When we got engaged in January 2013 and began the wedding-planning process, We knew that we wanted an ethical wedding. We fell for each other on a roadtrip to the justice conference in Portland, OR in 2012, and ever since then we've been exploring what it means to live a life of justice together. With a desire for justice in every area of life playing such an integral part in our relationship, we wanted to show that it is possible to have a beautiful wedding without fueling needless consumerism. It seems that these days, so many weddings turn into a desperate attempt to show off how well one is "keeping up with the Joneses"... or Pinterest... or the celebrity wedding photos in People Magazine or on TV. That wasn't for us- What we wanted was a simple but beautiful celebration of our love and commitment toward each other, and the things that are important to us (and a darn good dance party to top it all off!).
What was the strategy for pulling off this fair trade wedding? Endeavoring to support and showcase small local businesses, fair trade cooperatives, female artisans, and survivors of sex trafficking in every way that we could with the dollars that we chose to spend on our wedding.
What did that mean? Well, it meant lots of fair trade organic cotton. It meant fair trade chocolate, coffee, and tea. It meant crafting decorations made out of fair trade paper and ribbons and wood produced in the USA instead of buying tons of vases and candles and paper lanterns from China. It meant DIYing instead of buying.
Our wedding was a labor of love. A labor of love for each other, of course, and for the precious family and friends that gathered around us that day... but even more so, a labor of love for our world. A way of showing, not just saying, that we stand against human trafficking, poverty, the exploitation of laborers around the world, and social injustice as a whole.
And it was beautiful, and it was peaceful, and it was perfect.
I've written a series of posts about creating and finding the various fair trade elements of our wedding- hopefully they'll be helpful to any conscious consumers out there who are planning a wedding celebration!