The Weddings Issue

Six hot trends in weddings and receptions

Meghan Markle-style rings are in, doughnuts are out, and deep, rich colors are on the rise.

Meghan Markle’s engagement ring from Prince Harry is on-trend. Couples are also opting for a different approach to wedding cakes, food service, flowers, and more.
Prince Harry by AFP/Getty Images
Meghan Markle’s engagement ring from Prince Harry is on-trend. Couples are also opting for different approaches to wedding cakes, food service, flowers, and more.


“Halo rings are so last year,” says Laura Preshong of Laura Preshong Ethical Fine Jewelry. And the year before that, and the year before that. Sophie Hughes of Ore also sees requests for halos — pave diamonds encircling a center stone — subsiding. “The younger generation is more about sentiment than showoff,” she says. Megan Flynn of M. Flynn adds that couples want unfussy designs that work with active lifestyles. The popularity of stacking rings reflects this. Other on-trend looks include stones set in east-west orientations, asymmetric settings, chevron and tiara bands, nontraditional colored stones, and three-stone rings, like the one Prince Harry gave Meghan Markle.

Sophie Hughes


Following the cupcake craze, we saw sprinkle cakes, geode cakes, ruffle cakes, drip cakes, and the antithesis to all that sweet whimsy — the naked cake. Now, statement cakes are being replaced by trios of smaller cakes. “It feels more modern than a five-tiered cake,” Jocelyn Pierce of Mayflour Confections says. Tables of miniature sweets accompany the cake threesomes. Pierce whips up mini-Bundt cakes, Lisa Raffael of Delicious Desserts says whoopie pies are hot, and Maggie Hinman, events coordinator at Lark Hotels, had a couple celebrate with cannoli. As for the trendy doughnut wall, Keri Ketterer of Always Yours Events says, “They came in fast and furious but will be done quickly. Millennials don’t want to be like everyone else.”

Cambria Grace Photography; cakes by Lynn Palmer Cakes


The predominantly white-and-green palette, along with ubiquitous blush tones, is fading away as color returns to the mix. “Darker, more saturated hues, like tangerine, mulberry, and mustard, are coming into play for florals, stationery, and linens,” Hinman says. Bridesmaid dresses are another way to incorporate color. “We’re seeing a lot of deep reds and purples,” reports Stacey Kraft of Flair Boston. “Think wine tones.” Rich, earthy hues are also popular. “Couples are more confident in expressing their personalities and moving toward moodier schemes with complex textures,” says Kristen Bender Daaboul at Kadeema Rentals.

photo by Henry + MAc; flowers by foret design studio



“There’s movement away from tableaus featuring mason jars on burlap,” says floral designer Sayles Livingston. “There was a lot of focus on creating tablescapes with collections of bottles and pitchers, but now people are simplifying,” Francie Dorman and Britt Cole of 42 North say via e-mail. Candles are the prop of choice, or rather the anti-prop. “You’ll see a table with a bowl of berries and a cluster of pillar candles used without any holders,” says Benjamin Newbold at Winston Flowers. “It’s more spontaneous and ad hoc than overplanned.”

Photo by Brumley & Wells; design by mstarr design


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Family-style service is going strong. “Nobody wants formal plated meals,” says Stephanie Cornell of Season to Taste Catering, which specializes in farm-to-table fare. “Guests serve each other from food put out on platters.” Jen Royle of Dare to Taste sets up taco bars, burger bars, and baked potato stations. The urge for interactivity extends to beverages, too. Sarah Barrett at Peppers Artful Events is seeing fun food-and-drink pairings, like Moscow mules with mini tacos, and margarita shooters with ceviche spoons. Alexis C. Davis of Hive Events sends guests home with growlers filled with artisanal beer.

Ren Fuller Photography; food by season to taste


Moving beyond garlands, floral designers are incorporating foraged elements, such as dried grasses, branches, and feathers, into arrangements. “In nature, as one plant blooms, another has passed,” says Erin Heath of Foret Design Studio. “By arranging flowers in a variety of growth stages, arrangements feel truer to nature.” Caroline O’Donnell of Wildfolk also finds beauty in perishing plants. She adds foliage on the fly, depending on what’s in her garden or the woods. “I love clematis past its bloom,” she says. “They’re these stringy puffballs that are amazing.”


Marni Elyse Katz is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.

This story has been updated to correct the photo credit for the candle photo. It was taken by Brumley & Wells and designed by mStarr design.