Tips and Trends for 2020 (And Beyond)

Tips and Trends for 2020 (And Beyond)

20+ local wedding industry experts explain everything you need to know in order to plan your upcoming nuptials.*

*Please note: this article was taken from our 2020 edition of Engaged in Southern New England, which hit shelves before COVID-19 hit the U.S…. therefore many of the following insights may be best left for post-pandemic plans!

A Bachelorette Weekend Must

 “Dry Salt Therapy (Halotherapy) has been used for centuries to treat respiratory, skin, sleep and aging issues. Additionally, in the process of grinding and crushing the salt, negative ions are created which are known to improve mood, relieve stress and reduce fatigue. Wedding preparations can be especially stressful and exhausting — what bride wouldn’t like to take a break from it all, if only for an hour or so? Our Salt Room Experience, with its calming atmosphere, therapeutic music and absence of distractions, is extremely relaxing and a good ‘time-out’ to spend with loved ones and just breathe.” — Syd Milliken of Just Breathe Salt Spa

Choosing a Caterer

“Do your research to ensure you’re getting everything you’d like for the biggest day of your life. Asking your caterer how long they have worked at your particular venue, along with their company, shows the value you will receive with their services. It is always a great idea to have a tasting, as well, in order to experience the style of service and menu offerings that a caterer presents.”—Casey Stamouli of Blackstone Caterers

Yes to the Dress 

“Brides want to feel unique; every week it feels like we have brides looking for different things, like plain elegance or comfortability. On the designer side, pockets are big. We are also seeing them use more colors than the traditional white, ivory or champagne. They have now added soft pinks, greys, nude colors and even black. I would also say we are seeing a rise in past generations’ looks coming back, such as off-the-shoulders and bows!” — Kayla Thompson of Melissa Ashley Brides

Flower of the Flock

“Bold colors are trending, as well as a less-classic look. A chic yet wild design.” — Semia Dunne of Flowers by Semia

The Squad Spectrum

“Mauve is very popular right now for bridesmaids. We are also seeing a lot of off-the-shoulder looks. But I think, more than anything, brides are picking a color and then allowing their bridesmaids to pick styles that complement them and that they feel comfortable in. In Spring 2020, you will see a rise in orange and mustard colors as well as some new fabrics — velvet is making a comeback!” — Kayla Thompson of Melissa Ashley Brides

Professional Planning

“About 20 percent of all weddings have a wedding planner. With a shift towards non-traditional venues, planning across long distances and couples having busy careers, wedding planners really make sense. It’s like building a house without having a general contractor or performing a play without a director — is it possible? Of course. Is it harder (and often more expensive) if you don’t? Absolutely. Wedding planners guide you through the process, do a lot of the heavy lifting and already have a great network of trusted vendors that they work with. They also know how to stretch your budget in the right way, and most importantly, allow you to live your wedding in the moment and stress-free.” — Michael Marcoux of Michael Marcoux Events

Destination: Honeymoon

“I find that honeymooners are looking beyond the Caribbean and Mexico, because they feel that those are places that they can visit any time. Since they’re willing to allocate more time/money than they would for a regular vacation, they are choosing places like Italy and Hawaii, which are my two most popular destinations this year. Or, if budget permits, they’re looking even farther than that, and heading to more exotic places like Tahiti, Bali or the Maldives for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.” — Ann Petronio of Annie’s Escapes

Determining a Dessert

“Dessert should be the cherry on top of a beautiful, joyous day. Make it memorable! If you opt for a tiered cake, let it be a showpiece that captures your two personalities and the energy of that day. If mini pastries are more your style, have fun with flavors! Cocktail-inspired macarons are the perfect after-dinner treat, and tiny cake bites with PB n’ J nut-and-fruit profiles have countless pros (Cake! Portability! Nostalgia!).” — Afton Garrett-Edwards of Ellie’s Bakery

Grasp the Nettle

“Our number one piece of advice would be to trust your florist and know that you are in good hands to bring your vision to life.” – Semia Dunne of Flowers by Semia

