9 Fair Trade Wedding Companies You Want to Know About


Affordable (and stylish) ways to shop your values

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

apw x green mountain

Fair Trade Wedding Companies

The hardest part of making a billion wedding planning decisions is the near constant worry that every decision should be the best decision you could possibly make. Does it fit your values? Will everyone else like it too? And while there’s no magic formula to make everyone approve of your wedding, there are lots of ways to shop your values in wedding planning. Which is why today we’ve partnered up with Green Mountain Coffee (one of the largest roasters of Fair Trade Certified coffee) to share nine Fair Trade wedding brands that make shopping your values a little easier.

Okay, but what is Fair Trade? We asked Marcie Muehlke, owner of Fair Trade wedding dress makers Celia Grace, to break it down for us in layman’s terms and share some of her favorite Fair Trade wedding companies:

Fair Trade is a global social movement to end poverty through trade rather than aid. The idea is to pay farmers and workers a fair price or wage and then let those farmers and workers invest in themselves and their families how they see fit. So basically, if a wedding is a celebration of love, family, and community, then including Fair Trade products in your celebration allows you to widen the circle of love, support, and community your wedding creates. Plus, choosing Fair Trade products is an easy way to give back through your wedding (and even your pickiest relatives can’t complain about that).

There are a range of governing bodies of Fair Trade, including FLO (dominant in Europe), The Fair Trade Federation, and Fair Trade USA in the States, and more. The Fair Trade Federation has nine principles of Fair Trade:

  • Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
  • Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships
  • Build Capacity
  • Promote Fair Trade
  • Pay Promptly and Fairly
  • Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
  • Ensure the Rights of Children
  • Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
  • Respect Cultural Identity

Fair Trade Engagement rings and bands

fair trade engagement rings

1. Fair Trade jewelry and gold have been exploding in popularity recently more in Europe but spilling over into the US and Canada. Companies like Fair Trade Jewellery Co. have everything from modern, minimal wedding jewelry, to more traditional engagement rings. Featured: Custom rings from Fair Trade Jewellery Co.

fair trade engagement ring from brilliant earth

2. Some companies, like Brilliant Earth, go beyond just Fair Trade jewelry. They are actively working toward reducing the impact of other, non-responsible jewelry practices through initiatives like a 5 percent donation of profits to help communities who have suffered from unethical practices in the jewelry industry and providing educational opportunities to children exploited by unethical mining. Featured: Alvadora Diamond Ring (starts at $1,450)

Fair Trade ACCENT JEWELRY

purple fair trade earrings

3. If you’re looking for a place with lots and lots of options, Overstock started their Fair Trade market, Worldstock, in 2001 to help small-lot producers residing in remote regions of the world access the US market. And now they have literally thousands of handmade jewelry, home goods, and other Fair Trade options to choose from. And Overstock ensures that 60 to 70 percent of sales are returned to artisans and suppliers in these emerging economies. Featured: Novica Orchid Purple Teardrop Earrings ($18.17)

Fair Trade Food & Drink 

WeddingFavor_IG_3_withoutlogo

4. Maybe I’m getting old, but the coffee bar is usually where I find myself at the end of the reception these days, and it is about as easy as it gets to swap out your standard reception coffee for Fair Trade coffee. All Green Mountain Coffee is Fair Trade Certified, which means you can serve a better cup of coffee to your guests while promoting a better quality of life for coffee farmers. (And Green Mountain Coffee offers over fifty varieties of Fair Trade coffee, so you’re not short on options.)

fair trade chocolate

5. While favors are never a requirement, if you’re inclined to give them, I’m always a fan of edible ones like these Fair Trade chocolate bars from Equal Exchange or Lake Champlain Chocolates.

Fair Trade Wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses

fair trade wedding gown

6. Of course, I would be remiss not to mention that you can also buy Fair Trade wedding dresses. As part of their commitment to Fair Trade, Celia Grace only employs adults (never allowing sub-contracting) and they source handmade silk woven on traditional wooden looms whenever possible. Plus the dresses are hella pretty. Featured: The Diana Dress ($2,150. Image by Matoli Keely.)

fair trade fashion

7. While there aren’t any exclusively Fair Trade bridesmaid dress lines yet (someone get on that?), both Mata Traders and People Tree make Fair Trade dresses that could totally work for your wedding party, and as a bonus most of them are under $100 and are way more re-wearable than traditional bridesmaid dresses. Score. Featured: Highland Park Maxi Dress ($84)

Fair Trade Wedding Decor

wedding cake with pink frosting

8. If you’re looking for those annoying last-minute decor pieces you forgot to buy (like a cake plate, whoops), you’re in luck. There are a handful of stores online that specialize in only Fair Trade goods, from clothing to jewelry to home decor. So chances are that Ten Thousand Villages and Serrv will have exactly you’re looking for. Featured: Industrial Chic Cake Stand ($29)

Fair Trade wedding registries

so kind wedding registry

9. Yes, big box store registries are super convenient for you and your guests, but did you know there are a growing number of alternative registries, like the So Kind Registry from the nonprofit The New American Dream Foundation? Their motto is “more fun, less stuff.” With this fully customizable registry you can list whatever you want—from help with tasks for/at the wedding, items from your favorite local store or artists, and Fair Trade items, too.

