10 Beautiful Ethical Wedding Dresses That Will Make You Feel as Good as You Look

Wedding fashion + ethics? Yes, please

by Stephanie Kaloi

bride modeling celia grace dress

Diana ($2,150)

Depending on how old you are (and how long you’ve been eyeing wedding gowns), it might come as a surprise to know that the world of ethical fashion we know today hasn’t always existed—and what was out there wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, when Celia Grace Co-Founder and CEO Marcie Muehlke was getting married in 2009, she couldn’t find a wedding dress that matched both her personal and political tastes—nothing was equally aesthetically pleasing and sustainably made. So, like all #BossQueens, she decided to start her own company:

When I got married I wanted to love how I felt in my dress as much as how I looked in it. If I was going to put all this time and money into a dress, I wanted to know it was making lives better around the world, rather than worse. I wanted a dress with meaning, where I could feel a connection to the seamstress who made it. When I couldn’t find that in any existing dresses, the idea for Celia Grace was born.

Since its inception, Celia Grace has been taking ethical wedding fashion to new levels by crafting wedding dresses that help brides look and feel more beautiful than they ever have—and doing so in a way that helps women and families around the world. The company works with four small sewing groups (two in India and two in Cambodia) that offer verifiable safe working conditions, fair wages, and don’t allow child labor. The women and men who make Celia Grace’s gowns are typically the primary breadwinners for their families, so when you buy your gown from Celia Grace, you’re sending kids to the doctor, girls to school, and helping a handful of families in Southeast Asia live the lives they want—and Celia Grace donates a school uniform through a Cambodian nonprofit with each dress they sell. Go on, girl: you can take those bragging rights.

And those bragging rights go hand in hand with wearing a dress that is unique and beautifully handcrafted: Celia Grace uses laces and fabrics not used by anyone else in the wedding industry, and heirloom eco-silks that are hand-woven in the same way they have been for centuries, passed down from generation to generation. They use natural fibers as much as possible, and work to minimize their environmental footprint.


Diana ($2,150)

Before you’re totally ready to commit, you’ll probably want to feel these lovely dresses with your own hands, and you know, try them on. Celia Grace has dresses available in six cities (and growing!) around the US, as well as an extremely convenient “mailed sample dress” option. For $29, you can borrow a dress (or a few!) for a weekend. Try it on, sashay around your apartment, get the opinions of your friends—and then pop it in the mail and send it back. Celia Grace will help you select the right size and the try-on fee gets applied to the cost of your dress. Each gown takes about four months to make and send (and they advise that you buy your dress at least six months before your wedding date to allow for alterations and avoid stress), but Celia Grace does allow for rush orders.

According to client Kellie, you’re in good hands when it comes to purchasing a wedding gown directly from Celia Grace:

I happened across Celia Grace during a Google search for an ethical wedding dress company. I was skeptical buying a wedding dress online, but Marcie made the process so simple. She kept in constant communication with me and addressed all of my concerns. Because of her and her team, purchasing my wedding dress was a pleasant experience. When my dress arrived, it was perfect! I couldn’t have been happier with it and I’ll never forget the experience. I wish more companies had the kind of customer service that Celia Grace exhibits.

Dresses are available in shops or online, in a price range of $800 to $2,500 (with an average price of $1,400), and in sizes 0 to 14 (that’s street sizing, not smaller bridal sizing—and additional sizes are available on request). If you’re still holding yourself back from taking the plunge, here are a few of our favorite Celia Grace gowns (and there’s an APW-exclusive promo at the bottom for you!):

bride modeling celia grace gown

Eleanor ($1,499)

bride modeling celia grace gown

Edie ($1,499)

two women modeling celia grace gowns

Maya ($1,799) and Eileen ($1,350)

bride and groom in sun

Marie ($2,250)

bride modeling celia grace gown

Jane ($2,240)

bride modeling celia grace gown

Ada ($1,830)

bride modeling celia grace gown

Teresa ($1,999)


Malala ($1,850)

In love with the mission of Celia Grace but don’t see your dream dress here? Don’t lose hope—their 2017 collection is debuting soon! And if you’re in the greater New England area, you can be among the first to see Celia Grace’s newest styles at a sneak-preview trunk show at Your Dream Bridal outside of Boston, on September 24 and 25. Appointments are limited, so book now!

Not near Boston? Head on over to the Celia Grace website to check out more gowns, see photos of real brides wearing themhave a sample dress sent to you to try on at home, and get 10% off any wedding dress purchased directly from Celia Grace from now until November 12, 2016.

APW READERS can get 10% off any new wedding dress purchased from Celia Grace.
place your order by November 15, 2016 WITH CODE APW10%OFF.

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

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