HOW TO HOST THE PERFECT WINTER WEDDING
One of the great benefits of living in a country that has seasons, is the option to choose a wedding that suits your style. From the earthy colours of autumnal weddings, to the splendour of summer, the changing colours of spring and the wonders of winter.
So, when it comes to deciding when to host your big day, there are a few things to take into consideration. The time of year you chose will dictate a few practicalities on the day; from the backdrop for wedding photos to the menu, and even the fashions you’ll wear.
Having attended hundreds of weddings in my career as a wedding photographer in Bedfordshire and beyond, I’ve been able to identify some of the quirks that make winter weddings so special.
Why host a winter wedding?
There are many reasons to host your nuptials in the winter. The fresh weather, and often snow creates a magical setting for your big day. If you’re after stunning wedding photos, then this is the season to capture them. Your wedding photographer can get some really great creative wedding photos thanks to the contrasting weather.
Are Winter weddings cheaper?
There’s also the small cost of money. With winter being ‘off peak’ you can expect to pay less for venues, allowing you to have the venue you always dreamed of. This can be the same with suppliers too, so it’s worth shopping around. It also opens up more possibilities for great honeymoon options, with winter being the perfect time to visit the Caribbean and Asia.
But, there’s also something uniquely celebratory about winter, particularly the festive season, when the party is in full swing and everyone enjoys a good get-together. This makes it a great time of year to say ‘I do’!
The Bride Wore White (with Leggings Underneath)
To counteract the nip in the air, you’ll need to give thought to your wedding dress. Long sleeves and shawls are de rigor, and usually extend to any bridesmaids too. Some brides even opt for thick tights or leggings underneath, to keep them warm.
Nothing should stop you wearing the Jimmy Choos you’ve always dreamed of, but you might want to get a non-slip sole added for safety. Some brides are proud to rock a winter boot, and usually have a warmer pair of shoes to change in to.
Speaking of fashions, it also opens up plenty of opportunity to more fabrics for the groom – woollen suits, velvet suits and even a touch of tartan!
Winter Wedding Venue
Most top UK wedding venues lend themselves to all-weather terrains. However, if you’re planning to have an outside ceremony, you’ll want to check if heaters and covers/roofing are available for guests.
Talk to your venue about where they recommend for the all-important wedding photos,in the event of adverse weather. It’s likely that they can recommend some indoor and outdoor locations, that make stunning backdrops for both intimate and group portraits. Consult your wedding photographer about whether they may need to bring lighting with them.
A lot of winter weddings tend to use one venue for the entire day, especially if it includes accommodation. This helps if the weather makes it harder to get about.
Image above is Merriscourt, in Gloucestershire February 2018
To make sure your day is as easy and enjoyable as possible for guests, think about transport options if the weather takes a turn. While a church atop of the hill might be great in summer, if it starts to snow, how will your party get to and from it? Luckily, if you’re not too remote, a local transport company can help accommodate your party.
Eat and Be Merry!
Root vegetables, hearty soups, pheasant and game are all great seasonal delights you can look forward to during winter. No doubt your venue will be able to recommend a menu for you to select from, but it’s one of the best seasons to serve hearty warming food that guests really enjoy.
Winter is also a great time to enjoy warming drinks. It’s the perfect time of year to rolls out drams of scotches and whiskeys. There’s also plenty of party-pleasing liquors, which are always fun to serve from an ice-luge, in keeping with the cooler weather.
It’s also a great opportunity to offer more imaginative drinks than just fizz. Hot cider, warm Pimms and mulled wine are some of the great winter tipples and help warm you from the inside out too!
Winter Wedding Colour Schemes
Colours scheme tend to influence the gentle touches that go into a special day. And winter is certainly the season to enjoy a white wedding!
Along with crisp white, try red, green, gold and of course tartan. These are especially strong colours for the colder months, contrasting beautifully against the lighter hues that the cold weather brings.
Winter Wedding Bridal Bouquets
Fear not, there’s plenty of great flowers in bloom in winter, and wedding favourites – roses are top of the list.
There’s also more unusual types such as Poinsettias, Star of Bethlehem, stephanotis, forget-me-nots and ranunculus, to create a beautiful bouquet.
If you have even a hint of Scottish ancestry then it’s the perfect excuse to wear a thistle!
In terms of decoration, you can get away with using holly and ivy to decorate the church or registry office at little or no cost. Mistletoe usually goes down very well too!
Particularly in the run up to Christmas, the shops are full of trinkets and treats to decorate venues with, including everyone’s favourites – Christmas decorations!
Think about practical favours your guests can benefit from, perhaps pashminas or hand warmers, or even a little tipple to keep the toasty!
If you’re one of the couples who loves Christmas and planning your vows in and around the festive season, then there’s plenty of great ways to do this. From a full-on Christmas menu for your wedding breakfast, to naming tables after reindeers and even having stocking fillers as favours. I’ve even seen a very own Santa’s grotto complete with wedding photo booth!
Winter Wedding Music
This is a great season for music. From carols in the Church (if you’re having a traditional wedding) to Christmas classics for your first dance, including Fairytale of New York’ by the Pogues and ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ by Mariah Carey. In between courses, Michael Buble’s Christmas album is always a hit!
Of course, do keep in mind that it’s also the time of year when families get together, so it will need some forward planning and co-ordination to ensure guests can attend. Try to avoid week days, when work parties are in full bloom (you don’t want to compete with drunk employees!) and costs can go up.
If you’re planning a new year weather, then it’s worth remembering that January is typically a time of detox. If your wedding is in this month, you can personalise it by including a selection of ‘mocktails’ with calorie conscious bites.
With February being the month of Valentine’s Day, there’s plenty of romantic gestures you can tie-in. From using Valentine’s cards as wedding invitations, to having a classic playlist of some of the cheesiest romantic songs!
And finally – enjoy the big day. It’s the season to be jolly, after all!
Gary Nunn is a leading wedding photographer in Bedfordshire. Get in touch today for a free consultation about your special day!