Keurig_greenmount_logo

This post was sponsored by Keurig Green Mountain.

All Green Mountain Coffee is Fair Trade Certified, which means a better cup of coffee for consumers and a better quality of life for farmers. Fair Trade helps small farmers improve their business practices, gain access to the global marketplace, and receive higher payment for their coffee. Green Mountain Coffee offers over 50 coffee choices sourced from 28 regions around the globe. Let your guests serve themselves when you create a coffee bar featuring Keurig brewers and Green Mountain Coffee. You can read more about Keurig Green Mountain and their commitment to Fair Trade practices here and here or shop for Fair Trade Certified coffee here.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • rg223

    Love my Brilliant Earth engagement ring! All the things the company stands for (fair trade, sustainability, etc) are really important to my now-husband. I’m glad he found them and I can tell people “the story” of my ring. Another perk is that you can create a customized design online. My husband created my ring based on my very-specific wishes and it looks fantastic. +1 for Ten Thousand Villages too.

    • Lisa

      I drooled over the Brilliant Earth rings and had a lot of fun playing with the custom ring makers before I got engaged. I ended up with an heirloom ring from my husband’s family, but I’m pretty sure I would have gone with BE if it hadn’t have been for that!

    • nutbrownrose

      My engagement ring is also Brilliant Earth and it’s my favorite! I pinned it on Pinterest three separate times! We went with a lab-created diamond (exactly the same as a mined diamond down to the chemical configurations, just grown in a lab instead of a mountain, for those who don’t know) and I go around calling it my “science diamond.” I’m an English major to the core, but science just fascinates me, and the fact that you can grow a DIAMOND in a lab is just awesome to me.

    • Joanna

      Got my engagement and wedding band from Brilliant Earth. If you can, go try on the rings in store. It really helped to see my engagement ring with the wedding band before buying. My engagement stone is a Moissanite. BE charges more for them than market but the stone itself is so sparkly and an incredible diamond alternative for Eco/budget conscious brides.

  • A.

    Not plannig a wedding but…oh no, Mata Traders! The last thing I need is more dresses but you’re forcing my hand! ;)

  • sahara

    Thanks for this! It seems like a lot of Fair Trade clothing in the US is bland (just your most basic basics with a conservative cut) or out of my price range, especially compared with the selection I see when I look at UK and other European Fair Trade sites. And I get it that Fair Trade will (and should) be more expensive, since I’ve been on the other end, managing a Fair Trade business.

    I’m pretty excited about Ash and Rose (https://www.ashandrose.com/) these days – they carry Mata Traders and a lot more. I keep an eye on Fair Indigo too, but usually they fall too far into the conservative basics for me. Anyone have other go-to Fair Trade or simply ethical stores for relatively stylish clothing?

  • Abe

    Love these fair trade tips, I’m definitely going to check out some of these!

    But I was surprised to see APW partnering with Keurig, especially on a post about conscious consumerism. While Green Mountain is great for fair trade coffee, K-Cups create such excessive, unnecessary waste, and have had a massive negative impact on a global scale. If you are concerned about both social justice and environmental sustainability, and must use a single-serve machine, make sure to seek out a recyclable (or even better, compostable) option!

    • Lisa

      I was surprised by the Keurig component, too, though I think there was a discussion here before where one of the admins brought up their recycling program. When my office wanted to get a combo pot and single serve coffeemaker, I deliberately sought out one where the pods were biodegradable instead. We have fewer options with those pods, but my conscious feels a lot better knowing that I’m not contributing to the plastic in landfills. I’ve even read that the man who developed Keurig pods even feels guilty now, knowing they’re not easily recyclable and contribute to overflowing landfills.

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    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Hey! I’m going to leave this comment up, but please note that our comment policy discourages criticism of brands on their sponsored posts. If you want to voice concern, please feel free to email us at any time at team (at) apracticalwedding.com.

      That said, this post is in partnership with the Green Mountain arm of the company, and as you can see they’ve got a really amazing program running that we are excited to bring to light. Keurig is definitely aware of their environmental impact and are taking steps to offset it as we speak. You can check out some of their recent initiatives here:

      http://www.keuriggreenmountain.com/en/Sustainability/Overview.aspx
      http://www.keuriggreenmountain.com/en/Sustainability/SustainableProducts/OurProducts/ReducingProductWaste.aspx

      • Abe

        Good to know, thanks for the heads up! Yes, to Keurig’s credit, hopefully they’re serious about making recyclable cups widely used well before 2020 (introducing #5 plastic cups this year is a big step). In the meantime, recycling K-Mug, K-Carafe and Vue pods is an option.

  • Anon

    TWO VT companies mentioned. yay!

  • Kayjayoh

    Thumbs up from me for the So Kind registry. It was easy to use, and our guest were able to get us things from the stores of their choice, or get us reused or non-tangible gifts, like clean-up help. Also art. :)

  • Fiona

    Love this article. Definitely found it useful when organising my wedding. Would love to hear what you think the barriers are to creating an ethical wedding. Please take a moment to answer a few questions here: https://fi13.typeform.com/to/GMoiJT