Emily & Eddie had an international do-good mindset from the beginning of their dating relationship and thus naturally infused it into their wedding day. This non-traditional bride made some eco-choices by opting for an intimate ceremony in nature followed by a bigger community-fueled reception in an office-turned venue in the city. Spoken like a true friend chatting over a glass of wine, read on for Emily’s nuggets of advice for planning a heartfelt, ethical wedding:
When I moved to San Francisco with two suitcases in hand and a wild dream to become a professional dancer, I couldn’t begin to fathom the importance of community. I had plenty of friends – I was certainly known and loved.
Then I became really known and loved.
The same community that reached deep to fully know and love me led me to my amazing husband, helped foster our relationship, and put together a wedding better than all my Pinterest boards combined.
Our small ceremony was in wine country, about an hour north of San Franciso.
Advice Nugget #1: Root for a cause together that’s bigger than your relationship makes for much bigger dreams than that fancy juicer that you’ll only use once a year
Eddie and I “officially” started dating in 2016, a few days before he left for a mission trip to Romania. While he was there, he had met the beautiful girls and founders of Beauty From Ashes, a non–profit caring for orphan children in Romania, teaching them of Christ, and equipping them with skills to provide for themselves. My name must have come up a few times because 1 year later, and a few days after we were “officially” engaged, I got to meet those very same beautiful girls and founders who were the first to hear about our dating relationship (imagine that– girls on the other side of the world knew Eddie & I were a thing before my mom. Sorry mom!)
Eddie prayed for, encouraged, and kept in contact with the girls (many of whom asked about me) for the following year. Many stories and a grand proposal later, Eddie finally introduced me to the girls I had heard so much about – as his fiancé!
Beauty From Ashes and all of the ladies there shaped so much of the beginning stages of our dating relationship and our engagement period that it only made sense that they help shape the beginning of our marriage, as well.
Because of their impact on us as individuals and us as a couple, Eddie and I chose to highlight Beauty From Ashes as our charity registry instead of asking for gifts that wouldn’t fit into our (adorable) matchbox apartment in San Francisco. We asked our family and friends to donate to their fundraiser to help purchase the home they had been renting that was recently put up for sale by the owners. Our friends and family honored our wishes and together we pitched in nearly $500 that went on to helping them successfully buy the house!
Advice Nugget #2:
Find a community of friends– I promise they’ll be better than any wedding planner.
With our registry in place and the wedding date around the corner, our community of champions, serious #SquadGoals, turned a renovated architecture firm office building we found on Peerspace into an intimate modern wedding venue that comfortably hosted a crowd resembling the UN. Dear friends with Insta–worthy skills made gorgeous hand–made flower installations that lined the hallways. Musical wizards and soul sisters sang our first dance song adding an extra dosage of “aww” when the track malfunctioned and it turned into a surprise acapella performance. Boss babes with photo skills to die for created a personalized photo booth and photo mark for guest photos that is so cute that I still find prints hanging on their fridges. And actor friends dressed accordingly left the party early to chauffeur us to our wedding night hotel.
All in all, the day reminded us how you step into your marriage is just as important as (yes, I’m going to say it) the dress, the cake, and the honeymoon destination. The one day where everything really is about you is truly the perfect day to make sure every decision is good for someone else (and you!).
Final advice nugget: Shine the light on others on your special day– I promise the spotlight will fall on you— and when it does, because you’ve shared some of that light, it feels a lot less blinding and a lot more like that #GoldenHour glow.
Photographer: Kappen Photography, http://peterandemilykappen.com
For more tips on planning a heart-driven, ethical wedding,check out the Mindfully Wed E-guide here.