The Thoughtful Bride

how to plan an ethical and sustainable wedding

From your Save the Date to your sparkler sendoff, these resources will help you plan a wedding that's good for people and the planet.

 

Dresses

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Flowers

Ethical Wedding Rings

Rings

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Registry

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Hair Accessories & Veils

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Decorations

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Food

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Stationary

 

Ethical Wedding Dresses

 

Adele Wechsler

Adele Wechler's Eco-Couture Collections are handcrafted in Canada under fair working conditions and make use of naturally dyed organic silks and hemp fabrics as well as remnants. 

(Eco-Friendly, Ethically Made)

www.adelewechsler.com


Atelier Tammam

Founded by designer Lucy Tammam, Tammam is a London-based company. Committed to the environment their couture dresses use only sustainable, natural, recycled, vintage or vegetarian fabrics including peace silk. Gowns are ethically produced in the Indian state of Karnataka in the capital city of Bangalore in WFTO certified Fair Trade workshops. (Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly)

www.tammam.co.uk


The Bridal Garden

The Bridal Garden is a not for profit resale bridal boutique run by Geraldine Brower benefiting children's charities in New York. They showcase stunning designer and couture wedding gowns at up to 75% off retail prices. (Non-Profit, Eco-Friendly)

www.bridalgarden.org


Brides for a Cause

Brides for a Cause is a commercial fundraiser for Wish Upon A Wedding, a non profit organization dedicated to granting weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering situations. Brides for a Cause collects and resells donated wedding dresses on behalf of Wish Upon A Wedding to help raise funds for the charity.  Wish Upon A Wedding will receive 50% of the proceeds from reselling each wedding dress, giving them the funds they need to make weddings come true for deserving individuals.  (Non-Profit, Eco-Friendly)

www.bridesforacause.com


Brides Against Breast Cancer

Find the gown of your dreams and bring support, education and hope to someone affected by cancer. Brides Against Breast Cancer gown sales continue to be important fund-raising events for Brides Against Breast Cancer. They offer name brand and designer wedding gowns as well as gently used donated gowns. (Non-Profit, Eco-Friendly)

www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org


Celia Grace

Celia Grace has a mission to provide brides with a gorgeous wedding dress that matches their values of human rights, environmental sustainability, and empowering women. Their wedding gowns are made by women’s cooperatives, fair trade producers, and refugees rebuilding their lives in the United States. Celia Grace provides their producers with safe, fair, and empowering work so that they can invest in themselves, their families, and their communities. (Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly)

www.celia-grace.com


Deborah Lindquist

Deborah Lindquist Eco Fashion Brand is the premiere brand of unique environmentally conscious couture and ready-to-wear apparel. All of her designs are American made and her Green Bride Line uses hemp, linen, silk, and vintage fabrics. (Eco-Friendly, Made in USA)

www.deborahlindquist.com


Encore Bridal

A consignment and resale bridal e-Boutique, Encore Bridal offers new, sample, and nearly-new couture. Encore offers eco-conscious and affordable bridal couture. Their collection includes dresses and bridal accessories from today's most well known designers at 30-70% below retail. A percentage of the proceeds are donated to help cure cervical cancer and HPV.  (Eco-Friendly, Consignment)

www.encorebridal.com


Kendal Leonard Designs

Kendal Leonard Designs uses organic cotton fabrics, ribbons, cording, thread, and recycled materials as well as low impact dyeing techniques to create wedding and bridesmaid gowns that flatter multiple body types. Kendal’s love of technique and product development provides the foundation for the creation of individual, quality products with a hands-on approach to each and every design. (Eco-Friendly, Made in USA)

www.kendalleonarddesigns.com


Martin McCrea

Martin McCrea's unique collection of vintage inspired gowns are designed for a variety of uses, perfect for mother of the bride, bridesmaids, or any special occasion. All gowns are handmade in the Tucson, Arizona studio. (Made in USA)

