Browsing Category


0 In Eco-Friendly/ Events/ Fashion/ Uncategorized

Indie Wed Pop-Up: A Wed Altered Bridal Shop

By now you might have heard that Indie Wed is collaborating with Wed Altered to host its first-ever pop-up shop this September, bringing a variety of out-of-town independent bridal designers to Chicago for the first time. So we thought we’d preview some of the designers and goodies that will be for sale! Starting this week, we’ll do a regular post profiling our pop-up vendors.

Today: Janay A HandmadeThe Cotton Bride, and Deborah Lindquist. All three of these designers will have gowns available to try on and order at the pop-up September 27 and 28. Tickets are a mere $5 (to offset costs of dressing rooms and the venue) and include a complimentary drink. Purchase 3 or more tickets and they are only $4 a piece. To purchase tickets, visit the event page for more info.

Janay Mallela, the design force behind Kansas City-based Janay A Handmade, is passionate about sustainability; many her dresses are made from organic cottons and hemp-silk blends. Her silhouettes are organic too, evoking natural shapes like flowers and flowing water. 

Indie Wed Pop-Up Shop

“Willow” by Janay A Handmade

Indie Wed Pop-Up Shop

Janay A’s “Yarrow” dress



Los Angeles designer Deborah Lindquist has been working with environmentally conscious fabrics for more than three decades; her gowns incorporate a mix of a mix of recycled, sustainable, and organic fabrics. But the details–oh, the details. Just check out the embellishment on her blush “Rose” dress.

Indie Wed Pop-Up Shop

“Rose” by Deborah Lindquist
















Indie Wed Pop-Up Shop

Deborah Lindquist’s “Cinderella” gown

Indie Wed Pop-Up Shop

“Valerie” by the Cotton Bride




Long Island City label The Cotton Bride started designing wedding gowns in cotton because designer Chris Kole thought they would be more comfortable that way. But vegan brides didn’t take long to catch on to the idea, and now Cotton Bride is known for sustainable, breathable, and beautiful cotton lace and textured cotton dresses.













Indie Wed Pop-Up Shop

The Cotton Bride’s “Harper” dress

Stay tuned for more pop-up previews!

0 In Eco-Friendly/ Fashion/ The Bride

Eco-Friendly Wedding Fashion, Popping Up in New York

481289_10200501880496981_1444504758_nA quick introduction: I’m Holly Greenhagen of Dame Couture, purveyor of made-to-measure bridal frocks. My dresses are strongly influenced by my interest in vintage clothing, and I also reconstruct and restyle vintage wedding dresses. I’m devoted to the idea of “slow fashion” and try to leave a small footprint, both in dress manufacturing and in life. And as a repeat Indie Wed vendor, I’m pretty excited to be guest posting on the IW blog!


In mid February, I found an email in my box from Christen Schneider of Solitary Pearl, the eco-friendly bridal line she designs out of Cleveland, Ohio. She was looking for like-minded designers to form a co-op and travel around the country with dresses and accessories for sale.

Christen Schneider of Solitary Pearl

Christen Schneider of Solitary Pearl

Two months (and hundreds of emails!) later, Christen has pulled it off. Wed Altered, as the group has come to call itself, is on the verge of its first pop-up shop, happening April 20 and 21 in New York. More than a dozen bridal designers (Dame Couture included) will be selling their wares. That’s right, selling: you can place an order for any of the lovely dresses you see and they’ll be shipped to your door. Or you can walk away with any of the gorgeous accessories.

Pop-up shop, eco-friendly…it all sounded like something Indie Wed brides would be interested in. So I interviewed Christen about how and why she did it all.

"Madeline" by Solitary Pearl, made with Fair Trade silk

“Madeline” by Solitary Pearl, made with Fair Trade silk

HG: Tell us the story of how Wed Altered got started.

CS: I wanted to find a way to bring Solitary Pearl dresses directly to brides instead of selling completely online. Pop up shops are a fun and effective concept, but not something a single bridal designer could usually afford to do. I also have a soft spot for co-ops, so I thought it would be a great idea to combine the two and, once I got some fellow designers who agreed, Wed Altered began!

HG: Your web site describes Wed Altered as a “socially conscious pop-up bridal shop.” What motivated you to assemble a group of socially conscious wedding vendors?

CS: I started out just planning on designing dresses. As I studied fabric sources, I quickly began to notice two distinct price brackets. When I looked into it and learned what made the lower price bracket so much lower (worker pay, labor conditions, little to no environmental responsibility, etc.), my conscience kicked in and Solitary Pearl became a socially conscious brand. I’ve learned a lot about the issues and I love the opportunity to work with people who work for the same goals. What feel like small daily efforts seem so magnified when you realize you aren’t the only one trying.

