Winter Wedding 101
Your guide to planning the perfect winter wedding
If a roaring fire and snowy backdrop sound like your ultimate romantic wedding, then a winter wedding might be right for you. Or perhaps you and your fiancé love a certain time of year—New Year’s Eve, Christmas or Valentine’s Day might make for both an ideal date and a beautiful winter wedding. Maybe you want a winter wedding in a warmer climate with nary a snowflake to be seen.
Whatever the date, a winter wedding will warm your long, cold winter nights as you celebrate your anniversary in the years to come.
Here’s your guide to the coziest, most picturesque winter wedding wonderland.
From a small wedding party at a rustic cabin to an entire lodge for a big event, winter weddings offer a variety of venues. If you have your heart set on a snowy backdrop, opt for a locale with virtually year-round snow and aim for a safe date. They may surprise you: some locations have the best snow in January or February and not November or December.
For a warmer winter wedding: aim south, way south. Within the United States, Florida and Southern California are about your only warm-guaranteed winter wedding locations. Destination weddings in Mexico or the Caribbean might be an even safer bet if you are hoping for a winter outdoor beach event.
Point to consider: While you and your guests may enjoy skiing and snow, you still want to have comfortable accommodations for the wedding itself. Make sure adequate coverage/heated areas will be available to meet your needs through the wedding venue you choose.
A creative example: John, Carolyn and their entire wedding party arrived on skis. Risky? Absolutely. But it fit their adventuresome attitudes and lighthearted wedding.
Winter gowns often make for the most traditional fairytale weddings, with tulle and trains for miles. Photos of you and your new spouse wrapped in a blanket, or a bridal shoot in a stunning cape atop the snow, will look magazine-ready.
Or, you may opt for less traditional and a little fun, such as dressing the wedding party in boots and furry stoles. Whatever you have in mind, a winter wedding can accommodate it. Match your attire to your venue for a unified look.
Point to consider: Choose flowers to match your theme and attire, but also that are available in the winter. Traditional poinsettias and pinecones are readily available, but if you are interested in something less traditional for winter, you may need to make arrangements just for your flowers.
A creative example: Ashley decided to rock a red wedding dress, and we are in love! The contrast of her red dress against the white snow and their green and gold decor made for a beautiful holiday themed event.
Candles and strings of lights, evergreens and wreathes, when it comes to decor, winter weddings may be the easiest—and that beautiful snowy backdrop is ready to go! Many places will have decorations for the season set up in abundance, which can double for wedding decor. Just be sure that what they have set up fits with what you have in mind, and your decorating will be a piece of cake!
Point to consider: Photos, photos, photos! Shooting against a beach or a snowy backdrop changes the lighting, so be sure the photographer is prepared for your location and decor. What will be visible in pictures is always important, but especially when you want to see faces against all of that white.
A creative example: Whitney and Jeffery wanted a December wedding—that didn’t look like Christmas! They opted for soft hued and white flowers, gray bridesmaid dresses and layers of white and silver decor (without a spec of red—and zero fir trees!). The effect was stunning, and a completely different experience than a Christmas party.
photo credit: shoreshotz1 photography
Who doesn’t love comfort food? A winter wedding can mean a meal you and your guests will treasure: Hot Apple Cider, Butternut Squash Bisque, a Mashed Potato Bar, fit well in the weather and the season.
Point to consider: Not every guest appreciates traditional winter foods, so you’ll need to accommodate with some lighter fare.
A creative example: Kimberly and Jason opted for a very Dickens Victorian Christmas wedding, complete with traditionally English foods like mincemeat pie, mutton and shortbread. It all made for an enchanted evening and timeless photos.
A growing trend in weddings: multi-day celebrations. If your ideal vacation is skiing in Colorado with your closest friends and family, then a wedding celebration/honeymoon/vacation in the mountains could be a dream. Top ski resorts in many locations have full-service, all-inclusive, destination-wedding options, just like beach weddings. You can even choose a no-hassle “just show up” wedding, where you and their onsite planner work out all the details before the event.
Point to consider: If you don’t feel like inviting all of your friends and family on your honeymoon, consider special arrangements, such as the main lodge for guests and a nearby cabin for you and your fiancé after the wedding day.
A creative example: Chris and Ariana fell in love with the idea of marrying in a chapel made of ice—so they did a destination wedding at a hotel made of ice in Australia. Guests did need to dress warmly (as did bride and groom—even the minister wore gloves), but they were also seated on fur blankets and the pictures were fairytale gorgeous.
So Many Choices…
Like so many other big decisions, there are so many choices when it comes to planning your perfect winter wedding. Pick a starting point—an image that inspires you, a holiday you want to celebrate as your anniversary, or the colors you envision.
That starting point can start the ball rolling toward creating your beautiful, ideal winter wedding.