Underrated Photos

“As photojournalists, our default answer is more candid photography! We’ve noticed that whenever we have a bit of a lull or downtime before the ceremony, the knee-jerk reaction is to fill the time posing for pictures. I think it comes from that need to be productive that most of us have. Our advice: Just be. Be with your people, and the pictures will come. That said, creative, activity-based portraiture is something we rarely get enough time in the wedding schedule to really maximize. Getting married on a farm? Take a little extra time to wander through a cornfield together. Near a lake? Make a plan to take a short canoe ride during portrait time. We love couples who embrace the uniqueness of their day, maybe taking a walk in the rain if the weather didn’t cooperate. It’s all part of that unique wedding story.” — Katye and Joe Brier of the Happy Couple Photography

Switching Up Your Look (Literally)

“When choosing new eyewear, I would consider the venue (formal vs. casual) and the color of the wedding party. It might be nice to complement what you have chosen for colors on your special day. Of course, glasses are costly, so being able to wear them for special occasions for years to come or incorporating them into an additional wardrobe option is important, too.”— Dr. Boisvert of Rhode Eyeland LLC

Great Hair Day

“I have a lot of brides who love messy, textured styles. Whether they’re up, down or half and half, they’re so into texture, and I love it! It has a more relaxed feel.”— Sarah Depault of Sarah Depault Beauty

The Ring Exchange

“Ladies’ diamond eternity bands are very much in style, while for men, alternative metals like tungsten carbide and titanium remain hot.”
— Mark Eilers of Ross-Simons

Tuxes vs. Suits

“We typically ask the following questions to determine which option is more suitable: Is it an evening wedding? Is it outside or inside? What is the theme, i.e. rustic, elegant, boho? What will your partner be wearing? If your partner is a bride and the dress is very elegant, it’s hard to pull off a suit next to a very red-carpet dress — a tux provides an elevated level of formality. If there’s two grooms, we’ll ask if they want to match or just complement each other. We would never put one groom in a suit and one in a tux.” — Aldo Segama of Aldo’s House of Formals

Au Naturel

 “My clients stick to simple, natural looks — even more so than when I started doing makeup a few years ago. Winged liner and darker contour aren’t as popular, but the glow from within is bigger than ever! It’s all about enhancing natural beauty rather than carving or creating features. A lot of women want to look and feel like themselves, just in an ‘I’m a bride today!’ kind of way. But you should feel a little different… It’s your wedding day!” — Sarah Depault of Sarah Depault Beauty

Rustic Rentals

“One tried-and-true trend is the rustic or woodsy feel. The use of dark woods, mason jars, wine barrels, harvest tables, white lace and burlap [for rustic and farm-style weddings] is a trend that we don’t see dying out anytime soon. Still, we have built many new items, including bars, card holders, food displays and tables to add to our expanding inventory. We have a little bit of something for everyone.” — Fred Tebeau of Quality Rental

Fit in a Facial

 “For the week of the wedding, my go-to is our Keep Calm and Hydrate option. This nourishing facial is designed to boost and lock in moisture, minimize stress-induced breakouts and soothe sensitive skin without the use of aggressive skincare products that can potentially irritate skin. For deeper cleansing, ultrasonic exfoliation can be incorporated to safely exfoliate the skin. The ultrasonic not only gently lifts dry, dead cells, but it also infuses the skin with hydrating goodness. This facial will restore your natural radiance and allow makeup to be applied effortlessly and flawlessly.” —Susan Ciosek of the Wax Pot

Fine Tuning

“Our best advice to couples searching for a live band is to go out and see them before locking in the date. It is wise to book a band twelve months in advance — especially bands willing to learn songs for you! Take It to the Bridge will secure dates up to twenty-four months out.”— Greg Marcotte of Take It to The Bridge

Trendy Transportation

“Trolleys and antique cars have always been the most popular vehicles, and I think they will continue to be a popular choice because of their classic look. However, there’s been an increase in demand for the Gronk Buses! Former Patriots player Rob Gronkowski owns two party buses — the 87 and the Yo Soy Fiesta — and we rent them for him. Couples have booked them for their weddings, rehearsal dinners and bachelor/ette parties, or even as a surprise for their die-hard sports-fan fiance!” — Meagan Mann of Rockstar Limo

In Full Bloom

“We are seeing brides willing to move in a less traditional direction with personal flowers. Floral rings are definitely something we are seeing more and more of. Also, instead of traditional wrist corsages, we have started to implement wrist cuff jewelry.” — Semia Dunne of Flowers by Semia

