As much as we love every last detail about weddings, there's no denying they are rather indulgent affairs.
Perhaps the most expensive outfits you'll ever own, an abundance of fresh blooms, a feast of food, not to mention all those air miles getting people to and from your big day (and the honeymoon you take afterwards!).
So, wouldn't it be good if, in the midst of all the thought, expense, and effort that goes into your wedding day, some of it was able to go towards a greater good too?
While we've all read those stories about the generous families who've shared wedding dinners with homeless people, or awesome couples who've scrapped their wedding plans to give the money to refugees instead, there are also smaller gestures you can do to give back with your wedding.
And who better to share a few ideas with us, than the wonderful Marcie Muehlke?
Marcie is the co-founder of Celia Grace, America's first and only line of ethical, giveback, Fair Trade wedding dresses that empower women around the world. We've shared Celia Grace's gorgeous gowns, and the story behind them on the blog before, be sure to check them out!
So to share a few of her own tried and tested ideas for making your own big day an ethical one, take it away, Marcie…
5 Ideas for an Ethical Wedding
What if your wedding could make the world a better place and be even more fun, memorable, and meaningful for you and your guests?
It can! Here are five easy ways to start:
1. Alternative Gift Registries
Do you already have plates and towels and…the internet? Want more meaningful, giveback, local, personal, or ethically-made gifts?
Then you can kiss the big box store wedding registry goodbye (or supplement it!) with an alternative gift registry that will allow you to ask for exactly what you want – tastefully.
The New American Dream Foundation (champions of “less stuff, more fun”) offers a free alternative gift registry called Sokind that is incredibly liberating and fun. It feels like a traditional gift registry (so you don't blow your great-aunt's mind) but you can put whatever you want on it.
Love a local potter? List her! Need some special cookware from Amazon? No problem! Want art, music, food, or help from friends as a gift? You got it! Your imagination is the only limiting factor here.
My personal favorite from my wedding: we asked for a romantic getaway at your home or second home and got two amazing vacations!
2. Vegetarian / Vegan Food
This one is so simple that it is easy to forget. Offering some (or even all!) vegetarian or vegan food is a great way not only to make sure your veggie friends get enough to eat, but also to lessen your environmental footprint and be kind to animals too.
While you are choosing appetizers and mains, think about where you can reduce or remove meat products.
3. Fair Trade Frock
Imagine widening the circle of friends and loved ones at your wedding to include the people you don't see there, but who helped make your day so special – like the woman who made your wedding dress.
With an exquisite Fair Trade wedding dress you'll look and feel more radiant than you ever have before because your oh-so-special dress is empowering women and helping families around the world on your big day.
Check out Celia Grace to see their ethically-made dresses and meet the seamstresses who make them.
4. Giveback Goodies
Fair Trade Wedding Favours by Equal Exchange
You want to thank your guests and show how grateful you are that they have come from near and far to celebrate your marriage. But you don't want to buy just anything and you don't want to break the bank.
Here's a win-win-win: Fair Trade chocolate!
Your guests will love a sweet thank you and treat at the end of the night and you get to give an affordable goodie that also gives back to farmers in developing countries.
Bundle a few Equal Exchange “minis” and you are good to go. Or opt for a foil-wrapped version or a chocolate bar flavor that matches your wedding colors.
5. Eco & Ethical Jewelry
Your wedding jewelry is the happy reminder of your wedding that you'll enjoy every day. So why not get even more pleasure from it by choosing jewelry that was made in a way you love?
Consider vintage jewelry look for conflict-free or fabricated gems and recycled or Fair Mined gold and metals. The Fair Trade Jewelry Co. is a great place to start.
So many great ideas, right? As a veggie, I wholeheartedly agree with having more meat-free options at weddings, and that ethical chocolate sounds like a pretty great favour to me!
The best thing is, it feels so good of offset a little of your wedding against something worthwhile.
Thanks so much to Marcie for sharing her tips with us, and be sure to take a look at the Celia Grace website to find out more about their stunning Fair Trade wedding dress collection.