Julie Mullin

Julie Mullin, owner of Fiberactive Organics, says she hires Vietnamese women to use organic threads to create fabric products, including wedding dresses, table cloths and placemats. (Photo by Maryland Newsline’s Collin Berglund; additional photos in slide show)

Green Wedding Showcase Offers Couples Eco-friendly Wedding Options

Maryland Newsline
Thursday, March 3, 2011


COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Kelvin Esters and Llatetra Brown met 10 years ago at a mall.  They were engaged in December and are working on choosing their wedding date.


The couple came to the University of Maryland Sunday to attend the second annual Mid-Atlantic Green Wedding Showcase.


While Brown, 41, of College Park, Md., was interested in everything the vendors had to offer, Esters, 50, of Washington D.C., was more specific.


"Food. Flowers. Alcohol," Esters said.


Guests paid $20 at the door and $15 in advance to attend the show, which culminated with a fashion show featuring eco-friendly wedding dresses.


Mike Archibald, a vendor for Herrington on the Bay, a catering service and wedding venue in Friendship, Md., offered two samplings at his booth: tomato caprice skewers and raspberry cheesecake lollipops. The business secures produce, meat and seafood from local farms to create its organic products.


"We're trying to drum up some business," Archibald said.  "There's been a great turnout today." 


While most wedding dress designers think in terms of one color - white - Julie Mullin, of Fiberactive Organics in Raleigh, N.C., makes organic cotton threads to create "green" wedding dresses, table linens, clothes and pillows. The company hires refugee women from the mountain region of Montagnard in Vietnam to do the sewing. 


"They've never used scissors, never seen electricity, nothing," Mullin said. "We take them from ground zero to one little bit of education at a time."


More from Mullin:


Mullin thought she applied for a booth in next year's showcase, but six weeks before the show, she was told she had a booth for this year.


"Kendal Leonard [Mullin's designer] had to design three bridal dresses and three bridesmaid dresses in six weeks," she said.

The eco-fashion show featured more than 70 eco-friendly dresses created by 15 designers.


Attendees had the option of escaping the bustling brides-to-be in "The Man Cave," where local, organic beer was served while basketball games played from a projector.


A green transportation service, eCruisers, shuttled people from the parking lot to the front door of the event at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. Typically, the Annapolis-based business uses electric cars to shuttle people around the city.


"We're not dripping any oil, leaking any gas or putting any fumes in the air," said Russell Rankin, president and owner of eCruisers. 


Lori Hill, of lori hill event production inc., worked with Rissa Miller and Nathaniel Corn, of Balance Photography, to create the Green Wedding Showcase.


To combat the usual waste of such showcases, organizers made sure exhibitors used compostable disposables when serving samples, did not use paper tickets and encouraged guests to use public transportation to attend the show, providing a shuttle from the College Park Metro station.


Hill said the exhibitors made the show a success.


"There's this stereotype that greenies are all about granola," Hill said.  "One of the things we wanted to prove with this show is that green is beautiful. Green is gorgeous."

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