www.martinmccrea.com


Mill Crest Vintage

Mill Crest Vintage boutique offers handpicked, one of a kind wedding wear from the 19th and 20th Centuries, plus an on-site seamstress who makes alterations using only vintage materials. (Eco-Friendly, Vintage)

www.millcrestvintage.com


Minna

Ethical, handmade and vintage clothing by Finnish designer Minna Hepburn. Dresses are designed and made in London out of vintage and certified organic fabrics. Minna's designs have been featured such publications as Vogue, Elle and Brides. (Eco-Friendly, Ethically Made)

www.minna.co.uk


Olivia Luca

Olivia Luca offers custom designs to brides, bridesmaids and flower girls. Through their online design studio brides can design their own dress, and select their bodice and skirt for a unique look. Olivia Luca offers silks and natural fibers, and is currently expanding their selection of sustainably produced fabrics which include fair trade and organic fabrics. All dresses are made in Portland, Oregon. (Eco-Friendly, Made in USA, Some Fair Trade)

www.olivialuca.com


Pure Magnolia

Made in Canada with vintage laces, organic cotton, silk and reclaimed fabrics designer Patty Nayel creates unique and sustainable wedding gowns. (Eco-Friendly, Ethically Made)

www.etsy.com/shop/PureMagnoliaCouture


Sanyukta Shrestha

Based in England and originally from Nepal, award winning Sanyukta Shrestha creates beautiful, classic and vintage-inspired wedding gowns with eco-friendly fibers like organic cotton, silk, and bamboo. Reflecting her dedication to quality as well as her roots Shrestha works with artisans in Nepal and also sources from certified ethical and fair trade suppliers in England. (Ethically Made, Eco-Friendly)

www.sanyuktashrestha.com


Solitary Pearl

Solitary Pearl creates gorgeous feminine wedding dresses from ethically sourced materials. Designer Christen Schneider has a passion to offer brides the perfect dress to help their personality shine brighter and even more beautifully. Their basic principles are be fair, be nice, and do exceptional work. (Eco-Friendly, Ethically Sourced, Some Fair Trade, Made in USA)

www.solitarypearl.com


Tara Lynn Bridal

Designer Tara Lynn creates one of a kind wedding gowns out of eco-friendly fabrics. Made in Vermont, each dress is hand-crafted to fit each unique bride's shape and style. A great place to find fun, special dresses for your day. (Eco-Friendly, USA Made)

www.taralynnbridal.com


Threadhead Creations

Since 1999, Threadhead Creations has offered high quality handcrafted clothing inspired by the natural world around us. Each dress is made by hand with great attention to detail. You may select an existing dress design or work with the designer to create a custom gown. (Eco-Friendly, Made in USA)

http://www.etsy.com/shop/RaiAlexander


Tradesy

Tradesy is a free online marketplace for buying and selling wedding dresses, accessories, decor, and more. (Eco Friendly)

www.tradesy.com/weddings/

 

Ethical Wedding Rings

 

Engagement rings and wedding bands are longstanding, beautiful symbols of unity and fidelity. With a growing international awareness about the social, political and environmental issues surrounding the mining and trade of diamonds and precious metals like gold and silver, many engaged couples want to ensure that the symbols of their commitment are ethically and environmentally produced. Luckily, there are lots of ethical ring options to choose from.

Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry | Jeweler specializing in the art of the diamond ring, engagement ring, wedding bands, earrings, custom jewelry and so much more. Nature Inspired and handmade in NYC from recycled gold and silver with natural gemstones. (Eco-Friendly, Ethically Sourced, Made in USA)
www.bmjnyc.com

Bario-Neal | Bario-Neal jewelry is handcrafted in Philadelphia with reclaimed precious metals, ethically-sourced stones, and low-impact, environmentally conscious practices. Bario-Neal promotes transparency, fair trade initiatives, and the development of third party certification systems for ethical jewelry. The boutique offers wedding bands, engagement rings, necklaces and also does custom work. (Eco-Friendly, Ethically Sourced, Made in USA)
www.bario-neal.com

