Beth + Nick | Ethical Fair Trade Wedding

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

Finding Your Wedding Style + Planning Your Liturgy: A Look Back on Spoken Bride Weddings

Are you recently engaged and just beginning to identify your wedding aesthetic? Did you know Spoken Bride weddings are indexed by color, style, and state?

Click the tags at the bottom of each wedding feature to see similar celebrations. It’s our honor to be invited into the unique, singular beauty of each of our couples’ special days and to share the distinctively Catholic elements that elevate their wedding days and point their guests’ senses heavenward.

Here, a collection of our past features. For our new brides, we hope they help you find your own style and introduce you to some of our incredible couples whom you might not have encountered before. For longtime readers, enjoy this look through the archives! Wherever you’re coming from we desire above all that like us, you’ll take in these stories and step back with nothing but awe, reverence, and gratitude for the Father’s fathomless love for his children.

Cultural traditions

Maria and Santi’s Buenos Aires wedding and bilingual nuptial Mass | Edith and Bomani’s Kenyan Catholic wedding | Elisabeth and Salvador’s El Salvadorian wedding | Lisa and Steve’s elegant resort wedding ,celebrating the bride’s Polish heritage

For the classic bride

Blair and Jordan’s fireside black-tie wedding | Jamie and Seth’s Baltimore wedding with astronomy-inspired details, designed by the bride | Sarah and Christopher’s Kate Spade-inspired wedding | Maggie and Ryan’s walk from literal blindness to true seeing, and their vineyard brunch wedding

Holiday weddings

Emily and Daniël’s Praise and Worship-filled Christmas season wedding | Christina and Kristian’s Austin wedding, with holiday colors and Christmas hymns | Genevieve and Dalton’s festive celebration at Rock ‘N Bowl | Caroline and Matt’s elegant cathedral wedding, rich with family heritage | Kaitlyn and John’s New Year’s wedding in blue, gold, and white | Becca and Phil’s Christmas picnic wedding

For the vintage-lover

Emma and Mark’s 1920s-inspired Arkansas wedding | Ada and Greg’s Texas celebration with her grandmother’s dress and other family heirlooms

Regional-inspired weddings

Fatima and John’s Tuscan-inspired celebration and Italian honeymoon | Brooke and Tim’s taste of Southern Virginia hospitality | Emily and Bradley’s & Katherine and Jonathan’s Louisiana weddings, inspired by French and New Orleans traditions | Erin and Andrew’s relationship guided by Our Lady of Perpetual Help, their Notre Dame Basilica wedding and reception football game | Cynthia and Chad’s Midwestern traditions and the beautiful significance of the Holy Land in their relationship | Sarah and Joseph’s Chesapeake Bay wedding with preppy and nautical details

For the rustic bride

Emily and Ben’s elegant evening on 40 acres of Nashville farmland | Chloe and Joseph’s winter farmhouse weddings and tips for spending as much of your wedding day together as possible | Jamaila and Andy’s NYC courtship and wedding filled with elements from nature

Ever ancient, ever new: unique Catholic devotions

Joan and Matt’s summer wedding, with original music composed by the bride | Kelsey and Jacob’s personal marriage prayer, and tips for writing your own | Susanna and Brad’s vineyard-inspired wedding and reflections on marriage, the priesthood, and religious life | Beth Anne and Tom’s beautiful alternative to a bouquet and garter toss | Robyn and Greg’s Divine Mercy weekend wedding and the role of this devotion in their relationship | Janae and Ryan’s foot-washing during their first look | Rosanna and Matthew’s Norbertine liturgy in English and Latin | Erica and Chris’s decision to say their vows over a crucifix | Laura and Alexandre’s fully sung Mass at a California mission | Bridget and David’s hometown Mass and decision to memorize their vows

For the DIY bride

Angela and Lucas’s farmhouse-chic Indiana wedding | Katherine and Ian’s handmade floral arrangements and reception catered by family | Amy and Jake’s Colorado Springs celebration with hand-lettered details, homemade centerpieces, and a custom crossword

City weddings

Anna and Mike’s Minneapolis nuptials | Maggie and Eric’s downtown Denver wedding | Chelsy and Ben’s portraits at the Washington, D.C. monuments during the Cherry Blossom Festival | Chelsea and Nick’s Pittsburgh black-tie evening

For the boho bride

Kelly and Peter’s high school sweethearts story and outdoor California reception | Heather and Jude’s transatlantic romance and bayside wedding day

Military weddings

Alana and Stephen’s conversion story and Air Force wedding | Hannah and Jared’s sophisticated Pittsburgh wedding, with the groom in Captain’s dress

Special circumstances and non-Roman rites

Andrea and David’s convalidation ceremony and powerful conversion story | Julia and Francis’s Byzantine liturgy | Dominika and Joseph’s & Gabrielle and Vince’s Ordinariate weddings | Victoria and David’s journey of discernment and conversion | Jenna and Michael’s Italian family-style wedding | Heather and Matthew’s witness to divine love’s healing power and their family-centered wedding with their daughters | Ashley and Ashbee’s black and white WVU wedding and advice for accommodating non-Catholic guests

For the romantic bride

Julie and Rudy’s elegant blush wedding and a love story that began in Fatima | Katherine and Dominic’s hometown wedding and rainy night reception | Elise and Hunter’s long-awaited celebration in the Maryland countryside

Feeling a call to share your proposal or wedding day with our community? Submission info can be found here.

