Winter weddings have two very distinct characteristics.
Firstly, they’re absolutely beautiful.
Cold, crisp morning frost, often beautifully clear skies and – if you’re really lucky – snow laying on the ground will make for the perfect backdrop.
Secondly, they’re something of a challenge.
There’s no escaping the fact that winter weddings contain more hazards and complications than those that take place during the warmer months. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon your plans for a wintry wedding. Far from it; some would argue you’ve chosen the best time of the year to tie the knot. In this blog post, we’ve decided to give your winter wedding the kickstart it needs by providing a detailed guide for planning the perfect big day.
Don’t be afraid to wrap up warm
The thought of covering yourself up as the bride on your wedding day might feel a bit odd, but your health and comfort is more important than what you might consider to be ‘the done thing’ on your big day.
You can still look as stylish and drop-dead gorgeous as you like when covering up for winter. Long-sleeved wedding dresses are now commonplace, and groomswear that features thick velvet is a brilliant choice. You don’t want to be standing there shivering, so make sure you wrap up. And yes, that even means wearing tights beneath the dress (no one will know!)
Make sure you give guests plenty of notice
If you’re getting married near Christmas, bear in mind that you’ve picked a typically expensive time of the year for most people.
It’s also likely to be a busy one for your guests, therefore make sure you give everyone plenty of notice about your big day. You want to ensure you’re picked above the endless Christmas work parties and other festive outings that are likely to be taking place, therefore the earlier you can send out those invites, the better!
Pay close attention to running times
Winter days are a lot shorter than those in summer, so you’ll need to be strategic with your running times.
A Decent light will begin to fade quickly after around 3 o’clock, and your photographer will want to make use of the best light possible. This means you’ll need to choose the earliest wedding ceremony time available at your venue and get those photos done nicely and quickly.
The benefit of this is that you’ll extend the day and ensure your guests get plenty of time to chill out and enjoy the venue, rather than waiting around endlessly during long, drawn-out photography sessions. Speak to your photographer well in advance. They’ll most likely suggest the above and will almost definitely mention ‘the golden hour’, which is the time just before sunset that offers the best possible light for those all-important snaps.
Use light judiciously
Photography aside, lighting will have a big impact on your winter wedding.
It’ll add the right style and ambience to the venue, and you’ll probably need more of it due to the quickly-fading light. By the time guests sit down to eat the wedding breakfast, it’ll probably be dark outside, so make sure the venue has adequate lighting and that it is turned on well before your arrival.
You can add to that lighting with plenty of candles (go mad!) and fairy lights draped across tables and fixtures to add a romantic, magical feel to the atmosphere. Even if they don’t emit a huge amount of heat, just the presence of such a variety of lighting will make everyone feel warmer, too.
Don’t ignore the practicalities
There are, unfortunately, more things to get practical about come to a winter wedding. People will need more time to get to the venue, and will probably arrive with countless gloves, hats, scarves and coats. All of that stuff needs to be accounted for and managed, therefore make sure someone at the venue is tasked with overseeing the cloakroom on the day.
If you really fancy getting married outdoors, bear in mind that the cold will eventually become too much for certain guests – particularly those who are older. Use the elements to your advantage, but be sensible. If you’re the bride, make sure you have a spare pair of alternative shoes handy in case heels don’t cut it outdoors.
Go for a seasonal menu
Winter food doesn’t have to be stodgy and heavy – you can pick from some fabulous seasonal options at this time of the year that will still warm people up. Speak to the venue’s chef and see what they can do for you. And why not forgo champagne during the reception in favour of mulled wine and cider? It’s different, and will, therefore, remain in the memories of your guests – an important tactic for any wedding.
You could also try alcoholic and non-alcoholic wintry cocktails that will add a unique feel to the proceedings and satisfy everyone in attendance during those toasts. During the evening, a hot chocolate bar with warm mugs is a great idea, as is the old-favourite chocolate fountain and yet more of that mulled wine and cider.
If Christmas is just around the corner, a Bailey’s fuelled toast will go down a storm, too.
Choose appropriate florals
Good news – you’ve chosen a brilliant time of the year for wedding florals! If you go for seasonal-appropriate blooms such an anthurium, anemones and roses, you can mix them up with foliage, branches and mini pinecones. These dramatic shades, woody textures and natural greenery go brilliantly together and will really set off each table.
If you’re getting married in the UK, it doesn’t really matter what time of the year it is – the weather will be unpredictable. Come the winter, however, that can mean the difference between a clear pathway and one that is covered in ice. Equally, the sudden appearance of snow, although pretty, can cause serious transport problems for guests.
You, therefore, need to be prepared for all instances of bad weather. Once the date is set, it’s set, so keep a constant eye on those weather reports, and if something looks as though it might halt certain proceedings on the day, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to timings. Keep your guests informed, too. If you think they’re going to need to allow more time for travel, they’ll appreciate the heads-up.
Better still (and if the budget allows), book a wedding planner, who will be able to do this for you, along with keeping the key suppliers and venue itself up-to-date with your preparations and intended arrival. This is probably the part of wedding planning that is the most frustrating, but with careful monitoring and consideration, you can stay one step ahead of the weather and make sure nothing spoils your big day.
A winter wedding certainly presents its challenges, as we’ve demonstrated above, but it’s also an opportunity to get thoroughly creative and make the most of Mother Nature’s beauty come this time of year.