Weddings used to have more rules. Or the rules were considered more important — officiated under the guise of conventional religion. But times have changed. Today, more couples than ever are married in a courthouse, and fewer couples are married in a traditional church. They’re realizing that they don’t need the classic American wedding. Nowadays, if couples do decide to marry, it will be on their terms, eschewing conventions, and embracing instead their individuality with an eco-conscious spin. And that’s not all! We spoke to ring designers, jewelers, even an ethicist — and pinpointed seven wedding predictions for 2020:
- Jewelers will find new ways to customize diamond rings
- Etho- and eco-sensitivity are spreading into other wedding decisions
- Vintage and antique ring shapes, colors and styles suggest much-desired uniqueness
- Wedding ceremonies will see more crystals and mysticism
- Drones will grab aerial video from even the most modest weddings
- Bartenders will make more gin cocktails, pour less wine
- Caterers will become even more sensitive to dietary restrictions
- “Microweddings” will help millennials save money and offer higher quality to a smaller group
Diamonds and Rings: Less Flash, More Meaning
“It’s been an incredibly tough time for traditional jewelry brands,” said Zameer Kassam, a New York based jeweler and owner of Zameer Kassam Fine Jewelry, “because people today, especially millennials and the people around millenials have been craving more meaningfulness from everything, from their jobs, from their families, from the pieces of clothing they wear, and certainly from the rings at their wedding.”
No longer is the emphasis on the carat size of the diamond or the style and shape that will matter. Diamond rings, in 2020, more than ever require meaning — to both the individual and our collective culture. “We have long turned a blind eye to thoughtlessness,” Kassam said. “Because everything was generic and we didn’t have to worry about anything. Now that there’s so many ways we can research brands and people, so many possible options to consider over, thoughtlessness is almost a sin.”
More Social Consciousness, Sustainability
Diamonds, in the past few decades, have not had a good reputation. We are already seeing a return to some classic, minimal looks but with the thoughtfulness of the gems’ impact on the world. We will see couples investing in rings they can pass down the generations as a conscious effort to aiding global sustainability. “Having some proven story behind the diamond will have an impact in 2020,” Kassam added.
This makes sense: Diamonds should be doing good by their countries of origin. The degree to which our hallmark brands adapt this idea will determine whether they continue to exist. Couples will want a story along with their ring design, one that supports ring sustainability.
Pushes towards personalization — adding one’s initials or birthstone or color a certain date you want etched into the ring — will continue as a staple feature. Rings will no longer be a reflection of a couple’s financial status or favorite color. Instead, it will be a telling of their love story.
Retro Colors and Styles Return
Band colors will increasingly be yellow-gold, cobalt, and platinum as a retro throwback to ‘60s and ‘70s vintage; what our grandparents wore. Expect less grey and black metal. For engagement rings, think solitary designs, singular diamond on top, not diamonds all around or in stacked sets.
“This move to classics will be met with a flight to quality and people are not going to be shameful of wearing larger single diamonds with fewer diamonds around them,” Kassam said.
Shapes and styles that have stood the test of time — emerald cuts, oval solitaires, yellow gold — will see a rise in popularity. “We won’t see as many pear shapes or marquees; that kind of retro won’t see a comeback as those still carry the connotations of ‘80s flash,” Kassam said. “It’s not about the show, it’s not about the flash.”
“This is why the next generation of diamond ring buyers will be especially exciting,” Kassam said. “Because they don’t care about the diamond like we did, they don’t care about the brand like our parents did. What they care about is whether its something thoughtful and meaningful. Because it requires time over money.”
Mysticism Is In—Crystals at the Wedding
Mysticism is in and redefining modern wedding ambience. But not total, Gwyneth Paltrow-level mysticism; think J.D. Salinger style mysticism; there’s only some pseudoscience. Don’t expect crystals in your drinks at the next wedding you attend, but your gift bag is fair game. Fresh sage makes for a great wedding redolence. Aura photo booths are fun and relatively cheap way to capture moments at the reception. Expect more Reiki sessions in line item lists. Rose quartz crystal, the classic stone for love, makes for a great parting gift for your guests.
For couples, pass around your wedding rings during your ceremony; guests will imbue them with good energy and wishes for a loving marriage.
Australian jewelry label ManiaMania offers cleanses and purifications to the energy of the wedding venues. Using sage and palo santo smoke, they ensure nothing potentially negative lingers from previous events, in order to give the space a fresh start for the to-be newlyweds.
“We believe in the notion that crystals and gemstones can hold and disperse energy (even diamonds), and as we work mainly with engagement rings and wedding bands, we like to offer the energy clearing for our client’s rings, to ‘reset’ the piece with an intention of high-vibrational energy and love, so that is ready for them to make their own,” said designer and director of ManiaMania, Melanie Kamsler, in an interview with Vogue UK.
Weddings Will Be More Eco-Friendly
In 2018, Country Living reported weddings in Britain accrued 5,400 tons of plastic waste annually. Princess Eugenie’s famous 2018 wedding was plastic-free. This year, expect this trend to continue. Greener wedding venues are also becoming more popular, as well as vendors committed to zero waste. The effects of climate change are looming and now more than ever, couples will be conscious of unnecessary waste, beyond simply ditching the plastic straws.
Many couples will opt for ‘zero-waste’ weddings, focusing on sustainability for everything: repurposed floral designs, thrifted or plastic free dresses and suits, plastic-free invitations, among other cutbacks. Couples will choose glassware and metal, paper instead of plastic, and utilize thrift stores for tablecloths and dishes.