Takes the (Cup)cake

“Couples I’ve encountered are definitely interested in variety for their wedding — more options! With that being said, I’m seeing a trend in more fruit-flavored cupcakes. When I make a cupcake with fruit incorporated, I always choose fresh fruit, juice and zest because it translates to a stronger, fresher flavor. I think hummingbird is an underrated flavor. Most people don’t even know what hummingbird is, but once you taste it, you get it. It’s a spiced cake with pineapple, bananas and walnuts!” — Tara Quinn of QuinnSea Cupcakes

Determining the Driver

“Obviously, friends and family won’t let you down, but anything is possible and relying on a professional company for your wedding day transportation ensures professional vehicles and chauffeurs. If anything were to actually happen, professionals will know how to resolve the situation. Still on the fence? Go and visit the company, check the fleet and ask the difficult questions. The answers will certainly point you in the direction you would feel most comfortable. I say, let the guests be guests, and rely on a professional to take care of the transportation.”
— Meagan Mann of Rockstar Limo

Put Pen to Paper

“Hand-done calligraphy from scratch will give your invitations a more prestigious feel as well as a personal touch. Each envelope is a piece of artwork. I have four calligraphy styles couples can choose from — old English, cursive, vertical Roman cursive and a new one, copper plate — and I’m happy to help them decide which fits their style best. It also helps when they can bring a photo of their invitations to the consultation for matching purposes.” – Lyn Smith Laplume of Lyn Laplume Calligraphy, 401-353-2616

Suit Yourself

“More tapered shoulders and slim legs on suits or tuxes is popular. We have seen a slight spike in men wanting bolder color choices when it comes to the jacket, such as red, blue and even green.” — Aldo Segama of Aldo’s House of Formals

Behind the Lens

“Hire a photographer you trust, then let them do their thing. Study their Instagram and website — if you like what you see, chances are you will be thrilled with your own images. Communicate why you love their work and avoid sending inspiration boards not reflective of their style. And remember, you will spend a majority of your wedding day with your photographer; someone with an even-tempered and gregarious personality will be a huge benefit.”— Katye and Joe Brier of the Happy Couple Photography

The Right Ring

“As a ring that a new bride or groom will be wearing every single day for the rest of their lives, I suggest going with a wedding band that fits their personality. Whether that be lots of diamonds for a ‘blingy’ girl, or a ring with meteorite for a guy who is a big NASA fan. Also, you should select your wedding bands two to three months before the wedding, as some may need to be special ordered to fit.” — Mark Eilers of Ross-Simons

Considering Contacts?

“My suggestion would be to reach out to us a minimum of three months in advance of your trip down the aisle to be sure that we have time to offer you the best opportunity to purchase the correct contacts. Most patients wouldn’t need that much time, but there always is the special order of backordered unfortunates.” – Dr. Boisvert of
Rhode Eyeland LLC

Room Number 

“To determine the number of rooms needed for a wedding block, I recommend couples go through their list of guests and try their best to determine who will be attending the wedding. Then determine how many will be driving two hours or more and flying in for the wedding — those are the guests that will typically stay over. In a destination location like Cape Cod, some people may want to take a vacation day before and/or after. You may want to send out e-mails and ask guests what their plans are.” – Linda Fish of the Fairfield by Marriott Cape Cod Hyannis

When to Wax

“Brides typically come in for waxing services three to five days in advance, depending on the events they may have planned for the week of the wedding. Brides that are on a regular waxing routine or who have booked an extended honeymoon may opt to come in as little as two days prior. Please note: If you have never waxed before, I strongly suggest scheduling a trial run a month before the wedding. Prior to booking waxing services, do some research. Not all professional waxers and waxes are created equal! Don’t be shy… Ask for referrals from friends and family, read up on salon reviews and inquire about waxing prerequisites/etiquette.” — Susan Ciosek of
the Wax Pot

Icing on the Cake

“Couples this season are mix-and-matching to their hearts’ content, some choosing a smaller, two-tiered cake with accompanying mini pastries, while others are going for a ‘deconstructed’ display with individual cakes complementing one another. When it comes to tiered cakes, tall, sleek and modern is the way to go. The concrete buttercream look dressed up with big, colorful flowers like dahlias is one of my current favorites! The most popular cake flavor this past summer was easily coconut almond, paired with herbal and tea buttercreams and summer fruit jam fillings.”— Afton Garrett-Edwards of Ellie’s Bakery

