Giving Back: How to Create a Fair Trade Wedding

We know so many couples these days who are looking for ways to give something back at their wedding — whether it’s donating to a charity in lieu of wedding favors or adding in eco-friendly elements to their wedding decor or gift registries.

When a couple plan a wedding, they get to infuse and incorporate their personality, their sense of style and their values into their big day. Therefore, it’s a great opportunity for couples to showcase their love and respect for society and the environment, and it really encourages guests to think about what they can do in their everyday lives to become more responsible and conscious global citizens.

Everyone from brides to moms-to-be are embracing the idea of “green” and globally conscious registries. A new registry service to consider when building an eco-friendly registry or wish list is Seven Hopes United ( The internet-based fair trade retail store offers a number of earth-friendly, socially conscious ideas for gift giving. Some of the top registry picks include hand-blown glasses and pitchers, African baskets, Haitian wall art, organic cotton linens from Bali, etc. The site’s much anticipated addition of a gift registry to their website provides consumers with the ability to create a gift registry or wish list for a number of occasions, including weddings, baby showers, housewarming parties, birthdays, and more. Fair Trade registries give “gifts that give back” a whole new meaning.

Here are some great ways to incorporate “giving back” into all aspects of your big day.

Create a Fair Trade Registry
Ten percent of the proceeds from gifts purchased from a Seven Hopes United Gift Registry are invested back into producer communities in a variety of ways, including training producers in organic and sustainable farming techniques (which helps offset worldly carbon emissions), building houses, schools, and clinics that are able to provide health care for entire communities. A mix of unique handcrafted art and earth-friendly home decor ideas, it’s the kind of registry that is intended to suit not only the couple but their guests and the planet as well.

“We were so glad to find the registry! The gift we really wanted from our family and friends was their support for fair trade & making a difference in lives around the world-not another blender or toaster,” said Sara M. and Jordan K., Chicago, Illinois.

Bridesmaid Gifts
Give your bridesmaids something they can feel good about wearing every day – fair trade jewelry. Fair Trade jewelry has been handcrafted by disadvantaged artisans whose producer groups are members of the Fair Trade Federation. A portion of the proceeds from Seven Hopes United’s jewelry sales help fund our work to overcome poverty around the world. Try our Chennai Chandelier Earrings – every time your bridesmaids wear these earrings they will not only think of you, they will think of the difference your gift made for thousands of artisans and their families.

Have Your Cake
And feel good about it too! Choosing organic is only part of it. It’s equally important to buy products with the Fair Trade label. Amazing, I know, but a choice as simple as the sugar you use in your wedding cake can mean the difference between survival and destruction for small communities in Africa and South America. It takes a tremendous amount of natural resources to produce the 2.8 million weddings per year in the U.S. If each wedding has just one wedding cake, that would still mean 30 million pounds of sugar for the cakes alone.

Try to seek out a local bakery that would be willing to help make your cake fair and delicious. Ask about substituting organic fair trade ingredients like sugar, flour, butter, and eggs. Choosing organic ingredients will undoubtedly increase the cost of your cake, but many say the taste will be even more delicious.

Edibles make the perfect usable wedding favor — just say no to the wedding frames engraved with your wedding date — Good for you, not so much for your guests. Instead, order some fair trade chocolate from Divine Chocolate — personally, I favor the dark chocolate minis — I could just eat them all up.

If you’re not into chocolate wedding favors, another great idea is to purchase unique charitable gifts from Oxfam America. Choose a gift that’s meaningful to you – if you’re a teacher maybe books for kids, a school desk and chair, or a school meal program for one child – and make a donation in honor of your loved ones. You could share these unique favors with your guests through personalized favor cards or by table names to signify a gift for the entire group.

Drink Up!
Just as with your food, think fair trade for your drinks. There are several organic fair trade wine options you can find at Whole Foods Market or Sam’s Club, & if you’re going to be mixing up some cocktails try FAIR Vodka.

Coffee Talk
For after-dinner coffee service, look into getting coffee or espresso brewed with Fair Trade beans (meaning the farmers were paid a fair price and in most cases, the coffee was grown in an ecologically sustainable way). Larry’s Beans are an excellent choice, and you have the option of buying in bulk – contact us for details :)

For more information on how to create a Fair Trade Wedding, visit

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