Renee Marcotte | Wedding ring and fine jewelry expert

Ten years ago Marcotte was fresh out of UMass-Amherst with an art history degree and no retail experience when she nabbed a sales job at Twist, Portland’s seat of artisanal jewelry, décor, and more. By 2006 she’d earned a GIA Certificate of Expertise in Diamonds and Diamond Grading, and worked with owners/artists/spouses Paul Schneider and Lauren Eulau to step up Twist’s ring business. Before moving on in March she shared insight gained at the beloved boutique.  

Q | What’s a couple’s best bet for finding rings they’ll feel happily ever after about? 

A | It’s a bit like falling in love—you might end up with something completely unexpected. Try on styles that are different from what you thought you’d want. I guarantee that if you’re lukewarm about a ring you chose, say, just because it’s classic, you’ll never really love it. Once you’ve found that perfect one, don’t expect to never take it off (cleaning, basement demolition, etc.). It’s like wearing a little sculpture on your hand, so treat it with care and it will withstand the test of time.

Q | Are you seeing any ring trends among local brides? 

A | Portland women are smart, conscientious, and natural, thus they often want recycled gold, ethically sourced diamonds, and a look that no one else has but that isn’t flashy. A Cathy Waterman rustic diamond cut from reclaimed material, for example, or a Kamofie ring in rose gold because white and yellow are more mainstream. Personally I’d love to see more women pick a band that complements their engagement ring without it looking like a package deal—maybe mixing metals or choosing two different artists.

I always like the idea of getting each bridesmaid a different piece of jewelry from the same collection, so it’s personal but equal. 

Q | How about the fellas? 

A | Their choices tend to center on simplicity of design and interesting use of materials, whether it’s the Japanese technique of folding gold by George Sawyer or blackened forged iron band lined with 18K white gold by Pat Flynn. Subtlety is key, but it can’t be boring. So many men are dead-set on white metals, but sometimes a rich 22K yellow gold complements his skin tone better, or his fiancée’s ring is rose gold and it would be so romantic to match.

Q | Can you share your top three jewelry tips for brides? 

A | First, less is more—the dress is the center of attention! Next, choose earrings that add light by your face. Diamonds and pearls are obvious, but moonstone and white topaz also have a stunning, ethereal effect. Finally, any metals in your other jewelry (maybe a statement necklace and right-hand ring or cuff) don’t have to match your wedding ring set.

Q | Leads on fab wedding party thank-you gifts? 

A | I always like the idea of getting each bridesmaid a different piece of jewelry from the same collection, so it’s personal but equal. A great choice is Chan Luu leather and gemstone wrap bracelets—they’re a bit edgy and come in numerous colors. Another go-to for me is Catstudio state and city tumblers. They’re functional, affordable ($15), and, if you pick ones that represent where you’re from, met, and/or live, a great way to share your story.

Registry Recs

  • Heath Ceramics. The pinnacle of midcentury stoneware, it’s what I use at home, and I’m pretty sure my (future) kids will fight over it when I’m gone!
  • One-of-a-kind Spencer Peterman serving bowls, turned from a single piece of reclaimed wood
  • The Michael Aram collection. With photo frames, vases, candles, and more, there’s an elegant item to accommodate any guest’s budget.

Kurt Beadell | Creative Director/Co-owner, Vibrant Table Catering & Events 

From working as a Holiday Inn cocktail waiter in Austin, Minnesota, at the tender age of 16 to helping establish Papa Haydn’s catering division and finally landing at Salvador Molly’s in 1999 (where he teamed up to create Vibrant Table seven years later), Beadell has spent nearly 40 years “obsessed” with the artistry of edibles. Today, in addition to directing two catering powerhouses (the man also co-owns Food in Bloom), he applies that eat-with-your-eyes philosophy to VT’s venue, floral, décor, and planning services. “I love a challenge,” Beadell says. Indeed.

Q | Selecting a venue is often step one in wedding planning. You work all over, but also run the Loft on Belmont, Treasury Ballroom, and new Eastside Exchange Ballroom & Cascade Rooftop. What’s your insight into finding the right location? 

A | You have to weigh out your needs and wants, such as space to have the ceremony and reception in one place, accessibility, cost, etc. Write down a list of your priorities from 1 to 10—it will give you firm guidelines for how to proceed, especially when researching online. You should have three to five venues in mind by the time you’re ready to tour. If you don’t, keep shopping online. Also accept that you’ll never find all 10 priorities in one venue … go for six or seven. It’s a lot like buying a house: ‘Could I live without a garage? But the backyard is huge!’

Q | What are you currently crushing on in catering? 

A | I love small plates—mini servings of full meals cooked on-site or in front of you. Pork, pork, and more pork. Color, color, color. Hot entrées with cold sides for summer weddings. Skewers of food embedded in a wall! Old-school seafood towers, oysters on the half shell, a really good steak, and escargot—bring classic back.

I love small plates—mini servings of full meals cooked on-site or in front of you.

Q | Thoughts on incorporating florals in unexpected ways?

A | Right now I’m into walls of individual big blooms like dahlias or gerberas in vials, votive holders, or vases, or even just attached with cool double-sided tape. Or, for a winter wedding, how about a flower muff instead of a bouquet?

Q | Have any high-style tips for twosomes on a tight budget? 

A | Black-and-white and one-punch color palettes—you can’t fail. Or DIY paper products. They’re inexpensive, make a big splash, and guests really see the time you spent on branding. But you also gotta have a “reveal.” Make the cake dark chocolate or black with white details and give it a grand entrance by rolling it out to the dance floor, or have a singer do a big number after the toasts. I once filled a dining room knee-high with red, yellow, and orange autumn leaves. It took five people three hours raking up a cemetery, but guests loved it.

Q | How about planning pointers for couples who want it all? 

A | Do all the extras, like a Portland-themed welcome basket in hotel rooms, valet parking, and a day-after brunch. In terms of design, hire a lighting company to orchestrate multiple color and lighting style changes, light up the trees at your location as guests arrive, or project your initials on the venue with a Gobo. But search lights are going too far.


  • Renting a restaurant—I mean, I want Gabriel Rucker to cook for my wedding!
  • Clean events: i.e., designs that won’t look dated in 10 years
  • Boys marrying boys/girls marrying girls



  • Chocolate fountains—I saw a kid stick his entire sleeve and a half-eaten apple into one
  • Grooms in suits with brown shoes
  • Flash mobs, dancing down aisles, and entertainment-based proposals

Related Content

Reception Style

Three Looks at Urban Receptions

04/04/2018 Photography by Nick Pironio With Jackie Varriano

From the Magazine

Gold Rush: Make a Statement with Stacked Rings

01/16/2018 With Tracy Howard Garton Styled by Kira Corbin Photography by Scott Rounds