He stood in an archway and waited for her to come. The bright Bryn Athyn sun bounced in and out of the stone work, and reflected in his eyes. But when he turned to see her, anyone could tell that it was nothing compared to the light he saw in her. They held on to one another. Watched the first of the guests start to arrive. And when the beat of a drum came rolling up the hill-strong, steady, certain- there was no question, this was exactly where they were always meant to be.
He stood in front of their friends and family and waited for the words to come. He had spent time writing his toast, so it was polished, poised, certain. But more than his words, what we all took notice of was the love reflected in his eyes. And when he turned and raised a glass to her, anyone could tell that it came directly from the light he saw in her. At the end of the night, they held on to one another. Watched the last of the guests start to leave. And when the only sound left was the sound of his voice-strong, steady, certain- there was no question....
she knew this was exactly where they were always meant to be.
Married: Janki & Amit
A huge HUGE thank you to Miss Katie Yuen for helping us out on this one!! Katie you rock our world & we would've been lost without you! :)
Today we are SO excited to kick off the week right by bringing you the engagement shoot of Cassandra & Jess. We got together with these guys in their Brentwood neighborhood while we were out in California earlier this month. We spent some time walking around the UCLA campus, hanging out by the coral trees near their home, making friends with their absolutely adorable pooch Wally, and hearing all about the plans for the really BIG day in Napa this coming October. Cassandra is a wedding planner herself, with a resume that includes the likes of Martha Stewart & Mindy Weiss....so you know they've got some pretty incredible things in store. I'm just going to say hot air balloons and leave it at that! :) So for now, enjoy getting to know these guys. Because before you know it, they'll be MARRIED!
Liz was one of the other Innovator Speakers this past week at the What If Conference in Portland.
And she pretty much rocked my face off.
Liz was there to represent innovations in social entrepreneurship. This idea that with our businesses....we can change the world.
And that is, in every sense of the word, exactly what Liz is doing with her company Sseko Designs. It started with an impromptu trip to Africa right after she graduated college. Where she lived and worked among the Ugandan people. And saw first hand the extreme poverty that exists there. The hierarchy among men & women that usually means the only jobs left available to these women is the "job" of selling their bodies. At about the equivalent of twenty five cents a time. But given the choice between this and not eating, they chose to work. And that even though half of the best & brightest students in all of Uganda are women, usually none of them were able to go on to University for the simple fact that they couldn't get real work to raise the money. And so the cycle continued. As mothers watched their daughters being sold as well.
Enter Liz and an idea. A quirky pair of sandals she had made up one day when she was bored in college.
A pretty much killer pair of sandals that could change the world.
By creating an environment of dignity, honor, creativity and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.
We believe that every woman has a dream. When she is given the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world.
We believe that our stuff has a story and that every dollar you spend is a vote for the way you think the world should work.
Every sandal has a story.
Now, this is where we come in. All of us. This model only works if people buy the sandals. And they are. Around 10,000 pairs have been sold this year so far. That's pretty good.
But What If it was 100,000 pairs instead?
How many more lives could be changed then? And how far would the ripple effect from that go?
I don't know about you guys, but when I see these shoes I feel like every woman I know should have a pair. Every bride, every friend, every family member. And maybe it's just me and how we're constantly thinking about weddings, but I kind of feel like they should be THE must have bridesmaid shoe this year, no? Because how many could we sell then?
And that's where you guys come in.
Because I know a LOT of brides. But together, we know so many more.
And I know a LOT of women. But together, we know so many more.
And together, maybe we could start a movement. A movement of women (and the men who love women!) using their spending power to change the lives of other women.
And maybe, just maybe, change the world in the process.
And I mean, let's face it... you get a cute pair of shoes in the process? I'd call that a Win-Win.
What If....every single person reading this got up off their butts, clicked off this page and bought a pair?
What If....every single person once they were over there on the site, bought a few extra pairs for the women they love too?
