Picture your dream wedding day, and it probably involves photographs by sunset, seasonal bouquets and an idyllic arch or gazebo set up on the beach. By the same token, the likelihood is that it doesn’t involve shivering guests, icy roads or the groom in a sou’wester and galoshes.
Most people have their weddings in the summer, but winter weddings can be even more magical and romantic, despite the unpredictable weather. Getting married in the winter can be less expensive, allows for some enchanting photographs, and may give your friends and family another reason to travel home for Christmas. Chances are, if you’re reading this, then you feel the same.
So don’t get cold feet, now: it’s time for some winter wedding tips and practical ideas!
Room for Negotation
The fact that winter is a less busy wedding season will work to your advantage when it comes to planning the most vital component of the day: the venue. True, the hospitality sector – hotels and restaurants – experiences a surge in business during the party season, but not for weddings or overnight stays, with most guests attending parties or other events there instead. This means that you’ll have more choice when it comes to choosing a venue, as hotels are more likely to negotiate on the price. Securing a favourable price and saving on your wedding venue will allow you to redistribute the cost towards something else, like winter-friendly accessories, food at the hotel or even the pièce de résistance: the grand honeymoon.
Warming to the idea already, then?
Weather or Not
The weather can be unpredictable at any time of year, but in the winter, it’s particularly important to plan ahead and minimise any potential disruption from cold or wet conditions. Aim for a venue that isn’t too far from the reception – maybe even at the same place, if possible – and organise transport for guests so that they can make the necessary journeys safely and swiftly. Think about which venues will suit the season, too: castles and marquees are lovely on a summer’s day, but on a winter’s evening, the setting may receive a cold reception!
Perhaps the best advice is to take out some wedding insurance. Wedding insurance ensures that you and your partner will be reimbursed if one of the pre-booked services you’ve arranged for your wedding (flowers, photography, music) needs to be cancelled due to the weather or something else.
Save that Date!
If you’re having your wedding around Christmas or New Year, you might be able to arrange it so that friends or family travelling home for Christmas will also be able to attend your wedding. But that season is also very busy so some guests may be already booked! It’s a good idea to send out your ‘Save the Date’ cards extra early for winter weddings, as it will give your guests plenty of time to make or extend their travel plans. People may also need to schedule time off work to attend your wedding – in what is a very hectic season for most sectors – so it’s polite, and mutually beneficial, to afford your guests a lot of notice.
A winter wedding is bound to be dark – that’s part of the charm – but it shouldn’t be grim! Since the days are shorter and the evenings are longer during the winter, it’s wise to set the time of your wedding a few hours earlier than is typical. This will ensure that you get the maximum amount of daylight for photos and greeting guests: you don’t want to be left out in the cold when it comes to capturing those precious memories.
Dress for Success
With one eye on the weather forecast, and another eye on your phone or laptop, keep guests informed if the weather is shaping up to be predictably unpredictable. Kit out the wedding party with gloves, hats, or even warm boots, and a faux-fur cape for the bride, to keep everyone warm during any outside photographs. You can also circumvent most issues (and complaints) by organising a cart or basket of blankets outside the venue; meanwhile, a set of classy colour-coordinated umbrellas will protect your crew in the middle of a rogue shower.
Food, Glorious Food
The food is possibly the most talked-about aspect of any wedding: if it’s sub-par, then you’re sure to hear about it! But the fact that you’re getting married in winter affords you certain seasonal options. Plump for warm, festive meals by serving rich meats and winter vegetables. Instead of a cold dessert, keep your guests feeling merry with some perennial holiday favourites, like mulled wine and Christmas pudding.
Of course, if you really want the crème de la crème for your wedding, then a hot chocolate station or toasted marshmallow bar will give your guests ‘smore to love about your special day.
The season can also help dictate your colour scheme. Take inspiration from traditional Christmas combinations, such as green and red or gold and silver, and use glitter or sequins to imitate the sheen of ice and snow. If you’re in love with the vistas at the venue you’ve chosen, you could even set up a clear tent or marquee, which would give you protected, unobstructed views of the scenery. Just remember to make sure the tent is properly heated! Ice sculptures or hanging snowflake ornaments will also mimic the feeling of being outside.
Some flowers will be out of season by the time winter comes, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise: roses, tulips, hydrangeas, eucalyptus and waxflower can combine to make a stunning bridal bouquet. If you don’t have access to a fireplace, then candles and lanterns will lend the venue more character, style and warmth than normal electrical lighting.
Winter weddings are full of personality and romance, and we hope that, having read this article, you have no objections! A lot of preparation IS required, but that’s true of any wedding, no matter when it’s held. So, are you ready to start planning, or are you ready to set a date? Let us know your thoughts and plans in the comments below!