Wednesday, October 1, 2014

News: We're Moving!

So as some on you know I am an artist and this fall I will be starting a masters degree here in Brooklyn. I'm very excited to focus on my arts career, and to hon in on my craft. However, this means that I will no longer have the time to post on In Tandem Fair Trade Weddings.

Although my focus is shifting, you will still be able to read my ethical weddings tips and find many of my wedding resources on Let's Be Fair where I am a guest blogger and contributor. Let's be Fair has a broader fair trade/ethical lifestyle focus, and I am confident that I'll be able to reach more couples who want to incorporate their passion for social justice and the environment into their wedding celebration.

You'll also be able to access the archived posts on In Tandem Fair Trade until January 2015 when I will be closing down the blog for good.

So thank you all for your support! I hope that you find some new nuggets of info and inspiration at Let's Be Fair!


P.S. If you're interested, you can view my artwork at


Monday, September 1, 2014

Guest Post on Let's Be Fair

As many of you may know I guest write for the ethical lifestyle blog, Let's Be Fair as the Thoughtful Bride. 

Be sure to check out my latest post on Let's Be Fair featuring bridesmaids dresses! 

I'll also have an exciting announcement soon about my partnership with Let's Be Fair so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Vendor Highlight: Purse & Clutch

(c) Purse & Clutch,

The fair trade handbag boutique Purse & Clutch is now offering clutches for bridesmaids! They can help curate your look and find the right look for your special occasion.

Purse & Clutch emphasizes craft and quality, and partners with artisans across the world. Not only are the bags lovely, Purse and Clutch helps to create sustainable and dignified jobs for artisans in developing countries.

To find out more and to view their line of bags visit:

(c) Purse & Clutch,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Guest Post: Let's Be Fair


I recently did another guest post for the blog Let's Be Fair! This edition of The Thoughtful Bride covers ethical and eco-friendly flower ideas for your wedding celebration or other events like Mothers Day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Vendor Highlight: The Root Collective

Upcycled Soul Necklace, Black Diamond Ballet Flats, and Handwoven Aqua
Geometric Clutch
by The Root

When I was searching for shoes for my wedding a few years ago there weren't many ethical or eco friendly shoe options that were affordable let alone cute. A few months ago I learned about The Root Collective. They have lovely flats, necklaces, scarves and clutches! Not only are all of their products ethically sourced, the company also partners with non profits to give back to the communities where their artisans live. So you'll look good and feel great about your purchase! 

I recently interviewed Bethany Tran, the founder of The Root Collective, about how the company got its start and the ways that they give back. 

Handwoven Lago Tote, Handwoven Grey Infinity Scarf and Pink Pana Peep Toe Flats
The Root

 1. How did The Root Collective start? Could you talk a little about your inspiration and process.

I traveled to the slum of La Limonada in Guatemala City with very good friends of mine who founded LemonadeInternational (they are now one of our nonprofit partners). When I first stepped foot into the slum, I basically fell in love. I knew that I had to be involved somehow. There was so much pain there, but so much hope for something better. La Limonada is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world, but the people there are so full of life. I always say to use your skills and passions to make the world a better place. My background in marketing and design just seemed to fit perfectly with the concept of starting a business where I was working with artisans to produce goods that would sell in a buying market, like the US. 

The process for getting The Root Collective off the ground involved patience, learning (lots of learning!), and a whole lot of work. I don't have a background in international business, so there was a big learning curve and a bunch of hurdles to overcome. I identified nonprofit partners that I wanted to work with and began discovering artisans that they had existing relationships. It took about a year to get everything up and running!

Violet Seed Necklace by The Root Collective,

2. Why is ethical sourcing and production important to The Root Collective? How do you incorporate ethical practices into your company? How does The Root Collective give back?

Ethical sourcing is the basis for everything we do! We believe that commerce has the ability to change the world for the better. We believe that consumers are the most powerful people in the world, and how we spend our money determines the kind of world that we want to live in. People should be treated fairly, whether they live in New York City or a slum in Africa. If they are hardworking individuals, they should be able to provide for their families and not be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, sweat shops still exist today and many of the items that you purchase at fast fashion stores are cheap for a reason: it's easy to sell a t-shirt for $5 if the worker who made that t-shirt isn't being paid a fair wage. 

We also have a 10% Give Back model in which we give back 10% of each purchase to nonprofits who work in the same communities that the artisans live. The cool part is that customers get to pick which nonprofit they want their purchase to support. We believe that these nonprofits are doing such important work in these communities. We share the same end goal with these nonprofits of wanting to end charity in the communities. To partner with the people who live there and empower them to support themselves, their families, and be self-sufficient.

Violet Seed Necklace by The Root Collective, The Root Collective,

3. What is your advice for eco-friendly and socially minded couples planning their special day?

You can make such a positive impact with how you spend your money when planning a wedding! Try to support companies with ethical and eco-friendly mindsets when you're doing everything from buying dresses to picking a caterer. Consider supporting a charity or planting trees instead of traditional wedding favors. Have a donation to your favorite charity as an option for your guests instead of gifts. Get creative and make your day positive for the world around you!

To learn more about The Root Collective visit:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Guest Post: Let's Be Fair

My sister, Marcie, and her fiancĂ© are planning their wedding, and have just started to think about their registry. Marcie called me the other day to ask about what she should put on her wish list, and to see where she should register. What's funny is that I just did a guest post called "Build Your Next: Thoughtful Wedding Registries" on Let's be Fair on this very topic so I was brimming with ideas and suggestions!

