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!)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

(c) Sanctuary Spring,

Well, its a snowy and slushy Valentine's Day for 
many of us, but we hope you're weathering the storm 
with your sweetie or some really great friends! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Giveaway: Her Love Story Sweepstakes

It's almost Valentines Day, and we're starting to think about some of those warm fuzzy feelings, which will hopefully keep us warm during these last few weeks of what has turned out to be a very cold winter! Fair traders Celia Grace and Sseko Sandals are teaming up for an amazing giveaway just in time for this celebration of love! 

(c) Loveridge Photography,

Her Love Story Sweepstakes
Sseko Designs and Celia Grace want to hear your love story, and one lucky bride will win a lovely fair trade Celia Grace gown of her choice along with beautifully crafted Sseko sandals for their entire bridal party! What are you waiting for? Share your story!

Go to: and fill out the online form about your love story.


  • Celia Grace Wedding dress must be ordered direct from Celia Grace, not from a bridal store partner. Winner is responsible for the cost of shipping and any customization (alteration, beading, accessories, etc). Wedding dress prize is transferable, but must be claimed by December 15, 2014. Most dresses take 3-4 months to sew and deliver. Celia Grace dresses are sold off-the-rack (no customization) in US sizes 0 - 14.*
  • Sseko Designs will send up to 8 pairs of sandals to one U.S. ship-to location. An International winner will be responsible for the shipping and customs to their location.* 

  • *Prize retails for $4,500


  • By entering your email address, you are agreeing to receive emails from Sseko and Celia Grace. You can opt out at any time.

  • Only one entry per person.

    (c) Loveridge Photography,


    What I love about both companies is that they both are committed to the dignity, empowerment and advancement of women in developing countries. 

    Behind every Celia Grace wedding dress is a story as beautiful as the dress itself—handmade eco silks, a Fair Trade women’s sewing group, and a water filter donated to a family in need. Celia Grace wedding gowns are simply gorgeous, flattering, and comfortable. Each dress is made for the bride with exquisite craftsmanship. 

    Sseko sandals are handmade in Uganda by women who are earning money to finance their college tuition. Ssekos include a leather sandal base with 5 anchor points and interchangeable fabric ribbons and accessories that can be tied and styled in hundreds of ways. Our wedding sandal ribbons come in 100% dupioni silk, chiffon, and lace and include an array of color options for your lovely day!

    (c) Loveridge Photography,

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    Ethical Certification Key

    With a sea of products and certifications out there it can sometimes be confusing. Different organizations have different standards and focuses. Why is important to know your labels? Well, when you buy a product that it certified you know that a third party has reviewed the company's labor practices, production standards, worker's rights, and the supply chain. 

    Although you can find some great companies out there with good ethical and environmental standards, those that have taken the time and effort to get certified are guaranteed by those third party organizations that they meet high standards. Below is a basic list to help you navigate. Companies normally list these logos/certifications on their product tags and/or the bottom of their websites. 

    The Fair Trade Federation is the community of North American organizations fully committed to Fair Trade. Learn more about our members and their work with producers around the globe. These amazing businesses provide high-quality products that create tremendous impact on farmers and artisans around the globe. Fair Trade Federation members have one primary purpose: to support farmers and artisans in developing countries through the practice of fair trade. Fair trade guides each and every trading decision that Fair Trade Federation members make.

    Trade Federation,

    The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a global network of over 400 organizations and individuals in over 70 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Pacific Rim, representing millions of artisans and farmers, most of whom are indigenous people, physically-challenged persons and women.

    World Fair Trade Organization,

    Fairtrade International is a group of 28 organizations working to secure a better deal for producers. The Mark certifies Fairtrade Standards have been met. The international Fairtrade system - made up of Fairtrade International and its member organizations - represents the world's largest and most recognized fair trade system. Fair trade is an alternative approach to conventional trade based on a partnership between producers and traders, businesses and consumers.

    Fairtrade International,

    Fair Trade USA (previously TransFair USA), a nonprofit organization, is a leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities.

    Fair Trade USA,

    The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Rather than preservation, their approach is conservation through “best management practices.” They work around the world to make farming, forestry and travel more environmentally and socially friendly.

    Rainforest Alliance,

    1% for the Planet connects businesses, consumers, and nonprofits, empowering all of us to drive big, positive change. They build, support, and activate an alliance of businesses committed to creating a healthy planet.

    1% for the Planet,

    Fairtrade International has brought the first-ever Fairtrade certified gold jewellery to market. This groundbreaking initiative offers a lifeline to economically disadvantaged artisanal miners and their communities. As is the case for other Fairtrade certified producer organizations, Fairtrade offers mining organizations and their communities a better deal. Miners develop long term business relationship with their commercial partners and get a fair price for their gold, along with the Fairtrade Premium for investment in economic, social or environmental improvements.

    Fairtrade Gold and Fairtrade Silver,

    The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is an international not-for-profit organisation bringing together more than 450 member companies committed to promoting responsible ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the jewellery industry from mine to retail.
    Their commitment aims to reinforce consumer and stakeholder confidence in diamond, gold and platinum metals jewellery products. The Council has developed the RJC Member Certification system which applies to all Members’ businesses that contribute to the diamond, gold and platinum metals jewellery supply chain.

    Responsible Jewellery Council,

    Fairmined gold is ethical gold extracted by Artisanal and Small-scale miners certified under their FAIRMINED standard. Buying FAIRMINED metals is supporting responsible certified miners and their families that follow strict requirements for social development, environmental protection, labor conditions and economic development in their mining communities. FAIRMINED gold is the achievement of the world’s pioneering and industry leading network of responsible Artisanal and Small-scale miners.  An initiative and movement lead by and for the miners.

    FairMined Gold and FairMined Metals,

    Green America is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1982 as "Co-op America." Their mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. They work for a world where all people have enough, where all communities are healthy and safe, and where the bounty of the Earth is preserved for all the generations to come.

    Green America Approved Certified Green Business,

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