The best new ideas for cakes, flowers, food, décor and more
It’s time to kiss another decade goodbye – and to say “so long” to the wedding trends that have been done to death. (We’re looking at you, donut walls and overly complicated wedding hashtags that nobody ends up using anyway.) So let’s hit refresh and look ahead to all the best new ideas for 2020, according to top UK wedding pros and industry insiders.
THE TREND: Eco-friendly weddings & sustainability
Engaged couples have the planet on the brain in a big way for 2020, as they seek to make less waste and more eco-friendly choices. “It’s not just the design that’s important to the people getting married now, it’s thinking about sustainability and doing things that resonate for them rather than blindly following tradition,” says Bernadette Chapman, founder of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP). There are so many ways to make your big day more green: You can ask guests RSVP on a wedding website rather than a traditional paper reply card and ask florists if they use floral foam (a plastic derivative) in their arrangements. You can choose locally grown produce and flowers or hold the wedding near home to cut down on guest travel. You can also opt for biodegradable favours such as seed packets, charity donation favours – or indeed no favours at all. As wedding planner Andri Benson of Always Andri puts it: “In their everyday life, people are becoming more eco-conscious, so they will also stop and think: Can we do that at our wedding, too? Can we be more sustainable?”
THE TREND: Buttercream art
We all know that buttercream tastes amazing, but for 2020 the icing on the cake will look more spectacular than ever. “We’re seeing a lot of cake makers getting more creative with buttercream design,” says Andri, who points to buttercream wizards like Alice & Rosa Cake Studio. Design options include leaf and flower details carved into the icing or colourful buttercream layered on like oil paint on a canvas. Need proof? Check out these designs from Alice & Rosa:
THE TREND: Seasonal cake flavours
The desire to be more sustainable and eco-friendly is leading couples to choose local, seasonal ingredients for their food and flowers. As a result, they’re also falling in love with seasonal options for their cakes, says Krishanthi Armitt of Cakes by Krishanthi, who specialises in elegant tiered fondant cakes loaded with sugar flowers. Krishanthi recommends festive-feeling flavours like carrot cake and almond with clementine for winter weddings. For summer, she suggests lighter flavours such as strawberry, rose petal and elderflower. “Meghan and Harry had lemon and elderflower, and that combination continues to be very popular,” she adds.
THE TREND: Vegan menus
The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, according to research by the Vegan Society. So it’s no big surprise that vegan brides and grooms want their values reflected in their wedding menus, too. “The presentation will still be spectacular for couples choosing a plant-based wedding breakfast, but there will be no meat or dairy at all,” says Bernadette of the UKAWP. “Grazing tables will continue to rise in popularity with an emphasis on beautiful, organic and plant-based produce.” Even if you’re not vegan, it’s likely some of your guests will be. It’s good manners to offer options they can enjoy too.
THE TREND: Vegan cakes and dessert tables
“A vegan cake is definitely one of the top requests now,” says cake designer Krishanthi. “Even non-vegan couples want to give people the option, and a dessert table is a great way to offer that.” Alongside a traditional tiered wedding cake, you can serve vegan cupcakes and standalone single-layer vegan cakes (like Krishanthi’s blush and gold creation below). “Guests will feel like the couple have gone out of their way to look after them.” According to Krishanthi, the best flavours for vegan wedding cake include chocolate sponge, vanilla Victoria sponge and lemon. Or, for something a little more unusual, try pistachio or cardamom. “Those two are quite intense and packed with flavour and, as they’re oil-based, they’re quite moist as well.”
THE TREND: Next-level dried flowers
Dried flowers were all over Instagram in 2019 as a key look in both interiors and wedding style (think pampas-grass clouds and arches), and you can expect florists to take the look even further in the coming year. “For 2020 we’ll be seeing more punchy colours in dried flowers, like dip-dyed pinks and blues,” says Andri of Always Andri. Exhibit A: this rainbow display at perfumer Miller Harris by Palais Flowers:
THE TREND: “Dutch Masters” florals
There’s something so romantic about this new school of flower arrangement, which evokes classic Dutch oil painting. “We’re seeing a move towards more painterly, still-life shapes using a combination of real and dry flowers, and even bracken, mixed into a floral display,” says Andri. “The whole idea uses new textures and elements and plays with colour in a creative way.” These arrangements by Leigh Chappell Floral Design include: (below left) dahlias, rudbeckia, nicotania, clary sage, phlox, guava, roses heuchera leaves, cosmos, ammi and dried bracken, crocosmia and grasses; and (below right) hydrangea, garden roses, cosmos, foxgloves and dried lavender and grasses.
You can read more about wedding flower trends for 2020 here.
THE TREND: Custom illustrations
Over the past six months, wedding stationer Amanda Williams of Love Invited has seen a surge in bespoke illustration commissions, like this London-themed suite of invitations, place names and table plan. Illustrations let couples to set the tone for their event in a completely personal way. Even better, each piece of stationery becomes a keepsake work of art.