Images by Spoken Bride Vendor Horn Photography & Design, seen in Melissa + Antonio | Springtime Ballroom Wedding

Kelly + Peter | California Museum Wedding

Kelly met Peter at fifteen and seventeen, respectively, as youth group and Confirmation leaders at their parish. They spent their time going to football games, instant messaging, attending Mass, and secretly liking one another. Peter revealed his feelings on Kelly’s sixteenth birthday, when she was permitted to start dating. Kelly remembers the Mass she attended that day: “I prayed especially for my new dating life, my future spouse, and also prayed that perhaps my first boyfriend would become my husband.” The Father heard and answered these desires of her heart.

Eight and a half years later, Peter wrote and performed a song on guitar entitled, “This Love was Made by God.” After singing it to Kelly, he proposed. 

From the Bride: We went to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland for our honeymoon and got to see Pope Francis. We are living our happily ever after.

My wedding gown was the second one I tried on, and I knew it was meant for me. It was from 2006, designed by Oleg Cassini. I had it altered by removing the original ribbon and adding a transparent ribbon with rustic flower details to replace it. I purchased a second dress in hopes we’d receive a blessing from Pope Francis, but I forgot to bring it with me to Krakow. Instead, I bought a $8.00 white dress from a thrift shop in Poland!

I knew I wanted a traditional-looking veil that would cover my head. I was thrilled to find my traditional mantilla veil, with modern flair featuring polka dots and rose gold details.

Our central goal for our wedding Mass was that it be filled with the God’s presence and that each guest to feel his power and love. Our guest list was very diverse and included people from all walks of faith, including fallen-away Catholics. We hoped they’d experience God throughout our Mass. It was so special being married at the church where we first met.

For music, we chose contemporary worship and a band at the ceremony. We were blessed to have our friends' band, Lang Station, play at the Mass, and the music was one of the highlights. I walked down the aisle to "Messiah/You're Beautiful" by Phil Wickham. Every time I listen, it gives me butterflies and takes me back to our wedding. Peter cried when I walked down the aisle! The bridesmaids walked to Matt Redman's "10,000 Reasons," and the other songs included "Oceans" and "How He Loves."  

While we professed traditional Catholic vows, we were also invited to include personal messages to read out loud during the ceremony. The night before our wedding, I accidentally took Peter's note card with his message to me, so he had to try to remember what he wrote. The rest he made up on the spot! Our priests were Father John, the priest from my college parish, and Father Matt, who was our youth minister and who watched Peter and I grow together. Our wedding was the first he presided at, as a newly ordained priest! We had our friends and cousins present the gifts. It was very special having our loved ones included in the Mass.

 After the Mass, Peter and I went to Jamba Juice in our wedding attire. It’s  where Peter first told me he liked me and asked me out on our first date. We sat at our table to enjoy a few moments alone before the reception.

Our reception was held at Rancho Camulos Museum, a National Historic Landmark that holds an old (not currently used) Catholic chapel. We had an outdoor reception that included market lights above the dance floor and big tree with a chandelier above our table. The meal was catered from the same restaurant where Peter and I went on our first date, and guests enjoyed listening to Lang Station during the cocktail hour and dinner.  

My favorite part of the night came at the end, when most of guests had departed. Those remaining included our very close friends, some family, and neighbors whom I’m very close to. Two friends recalled that as a child, I’d wanted to dance to Train’s "Drops of Jupiter" at my wedding, and they requested it as the last song of the evening. Peter and I danced with unkempt hair, his jacket over me, through a scene of bubbles provided by a couple of people. We then slowly walked away to our cars, talking with our friends like it was just another ordinary night. But it was perfect.

Although it’s very easy to get caught up in all the wedding details--decorations, music, the timeline--the most important thing is to be present and enjoy the moment. Let go of all the things that don't matter, breathe deeply, and take notice of all the blessings around you. During your wedding day, reflect on how God got you to where you are and be thankful. Remember the insanely amazing spiritual things that are happening to give you a new sacrament!

