The festive season may be behind us, but in many parts of the world, there’s still a few months of cold weather and hot drinks to go before we can call it spring.
If you’re not in any rush to lose the frosty mornings, white blooms, and cosy knits, then perhaps a winter wedding is right up your (snow covered) street.
While a wedding in the colder months does present its challenges, it’s also an opportunity to get thoroughly creative.
To help you on your way, with some practical top tips for planning a winter wedding with style, we’ve enlisted the help of expert UK wedding planners, Pocketful of Dreams.
And if anyone can throw a party to remember, it’s Creative Event Designer, Michelle Kelly. Seriously, listen up, this lady knows her stuff!
Take it away, Michelle…
How To Plan a Winter Wedding Your Guests Will Never Forget…
There’s definitely something magical about this time of the year – huddling around open fires, the crisp clear blue skies and light dusting of frost or snow across the landscape.
So it’s no surprise that more and more couples are opting for a winter wedding, but planning one does mean you have to make certain considerations that you may not have thought of.
Wrap Up Warm
Clockwise from top left: Photo by Lara Hotz via Wedding App | Photo via Jenny Packham | Photo via Fancy Temple | Photo by Josh Brasted via Fashionista | Photo by Jemma Keech Photography via Once Wed | Photo by Elisabetta Marzetti via Love My Dress | Photo via Vogue
One of the first things it’s important to consider in any wedding, is your guest comfort and experience.
Nobody has fun when they’re shivering, so work with your photographer to plan group shots in advance and ensure guests aren’t left standing around for hours outside. And perhaps consider handing out warming drinks and blankets for guests whilst photographs are being taken.
Similarly, make sure that you plan your outfit with a consideration of the temperature. You don’t want to have to abandon your couple shots for fear of catching pneumonia – opt for a cute cashmere cardigan or a glamorous faux fur coat to keep yourself warm but stylish.
Smokers are likely to spend more time than most outside so also think about setting up a smokers’ corner, with warm blankets and perhaps a fire pit if practical.
Give Plenty of Notice
Winter is a busy – and expensive – time of year because of the festive madness.
Just as those getting married in the Summer need to think about people jetting off on holidays and the like, don’t forget that your guests are likely to have a lot of other commitments at this time of year. So get in early and make sure you send a Save The Date.
We’re seeing a move towards digital versions, saving the big wow factor for the formal invitation – to give people plenty of time to plan and budget accordingly.
This is true for your suppliers too. There might be less weddings traditionally at this time of year, but Christmas and New Year is an incredibly busy time in the hospitality industry, so make sure you book your catering, bar and entertainment suppliers early to guarantee your first choices.
After the Winter Equinox, you will lose the light at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon so it’s important to be mindful of this when planning your day.
Those intimate moments you spend together during your couple shots are incredibly special, so make sure that you build in time to your day to have those all important shots in natural light.
That can mean planning an earlier ceremony time or perhaps working with your photographer for a First Look, to catch your couple shots ahead of the ceremony.
Remember, if you do opt for an earlier ceremony, this can make for a long day for guests so make sure that you’re providing enough food throughout the day to soak up all that alcohol, and plan in plenty of interactive elements and little surprises for them!
See the Light
Lighting has an impact, not only on your photographs, but also on the styling and ambience of your venue.
By the time guests sit to eat the wedding breakfast, it will likely be dark.
Winter weddings lend themselves perfectly to romantic, magical affairs, so don’t fight against that by turning on overhead, bright lights and dissipating all that atmosphere.
Instead, go all out with the candlelight and fairy lights – stick to warm white tones and you’ll create a gorgeous, twinkling effect. Plus you’ll be surprised at how much physical warmth candles will bring to a space!
Move With the Times
Clockwise from top left: Photo by Diamond Cake Photography via Ruffled | Photo by Rad and in Love via 100 Layer Cake | Photo by Rahel Menig Photography via Wedding Chicks | Photo via Martha Stewart Weddings
It’s important to be realistic about when you’re getting married and what that means you will – and won’t – be able to do.
Getting married in a field for instance, probably isn’t the most practical (or enjoyable) of ideas for a winter wedding, but a beautiful country house or a cool, industrial city venue can be great options, just spend a little time thinking about the practicalities to maximise guest enjoyment.
People are certainly going to be bringing coats and possibly gloves, scarves and hats with them, so make sure you have a cloakroom set up and work with your venue or catering staff to ensure the cloakroom is manned for guest arrival, to avoid long queues and hold ups.
Use the elements to your advantage and create intimate little spaces throughout your venue filled with winterised features like woollen blankets, some spare wellies for an impromptu snowfight outside, piles of logs and fir trees to give the space warmth and a lovely scent.
Feed Me, Seymour
Work with your caterer to plan a meal that is warming and seasonal – winter food doesn’t have to be heavy and stodgy, there are some great seasonal options at this time of year so get creative.
Similarly, forgo a Champagne reception, in favour of serving mulled wine and cider and why not investigate warm alcoholic cocktails for something a little different and wholly appreciated when the cold weather is biting.
For the evening, you could even set up a hot chocolate bar, with warm, steaming mugs that guests can personalise from a beautifully styled station – think marshmallows, coconut ice, rock candy sticks and maybe a dash of whisky or Baileys for a cheeky twist?!
Clockwise from top left: Photo by Rebecca Walker & Angi Welsch for Ira Lippke Studios via Vogue | Photo by Laura Leslie Photography via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Natasha Hurley Photography via Ruffled | Photo by Christie Graham Photography via Style Me Pretty
Choose season appropriate blooms such as anemones, anthurium and roses then mix them up with a riot of foliage such as spruce branches, seeded eucalyptus, and items like mini pinecones.
I love the mix of dramatic shades against natural greenery and woody shades.
Although true year-round in the UK, the winter months especially can bring unpredictable weather.
A snowy wedding day would certainly look beautiful in your photographs, but snow can wreak havoc with your plans, so make sure that you offer your guests lots of local accommodation options and brief your suppliers to allow plenty of time for arrival and set up.
Or better still, if budgets will stretch, book a wedding planner who can brief all suppliers on your behalf, to prepare and put into practice contingency plans on the day.
With a bit of careful consideration and planning, there are endless opportunities to create a stylish, memorable and enjoyable winter wedding day.
So many thoughtful ideas in there, that your guests would not only appreciate, but remember and talk about, for years to come.
Be inspired with more unique ideas for winter weddings.