Brilliant Earth | As a world leader in conflict free diamonds and ethical origin fine jewelry, California-based Brilliant Earth believes that high quality, stunning jewelry need not come at a great human or environmental cost. Every Brilliant Earth ring is exquisitely crafted with recycled precious metals and ethically sourced gemstones, and our beyond conflict free diamonds from Canada are hand-selected by our gemologists for exceptional brilliance and value. (Eco-Friendly, Ethically Sourced, Made in USA)
www.BrilliantEarth.com

CRED Jewelry | Based in the United Kingdom, CRED have been pioneers in ethical jewellery since 1996. They were founding members of the Alliance for Responsible Mining. CRED was instrumental in the introduction of the Fairtrade mark for gold in early 2011. They were the first European retailer to sell independently certified fair trade gold, and the first high street boutique to exclusively sell ethical jewellery. In 2003 we produced the world's first truly ethical wedding rings: wedding bands made from gold from a traceable source that was certified as environmentally and socially responsible. (Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly)
www.credjewellery.com

Fair Trade Jewelry Company | Fair Trade Jewellery Co. (FTJCo) Was the first jeweller in North America to offer fine jewellery made of Fairtrade® Fairmined® Metals.  Based out of Toronto Canada they are a small family company focused on designing and manufacturing ethical fine jewelry. (Eco-Friendly, Fair Trade)
www.ftjco.com

Ingle & Rhode | Ingle & Rhode are passionate about creating beautiful bespoke jewellery and committed to ethical sourcing. In particular, they use only conflict-free diamonds and fair trade gold which is produced without the use of mercury or cyanide. They specialise in engagement rings, wedding rings and eternity rings.  Ingle & Rhode work with award-winning designers and the finest craftsmen in the industry, producing all of their ethical jewelry to order in the UK. (Eco-Friendly, Fair Trade) www.ingleandrhode.co.uk

Ken & Dana Design | Ken & Dana Design are dedicated to creating sculptural jewelry with an emphasis on symbolism and fine craftsmanship. They maintain a holistic approach to our business to ensure that each piece is environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and incredibly unique. The ken + dana design label includes a collection of engagement rings and wedding bands, as well as a fine line collection. Made in USA. (Eco-Friendly, People-Friendly, Made in USA) shop.kenanddanadesign.com

McFarland Designs | Recycled metals and ethically sourced gemstones are skillfully combined to create wearable works of art that you can truly feel good about, confident that their creation did not exploit workers or the environment. Specializing in sustainable, eco-friendly wedding rings. Made by hand with love in California. (Eco-Friendly, Some Fair Trade, Made in USA)
www.mcfarlanddesigns.com

Simply Wood Rings | Simply Wood Rings is an eco-conscious artisan shop that takes pride in the production of jewelry made from salvaged materials such as wood, metal, sand and stone. (Eco-Friendly, Made in USA)
www.simplywoodrings.com

Other Resources:

Ethical Metalsmiths |You can also find other ethical jewelers through the non-profit organization Ethical Metalsmiths. Ethical Metalsmiths is committed to leading jewelers and consumers in becoming informed activists for responsible mining, sustainable economic development and verified, ethical sources for gold, diamonds and other materials used for jewelry. Ethical Metalsmiths' vision is a world in which people can create and enjoy jewelry made with materials from responsible sources that respect and protect the earth, its peoples, and cultures.
www.ethicalmetalsmiths.org

FairTrade Gold | FairTrade Gold and Silver was recently started by Fair Trade International., FLO. Fairtrade certified gold comes from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) organisations that meet the Fairtrade gold standard. This means the gold has been responsibly mined and that the miners have received a Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium, which assists social, environmental and economic development in the communities. There is a growing movement by Ethical Metalsmiths and others to bring the FairTrade Gold initiative to the United States. To learn more about the practices of FairGold go to: www.fairgold.org

Fair Jewelry Action | Fair Jewelry Action (FjA) is a Human Rights and Environmental Justice Network within the jewelry sector. FJA promotes ethical and fair trade jewelry practices by advocating traceability and transparency in the jewelry supply chain.
www.fairjewelry.org

 

Regardless of the type of engagement ring and wedding bands you choose, be sure to do your homework first. It’s really important to know what you’re looking for. Do you want gold or platinum? Do you want a diamond? What cut of diamond do you like? Beyond aesthetics, make sure that you take the time to get educated about companies before you buy. Read customer reviews on jewelers, look into their policies, and ask about how they certify their diamonds and where they source their materials. 

