Winter truly is the season for snuggling up cosy with someone you love- and what could be more perfect for a super romantic wedding day! Winter weddings aren’t nearly as popular as a summer wedding, however, because of all the worries people associate with them. Our winter wedding ideas are here to change that!
In this post, we’ll guide you through all the ways you can make the ‘problems’ associated with a winter wedding work to your advantage. We’ll take you through wedding ideas for every stage - from planning, to picking your outfits, choosing the perfect venue and what to do on the day. Whether you're flying solo or working with a wedding planner, we'll help you to make the most perfect winter wonderland all of your own.
Weirdly, planning a winter wedding means you have to worry about the weather less, because you’re planning for the worst case scenario. The biggest difference for a winter wedding (inevitable British rain aside) is the light. There are far fewer hours of daylight in the winter, but if you work it right this can be a real advantage.
While there is less light, you can get lots of different types of lighting in a much shorter period of time. This means you can have lots of different mini shoots that look dramatically different from one another without having to wait around- or worry about how you look is holding up during the day’s events.
To really let this work to your advantage, plan the structure of your day with your photographer. Figure out a series of shoots you want to achieve and what times of day you’ll need to do them.
The biggest thing you’ll have to plan for is to make sure you catch the ‘golden hour’ of photography. This is the hour before sunset that produces the warmest and clearest outdoor photography. You might have to aim for a midday ceremony instead of an evening one to guarantee you don’t miss this - or accept that your ‘first look’ moment with you partner isn't going to be on the aisle.
Doing lots of mini shoots will give you lots more flexibility and save you and your guests from being miserable standing about in the cold. Plan group shots in advance and ensure guests are only outside as long as they need to be, and consider handing out warming drinks, blankets and cover ups for guests whilst photographs are being taken.
Don't be afraid to switch up your timeline, head to your cocktail reception and then nip out for short bursts of photos, rather than doing the usual long photo session. Being flexible means you can take advantage of any breaks in the weather.
The photographers ability to work with the weather is such an important part of a winter wedding that it's wise to see examples of a photographer's work either on dull days, at night, or in bad weather, just to get a feel for their style and how they can adapt to whatever gets thrown your way.
This flexible timeline is a really advantageous solution for a lot of winter wedding problems. Flexible timing is a must in winter. There's so many different unexpected delays that you’ll have to account for, all of which can be seamlessly which will lead to a very relaxed, free flowing schedule. Embrace this.
Allow extra travel time (for everything!) Consider lodging your out-of-town vendors the night before your wedding- an extra night at a hotel is worth the expense to ensure wedding professionals arrive 24-hours early. The out of season costs for hotels really come to your advantage here!
Don’t forget that you’re thinking about all these little details a lot more than your guests are, so include a reminder about the weather in your invitations, then everyone is aware and can make the appropriate travel arrangements and plan an outfit that’s also warm enough.
First of all; ask your venue(s) what temperature they keep their event space before you go shopping. This can vary quite a lot, so it’s best to keep that in mind when planning and shopping for your wedding dress.
You’ll have to create an outfit that will work for the temperature of your ceremony venue, reception venue, outside and (most importantly) not overheat if you want to get out on the dance floor! There would be nothing worse than not being unable to cherish your big day because all you can think about is being cold.
The simplest solution to this is to think about layers. Opting for layers instead of a heavier dress will mean you can still have something a bit lighter when things heat up with the dancing, and if it's very cold you can always wear thick tights under your wedding dress and nobody will know! This goes for your bridesmaids too.
Picking layers is a super easy way to have a whole range of looks, not just for yourself but the whole wedding party- think about faux fur or little capes for the flower girls to keep them snug and add a little variety to their looks. This allows you to experiment with your wedding look without committing to an out there wedding dress.
Winter doesn’t mean everything has to be white: You can totally incorporate a wide colour scheme into your winter wedding, and there’s no reason to go all white wedding (or holiday-themed) unless you want to. Experiment! Ditch the white shoe- try a pop of colour and free yourself from the worry of white shoes out in winter weather!
Winter weddings offer a whole bunch of great ways to add a punch of colour to your wedding! The festivity of this time of year makes it a great time to experiment with colour. Winter is all about rich & sumptuous festive shades. The party season is the perfect time of year to find show stopping bridesmaid dresses, covered in glitter and in all kinds of beautiful jewel tones. Not to mention great options for the grooms party - velvet is incredibly on trend and offers a nice thick fabric to keep the guys warm.
Try incorporating a nice brolly in with your outfits too; this can make for such darling photos, that you might even be excited when the rain rolls in!
And whilst we’re on rain, of course good waterproof mascara is a make-up absolute must, whether it’s for happy tears or holding up against the weather. Chapped lips and dry skin are another inevitable come winter. Keep your lips moisturised in the run up to the wedding day, use a good face moisturiser and have a chapstick in your clutch on the day.
Hopefully if you’ve got a cute brolly your hair won’t be wet, but there’s no way to stop the wind- pick a hairstyle that's fine moving a lot- or won't budge at all. And practice some Ru-girl hairography with your bridesmaids before the day to get you in the mood!
If possible have your ceremony & reception in just the one venue - or at least venues very near to each other. This will make transport easier in case of bad weather, not to mention it’ll save you time and money.