Hand-weaving Fair Trade silk in Cambodia

Hand-weaving Fair Trade silk in Cambodia

HG: What makes these vendors “socially conscious”? Do they all use environmentally friendly fabrics? Or are there other factors?

CS: Everyone has their own thing. Some people are really passionate about the environment and only use organic or all natural fabrics. Some are fair-labor activists who only use materials where the artisans receive living wages and fair treatment. Some have charities they champion or local causes they support. Almost everyone has a big focus on reviving domestic production. Several designers focus on reusing vintage materials, and there is a lot of waste and energy reduction in people’s processes.

Organic cotton dress by Janay A. Handmade

Organic cotton dress by Janay A. Handmade


HG: How did you find vendors that fit your mission?

CS: Some of these designers I’ve been following for a long time because I love their work. I looked through blogs that reached the our goal audience and found vendors they suggested. I did a lot of searches and spent time on Etsy. It was a lot of time opening every possible designer’s page and reading through their mission and about sections to see if it was a fit, and then reaching out to them if I thought it may be.

HG: How would you define “ethical” as it relates to the wedding industry?

CS: I think it’s a lot of different things, and each vendor and bride will have their own priorities. As long as you’ve decided what your main objectives are (less consumption, reuse, Fair Trade, organic, local, etc.) and do your best to make the choice when there is one available to you, I think that’s all anyone can aim for right now. The industry is changing, but slowly.

HG: How does your own wedding dress line, Solitary Pearl, practice social consciousness?

CS: We try to find as much socially and environmentally conscious fabric as possible, and we produce locally in on a small scale, so nothing gets made unless we know it’s needed. We try to keep our consumption and waste down, and we gave our fabric waste to local artists to use. We’re working on a composting system for the scraps that are too small for more projects, since almost every bit of what we use is a natural fiber.

Our biggest project is that we have a studio in the works that will train and employee single parents. We’ll be able to teach them skills that will allow them to support themselves and their family and get paid well while they do it. They’ll be in the same big room as their kids, who are working with an educator in a free day care area, learning things that will set them up for success when they start school. I’m pretty excited to see it take shape!

Headband from Mignonne Handmade, who uses vintage materials in her pieces

Headband from Mignonne Handmade, who uses vintage materials in her pieces

HG: What has been your biggest challenge in organizing this event?

CS: Timing. We decided to push ourselves and aim for April instead of waiting until the fall bridal market, and it’s been a rush! We’re going to pull it off, and well, but it meant a lot of hard work for everyone involved.

HG: What advice would you give to a bride looking for ethical vendors for her wedding?

CS: Remember that few companies or couples will be able to get all of the causes. There are really just too many good things for one person or company to tackle on their own! So if you find a combination like a dress company that does great charity work, a caterer who serves local foods, and a florist who uses organic flowers, you’re doing pretty well!

Also, try to remember that sometimes less is more. If you can’t find an item from a source you love, and you don’t really feel like you have to have it, just leave it out. Less money, less stress, and less consumption. Not a bad thing! If you have to have it, find the best source you can for right now or see if you can find one that’s been used before.

Wed Altered’s pop-up shop takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21, from 9 AM to 8 PM both days, at Elk Studios, 164 W. 25th St., 12th floor, New York, NY. Admission is free, though it’s a good idea to book fitting room time here.

0 In Accessories/ Destination Weddings/ Eco-Friendly/ Fashion/ The Bride

Searching for Handmade Flair for Festivities?


Photo Credits: Nels Akerlund |

Aloha!  My name is Stephanie Fontaine & I’m the person behind Clark & Diversey, a small local business.  My company features one-of-a-kind handmade flair for festivities, including head pieces, flower fascinators, dress adornments & accessories influenced by adventures abroad (my goal is to travel to as many countries as my age) and my swanky hometown of Chicago.  Many goodies are created from eco-friendly fabric, luxurious scrap material from bridal gowns & cruelty-free feathers.  Clark & Diversey creates handmade flair fit for any festivity.

Since tying the knot at our July 2010 destination wedding in the Dominican Republic, I’m partial to collaborating with brides-to-be on an original, custom creation for the big day.  We’re overjoyed to once again be a part of IndieWed – the most fabulously creative bridal event, period.  For the first 50 couples in line tomorrow, you’ll snag an amazing reusable, silkscreened swag bag filled to the brim with some spectacular goodies from many of the talented IndieWed vendors!  Here’s a sneak peek of Clark & Diversey’s swag treats:


Check out Clark & Diversey’s blog next week for the full reveal.  Looking forward to meeting y’all this weekend!

Like us on Facebook:
Twitter: @ClarknDiversey

0 In Eco-Friendly/ Wedding Planning

Meet Naturally Your Events!

