Today I’m happy to share this wonderful guest post by our lovely Preferred Vendor Marcie Muehlke, owner of Celia Grace eco and fair wedding dresses and accessories. Marcie and I connected earlier this year through our shared interest in green weddings, buying local, fair trade and living ethically. So I’m thrilled to hand over the blog reigns to her today and tomorrow for part one and part two of her Ethical Weddings feature.
Green weddings have exploded over the last several years and today almost half of couples use at least one green product or service at their wedding. The next frontier? A broader definition of sustainability that considers the planet and people – the ethical wedding. Ethical weddings come in all shapes and sizes but add to the meaning and joy of your big day – for you and everyone involved. Curious how to “do” an ethical wedding? Think local and fair trade.
If you aren’t totally sure what fair trade is (but know it means excellent coffee or chocolate) you are not alone. Fair trade uses the power of commerce – your ability to vote with your dollars – to ensure safe, fair, and empowering work conditions and trade relationships with groups in developing countries. Fair trade strengthens social justice, economic development, and environmental protection.
In this post “local” is defined as the northeast, but I offer plenty of tips on how to find great nearby and ethical vendors wherever “local” is for you.
Dresses: When I got engaged and called my mother the first words out her mouth were, all in one breath, “CongratulationsMarcie!WhenIsTheDate?” when all I wanted to do was look at wedding dresses! So let’s start there. Most dresses are made from polluting petroleum-based polyester and sewn overseas under questionable circumstances. But I’m happy to report that there are beautiful, eco, and ethical options in your area and as close as your mobile device:
Local ~ Look for a dress that was made in the USA at your local bridal shop. National made in the USA brands include Aria, Claire Pettibone, Lela Rose, Nicoel Miller, Vera Wang, Jim Hjelm/Alvina Valenta, Elizabeth Fillmore, Badgley Mischka, Judd Waddell, Thread, Alix & Kelly, Amy Michelson, Asale, Kenneth Pool/Christos, Tara Keely, Lazaro, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier, Reem Arca, Carolina Herrera, Angel Sanches, Carela Sutera, and more.
Want to stay even closer to home? Some bridal shops make custom dresses or you can ask around for a trusted seamstress in your area. You might even be surprised what you can find with a google maps search for “seamstress.”
Want made in the USA and green? All Janay A Handmade wedding dresses are made by hand, to order, by the designer herself and her team in the USA (Kansas City, to be precise). Her gowns are also eco – she uses certified organic fabrics and silk/hemp blends.
Fair ~As far as I can tell, the only company selling fair trade wedding dresses in the US is Celia Grace. I started Celia Grace after my experience as a bride when I wanted a more meaningful, handmade wedding dress and to feel a connection with the women who made it. Each Celia Grace has a story behind it that is just as beautiful as the dress itself – starting with exclusive, hand woven, heirloom eco silk. The dresses are sewn by a women’s sewing group where seamstresses are paid a living wage, get benefits, and work in safe and healthy conditions.
Flowers: Is there anything dreamier than flowers? Flowers on tables, flowers in your bouquet, flowers in your hair or even your cake. But wait! Flowers are often sprayed with toxic pesticides, grown under unsafe and unfair conditions, and then flown half way around the world (read more). Fortunately, there are great eco and ethical options for you:
Local ~ Visit your local farmers market and work directly with a farmer or ask a local florist if they can use only or mostly local flowers for your wedding. If you use local flowers that are in season it is not only eco and ethical, but you’ll also save money. One example of a local and eco flower option in the northeast is The Painted Tulip in Vermont.
Fair ~ If you have your heart set on those exotic flowers—in addition to your betrothed of course—or are having a winter wedding in one of those no-grow New England months, consider using a company like One World Flowers which offers environmentally sustainable flowers that are grown in a way that promotes social justice around the world.
Author Marcie Muehlke is the owner of Celia Grace eco and fair wedding dresses and accessories and is an ethical, eco, local, fair trade, and wedding enthusiast.
If you enjoyed this post, please check back for part 2 of Marcie’s post which will be featured tomorrow. And if you want to do your part with an ethical wedding, consider using any or all of the vendors mentioned above.
Thanks for stopping by!