Decisions, decisions – you’ve just got engaged and you’re wondering when to marry. Part of you likes the idea of having a wedding in summer, on a beautifully warm day with a lovely light evening to enjoy. On the other hand, a proper white wedding that looks like a Christmas card, with a church in the snow, Christmas trees and candlelight would be lovely too!
One word of warning from us though: don’t plan on the weather whatever season you’re marrying in. There’s nothing to say you won’t have a chilly, windy and wet day in June and of course there’s no guarantee of snow in December – it may just be cold and dark.
Where will you marry?
So weather aside, the first thing we think you should consider if you’re trying to decide whether to get married in the summer or the winter is your venue.
Certain venues lend themselves to different times of year better than others. For example, if you’ve got a fabulous outdoor area that’s just crying to be filled with a marquee then you should plan on getting hitched during the warmer months – no matter how beautifully decorated it is, guests don’t want to shiver in a tent in January.
On the other hand, if you’re a real townie and want a small chic affair then a winter wedding can work beautifully in the heart of a city.
What’s going to make your money go further?
Other things to bear in mind are the costings and availability. More people tend to want to get married in the summer rather than the winter, and as a result popular venues tend to be booked well in advance during these months – particularly on a Saturday. You’ll also find that suppliers such as wedding photographers, florists, chauffeur hire, and caterers are more likely to be busy. But don’t panic too much – if you get married on a less popular day of the week, say a Wednesday, you’re more likely to get the venue you want.
If you’re having your wedding dress made to order, there’s also going to be a waiting list for dresses for the summer months for all the reasons above.
Marrying in summer may turn out to be more expensive in some ways than a winter wedding – you’re less likely to be able to negotiate discounts with your suppliers as they won’t need to offer competitive rates at this time due to demand.
On the other hand, you may find your flowers less expensive as more blooms are in season (and therefore cheaper) during the summer months.
So what’s good about marrying in winter?
Well, firstly – unless you choose Christmas Day or Boxing Day – you may find that many more people can come to your wedding. They’re less likely to have booked a holiday during the winter months, and everybody enjoys a get-together with family and friends during this time of the year.
You may find it easier on your wallet too – venues and suppliers are often less busy during winter, so they may work out special rates for you so that they get the business. You could also find your dream venue more available to you, and your guests will be able to find accommodation more readily (although this again depends on where you are marrying – some hotels in rural spots or by the coast can shut during December and January).
You can still play around with theme at a winter wedding, and have some fun with your day. Dress your bridesmaids with brightly-coloured pashminas; use twinkling candles and tealights as venue decorations; ring the changes by serving mulled wine and hot chocolate at your reception with mince pies, spicy cocktail sausages and warm soups; have a firework display.
Your wedding will stand out more in winter. Your family and friends may well go to many summer weddings but far fewer are held at this time – so yours will be remembered for being different!
You could serve simpler, less expensive food that’s still hearty and warming. We’re thinking soups, stews and old-fashioned puddings like treacle tart and custard.
Winter weddings are good for creating an intimate, cozy atmosphere, so that’s something to think about if you’re having a smaller wedding.
And what’s good about marrying in summer?
Well, first off, the weather is likely to be better. You probably aren’t going to have to have a back-up plan to get you and your guests to the reception in case there is a blizzard! Also, if you’re having a wedding around Christmas, flights for far-flung relatives are likely to be more expensive at this time for them.
There’s something about summer that just makes people happy and energised. If you’re having a long wedding day, with a ceremony mid-afternoon and planning to dance the night away afterwards, you’re more likely to find that your guests are up for the entertainment if they can sit outside and enjoy the warm evening air.
Although you may have to book your venue earlier, you will find a wider range to choose from – you can always get married in a marquee in the grounds of a venue, or at a venue with a conservatory or an outdoor lawn which might not seem quite as appealing in the colder months.
You can also investigate different food options that wouldn’t work as well in winter, such as an outdoor hog roast, a barbecue, a fish and chip van or an ice cream van.