and Marry Me Tampa Bay | Succulents: The Succulent Source | Lavender: Tin Can Event Company | Chairs, Square Tables, Dinnerware, Flatware, Glasses: A Chair Affair | Videography: The Portos | Bridesmaids Dresses: Two Birds Bridesmaid | Wedding Dress: The Bride Tampa | Tuxes: All Brides 2 Be Tampa | Hotel Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Ybor |
We also found out on the day of their wedding, that a local news station covered their awesome story at the same time the wedding was taking place! Here is the sweet video of their story online. Thanks to Jennifer’s husband, from Oh Hello Events, for recording the segment!
Black Sheep Bride couldn’t be more proud of our community of #VendorsthatGiveBack for making this event possible! It was truly an honor to work along side each and every vendor! We will be taking this first event and creating a plan of attack so we can duplicate efforts in other cities next year! Find out about the other locations over at Wedding World Changer’s website.
Thank you all for making this day possible! Astrid and Gary’s humble hearts and gracious spirits were worth all the hard work!