You may have read about the awesome advantages to winter weddings (more affordable and more venue choices, for instance), but like most seasons, winter has both its positive and negatives that must be planned around. The weather comes to mind, as well as the holiday season and everything that goes along with it making winter weddings sometimes challenging to organize. Read on to find some good advice on keeping the planning stress level down and finding all the warmth you’ll need for a cozy magical wedding day!
One thing is for sure, winter weddings offer couples a chance to get creative and give their guests a wedding they’ll never forget. This is especially true when hosting a wedding in January or February, as the holidays have packed themselves away and all the festive sparkle has dimmed into the frost. A January or February wedding gives guests something to look forward to!
So how does a couple do a winter wedding right? How do they keep themselves and guests comfortable, entertained, and delighted to celebrate during the coldest months?
Stay Warm During Winter Weddings
It goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway!) that you need to dress yourself and the wedding party in warm attire. That doesn’t mean you can’t rock the strapless gown you’ve had your eye on, but keep in mind that you’ll most likely be outside, at least some of the time, for photos. You could cover your shoulders in a faux fur wrap or go for something alt-trendy and cover up in a leather jacket.
Speak with your photographer about scheduling group shots so no one’s left standing around in the cold. Provide blankets and shawls for guests and serve warm drinks. You could even set up a fire pit and/or a smoker’s area, as they will probably spend more time outside than most.
Give Notice and Book Early – winter months are busy and expensive so let guests know as soon as possible with a save the date so they can plan and budget accordingly; to get your ideal venue, caterer, etc. book as early as possible so you don’t have to fight for a spot with office holiday parties
Photo by: Alex Celani, Always Alex Photography
Cherish the Light
Evening comes earlier in the winter months so it’s important to soak in the sunlight for all its worth, especially if you want couple’s photos and bridal portraits.
To get the most out of the daylight hours, consider having an early ceremony and scheduling photos before 3 p.m. Once the sun goes down everyone will be inside getting toasty anyway.
Talk to your caterer about local, seasonal menu items that will warm the hearts and bellies of guests. Think butternut squash soup followed by filet mignon and wasabi-whipped potatoes. Or opt for a light veggie dish like stuffed portabello and pepper cornbread.
A champagne reception can be replaced with mulled apple cider and warm cocktails, and a coffee/hot tea/cocoa bar will keep guests cozy during the later hours.
Embrace the Season
Look for the beauty of winter and use it to your advantage to create a truly unique wedding. Opt for a pine cone bouquet instead of traditional flowers. Create ambient lighting that gives off warmth and that cozy feeling with candles and twinkling lights. To keep guests engaged, incorporate winter activities like a slay ride, tree decorating, ice skating, or ice sculpting.
When it comes to winter wedding favors, consider gifting mittens, hot chocolate or boxes of chocolate truffles, or ornaments if your wedding is before Christmas.
Finally, think practically when it comes to planning a winter wedding. Have a backup plan in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Consider transportation and road conditions and keep you and your guests’ safety in mind. You can talk to your venue and preferred hotel about transport services should you need them.
Another thing to think about – your footwear! If you’re going to be walking through snow for photos, bring a pair of snow or rain boots to keep your toes toasty and your feet comfortable.
Winter weddings give couples the opportunity to get creative and plan a celebration that is not only unique to them, but unique in the wedding world, as most people opt for spring and summer weddings. When you incorporate the tips in this post, you’re sure to have a winter wedding that is as beautiful as the season and memorable to you and your guests.