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Surprise Wedding for Deserving Couple | Big Fake Wedding Style

Our amazing friends at The Big Fake Wedding have done it again, but this time… It wasn’t a fake wedding… it was ‘totes’ REAL! Read the story below, from Big Fake Wedding’s founder and CEO, Callie! The best part of this story is all of the participating vendors donated their services to make this big day a success, for such an amazing couple!
‘My friend Jennifer was planning a wedding in September, but they found out that Brian was being transferred to Tokyo in June, so they started planning to secretly head to the courthouse on May 8. At a dinner in April, Jennifer was telling me about her plans and saying how she was so sad to miss the experience of her dad walking her down the aisle. She wanted Brian to have that moment of seeing her in a dress, but they knew there wasn’t time to make that possible.
I reached out to some of my favorite wedding vendors, and we started planning an amazing surprise wedding for the two of them. Jennifer knew it was happening, but she didn’t know any of the details. Brian just thought that he was going to meet her at the courthouse, but instead his dad dropped him off at the wedding location (a local park where the florist so graciously donated her yard and front porch for the celebration), and his mom was there waiting on him with a boutonniere, in front of a sign that read “Welcome to the wedding of Jennifer and Brian”. She handed him a letter from Jennifer that let him know that they would be able to experience a wedding ceremony after all, and then his parents walked him down the aisle where their family and best friends (who had come in from different parts of the country!) were waiting.
We had a musician who played their song as Jennifer walked down the aisle, and after the ceremony, the musician played as they had their first dance and dances with their parents. They then enjoyed dinner, cake and toasts on the front porch, and they ended with a coffee truck and lantern release.
The next day was their “engagement party” and they got to let everyone in on their little secret: they were married!!’
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Easily the best part for us, besides everyone donating their time to this lovely couple, is REFUGE COFFEE!!!! Refuge Coffee Company is an amazing Atlanta based Coffee Truck that provides a living wage, quality job training and mentorship for resettled refugees in the area.
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And if these amazing photos weren’t enough… grab the hankie and watch this super endearing video, courtesy of Up and Up Weddings :
Participating Vendors:  Flowers : Holland Daze Weddings | Vintage Rentals: Miss. Milly’s | Cake : GS Bakery | Catering : Farm Burger | Officiant : Bill Murray | Hand Lettering: Fleecher Designs | Photography : Jonathan and Kaye Photography | Ceremony Dress: Rent the Runway | Reception Dress: Wedding Angels | Videography: Up and Up Weddings | Music : Jonathan Wisdom | Coffee Truck: Refuge Coffee Co. | Jewelry: Chloe + Isabel by Brette  | ‘Yay Flag’ : Liddabits Design Shop

Weddings That Give Back – Support Local Theme

Black Sheep Bride recently received this amazing engagement and wedding submission from a Chicago based photographer, Beyond the Ordinary Photography and I was so excited to learn of their story, as well as today’s featured Urban Gardening couple. :) Beyond the Ordinary Photography works with the non-profit organization I Paint My Mind (IPMM). They are an organization whose mission is to make art accessible to everyone. Just recently IPMM partnered with the folks at the Dreambox project and we photographed their amazing efforts  as they handed out dream boxes (boxes filled with craft supplies- so these child can explore expression through art) to orphans around the Chicagoland area.  It was important for this couple to incorporate their passions and their community into their wedding day planning… Not only did the groom garden many of the wedding flowers at the urban farm and non-profit that he manages, and works with at-risk youth for job training and life skill programs, they also used the fun space as the backdrop for their engagement photos. Check out their engagement, wedding, and full story below, narrated by the wonderful bride. ‘My partner and I have been together for 8 years. Last year we decided to get married! We knew from the start that we wanted all aspects of our wedding, the planning and the event, to reflect who we are and our values. We strove to create something out of a spirit of intentionality and something that had meaning to more than just us. We spent a year getting everything together and while it had its moments of challenge, it was an incredible and humbling experience, an opportunity to be able to put our money (limited as it was!) towards the people and places that we wanted to support. Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BenCaitlin23 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BenCaitlin17 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BenCaitlin15 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BenCaitlin6 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BenCaitlin3 View More: View More: View More: Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BenCaitlin39 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BenCaitlin42 View More: Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BenCaitlin59   We wanted an event that involved our community, rather than one that simply invited people to sit down and not lift a finger. More important than the obvious practical benefit of this decision, we believe that taking an active part in creating something infuses it with that much more love and meaning for wedding guests and the couple alike. Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_AJaffe168 We found a venue that could house about 75% of our guests. Ronora Lodge is a retreat center that operates with a deep reverence for the land and a commitment to environmental responsibility. One day was not going to be enough! We wanted to offer people a beautiful place to spend time in. Folks arrived, turned their cars off, and settled in for a long weekend. We were there from Thursday to Monday and everyone stayed the length that they could. Friday lunch was tamales from an independent tamale maker in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Rehearsal dinner was Indian food catered by a friend who teaches cooking classes out of her home. We bought local produce from a farm down the road that my cousin used to make the side dish for the reception. My mother spent time throughout the summer making and freezing pesto from the basil my husband grew and brought her. My dad and my husband’s mom made all the desserts. Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_AJaffe232 People were amazing! We had friends setting up the straw bales for the ceremony benches bought from a local farmer, covering them with blankets gathered from many households. People were making flower bouquets and stringing up lace streamers, setting the tables and painting signs to direct people to the ceremony. Everyone stepped up and helped! My husband grew many of the wedding flowers at the urban farm and non-profit that he manages and works with at-risk youth for job training and life skill programs. The other flowers were bought from a friend who recently started her own flower business. Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_AJaffe118 My dad spent weeks making jams from the fruit he picked to fill the welcome baskets in the cabins, along with his special granola. My brother brought bulk coffee from the small roaster down the street from where he lives in Mexico City. Most of the decorations were hand-made, up-cycled lace. The tables were set with vintage lace table clothes and vintage plates and pitchers that I spent many hours treasure hunting for, at bargain prices. The cocktail glasses were mugs that we had hand-etched with the help of two dear friends, and were given as a take-home gift. We served hard cider that friends had helped us press the fall before the wedding. We had kegs from nearby breweries. Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_AJaffe196 We had musician friends playing the ceremony and entertaining on the trailer ride down there. Last, but not least, two close friends and my brother DJ’d the party until about 4am!… Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_AJaffe158 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BJaffe249 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BJaffe568 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BJaffe575 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_CJaffe189 Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_BJaffe598 While it was our intention in every way, it’s hard to say we “gave back” because the wealth of love, support, and generosity that we received feels more enormous than anything. That said, based on what people have expressed, I know we did collectively create something that had meaning and gave joy to much more than just us. Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_CJaffe133 The wedding cake was the chocolate cake my mother has made for every birthday in my family for decades. We met our wonderful photographers at an art opening one of them was volunteering at and she told me about their independent business. My husband’s mom made loaves of Challah to go with the incredibly tasty local BBQ catering from Piggin’ n’ Grinnin’. I worked with an amazing tailor who is raising two kids and working independently out of her home. Flannery_Jaffe_Beyond_the_Ordinary_Photography_CJaffe229 Every vendor we worked with was helpful, flexible, and an absolute pleasure!’ Vendors: Venue: Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center | Photographer: Beyond the Ordinary Photography