‘Tis the season for wonderful winter weddings! Make yours a sparkling success with this guide to tying the knot over the festive period.
Crisp mornings, candlelit ceremonies and a golden hour of glowy light that arrives early at this time of year… There’s a lot to look forward to if you’re planning a winter wedding. And that’s beyond the obvious thing, of course – the fact you’re actually getting married!
There’s also the often-reduced price tag, and the priceless chance for snow, to get excited about. Here, we get to grips with planning winter weddings to help you make your day as dreamy as can be.
While you might have decided to choose a dress with sleeves for yourself, don’t forget your bridesmaids too. It’s essential that you ensure your best girls are dressed not just for the occasion, but for the season as well. Shivering maids in strapless dresses won’t make for big smiles in your photographs, so try faux fur wraps, cute capes or even coats to keep everyone cosy and happy.
If you want your own accessories to stand out from your bridesmaids, look for a statement or bespoke piece. We’ve seen floor-length cloaks skimming bridal catwalks, which could be playfully embellished with pompom edging or sleek and high fashion in their aesthetic. Or, take inspiration from one of our featured brides and commission an ostrich feather cape that no other cover-up could compare to.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a suit is a suit for every season, either. Winter grooms will appreciate thicker fabrics and heavier wool blends for a smart and temperature appropriate outfit. Tweeds and tartans tend to be warmer than everyday alternatives, with the bonus that they look brilliantly festive, too. Why not also embrace the opportunity for layers, adding a waistcoat for warmth when outdoors, which can easily be removed later on?
Give your guests a warm welcome when they arrive at your wedding reception. You could choose hot canapés, serve mugs of mulled cider or swap salad for soup starters. Church and barn venues can be particularly prone to feeling cooler, thanks to their impressive high ceilings and stone interiors, so guests will be especially grateful for these toasty treats.
You could theme your drinks reception, adding berries to each flute of Prosecco for a pop of festive cheer. Why not enlist the help of Miss B’s Bubbles and make it truly memorable, with your Prosecco served straight from a vintage Piaggio van (missbsbubbles.co.uk).
When it comes to the main event, make sure it’s hot and hearty. From hog roasts to beef bourguignon, served with dauphinoise potatoes and all the trimmings, winter weddings are the perfect time to eat, drink and be merry. Do so, and you’re certain to have delighted guests. You could follow up with a warm dessert, like sticky toffee pudding or freshly baked chocolate brownie, or add a final flourish with coffee and petit fours.
And if you don’t fancy the traditional buffet for your evening dishes, don’t have one! Hire in a fish and chip van, a Mexican stall for nachos and burritos on tap, or a gourmet burger stand… whatever your tastes, these ideas should give you plenty of food for thought.
This is the season of sparkle! Whether you embrace it with glimmers of gold amid a sophisticated claret and navy colour scheme or shimmering silver paired with leafy green, navy or the softest of pinks, winter weddings are destined to be glittering affairs.
Consider your venue when choosing colours. If you’re marrying in a marble-filled country house, silver details will look particularly special. Choose a converted barn, on the other hand, and the rustic setting will look nothing short of magical when decked out in glorious shades of burgundy and rose gold.
Remember that even if you won’t be spending much time outdoors, you’re still connected to it by the windows. Make a note of which areas of the grounds are visible from your reception room, then decorate! Fairy lights woven between bare branches creates an enchanting effect, as do illuminated hanging lanterns.
You can also bring the outdoors in through flowers. Fronds of fir or eucalyptus add a wintry feel without feeling overly Christmassy. Look for a florist well versed in creating bespoke arrangements, like Cabbagewhite Flowers, based in Surrey, to bring your vision to life (cabbagewhiteflowers.co.uk).
Whatever the Weather
With winter weddings comes winter weather, but that’s not always a bad thing. The wind and rain can be less than desirable, but those twinkling frosts and dustings of snow are things of dreams. And if you don’t wake to a white blanket outside, you could always turn to snow confetti.
It does, however, pay to be well prepared. Swap your basket of flip-flops for blankets instead, or perhaps provide pashminas for guests to put on as the evening draws in.
While you’re planning for potentially inclement conditions, it’s worth thinking about transport. If your ceremony and reception will be at different venues but are within walking distance, you might still like to consider providing transport for yourself and your guests – you’d be amazed at how drenching five minutes of rain can be.
Your entertainment could also be affected by the season. While the longer nights mean you could kick off the fireworks sooner, the cold weather might make a long display a little uncomfortable to watch from outside, where as a statement show, for example from a Catherine Wheel, could offer a better balance for guests. If your venue has a fire pit for warmth, have your guests gather round for a romantic sparkler send off at the end of the night.
Whatever the season, every wedding requires extensive planning and poses its own challenges. Keep the month in mind while you make decisions and there’s every chance your big day will be as magical as you imagine.
Winter weddings by number
We took to Twitter to find out what you think about winter weddings. Now it’s time to reveal the results!
Burgundy is best, with 6/10 couples voting it their favourite winter colour scheme
Deck the halls! There should be at least one Christmas tree at every winter wedding, say almost 80% of voters
S’mores kits take 1st place for the most popular winter wedding favour
But candy bars are strictly off the menu, with no couples choosing this sweet treat
29% of people would choose to drink luxury hot chocolate at a winter wedding
Deep red drinks and white dresses might not mix, with only 14% of people reaching for a glass of mulled wine
But cocktails are still the clear favourite, taking top spot with 43% of the vote
Bag a bargain! 3/5 of couples think winter weddings are cheaper than summer