Lastly, know that sometimes it’s easy to become disappointed in certain aspects of your wedding. Remember those feelings are fleeting, and you get to look forward to an adventure of a lifetime with the man God provided for you.

Video produced by Forestry Films

Photographer: Worden Photography | Reception Location: Rancho Camulos Museum; Piru, CA | Church: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church; Santa Clarita, CA | Bride's Wedding and Engagement Rings: Jewelry Couture in Ventura, CA Groom's Wedding Ring: Na Hoku | Flowers: Yamaguchi Nursery in Santa Paula, CA | Invitations: Download and Print | Save the Dates: Shutterfly | Rentals:  AV Party Rentals in Santa Clarita, CA | Caterer:  Stone Fire Grill | Bride's Dresses: The White Dress for Less in Newhall, CA, Dress designed by Oleg Cassini | Veil: SmithaMenonBridal on Etsy | Bride's Shoes: Step! Shoes in Santa Monica, CA, Shoes: Sabrinas Juliet 34910 in Bone Nappa Leather | Bridesmaid Attire: Various dresses chosen by bridesmaids | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men's Warehouse | Cake: Jills Cake Creations in Santa Clarita, CA | Hairstylist: Amy Wolf | Ceremony Music/ Cocktail Hour/ Dinner Music: Lang Station | Reception Music: Crowd Theory Entertainment | Reception Planning/Coordination:  Lalonde Events; Christine Lalonde | Videography: Forestry Films

Heather + Jude | Bohemian Bayside Wedding

Heather and Jude met and fell in love in college, where they built a foundation that sustained them through five years of very long distance dating: Heather's career took her to New York City, while Jude was living across the Atlantic in France!  "As difficult as it was, Heather recalls, "I wouldn't change anything about that time in our relationship, because we learned to communicate and appreciate our time together in new ways." When they finally got engaged on a cloudy Sunday morning on a beach in Florida, they had been together for seven years, Heather was on her way to becoming Catholic, and it was clear that the Lord had beautiful things in store for this faithful couple. 

From the Bride: We were engaged for 11 months, during which we relocated to the South to be closer to our families and I attended RCIA in order to be fully received into the Catholic Church. I was actually confirmed on the night of our wedding rehearsal, with all of our closest friends and family present. The next day, we were married in our hometown of Fairhope, AL at the prettiest little chapel called Sacred Heart.

For the ceremony, Roman Street played acoustic guitars as we arrived at the chapel. Jubilee Flowers created a gorgeous garland that arched the doorway with roses and other blooms. My father walked me down the aisle, telling funny jokes along the way, where we met my family, family-to-be, and Father Boni. With a chapel full of loved ones, the ceremony was as personal as it was spiritual. The sun was setting over the bay just as everyone exited the chapel, setting the perfect tone for our casual-yet-romantic reception.

The reception was held at a beautiful event space in downtown Fairhope called The Venue. Jude and I enjoyed our first dance together to the song "Only You" by Yaz while my dad and I shared a dance to Roman Street's cover of "My Girl" by The Temptations. The food was a combination of Southern-inspired dishes with a flair of Creole spice, and the cake was made by local cake artist Jan Taylor. A sparkler exit sent us on our way at the end of the evening. 

My dress was a two-piece ensemble, which included a custom crop top by Kelly Faetanini and silk chiffon skirt by Catherine Deane. My cathedral veil was made by the team at Kleinfeld. My talented cousin Mary of One Suite Day created our custom invitations, programs, and signage and Brad Burckel of Du Castel Photography captured everything through the weekend perfectly.

Heather's spiritual takeaway from her wedding day: Being married traditionally in a church was very important to my husband and me, and I'm so thankful we were able to have a wedding in the way that we did. We put God at the center of our planning process and He blessed us with perfect 75 degree weather, a brilliant sunset, safe travels for everyone who came from so far away, and much more. It's easy to get caught up in all the details of a wedding, but we did our best to focus on our purpose and people, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

 

Photography: Du Castel Photography | Nuptial Mass or Engagement Location: Sacred Heart Chapel (of St Lawrence Catholic Church) in Fairhope, AL | Wedding Reception Venue : The Venue in Fairhope, AL | Flowers (bouquet, flower crown, bouts, decor): Jubilee Flowers | Crop top: Kelly Faetanini | Veil: Kleinfeld Bridal | Skirt: Catherine Deane, BHLDN | Earrings: Samantha Wills | Bridesmaids dresses: Jenny Yoo | Groom Suit: The Black Tux | Groom Shoes: Allen Edmonds | Bride’s ring: Anna Sheffield | Groom’s ring: Benchmark from Ware Jewelers | Invitations, Programs, Signage: One Suite Day | Band: Roman Street | Illustrations: Illustrative Moments | Cake: Jan Taylor Cakes of Fairhope, AL