THE TREND: Creative envelope liners
Ananya Cards founder Vaishali Shah agrees that bespoke illustrations will be huge for 2020 and recommends adding them to envelope liners for an extra personal touch. (We love the detail on these lined envelopes by Ananya, below.) “Illustrations are a beautiful, unique and very personal way to bring a couple’s story to life,” Shah says. You could commission a sketch of your venue, a favourite flower or a meaningful symbol. Or just a choose a solid colour or patterned liner as a glamorous accent.
THE TREND: Geometrics
Marble plus geometric metallics is another wedding style idea straight out of the world of interior design, and the team at Love Invited predict the look will be popular for 2020. You can choose your favourite metallic finish for the foil printing, but we confess we’re partial to the rose gold. (Pictured below, Love Invited geometric stationery.)
THE TREND: Celebrant-led ceremonies
“Ceremonies are more flexible now, with the couple’s personality coming through more than ever,” says wedding planner Cherelle Joseph of Perfectly Planned 4 You, who has seen an increase in couples choosing celebrant-led ceremonies over ceremonies conducted by a registrar or religious official. If you choose a celebrant-led ceremony (which can offer greater flexibility and more opportunity for personalisation) and live in England or Wales, you’ll need to register the marriage or civil partnership before or after the wedding day to make it legal. (Though in Scotland, celebrant-led weddings are legally recognised.) “A celebrant can do your ceremony anywhere – inside, outside, in any room at your venue – and I don’t think guests are always aware it’s not technically your ‘legal’ ceremony,” Cherelle adds.
THE TREND: Rich textures & details
“Velvet is a massive trend in interior design that’s filtering through to weddings, and there are many ways to do it,” says Cherelle. In an upcoming winter wedding Cherelle is planning, the bridesmaids will all be wearing velvet dresses. You can also try a velvet tablecloth or even velvet napkins to make a luxe, textural impact with your tablescapes. Cherelle’s other top table tip? Consider gold, black or copper cutlery rather than standard silver. “The hire companies have caught up with the demand, and now couples have more options,” she says.
THE TREND: New-school backdrops
If you feel like flower walls are a bit played out for 2020, you’re not alone, according to research by the jeweller Goldsmiths. (And FYI, they require eco-unfriendly floral foam to hold the blooms in place). Bernadette of the UKAWP predicts that couples will branch out into more unique backdrops to create interesting focal points. She loves these creative designs by hire company Endless Story.
THE TREND: “Classic Blue”
The people at Pantone are describing their 2020 colour of the year as “a timeless and enduring blue hue … suggestive of the sky at dusk”. The wedding pros we’ve talked to say it’s a versatile shade that works like a neutral and can be paired with all kinds of colors, from blush pink to bright orange to glamorous silvers and golds. Use everywhere from your stationery and table décor to your bridesmaids’ outfits and groom’s suit.
THE TREND: Statement veils
If (when?) this 2019 celebrity wedding trend trickles down to mere mortals for 2020, we’ll have Hailey Bieber to thank for it. The internet went wild for her veil embroidered with the wedding vow “Till Death Do Us Part”, though she wasn’t the only star to embrace fashion statements. Ellie Goulding had the initials C and E (for Caspar and Ellie) embroidered onto her wedding veil. In a similar spirit, Idris Elba’s wife, Sabrina, had the text of the groom’s tattoo embroidered onto her gown.
THE TREND: Fluid bridal parties
“Brides and grooms obviously have friends of the opposite sex so it’s only fitting they should play a big part in their wedding,” says Bernadette. “It’s all about whatever works for the couple and their friends” – whether it’s female friends in the groom’s party, guy friends in the bridal party, or bridesmaids who’d prefer chic trousers to a dress. You can unify the look of the wedding party with the flowers rather than a traditional dress code.
THE TREND: “Give lists” – and PUPPY lists (yes, really!)
Nearly 90% of couples in the UK now live together before they get married (according to data from the Office of National Statistics), which means they’ve likely got their crockery and saucepans sorted before they tie the knot. Enter “The Give List” – a new offering from crowdfunding platform Patchwork, which specialises in honeymoon funds and alternative gift-lists that let guests collectively fund something you really, really want. “With a Give List, guests could offer to cook you both dinner, lend you their weekend home for a mini-moon, teach you Spanish, fund a trip to the theatre, or donate to a cause you support,” says Patchwork founder Olivia Knight. “The concept was inspired by 8-year-old Bo. She set one up for Christmas this year, and the trend has taken off for weddings too.” As for the puppies: “We had so many couples setting up patchworks for puppies that we created our own template to make it easier for people to do it,” Olivia explains. “We love that Patchwork has helped bring so many people and pets together – a gift that just keeps on giving.”