Five-Star Film 

“Do your research. Many couples opt for a less expensive videographer only to receive far less quality and quantity of their product. Once your wedding has passed, you don’t get a second chance to hire a better fit company. I strongly suggest looking into various companies, seeing how much experience they have, and getting an idea of the most inexpensive and most expensive. You may find that by expanding your video budget just a little more, you will be getting your money’s worth for an exceptional product.” — Mike Picard of Mike Picard Motion Pictures

Make it Your Own

“Everything is about expressing your individuality — so bucking trends may just be a trend. My goal is to hold a mirror up to clients and reflect them and their story back to their wedding guests. The best thing you can hear: ‘That wedding was so you — it couldn’t have been anyone else’s wedding.’ To that point, couples are really putting an emphasis on the guest experience. People want to offer a day (or weekend) that their guests will not forget. A wedding is a rollercoaster of emotions, so give your guests ‘all the feels.’”— Michael Marcoux of Michael Marcoux Events

Honeymooning on a Budget

“I always caution my couples not to blow the whole thing on the flights/hotel. You need to make sure to leave room in the budget for the things you want to see and do (and eat and drink) when you’re there. At the end of the day, what you’re going to remember are the experiences, so don’t short-change yourself on those.” — Ann Petronio of Annie’s Escapes

Music to Your Ears

“When it comes to the band or DJ decision, nothing compares to live entertainment. Good live music will stimulate your guests, fill the room with positive vibes and give everyone a lasting impression. The relationship between our band and audience generates a magical moment that complements the celebration of love.” – Greg Marcotte of Take It to The Bridge

Booking a Block

“I suggest brides reserve their block of rooms a year in advance, if possible. However, they can reach out to their hotels anytime to check availability and rates. The Fairfield by Marriott offers courtesy blocks, which means the couples are not financially responsible for rooms that are not picked up. There is a cutoff date of either thirty or forty-five days prior to the wedding, and any rooms not reserved at that time are put back into the hotel’s inventory of rooms. This makes it possible for couples not to pay penalties or deposits. We will hold a block of rooms with a minimum of ten rooms and will hold a block with as many as twenty to thirty. Once those rooms fill up, we will add to the block.” — Linda Fish of the Fairfield by Marriott Cape Cod Hyannis

Bevy of Beauties

“I feel like most bridesmaids are looking for a more natural look, similar to brides. A neutral eye with a mauve lip is what everyone wants right now. (Fun fact: mauve is a ‘teeth whitening’ color, so definitely grab one to have as a staple for your makeup products).” — Sarah Depault of Sarah Depault Beauty

Hidden Gems

“Rings with multiple colors of gold and metals are often overlooked. They can show your sense of style, and the colors allow them to go with anything. After all, you’ll be wearing these with everything!” — Mark Eilers of

Room for Rent

“If you are using a venue, see what they offer and what you will need to provide. Many of these places already have a set number of tables and a style of chair. When setting weddings up in tents, most times all of your standard wedding items need to be rented, down to the spoons and coffee cups. Start with your basics — tables, chairs, linens — and work up from there.” — Fred Tebeau of Quality Rental

What’s on the Menu?

“Recently, couples have been gravitating towards local Rhode Island favorites, such as clam cakes with chowder, raw bars, stuffies, etc. for the cocktail hour. Meanwhile, they generally choose plated dinners for their reception, typically with beef and seafood options. But, if someone’s incorporating a lot of seafood into their cocktail hour, then we suggest our organic chicken entrées paired with beef. We always advise our couples to select things that they love because a wedding is meant to showcase them as a couple and as individuals. Guests love to see those details in the food selections, as well!” — Casey Stamouli of Blackstone Caterers

Treat Yourself

“A good way to have a dessert display stand out is to have a cohesive theme throughout. It’s important for the couple to stick to something that’s a good representation of them. I think something personal is more meaningful than a particular color scheme. Most couples choose a small cutting cake and cupcakes all displayed on one stand with the cake on top.” – Tara Quinn of QuinnSea Cupcakes

Under the Tent

“Some ways that couples have gotten creative with their outdoor weddings is by creating a show-stopping tent entrance. Our Sperry Arch makes for an elegant gateway into the tent and is the perfect blank slate for florals and drapery. Another unique detail is to apply drapery curtains to perimeter poles, which results in a softer, more romantic tent silhouette. I personally love — in addition to a large reception tent — using smaller tents to act as fun destinations for kids’ crafts, cocktails, lounging and more. Successful wedding decor is all about what makes you happy.” — Jen Sperry of Sperry Tents

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