A little bit about my company: Naturally Yours Events is an eco-chic wedding and event planning company committed to planning events that are unique, stress free, and absolutely fun. No matter what your style or budget or where you are in the planning process, we will take the time to get to know you to ensure your special day is everything you’ve dreamed of.

A little bit about me: I started planning events at a very young age, with most of them being birthday parties and huge trips to the theater. In college, my love and talent for planning landed me a job at a photography studio in Michigan where I was their Day of Coordinator. After planning many weddings in Michigan, I am thrilled to be off on my own here in Chicago. Being a part of Indie Wed this year is so exciting for me. In fact, my first taste of Chicago’s wedding industry was at Indie Wed. I found the experience to be fantastic fun and a ton of inspiration. Can’t wait to see you all at the show!

Carlene Smith, Owner and Event Planner, Naturally Yours Events

Email: carlene[at]
Phone: 312-752-5890

0 In Catering/ Decor/ Eco-Friendly/ Reception

The Great Outdoors

As we head into the darkness of winter us Chicagoans agree on one thing – summer is one of the greatest things about living here. It gives us a chance to explore neighborhoods, enjoy the lake, and take a breath of fresh (not frigid) air. Unfortunately if you want to enjoy the outdoors on your wedding day, you are often limited to pictures on the lakefront or trying desperately to find a venue with outdoor space. However if you happen to have a backyard, try going it on your own. This is not as daunting as a task as it would seem. At many venues you’re bringing in (via rental company) all of the tables/chairs anyway so the cost will be the same. Figuring out rentals, with or without the help of your caterer, is not that difficult and suddenly you have a free venue where you can party all night.

Here are some of the advantages to having a wedding at home (and how our clients implemented them into their events):

♥ DIY Decoration– although, in theory, you can do this at a venue when the venue is your home it is much easier. You can set things up long before the event and don’t have to worry about cleaning everything up at the end of the night.

♥ Use the money you saved on the venue for things that are more important to you – whether that’s a kick-ass band, locally sourced food, decadent offerings, or really nice wine.

♥ Get “outdoorsy” with it. Embrace the casual atmosphere with a casual menu, simple place settings, and Ball jar glasses.







♥ Provide your own food/beverages. You may decide to do everything yourself, make it a potluck, or just bring in some of your favorite homemade items and have a caterer take care of the main meal. At many venues this would be restricted or illegal (food items need to be prepared in a commercial kitchen), but having the event at home allows you to do this.

♥ Being comfortable. Get ready with your bridesmaids in your own room, take photos with your hubby on your stairs, and always know where to find the bathroom/water/a bobby pin.

Post by FIG Catering

Photos by

Edyta Szyszlo Photography/

and Sheila Barabad

0 In Catering/ Eco-Friendly/ Food

Why we’re small

My partner and I met, fell in love, and decided to start a catering company. We started FIG Catering six and half years ago with the notion that we could provide high quality food and personal service for smaller events. FIG stands for “For Intimate Gatherings”– so even as we’ve grown throughout the years we’ve maintained our focus on intimate events, including weddings. We will only cater for up to 150 guests and focus on ONE wedding event a day. Sometimes we have to disappoint people who inquire about larger events, but we chose to be smaller for many important reasons (and have found more and more reasons as we’ve matured). Here are some of the most important:

Redfield Estate room

We focus on food and believe in preparing as much as we can on-site at each event. In order to provide the freshest food possible, limiting the number of guests is essential. It allows us to provide creative menus and restaurant quality preparations.

We wanted to move away from the cookie cutter solutions/menus that larger catering services provided. We do each and every menu/proposal from scratch and it is the most time consuming part of our jobs. Staying smaller allows us to focus on each and every client.

We didn’t start with a specific focus to be a “green” company, but our personal sense of responsibility towards the environment influenced our business practices and soon we realized that we could make a difference by offering clients organic and locally sourced seasonal food, reducing waste, and making smarter decisions (even little ones). Reducing and recycling are much easier on a smaller scale. Many venues we work at do not have recycling on-site, but we are able to take back recyclables to our kitchen. Waste is also easier to control on a smaller scale. Finally, working with smaller farmers/producers means that their production is often limited so not having HUGE needs works in our favor.

It allows us to stay sane. I don’t like the chaos of large events; I used to work in staffing and have worked at plenty of large scale fetes with 20+ staff, multiple kitchens, and miles of walking. I am much more comfortable with a small, dedicatedstaff and a guest list where I can personally interact with each and every guest.

Whatever size your wedding is, it is an important factor to think about as it will impact your venue choice, caterer, budget, and, most importantly, feel of the day.

– Molly Schemper,