What If....every photographer reading this blogged about Sseko sandals and encouraged their brides to give them to their bridesmaids too?
What If....together, we made these the must have shoes of the year? Because buy a pair, give a pair is really good. But buy a pair, give someone a chance at a future is even better.
What If....we read this and didn't close the computer before we DID something about it?
And What If....we sold at least 100 pairs before the day is out? I think we can do it. No, scratch that. I KNOW we can. Let's just see how powerful we are together. If you're down to play, leave us a note in the comment box below of how many sandals you bought. I'm going to start by buying 3 pairs. Chime back in if you find out one of your friends bought some because you tweeted or facebooked about it. Let's keep a running tally. And come Monday, let's see if we can have made some stuff happen.
We sat on the front porch and more than occasionally swatted at some over zealous mosquitos. An amber flame popped & cracked and settled in for the night in the new bronze rubbed fire pit in front of us, and in round table turns we tried our hand at s'more making. I took note of who went for the golden brown toast and who preferred chargrilled. And in the smokey night air, somewhere between the graham crackers and the chocolate bars, the conversation took a turn... toward the brutally honest.
We sat semi-circle at one of our Walk Through workshops earlier this year in June, and the attendees fired off questions one by one. Yes, we blog every wedding. No, we really won't take every couple that comes to us if we don't think it's a good fit. Yes, there are people in the industry who will betray you. We let this last thought hang in the air, as marshmallows of smoke warily crept closer and tapped it on the shoulder. And somewhere in the silence that followed, a question came that I don't think we were ever prepared for.
This is all well and good and all. And I know it comes really easy for you guys now. But tell us more about when you were first getting started and you actually had to work for it. Because what's really going to help us, what we really need, is more of that honesty.
I sat stunned in the darkness. Felt the sting on my cheek and the flush of red to match it. And as a rush of answers flooded my brain, I realized that in the end only one mattered.
It isn't easy for us now.
For every amazing thing that might look like it just fell in our laps, there are months of being told no and slamming ourselves up against the brick walls that hold us back over and over again until they finally fall down...preceding it. There is nothing that we have built that hasn't been built by our our own hands. And make no mistake about it, we get up and we fight for it every single day. And we'll keep on fighting still.
And if you want it, really, really want it....my suggestion is that you fight too.
In the quiet as I caught my breath, he looked at me dead on and he thanked me for using the F-word. He thanked me for admitting that we too have to fight.
And what I told him was, it had never even crossed my mind that he didn't already know.
Yesterday as we sat semi-circle again this time at the What If Conference, I wrote down two quotes that I think any of us who has a dream worth chasing need to hear:
1. Work Freaking Harder (except this time, it may or may not have been the real F-word :) and
2. This is it. Fight like Hell.
My hope is that wherever you are in your dreams and whatever it is that you're working for... you'll fight like hell for it today.
Featured: The Knot Magazine & Destination Inspirations
Right about now as you're reading this, we are getting ready to go on & speak at The What If Conference in Portland, OR. Which means that I am probably also pacing laps around our room and practicing speeches out loud and to no one in particular. :) In short, wish us LUCK! Good vibes and crossed crossables are also much appreciated!
But we did just want to hop on real quick and give a HUGE congrats to three of our couples- Brigid & Josh, Mel & Geoff and Nicole & Scott- who were just featured in The Knot magazine and Destination Inspirations. We are so honored that the Knot picked up both Brigid & Josh's DIY wedding for one of their real wedding features, as well as included the shot below of Mel & Geoff's NYC City Hall wedding for their feature on "Iconic Images." Since that just happens to be one of the I's in our AEIOU....we couldn't be more thrilled!
And then Jess from Destination Inspirations wrote & asked us if they could feature Nicole & Scott's Corona themed engagement shoot, since they are planning a destination wedding in the Florida Keys later this year!! And we, of course, could not have been more excited to have them pick it up!
Congrats to all three couples! Seriously, we could not do any of what we do without you. Thank you for continuing to rock our world. Hard!
So much love,