A wedding for each season: Winter

Winter Wedding BoardsWinter is such a magical time of year to tie the knot – from crisp weather and festive entertainment to glamorous colour schemes, there’s just so much to embrace. Throwing a winter wedding is fast catching up with summer as the most popular time to say ‘I do’. The nights might be darker, but the sparkles are brighter, atmosphere merrier and the whole day is bursting with romance. Not to mention that lots of wedding dates will be much cheaper!

Your venue plays one of the biggest parts when it comes to shaping your wedding, so you need to make sure you book one that’s truly fit for a winter celebration.

Helpful tips....

Visit your Venue at Night
Most venue visits take place during the daytime, but at a winter wedding, the majority of your reception will take place once the sun’s gone down. Arrange a showing of your venue in the evening when you can see what kind of lighting they have and whether the vibe is cosy and inviting. After you’ve booked, ask if your photographer can see it too in the evening, so they can plan their shots.

See if You Can Negotiate a Deal
Winter wedding dates in January and February are usually off-peak, so they’ll be cheaper than a summer date. You’ll likely have more choice of caterers and suppliers too as it isn’t the busiest season. If your venue/supplier wants to secure your booking, you might be able to negotiate with them further – whether that’s money off or something extra thrown in for free. You might be able to get a further discount on guest accommodation too.

However, consider your date carefully. The dates closest to Christmas and New Year tend to be expensive, they also might cause problems with guests getting time off work. At that time of year, people get booked up quickly with parties and family events, so get invites out early and consider whether a weekend or weekday wedding would work best for guests.

Plan an Alternative for Bad Weather
Ask your venue what they’ll do if there’s bad snow, for example. What if one of your suppliers is unable to get there? Is there somewhere suitable for guests to park? Will there be somewhere the photographer can still take photos? For guests that smoke, is there somewhere alternative they can go?

Allow Extra Travel Time
If it’s raining heavily, there’ll be more people out in their cars, which means more traffic on the roads.  What if you get stuck in a snow drift! Give yourself peace of mind with extra time to travel to the venue, and mention on your invites that guests may need to leave contingency time.

Consider the Same Venue for Your Ceremony and Reception
You’ll solve half your travel problems if you hold your ceremony and reception in the same venue. Then guests won’t have to travel between the two, which could take a while in bad weather. Even better if they can all stay over too.

Ask about the Venue’s Heating
Your wedding venue will be experienced at getting the heating just right, but if it’s a barn or marquee venue, it can be a little trickier. Ask them what their plan is for heating the venue and if they have any outdoor heaters for those who want fresh air. Advise guests in your invite if they require to wrap up warm and seat older guests away from doorways with drafts. A warm drink, like mulled wine, on arrival helps too!

Christmas Decor
If it’s before or just after Christmas, your venue may have decorations. They should be able to show you some pictures of last year’s events to give you an idea of what to expect. If you don’t like them, ask whether you’re allowed to take them down. You don’t want something that clashes with your own theme.

Wedding Insurance
We would recommend it whatever time of year, but wedding insurance is particularly important in winter. You’ll need to cover yourself against storms and snow, plus if any suppliers let you down.

Layer Up!
Layers and accessories will keep brides and bridesmaids warm. Capes are one of the biggest  trends, or consider a faux fur stole, chic shrug, white tuxedo-style jacket, cool leather jacket. For bridesmaids, try a pashmina, capelet or bolero. Take it off inside and while you’re dancing, so you don’t get hot.

Sneak in Extra Heat
Wear tights underneath your dress if your legs won’t be visible. Get your Maid of Honour to carry hand warmers to heat up icy hands before your wedding photos. Obviously, long-sleeve dresses will keep arms from getting chilly.

Protect Your Shoes
Spray shoe protector on leather and suede shoes. If you’re going outdoors for photos, have heel protectors to stop you sinking into the mud, or have a spare pair of block or wedge heels handy. Even better, could you hide a pair of wellies under a big dress? It’ll keep your feet snug and dry.

Think Textures For Grooms
Thick fabrics like velvet, tweed and tartan are warm and look incredibly chic on grooms and grooms men. Dark hues are made for crisp weather, and patterns look fab at rustic weddings. If you want to stand out, icy blues and pale grey can look striking.

