There is something so magical about winter weddings! Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work on a few for my clients and each one has been so special.
You definitely have to approach planning cold weather weddings a bit differently than you do during the rest of the year though, so I thought it would be helpful for me to compile some of my best tips for winter wedding planning!
There are five main areas that you want to consider when planning a winter wedding: venue, time/lighting, flowers, menu and attire. Not putting enough forethought and planning into each of these areas could totally throw things off and leave you ill-prepared.
If you can find a venue that can host both the ceremony and the reception, that would be ideal during the winter months. This will save guests from having to go back and forth to and from their cars and help them stay warm, cozy and out of the cold weather for the duration of the wedding festivities!
Also, make sure to think about distance when considering a venue. Think about whether it will be close enough and easy enough to get to in cold, snowy weather. Here in Alabama we don't really have to think about snow very often, but that's obviously not the case in many other parts of the country!
Lastly, you'll want to make sure that your chosen venue has adequate heating. This may sound silly, but I know firsthand how important it is to cover this base! I own an open barn venue and there isn't a heat pump. So, when it is cold we have patio-style heaters we place around the barn to make sure everyone stays nice and warm. That being said, it's always a good idea to have a backup plan just in case. The rental company that I work with has large tent heaters that blow warm air, so we put those on hold for every winter wedding that we do. They are completely safe, so there are no worries about burned guests!
The Time & Lighting
In the winter it starts getting dark really early! Planning for good lighting is crucial for any wedding, but especially so during the winter months. It's important to make sure your bride considers the time of day she'd like to have the wedding and discusses this with her photographer. Before a bride selects her ceremony time, I always encourage her to do 3 things:
1. Go to www.almanac.com and find out what time the sun will set on her wedding day.
2. Decide if she and the groom want to see each other before the wedding or not.
3. Give the answers to #1 and #2 to the photographer. Discuss with them when the best time for the ceremony would be to get the best pictures in the best lighting.
For every wedding it's extremely important to know your bride's budget, what is in season for florals, and what is important to the bride and groom. There is no reason to pay 3 times the price for something to be flown in from across the globe if your bride doesn't really care about it!
I like to find out what flowers my bride is leaning towards in either our first or second meeting together. Armed with her preferences and having a good knowledge and understanding of what is available during the winter months helps me let her know early on if something won't be available or if it will cost extra to get exactly what she wants.
As with every wedding, the menu is a huge deal! You can have a lot of fun getting creative with menu creation. For winter weddings warm, cozy, comfort food is what comes to mind. Here are some ideas of winter wedding menu options to get your creative juices flowing:
- A coffee bar
- A hot chocolate bar
- Hearty soups
- Mini grilled cheese sandwiches
- Hot toddies
Each one of these yummy, cold weather menu ideas would definitely make guests forget about the bone-chilling temperatures outside!
This is a simple thing but when adequately planned for, makes a world of difference! When planning a winter wedding bear in mind things like what the wedding party will be wearing. Plan ahead by making sure bridesmaids have wraps or sweaters, guests have blankets and don't forget a gorgeous fur or coat for the bride!
Planning a winter wedding opens up a whole new world of possibilities compared to any other time of the year, and I'm a big fan! It's just really important to make sure you have all your bases covered for the safety, comfort (and warmth!) of everyone attending the wedding.
Here are some photos from one of my favorite winter weddings that I put together for my BFFs a few years back - this one was SO much fun to plan and a total hit!