“It really is a buzz that is picking up energy worldwide as of now, the term ‘ethical wedding’ or ‘eco wedding’ is somewhat novel but I want to live in a world where the phrase is commonplace,” said Praise Santos, a San Francisco based entrepreneur and curator of Ethical Weddings movement. The online resource provides couples with a beginner’s guide to making their wedding eco-ethical.
“Weddings are milestones,” Santos said. “Starting a life together that has generosity and social consciousness ingrained into [it] will reap benefits for the lifetime ahead. It’s also a unique opportunity for the couple to share what their favorite people what charity and causes they are passionate about.”
Ethical Weddings is a project Santos began while working as a wedding photographer. Since then, it has morphed into a full movement, equipping couples with resources to make their wedding day socially impactful and environmentally friendly by connecting them with vendors and venues that share this vision, regardless of one’s wedding budget.
“Eco-ethical weddings and the costs involved are as varied as the couples who plan them,” Santos said. “Perhaps the positive choices one couple makes is getting all-organic catering whereas another chooses to rely on their friends by having a more casual potluck. Perhaps one couple chooses to have their wedding wear made by a local designer using sustainable fabrics and another chooses to buy second hand. In short, one does not need to be financially well-off to have an eco-ethical wedding.”
Couples will also consider resetting a family stone or heirloom engagement ring. Expect caterers sourcing locally grown food and planners to share wedding day flowers and décor with other couples in the venue. Post-reception efforts will include an offer by the newlyweds to ‘replant trees’ as a wedding favor, or requested donations to various charities that specialize in lowering carbon emissions.
The Drones are Taking Over
While the average drone on the market doesn’t come equipped with hellfire missiles, they carry myriad tools; They can take photos; They can fly around the venue and capture shots otherwise left to imagination; They can even stand in as the ring bearer.
As its market value continues to drop and few regulations in place, drones are becoming a cheap, streamlined tool that offers an unmatched view to wedding days. Just make sure when flying your drone that it follows all rules for amateurism determined by the Federal Aviation Administration and local Parks and Recreation department.
Say hello to microweddings
As the name suggests, this marriage has to do with the invitation of fewer people to the wedding ceremony; 40 people or fewer. But like any exclusive party, a celebration of this size delivers big, and many couples are ‘going micro’ for a myriad of reasons. The budget per guest is higher, which means every guest is treated to better gifts, more elaborate meals, and better drinks, all of which are more personalized.
Microweddings are also small, and therefore, far more intimate. A smaller venue with a low capacity can allot the perfect amount of space for you to share your wedding with just the right people and free yourself from annoying guests, all without fighting for elbow room.
This type of wedding is also punctual. Large weddings often get carried away and off task unless there is a planner or system in place to monitor the schedule. In a smaller space, two to three hours is a lot of time — enough to interact with guests on an intimate level but not play godfather to every ‘cousin’ at the reception.
Small venues also allow for more artistry in the design. Some of the most attractive venues are quite small. Decoration is costly in a large space, so if having the wedding design you imagined is a priority and money is a matter of consequence, go for a small location.
Skip the Wine, Let Them Drink Gin
We all want to imprint our own stamp on our wedding day. But coming up with original ideas can be challenging. Areas such as food and drink are becoming more unique and personal, from custom signature cocktails created by the bride and groom to unique canapés and desserts that reflect the couple.
With the change in dining and drinking trends, we expect to see less wine and Champagne, and more gin bars and cocktails. Forget wine. Champagne, aside from the toast, is unnecessary. Gin is rarely consumed straight and like vodka, contains fewer congeners — the byproduct of fermentation that exacerbates hangovers — than darker spirits. Gin bottles are also gorgeous, and serve a dual purpose of beverage and decor.
An inclusive menu including the food you love, with vegan and gluten free options
In 2020, couples are going to be thoughtful about inclusivity. From vegan to keto, paleo to dukan, we are becoming picky eaters. When planning our wedding menus, the foods will reflect at least most of the needs of our guests. But limiting your options doesn’t always limit what you can make; filtering your menu opens avenues to possible cuisines. And when it comes to cocktail-hour appetizers, expect plant-based or vegetarian options as they’re becoming increasingly important. Plus, name one person you know that is allergic to spinach.
“More and more, couples care about how their food is sourced, said Heidi Andermack, co-founder of Minneapolis-based Chowgirls Killer Catering. “Because our chefs have a relationship with local farmers, we visit their farms regularly and expect transparency in the humane treatment of animals and commitment to pesticide-free practices. We also offer seasonal menus to ensure we work with Mother Nature. Using seasonal ingredients means produce is at its prime, the flavors are appropriate for that time of year, and you’re supporting the local economy.”
Andermack’s award-winning catering company offers customizable menus that cater to any need: vegan, gluten-free, allergic to milk, or just allergic to lack of attention. According to their site, the average wedding produces 400 pounds of trash while the the average Chowgirls wedding produces only 10 pounds of trash. For this reason, among others, Andermack prioritizes sustainable catering — on average, 85% of their byproducts are composted or recycled.
“Silver-colored disposable plastic plates, trays, and utensils — wasteful imposters for the real deal — are well on their way out, making room for compostable wares,” Andermack said. “Compostable cups, straws, and utensils made from vegetable resins help keep plastic from landfills, and when handled by a commercial composting facility, they make dirt, not waste. The selection of compostable wares becomes more impressive every year, including new designs for bamboo skewers, artfully molded paper plates, containers crafted from fallen leaves, and colorful paper straws.”
In the coming year, much will be at stake. We are starting to see the effects of climate change and material waste. In 2020, this stark reality will uproot many standards, including marriage. Couples will look to downsize the scale and excess of their wedding day and instead surround themselves with those closest to them in a ceremony that is responsible and sustainable. 2020 weddings will be the ones grandchildren years from now look back on, in drone video format, as the standard for the celebration of love.