In winter, the trees are blanketed by soft white snow, lights are twinkling everywhere you look, and there’s a feeling of magic in the air. Winter is an incredibly romantic season and, like the season itself, winter weddings can be simply magical. Yet, winter weddings do come with some challenges, like chilly winter weather and potentially busy holiday schedules. But with the right planning strategies, you can minimize these challenges and use the beauty of the season to your advantage to create an event your wedding guests will never forget.
If you’re thinking of throwing a winter wedding, read on to see our top tips on how to pull off the perfect winter wedding. Below, we’ll talk about how to keep your guests comfortable at your winter wedding, how to use seasonal decor to your advantage, what you should understand about scheduling a winter wedding, and more winter wedding ideas and tips.
Give Plenty of Notice to Guests and Book Vendors Early
The winter months are full of holiday festivities, which means your wedding guests will likely have a packed winter schedule. With this in mind, consider sending out the Save the Dates for your winter wedding a bit earlier than you might for a less busy season. This will allow your guests to plan accordingly and prioritize fitting your wedding date into their busy winter schedule.
By that same token, winter can also be an extremely busy time for wedding vendors, such as your caterers, musicians, and your photographer. While vendors may not have many other winter weddings booked (winter weddings are less common than spring or summer weddings), they may get booked up with Christmas, New Years, and other holiday parties. So, book your vendors early to ensure you’re able to get your top choices for your winter wedding.
Pick a Winter-Ready Venue
Another thing to consider when planning a winter wedding is your venue. Not all wedding venues are great for winter. So when you search for a wedding venue for your winter wedding, make sure you look for a venue that specifically caters to winter weddings. Venues that are experienced with winter weddings will be prepared for potential inclement weather, which will help make sure your wedding goes off without a hitch.
Keep Your Guests Comfortable
Unless you’ll be throwing your winter wedding in a tropical locale, it will probably be cold outside on your wedding day. So, with that in mind, make sure your guests don’t have to spend much time outdoors in the chilly weather on your big day.
Generally, it’s a good idea to have your entire winter wedding reception indoors. Your guests will spend most of their time at the reception portion of the wedding, so you’ll want to make sure they’re comfortable. Then, whether or not you want to have your wedding ceremony outside comes down to personal preference. An outdoor winter ceremony can be absolutely stunning, with crisp blue skies and a snowy landscape as your backdrop. Some people find that beautiful winter scenery is worth a bit of time in the cold during their ceremony, while others prefer the idea of having their entire wedding indoors. Weigh these options and decide what seems right for you and your wedding.
If you do decide to have an outdoor wedding ceremony in the winter, take some extra steps to make sure your guests are comfortable during the ceremony. Make sure that guests know your ceremony will be outdoors by including this information on your wedding invitations and wedding website. By telling your guests this information in advance, they’ll know to come ceremony-ready with coats and scarves. Then, consider also providing baskets of blankets at your ceremony to help your guests stay extra warm while they watch you say, “I do.”
In addition to thinking about keeping your guests warm, remember to think about your comfort and the comfort of your bridal party. Consider having some warm, yet stylish options that you and your wedding party can wear during the ceremony. For example, the bride could have a chic faux fur wrap or an elegant long sleeve cardigan to wear over her wedding dress, and your bridesmaids could have a similar option to wear with their bridesmaid dresses. Then, the groom and your groomsmen could have a matching winter overcoat option or perhaps a wool blazer option. Consider these details in advance so that, should all or some of your wedding party want to wear something warm during your ceremony, your wedding photos will still look themed and coordinated.
Remember to Consider Lighting
The sun sets earlier during winter, which is something you should keep in mind for both your wedding photographs and your overall lighting plans. During winter, sunlight starts to fade at around 3PM. So, early in the wedding planning process, coordinate with your wedding planner and photographer to make sure you make enough time for outdoor shots in daylight if you want them. Then, consider the timing of your ceremony and reception and what that may mean for the type of lighting you’ll need.
Part of the beauty of a winter wedding is its romantic, magical winter wonderland vibe. And many people find that just turning on bright overhead lights indoors during a reception ruins the romantic atmosphere. So, consider going all out with more romantic lighting at your wedding by adding things like candles, fairy lights, string lights, and lanterns to your decor. (Note: If your venue doesn’t allow for open flames, electronic candles are a great fire-free alternative with a similar vibe.) Investing in pretty lighting can help you make sure your winter wedding has a beautiful, twinkling look that’s simply magical!
Opt For a Seasonal Menu
One of the best things about having a winter wedding is getting to serve a warm, seasonal menu! So take full advantage of winter’s many delicious treats by incorporating festive, delicious options into your lunch or dinner menu.
You can also bring the magic of the season into your cocktail hour and dessert options. For your cocktail hour, you could offer warm seasonal drinks like spiked cider and mulled wine. Alongside your wedding cake, you could set up a DIY hot chocolate bar that your guests can personalize with things like marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles in your wedding colors, candy canes, and Baileys or whiskey. When it comes to a seasonal menu, the possibilities are endless. So, have fun and get creative!
Incorporate Seasonal Florals
Make your winter wedding decor pop by incorporating seasonal florals into your bridal bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets, and table centerpieces. Some beautiful winter flower options include anthurium, anemones, roses, poinsettias, and forget-me-nots. In addition to using seasonal flowers, you can incorporate dark leafy greenery and pinecones into your floral arrangements to add depth to your color palette and enhance winter’s beautifully moody vibe.