When it comes to winter weddings, December venue booking is tough competition, but other winter months are pretty much open game. Vendors may even be more willing to negotiate on price for a perfect winter wedding venue since it's a slower season.
You can also save a lot by choosing food and flowers seasonally. It doesn't have to be all pine cones: try and decorate with lots of seasonal (ever)greenery … and don’t forget the mistletoe! When you buy what's in season, you get food and flowers at the peak of their supply when costs are normally lower. Plus, when they're locally grown they don't need to be shipped halfway around the globe. Not only do you save money, but you also reduce your carbon footprint.
An advantage to December weddings however, is the ability to cash in (literally!) on your venues Christmas decorations. Of course if they aren't to your taste you can ask to take Christmas decs down - but if they are, you can save a lot decor. It’s most likely the venue won’t have their decs up for you to see by the time that you’re booking, but you can always look to photos from past years to inform your choice. If you’ve got your own wedding decor distinct from Christmas, then try and keep just one or two nods to the season and cut the Christmas tree.
Make time for a walk-through of the wedding venue about a month before your wedding day. Sunset changes from summer to winter, and you want to make sure you’ve addressed all your lighting needs. Even though you have fewer hours of daylight, you can now illuminate your autumn or winter wedding with absolutely gorgeous lights, and enjoy them for much longer! Embrace it with lots of fairy lights and romantic candles, lighting both your ceremony and reception space. You’ll also be surprised at how much physical warmth candles will bring to a space!
Try to visit your venue at night, see how it's lit up, and make sure you still love it as much as you do during the day. Some spectacular venues lose their appeal at night, and others come into their own - as most of your reception will be after dark, make sure yours is the latter!
Accent your wedding reception lounges and cocktail areas with fire pits if you can. Your guests will love the cosiness, and the firelight will add to the romantic ambiance. Real fire looks great in photos and is even more perfect if you can find a couple of folks who play guitar for some truly excellent and intimate entertainment.
When planning your outdoor space, remember smokers are likely to spend more time than most outside, so also think about setting up a smokers’ corner. You can give them warm blankets and perhaps a fire pit if practical- but if you’re setting up a second outdoor space for most guests perhaps avoid giving the smokers too much seating so that they do actually come join in with the rest of the party.
Inside or out, having a big bucket of blankets available is a top tip for keeping guests cosy at your winter wedding. You can pick them up cheaply on eBay or local charity shops, and then after the day you can give them as gifts, or donate them to a local shelter.
An absolute must for winter weddings is a cloakroom- you’ll need somewhere to out all those layers. Having somewhere to check coats adds a real feel of luxury and lets guests unwind, not having to worry about lugging wet coats across your venue. Not only this, but the coat check can be a really cute wedding guest photo spot opportunity! Pop a sofa and some nice lights in front of it and you’ll catch a lot of your guests over the course of the night for some photos. Guests always end up huddled and chatting near the cloakroom anyway, so you might as well add a fun activity for them whilst they’re there-making some great photo memories whilst you do!
The biggest part of preparing for a winter wedding (well, any wedding, really) is covered in the planning stages so on the day everything should be running smoothly. The key things to focus on for the day is just making sure people don’t have to stand around in what is potentially bad weather.
Make an effort to ensure your guests are kept warm and cheery once they arrive, and they’ll be a lot chirpier throughout the day. A hot drink on arrival is a nice and simple idea. Not only this, but it can be a cost effective way of creating a big impact without needing a cocktail bar. Mulled wine or cider, or maybe even spiked hot chocolate are all great finishing touches. Similarly, forgo a Champagne reception, in favour of serving mulled wine and cider - or investigate warm alcoholic cocktails for something a little different and wholly appreciated when the cold weather is biting. Remember not everyone drinks and have Mulled Apple Juice and Deluxe Hot Chocolates available too.
It’s truly amazing how much hot refreshments can keep your guests happy. Winter comfort food will go down a storm, think hot soup, rich mashed potatoes, and all things carb. If you’re having a fire cooking sausages or marshmallows over it saves you money and adds a lot of tactile fun!
The only other time that guests will potentially be standing around waiting for you is during the receiving line. Hopefully, your reception venue has a space to accommodate receiving your guests inside, but if not mix things up. Keep your guests from waiting in the cold, and do something a little quirky
You could try excusing guests from the ceremony instead; as each row leaves you can receive congratulations from each of your guests. Another plus is that instead of waiting in a line, everyone gets to stay seated until it’s time to leave.
Other couples prefer to mingle at cocktail hour around each of the tables, or make the rounds during dinner time. You could also man the photo booth for an hour and announce to guests that you want a photo booth pic with each and every one of them, or go round after the meal and serve the deserts together.
Whichever option you choose make sure your guests know in advance what’s happening and when you’ll come round to say hello. This means that they’ll be there when you want them to and that they can relax for the rest of the day, knowing that you’ve got it planned, and that they’ll get a chance to congratulate you without having to come pin you down.
Whatever you decide, we hope you have the most loved up and snugly weddings this season no matter the weather! Let us know how your winter wedding planning is going, or how things panned out on your special day.
And if you’re looking for some excitement before the big day, don’t forget to check out our Stag and Hen activity packages.