The date is set, church arrangements have been made, and you are about begin deciding the particulars of your wedding with your fiancé. While taking steps to make it a truly Catholic ceremony, consider using the occasion not only to serve your guests, but a larger community of people in need.
Beth and Nick’s inspirational nuptials proves that a Catholic wedding can be beautiful, ethical, and respect the dignity of the human person through every step of the planning process.
Discover how they combined both the sacramental beauty of their wedding day with their passion for Catholic social teaching.
From the Photographer (An Endless Pursuit): “We knew when we got engaged that we wanted to live out our faith in a really special way. Not only did we want a Catholic ceremony, but we wanted to choose vendors and services that were ethical and/or local, when possible,” said the bride.
It is no surprise that Beth and Nick would plan their wedding to reflect their passion for Catholic social teaching. Serving the community and supporting those in need has always been a priority for this couple. Committed to living the faith through helping the poor and disadvantaged, both bride and groom held roles in homeless and prison ministries even before they met and were engaged.
Beth is co-founder and current co-director of the The StarFish Foundation, which provides education and support services for at-risk youth in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
“We realized that we would feel a little better about spending so much money on various wedding costs if we could feel confident that the people who made our items and delivered our services were paid and treated fairly,” she explained.
After quite a bit of research, the couple was able to find companies and vendors that fed their zeal for social justice with missions that stressed the dignity of the human person. The bridesmaids’ dresses and the mother of the bride’s dress were all made by Mata Traders, a company that partners with fair trade organizations in India and Nepal.
“The Mata Traders team worked with everyone’s sizes and my color preferences to recommend different options for dresses, helping me to determine quantities, availability and more,” Beth said. As for her own dress, the bride chose to work with bridal dress shop Celia Grace and was able to know exactly who made her dress: a father of four living in India. The Celia Grace team also helped Nick to find ties for himself, his groomsmen, and the father of the bride through their network of ethical fair trade vendors.
Beth and her bridesmaids were covered in fair trade goodness from head to toe. The bride, mother of the bride, and bridesmaids all sported Rothy’s: comfortable, classy shoes made from recycled water bottles. “If you’re not familiar with Rothy’s, you should be! I literally wear mine everyday—to work, on hikes, out with friends—everywhere” Beth gushed.
The couple chose their rings from Brilliant Earth and Aide-mémoire Jewelry. “When it comes to jewelry, taking an ethical path was so important. Many diamonds are made in conflict zones in Africa,” said Beth. “Having worked on many social justice issues over the years as a way to live my Catholic faith, I knew that [a traditional diamond] wasn’t an option.”
Beth also gifted her bridesmaids with jewelry steeped in meaning from The Starfish Project. The jewelry designer is changing lives of exploited women by educating and training them in sustainable, positive careers. Likewise, before the ceremony, Nick gifted Beth with a beautiful bracelet from Purpose Jewelry, an organization that gives hope to women who have been subjected to human trafficking.
Beth and Nick also made sure to shop local for many of their vendors as a way to support the Baltimore community they love. Their cupcakes were made by Flavor Cupcakery, which Beth encountered in one her many service roles.
“Years ago, when I worked at a homeless shelter in Baltimore, the owner reached out and offered to bring enough cupcakes for all 500 residents the day before Christmas Eve. It was such a special experience. We knew we wanted to support this local business on our wedding day.”
Local Color Flowers is a florist in Baltimore that sources local and seasonal flowers and gives their clients a unique experience. They guarantee the color and style of your flowers, but the exact type will be a surprise on your wedding day. “The team guided us in the process, learning all about our wedding so they could select flowers that really fit our personality and the vision of the wedding,” Beth said. “They did a fantastic job, and the surprise element was really fun for us.” As a bonus, the centerpieces provided were herbs that guests could take home and cultivate.
Beth and Nick’s wedding is a witness of how the love between two people can expand to love of their fellow man. Using your wedding budget to support ethical treatment of workers and honest business practices is something to consider. It elevates the worth of those who are working to ensure your wedding day is nothing less than incredible.
“Overall, we wanted to ensure our guests had a great time, but we hope they also shared in the joy of supporting ethical, local, and fair trade organizations,” said the bride.
Beth and Nick’s passion for upholding the dignity of the human person has made me wonder if ethical and fair trade weddings should be more of a trend in the world of Catholic nuptials.
They hope to inspire brides to consider where they source their decorations and vendors, because even a wedding budget can affect change in the lives of so many people.
Photography: An Endless Pursuit | Videography: Laurentina Photo & Video | Church: Catholic Community of South Baltimore | Wedding Reception Venue : Rusty Scupper | Day of Coordination: Kaitlyn Harrison, coordinationco.com | | DJ: Kevin Remaley, Rockin' Remaley, rockinremaley.com | Hair & Makeup: Down the Aisle in Style, baltimoreweddinghair.com | Flowers: Local Color Flowers, locoflo.com | Cupcakes: Flavor Cupcakery, flavorcupcakery.com | Bride's Dress: Celia Grace, celia-grace.com
Bridesmaid's Dresses: Mata Traders, matatraders.com | Bridemaid's Jewelry: The Starfish Project, thestarfishproject.com
Bride's Gift from Groom: Purpose Jewelry, purposejewelry.org | Bridal Party Shoes: Rothy's, rothys.com | Rings: Brilliant Earth, brilliantearth.com, Aide-memoire Jewelry, aidememoirejewelry.com