The thing about having a winter wedding is that it’s not a summer wedding – it’s completely different! And by that we mean that you need to have a completely different mindset when planning your food, decorations, drinks and so on. Always think about the cold weather and plan accordingly…
In summer, a glass of chilled fizz is definitely the order of the day. But at a winter wedding, do you really want your guests standing around in the cold drinking a cold drink? They would much prefer to sip a glass of warm mulled wine – a much more welcoming winter option.
For the children in the party, you could serve warm apple juice or blackcurrant so they feel really grown up. Or you could serve hot chocolate in little cups and maybe have some as a non-alcoholic option for the adults.
Wrap up against the cold
Think about having winter rugs, scarves and shawls rolled up in baskets around your venue. We think some cute trug baskets look wonderful but you could be extra creative by putting your wraps in open vintage suitcases or picnic hampers. Don’t forget to add a sign saying ‘please help yourself to an extra layer to keep out the cold’ so that your guests feel free to help themselves. If your budget permits, these could also act as your wedding favours.
If your guests are having to stand around waiting to have their photographs taken in the chill, they’ll appreciate the gesture. In fact, if you’re having a wedding in the depths of winter, why don’t you add a winter dress code, saying something like ‘winter wraps and thermals advised’. It’s sure to be a talking point.
Wonderfully warming food
In winter, you need to be thinking about comfort food rather than salad (We mean, who wants to eat salad in January?).
Comfort food sounds very self-indulgent but in actual fact, it’s very sensible to serve substantial soups, stews and hearty puddings during the cold weather as it helps to keep the chill out. You’ll also be keeping your costs down by keeping the food more seasonal – and try to source local produce, too, if you can.
Instead of having a sit-down starter, you could serve your guests warm soups in different flavours as a type of canapé. Have crunchy French bread offered around at the same time or some breadsticks.
At dinner itself, you could move onto that old classic favourite, cottage pie, or a delicious casserole served with dauphinoise potatoes. For dessert think elegant school dinners, you’ll hear appreciative murmurs if you offer delights like sticky toffee pudding with custard or apple crumble. Talk to your caterer, tell them what you want to achieve with the food and listen to their suggestions.
Create a chill-out room
We’re great fans of chill-out rooms at weddings. Here guests are slightly away from the noise of the main party, where they can regroup and chat peacefully. To make yours extra welcoming, try to put it in a cosy spot where there’s an open fire at your venue or a wood-burning stove, just make sure there’s a sturdy fireguard in place especially if there are children running around. Pull up some sofas and arm chairs alongside and watch everybody gather.
Any oldies you’ve invited will love to have a place like this where they can sit and gossip to their heart’s content and it’ll also be popular with parents of young children.
We always recommend you have some sort of a chill-out area at your wedding if you’re planning on having dancing later on. If people don’t want to dance and there’s nowhere for them to just sit and chat away from the noisy hubbub, you’ll find that they leave earlier. Also, if you clear a few tables away to make room for a dance floor or a band, you’ll need to make sure that those guests still have somewhere to relax and enjoy themselves.
If there’s nothing like an open fire where you’re getting married, then you could use your creativity and amuse your guests by playing a log fire DVD on a TV, and put comfortable sofas around to lounge on.
A hot chocolate bar
As an alternative to a sweetie table or chocolate fountain, you could set up a hot chocolate table where guests can make their own hot drinks and add sprinkles of marshmallows, dollops of cream or chocolate flakes. Make sure there’s some coffee to hand as well, with flavoured syrups. Ask your venue to put the hot chocolate and coffee in insulated pots and you’ve got your own mini coffee bar!
Think about how you’d like to be welcomed at a winter wedding, from the moment you arrive until the time you leave. Use these ideas to inspire you to plan the perfect winter party!