 

Flowers

 
 Fair Trade Wedding Flowers | Birds of a Thread

Option one: Cut Flowers

The traditional route is to use fresh cut flowers for your bouquets, centerpieces, and decorations. Most florists source their flowers from Latin America and South America where there aren’t necessarily good growing practices (loads of pesticides) or sound labor standards. These flowers also have a huge carbon footprint because they travel so far. For an eco-friendly option, consider getting seasonal flowers from a local farmers market. You’ll reduce your carbon impact and support local farmers in the process!

Farmers Markets | Local farmers markets are some of the best places to find eco-friendly flowers because the carbon imprint is much less and the flowers are not traveling great distances. Talk with local vendors to see what services they can provide. Be aware that flowers will be available seasonally so work with the seasons to create the right look for your wedding. (Eco-Friendly, Local)
To find a farmers market near you visit: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/ or www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

One World Flowers | One World Flowers is a Fair Trade USA licensed importer and distributor of Fair Trade Certified flowers. They currently sell flowers to individuals through their website, as well as wholesale orders to customers throughout the United States. (Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly)
www.oneworldflowers.org

Trader Joe's Market | Trader Joe's carries flowers that are Rainforest Alliance Certified meaning that they were grown using high standards for responsible farming. The standards protect ecosystems and wildlife habitats, conserve water and soil, promote decent and safe working conditions and ensure that the farms are good neighbors to rural communities and wildlands. (Eco-Friendly, Ethically Sourced)
www.traderjoes.com

Whole Foods Market | Whole Foods carries its own fair trade brand called Whole Trade. Whole Trade products ensure you're buying the best you can for yourself, for your community, and your world. In addition to food products, teas and coffees Whole Foods carries Whole trade flowers and roses. Talk with your local Whole Foods floral department about services available including arrangements and bouquets. Whole Foods also carry locally sourced flowers so talk with their floral team to see what they can offer you. They also carry some flowers that are Rainforest Alliance Certified meaning that they were grown using high standards for responsible farming. The standards protect ecosystems and wildlife habitats, conserve water and soil, promote decent and safe working conditions and ensure that the farms are good neighbors to rural communities and wildlands. (Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly)
www.wholefoodsmarket.com

 

Option Two: Forever Flowers

Perhaps the most eco-friendly option is to use live plants for your centerpieces. Tegan and her husband planted succulents for their centerpieces and then handed them out to guests as a takeaway. Amorillus, hyasyth, daffifils, paperwhites, and orchids also make great centerpieces. You can try your hand at terrariums using re-purposed mason jars, vintage candy dishes, or old apothecary jars as your glass container.

Another eco-friendly option is to create or buy fake flowers (no, we're not talking about grandma’s plastic porch decor). There are loads of fabric and paper flower tutorials online if you’re feeling crafty. To make your DIY flowers eco-friendly be sure to use recycled paper or re-purposed fabrics.

Mr. Ellie Pooh carries eco-friendly and fair trade paper made from a mix of recycled and elephant-processed fibers. They sell craft paper and cardstock in a variety of colors on both large and small sheets.

Global Goods Partners has some lovely felted wool flowers from Nepal that come in a variety of colors and types from sunflowers, lilies, roses and tulips. It’s a fun option for the quirky couple who want flowers that will last a lifetime!

Ten Thousand Villages sells some tasteful red, paper roses as well as some funky recycled paper blooms.

Whatever flowers you choose be sure to do your homework, be thoughtful and have fun with a pop of color on your big day!