Mar 17th, 2013 by Katie
So, here we are again. I’ve had a week to recover and now I’m ready to deliver my verdict on 2007 vs. 2013: the fair trade off.
Based on nothing scientific whatsoever, but rather on the findability (my word) of fair trade items in each area of wedding planning combined with a gut feeling, I bring you The Fair Trade Weddingometer.
This valuable instrument will help to illustrate whether a given element of the fair trade wedding has become easier or harder to source, or remains pretty much the same.
The Fair Trade Weddingometer
Let’s start by saying we were delighted overall by the blossoming range of beautiful fair trade products. Style is most definitely joining substance.
It was sad to see that a number of companies we’d featured in 2007 had gone to the wall by 2013 but not unexpected given the years of recession and the high ratio of new businesses that fail in the first few years in any case.
Now, on to the Weddingometer – we’re starting at the bottom, that way there’s only one way to go.
We had high hopes for Gift Lists in 2007 – several lists had just launched and there was everything to play for. So we were surprised to find so few in 2013 and saddened to hear that Fairgift – the original fair trade gift list – had just closed its virtual doors.
Maybe fewer couples are opting for a traditional ‘gift’ list – with more and more couples living together before they marry they just don’t need one and instead are choosing charity lists, honeymoon lists, or nothing at all.
On the other hand, as we carried on with the Challenge, we did come across other wedding gift lists that hadn’t appeared in our general search – such as this one at the gorgeous Nkuku – so our advice would be if you find a company offering fair trade products and you like what you see, just ask them if they do a gift list. Don’t ask, don’t get!
Fairtrade flowers photo from the Easy Green Living blog
Fairtrade flowers was another tricky one. Sales are starting to decline. Most florists trying to make the world a better place focus on growing local and growing organic. Flower miles present a dilemma. We’ll watch developments in the Fairtrade flower industry with interest.
Cool as a cucumber
Fair trade wedding stationery has made some progress (we do have The Fair Trade Wedding Stationery Company now!) but it’s easier to find designers using recycled, eco-friendly paper and card rather than fair trade. Of course fair trade recycled or tree-free stationery can be found – we hope we see more of it over the coming years.
We talked photo albums and music in our Sight & Sound post on Day 8 of the Fairtrade Fortnight Wedding Challenge. The photo albums we found are fabulous and the initiative for fair trade music very interesting. Positive stuff.
Fair Trade Tourism South Africa logo from Baobab Travel who in 2012 had 4 of their South Africa holidays certified as Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) travel packages
We didn’t cover Honeymoons in 2007 so they’ve leapt up our Fair Trade Weddingometer. While there is no Fairtrade mark for a holiday (yet – South Africa has created its own certification as pictured above) awareness of responsible tourism is growing, and if you’re going to plan a wedding that gives everyone something to celebrate it makes sense to do the same with the honeymoon. Most of us have had it with mainstream tourism, we want to get off the beaten track, meet the locals, discover something different and the concept of fair trade tourism is the perfect way to do this.
Venue decorations and wedding favours gave us some fantastic fair trade choices – fairy lights, candles, vases, lots and lots of chocolate. They’re the little details that make your day extra special but – importantly – don’t cost the earth.
Moving on to food and drink, there seemed to be more cakemakers out there more than happy to use fair trade ingredients in the all-important wedding cake while fair trade drinks have gone beyond Fairtrade wine (now winning awards) to include beer, spirits and soft drinks too.
Hot under the collar
Fair trade fashion is where things have really taken off. The fair trade accessories range is almost endless and so so stylish (although, as in 2007, we failed in our hunt for a fair trade tiara!).
Bridesmaids can choose from umpteen fair trade dresses perfectly suited to a stroll down the aisle with nary a tie dyed skirt in sight.
But the bride is the winner (the groom is still playing catch up on the fair trade suit and shirt front) as serious designers have woken up to fairy tale fair trade fabrics and woven them into their wedding dress dreams. If I’m honest, I feel quite jealous that most of these weren’t around when I was getting married.
Bubbling away at the top of our Fair Trade Weddingometer, however, are the rings. Since 2007, we’ve had official, certified Fairtrade and Fairmined gold arrive on the scene, followed by platinum and silver. These are giant steps for these little rings that make a massive impact on the lives of small scale miners and their families around the world.
Until next time
And there you have it – our Fairtrade Fortnight Wedding Challenge in a nutshell. We hope you had fun following it and discovered a few fair gems for your own wedding celebrations. Shall we do it all again in 2019?
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