Opt for Sequins

Sequin or beaded bridesmaid dresses are ideal for winter. They’ll sparkle under all the lights and look amazing in photos. For the bride, beading on your dress and on your hair accessories add glitz and glam.

Winter Wedding Reception Tips

During December and early January, you might get lucky with some incredible free decorations at your venue as part of their Christmas displays. But there’s so many gorgeous and interesting ways to dress up your venue – you just need to remember these things below.

Candles are Your Best Friend
Candles create a romantic mood once it gets dark; include candles of different heights and thickness in your centrepieces, fireplaces, windowsills and even in lanterns for your aisle décor for a warm glow. Check if your venue allows naked flames, otherwise use LED candles and fairy lights instead.

Set Up a Coat Check
A coat check is pretty essential from December to February. Guests will thank you for taking heavy coasts, scarves, gloves and hats off their hands, plus any wet umbrellas.

Choose Winter Wedding Favours
Embrace the festive time of year with wintry wedding favours. Sparklers, candy canes, mulled wine spices, mini bottles of Baileys, hot chocolate kits, crackers, chocolate coins, personalised candles, marshmallows, glittery cupcakes…the options are endless.

Theme Your Entertainment
A few Christmas songs chucked in the playlist in December is all well and good. But there’s plenty you can do to make your entertainment magical in winter. How about a glitter station by the dance floor? A hot chocolate station is fab for kids who can add their own toppings. Wrap everyone up and go outside for a giant fireworks display. A live swing band has that intimate feel that winter weddings need.

Go the Whole Hog
To create a whole winter wonderland fantasy, hire carol singers to welcome everyone to the ceremony and stilt-walkers in ice-themed costumes for your guests' arrival. Set up the entrance way with pine trees and a fur coat for a Narnia-inspired take. Arrive on a horse-drawn sleigh. Project winter scenes onto your walls and decorate with ice sculptures and vodka luges.

Suit Your Flowers to the Season
Tropical, out-of-season flowers will need to be flown in and won’t look their best or be cheap. Embrace seasonal blooms for your bouquet and arrangements, and stick to classic whites and dramatic reds. Wintry foliage, like ivy, sprigs of yew, holly and hypericum berries look gorgeous not forgetting the mistletoe and red berries or pine cones covered in glitter.

Add Warm Touches
Guests will appreciate a basket of blankets or pashminas to pick from if they fancy heading outside or get chilly in their seat. Having hot drinks always on hand will help too. Start with a mulled wine on arrival, finish your meal with a liqueur coffee or hot toddy and have the caterers put on an urn of tea or coffee for the evening.

Setting the scene...

One of the most fabulous winter wedding colour schemes is classic white. Imagine a coach house filled with white blossom trees, fairy lights, candles, and white chairs. It’s super glamorous.

Rustic and Cosy
We love the rustic, with vines wrapped around the wooden beams and scattered fairy lights really give it that winter wedding feel. Keep it unfussy (no tinsel etc) and let the ambience of the oak barn shine through. Setting the woodland theme, add snow drops and mistletoe, sprigs of holly and red berries.

Metallic Glamour
Going back to the metallic glamour of winter – is there any prettier setting than this wedding ceremony?  Gold chairs work beautifully against the white backdrop, and a chandelier finishes the theme off perfectly! Use lots of dramatic burgundy and deep purple touches, like flowers and bridesmaid dresses, too.

Modern Winter Wonderland
For a more modern vibe, go simple and striking with a white colour scheme and accents of contrasting green foliage. Keep your tables really simple and use branches, pampas grass and dried flowers for a contemporary feel. Splashes of emerald and gold can keep it fresh to add a touch of art deco to your theme.

Christmas is Coming
If your wedding is around the Christmas period, why not use that to your advantage? The décor is beyond festive. Everything from the intricate fairy lights to the festive foliage and wooden chairs just screams winter wonderland add fur throws, sprinkle of fairy dust, even Santa's sleigh to hold your wedding gifts and not forgetting secret Santa.

Whatever you decide to choose, it will be magical!

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