You'll find a list of eco friendly and fair trade companies as well as a few nuggets of registry wisdom!

To learn more visit:

Real Wedding: Katy and Kurt's Philly DIY Wedding

My friend Katy is a book artist living in Philadelphia. Last October she married Kurt, a fellow who's just as quirky and fun as she is, in a small ceremony in the city. Surrounded by family and close friends, the couple exchanged vows and danced their way into married life. Katy and Kurt created a unique and celebratory event with a good bit of imagination, loads of DIY projects and the help of a few good friends. Embracing their adoptive city,the couple drew inspiration from Philly and also sought out local vendors to help make their wedding even more special!

(c) Brae Howard Photography,

Tell us a little about your wedding. What traditions or details were important to you?

Our wedding, in definition, was unconventional. To successfully pull off everything on our “Must Have List” with a limited budget, we had to throw out convention and get a little creative. 

Our Must Haves List:
1. To celebrate with all of our friends and family
2. Terrific hospitality (A dinner and a energetically fun party with great food and an open bar)
3. Custom letterpress invitations and guest gift
4. Painted row home mural
5. Dancing, music and confetti 

Our biggest feat to solve was Must Haves #1 and #2 with a larger guest list and a limited budget. Sharing a meal with the friends and family we loved was very important to Kurt and I, but we could not afford a lovely sit-down meal for a guest list of 180 especially if we wanted to have an open bar and hors d'oeuvre at the reception. 

We planned an evening wedding with dinner to be served before the ceremony with our immediate family only; and a reception to follow the ceremony with featured alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as various hors d'oeuvre and dessert stations for all of our guests to enjoy!

(c) Brae Howard Photography,

How did you kept your wedding local?

Kurt and I love Philadelphia. We both moved here for our professions, we met here, made friends here and wanted to put down roots. We wanted to begin our marriage together in Philadelphia and we wanted to support the gifts, talents and resources of our friends and community; so we employed as many family, friends and neighbors that we could!

Our family dinner was prepared by a friend who is a personal chef, Kurt’s brother and his wife slow-cooked and brazed an extensively authentic Georgian barbeque for our Groom’s dinner. Our baker, also a personal friend who operates his business from home, designed our cake; and our reception was put together by a local caterer who prides themselves on procuring local ingredients for their menus and events.

All of our flower arrangements were done by Kurt’s mother, who had many resources for acquiring materials from local small business owners; and recycled and dried many hydrangias from a personal friend’s garden. My wedding dress, Kurt’s suit and the bridesmaid dresses were patterned and sewn by friends.

(c) Brae Howard Photography,
(c) Brae Howard Photography,
(c) Brae Howard Photography,

The music elements for our ceremony and reception where performed by personal friends; and one of my bridesmaids, who is an amazing illustrator and animator, created a personalized illustrated narrative of our (Kurt and my) relationship that was projected during the reception.

The host location for our wedding was an old ammunition warehouse that had been converted into rental spaces for various business, working artists and designers. Our church community rents space within the building and has a wonderful working relationship with the owner of the property and we wanted to support this relationship by giving this location our business. We were all about local!

(c) Brae Howard Photography,
(c) Brae Howard Photography,
(c) Brae Howard Photography,
(c) Brae Howard Photography,

What were some of the
DIY touches that you did for your celebration?

I took many of DIY projects; and had great help and support to complete all of these special elements. 

My design and vision for our wedding space was to create a visual representation of the journey of Kurt and I, with our families, coming together as one family. 

As an artist, printmaker and bookmaker, I found little elements to express my thoughts and perspectives of our upcoming marriage. I designed letterpress invitations and doubled as guest gifts with a limited-editioned print printed on the backside of the invitation that could be framed and hung. 

The most iconic projects I took on was to create a 15ft by 60ft stenciled mural of row homes, like our invitation, that would be the backdrop for Kurt and I during our ceremony. Smaller projects I designed included chalkboard menus, vellum cube lanterns, flag banners, ceremony booklet and my hairpiece.

Design by Katy Matich and Photography by Brae Howard Photography,

Design by Katy Matich and Photography by Brae Howard Photography,

What advice do you have for couples planning a DIY wedding?

There are two very important pieces of advice I would give to couples thinking about planning an extensive DIY wedding:

First of all, you absolutely cannot do everything on your own; and secondly, DIY projects do not always equal a cheaper or better solution. Couples need to understand that their Time and Energy are precious commodities. In the same way you create a fiscal budget for your big day; create a realistic time-budget and schedule for particular projects. Anticipate the inevitable: running out of funds and time. We made sure to clearly discuss and agree on what we would cut if things got down to the wire. 

First, I ordered my proposed projects according to priority and feasibility. Second, I researched the cost of materials and tested out how long it took me to execute a sample of the project before committing to it.

Yeah, it is pretty cool and “cheap” to create a DIY custom stencil to spray-frost candle votives with; but is it worth saving a little money when it will take you a week’s worth of labor to do it? Sometimes the bulk order of plain frosted candle votives—which you can resell on craigslist—wins over the loss of your sanity.


(c) Brae Howard Photography,

(And yes, that is Tegan second from left rocking a yellow, fair trade necklace by Mata Traders!)

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