Today we’re speaking with Marcie Muehlke, founder and CEO of Celia Grace, which produces fair-trade and eco-friendly wedding dresses. Celia Grace uses exquisite, hand woven, heirloom silk and their dresses are sewn by a women’s sewing group that uses safe, fair, and empowering work conditions in Cambodia. Celia Grace also donates a water filter to a family in need with every dress.
Where did you get the idea to start Celia Grace?
When I got married I was looking for the perfect wedding dress – one that was gorgeous, flattering AND made in a way I felt really good about. When I couldn’t find anything like that, it was my “aha moment” and I started planning for what is now Celia Grace.
Tell me about the philosophy behind Celia Grace.
Brides and couples work so hard (and hopefully have so much fun!) planning a wedding that reflects who they are. Choosing an eco and fair trade wedding dress is one more way to live and share your values on your big day – while also having a more meaningful and beautiful celebration.
What were some of the challenges you faced at the start?
To start Celia Grace I had to find a group of women who were extremely talented seamstresses and who worked in a coop or other group that followed fair trade practices. Fortunately I got extremely lucky and found such a group – I LOVE working with them, they amaze me every day.
What is your favorite Celia Grace wedding dress and what inspired it?
Oh that is a hard question (like asking me to choose a favorite child!). So I can tell you that my favorite this week is The Rachel, a timeless A-Line with a really romantic neck line and a beautifully hand-beaded belt. This dress was inspired in part by our silk organza fabric – it is beautiful, light-as-air to wear, and holds its shape in a really flattering and beautiful way.
What advice can you give to couples planning a sustainable wedding?
Have fun! There are so many ways you can go sustainable that it can be overwhelming. So pick a few really elements that you are excited about (like the dress, or invitations, or favors or whatever is appealing to you) and then enjoy finding, learning about and supporting amazing businesses and artists.
What are the future plans for the company?
Bridal boutiques across the US are starting to carry Celia Grace wedding dresses (including Thea Tora on Long Island) – I love this and can’t wait to expand to more dress styles, locations, and to help more women around the world while giving more brides a more beautiful and meaningful wedding.