Here at Wedding Ideas, we love a good winter wedding. When everything goes right, they can be a wonderful change from a summer wedding – we love the festive food and drink, the snowy photo opportunities and the general cozy atmosphere of friends and family coming together for a winter celebration. & Lester-203

But, we all know that British winter doesn’t always look like a Christmas card, and if a winter wedding isn’t planned properly, you could end up with guests who are left freezing cold and miserable.

Here are our top tips to keep your winter wedding guests comfortable and happy throughout your big day!

The ceremony

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If it’s chilly outside, your first priority should be keeping everyone warm – no-one can concentrate on enjoying themselves if they can’t feel their fingers! If you’re marrying in a church, remember that some country churches can feel very nippy and damp. Talk to the vicar beforehand about the heating arrangements and if you feel it’s necessary, put some rugs and blankets out on the pews for people to snuggle into. Ask the vicar if the heating will be put on well before the wedding, not just as people start to arrive, as you want the church to feel warm as they enter.

If it’s icy, make sure that somebody is in charge of putting gravel or road salt on the path leading up to the church door so that guests (particularly those in heels!) aren’t going to be slipping and sliding about.

If you’re marrying somewhere very rural which requires your guests to travel along country roads, just make sure everybody knows the best way of getting there. You don’t want somebody’s sat nav taking them down a snowy narrow lane in which they might get stuck!

After your ceremony, don’t spend ages having your photographs taken. Try and get the group photographs with your guests done first, so that everybody can get back into the warm at the earliest opportunity. 1700_Hughes

A warm welcome

You set the tone for your wedding reception the moment your guests arrive, and if they have chilly hands and fingers, they might welcome a glass of hot spiced mulled wine or hot chocolate to start with, rather than a chilled glass of champagne. You can save the fizz for after the speeches, when people have warmed up.

If you’re having a receiving line, make sure it starts inside the front door so that people aren’t waiting on a pathway outside – particularly if it’s raining!

It’s always worth having a few umbrellas to hand for guests. Ask your ushers to escort people with them to their vehicles if they don’t have an umbrella and it’s pouring as people leave the service.

Remember to make sure that the way to your reception is well-lit and signposted, particularly if you’re getting married somewhere a bit out of the way. This is the perfect opportunity to use gorgeous twinkly lights to illuminate a path – practical and pretty!

Inside the venue, you could always put piles of attractively folded blankets and throws in large baskets nearby so that people can keep off the shivers. & Lester-220

Hot and delicious

How about having a hot dessert table? You could have piping hot chocolate on tap with bowls of marshmallows and whipped cream for guests to dollop on top, as well as a chocolate fountain with warm donuts and toffee popcorn to dunk – yum!

Old-fashioned puddings like treacle pudding and crumbles with custard are very popular these days, and are perfect for keeping your guests full and warm. Talk to your caterer about what would work, and let your nostalgic side take over! & Lester-5a

And when it’s time to leave…

If people are leaving when it’s icy outside or there’s been a fall of snow, make sure that paths are safe and not slippery and that cars can exit the car park easily – particularly if people have parked in a field. You’ll know as well as us that it doesn’t take much snow to cause traffic in Britain!

If you had a winter wedding, how did you look after your guests? Any ideas you’d like to share with us? Find out what other brides are saying on our Forum and you might pick up some more tips!