Curling up by the fire, watching falling snow—winter is definitely the time to cozy up with the one you love most, making it a perfect season to celebrate that love at your wedding! Unless you’ve always had your heart set on marrying in the great outdoors, having a winter wedding is a choice idea for brides who love to hygge, be creative, and save money. Still, planning a winter wedding take a bit more planning and paying careful attention to details than it takes to plan a wedding any other time of year.
Before you get knee-deep in snow wedding planning, you want to start out by setting a budget and choosing a few dates that work for you. For some, having just the right venue is more important than having a live band; other brides are happy to choose whatever date their chosen photographer has free. What are your priorities? Once you prioritize your budget, you can truly start planning.
- Choose your date carefully.
Some winter brides dream of a swanky New Year’s Eve reception while others think there could be no more of a romantic time to marry than on Valentine’s Day. If that sounds like you, be warned: winter brides who select a date near Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day must be prepared to spend more since they’ll be competing against holiday celebrations and dinner parties for available venues and caterers (and florists tend to hike up their prices around Valentine’s Day). Try to avoid conflicts with major holidays unless you know lots of friends and family from out of town typically come into town during that particular holiday.
For most of the country, January, February, and March tend to be off-season months for weddings, which means weddings that take place in those months can cost less than they would during the spring and the fall, so keep those months in mind when planning for a winter wedding.
- Find inspiration in the season.
Holiday decorations, ski slopes, building fires, playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate—what do you love most about the winter? Think about your favourite aspects of the season and consider how you can implement what you love about winter into your wedding. Some ideas include:
- Giving out hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows as favours
- Walking down an aisle covered in faux snow
- Using snowflakes, ice skates, snowmen, skis, or snowboards as a theme for your décor—an ice sculpture would fit right in!
- Decorating with nature-inspired elements like fresh greens and berries
- Keep your guest list in mind when choosing a venue.
Will people be travelling from faraway places where snow might affect their flights or road trips to get to your wedding? Likewise, is your area prone to blizzards? Weather is definitely a factor to consider for winter weddings, so keep that in mind before you commit to the charming B&B in the mountains. You might consider having the entire wedding at a hotel (preferably one where your guests might be staying), so everybody can stay safe and toasty warm for the wedding.
- Make sure your vendors can get there
Before you sign any contracts, ask every single vendor if they are prepared to make deliveries in the snow. If you don’t ask and then you sign, you could wind up paying hundreds of dollars for flowers that never arrived because the florist didn’t have a truck that could travel in snow.
- Buy flowers in-season
It always makes sense to buy local, in-season flowers for your wedding—it hallmarks the season and oftentimes proves to be more economical (who wears poinsettias in July, or daffodils in December)? Speaking of December, if you are having a holiday wedding, note that many churches and venues take care of their own holiday decorations each year. This can work to your advantage since you won’t have to spend as much money on those spaces, but remember to ask about what the holiday decorations will be—you don’t want them to clash with your colour scheme.
- Gowns (wintry fabrics include satin)
You might be the bride who always dreamed of being a princess on this day, and winter brides can definitely rock a ball gown. Speaking of royalty, thanks to Kate Middleton, sleeves on wedding dresses are once again fashionable, so take advantage of the trend while it applies to your winter wedding day! Of course, if sleeves aren’t your thing, you can still wear a strapless dress in the winter—just add a capelet, faux fur stole, or rich cashmere wrap to keep warm if you head outdoors for a few photos.
If you are finding yourself falling in love with a wedding dress meant for a beach wedding, look for a gown with a similar silhouette made in a winter-friendly fabric instead. Duchess satin is the go-to choice for winter brides: satin gowns are heavier and perfect for low temperatures. If you prefer the look of lace, choose Battenberg lace over Chantilly (the former will keep you warmer).
- Celebrate the season with food
For many, one of the highlights of the winter season is the food. From holiday feasts to Crockpot suppers, winter begs us to slow down and enjoy a cozy, warm meal. What’s your favourite cold weather dish, winter brides? Mashed potato or mac-and-cheese bars are perfect stations, and why not add a small buffet of tasty soups and artisanal loaves of bread? Whether you serve a sit-town dinner of steak and red wine, or whether you serve chili and all the fixins (great for a rustic wedding), take advantage of the winter bounty and plan to serve food your guests will enjoy and remember.
Written by C. Farley for The Wedding Planning Store