10 Winter Wedding Dos and Don'ts

Temperatures are dropping, snow is falling and for you, wedding bells are ringing! Here are a few tips to make your winter wedding fabulous.
by The Knot
Winter wedding
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Weddings aren't just spring and summer affairs. Now, more couples are opting to marry during what was previously the off-season for weddings—and why not? Between the romantic ambience of a snowy landscape and the sparse competition for vendors and sites, there's so much to love about winter weddings

According to The Knot 2018 Real Weddings study, 75 percent of all weddings take place from May to October, with September being the most popular month. Findings, however, show that winter weddings are slowly rising in popularity. In 2018, eight percent of couples wed during the winter months—a three percent increase from 2017. If you're planning a winter wedding, know that you're not confined to a stereotypical theme. Instead, you can personalize your chilly weather nuptials to perfectly represent you and your partner. As you get creative with details, there are a few things you shouldn't overlook during the planning process. Below, check out our top dos and don'ts for planning a winter wedding. 

Do Experiment With Colors and Textures

You shouldn't feel bound to a palette of winter whites, greens and reds that traditionally surround the holiday season. Instead, one of the best winter wedding ideas is to experiment with your favorite colors to create a palette that's unique to you. If you love pastels, consider hues with frosty undertones to compliment the seasonality of your wedding date. Similarly, bold colors will create an unexpected dimension to your decor, along with rich textures such as velvet, wool or plaid. Add depth to your palette by incorporating these details into your table settings or your bridesmaids’ shawls.  

Don't Feel Confined to a Winter Wonderland Theme

A winter wedding doesn't mean you have to adhere to a holiday theme, especially if it's not fit to your taste. There are a variety of ways to incorporate winter influences into your design that don't feel stereotypical or expected. Hearty, farm-to-table menu options, rich fabric textures or interactive reception stations (like a hot chocolate bar) can all complement the time of year when you choose to get married. 

Do Consider Seasonality

The date of your wedding will influence what foods and florals are in season. As you start to plan, note how the time of year will affect factors like your centerpieces and menu options. Including seasonal florals like white roses, calla lilies or poinsettias might be better for your budget, while hearty vegetables and entrees like sweet potatoes and chicken or winter squash and pasta would reflect a delicious winter wedding menu.

Do Dress In Style

Forget those who say you have to wear certain fabrics or silhouettes depending on the time of year you're getting married. It's completely okay (and encouraged) to wear whatever wedding dress you want. The same goes for your bridesmaids—you can bring your vision to life with numerous styles. One suggestion is incorporating accessories like cozy shawls or fuzzy hand warmers for outdoor moments (they'll appreciate having something to keep them warm during pictures).  Plus, you'll probably have the heat on in an indoor venue, so they'll appreciate being dressed in something a little lighter (especially when the dancing starts).

Don't Forget a Detailed Photo Schedule

A winter wedding doesn't mean you’re limited to indoor photos. While it might take careful planning, it's still possible to coordinate beautiful day-of pictures with your photographer. Keep in mind that in some areas of the world, the sky gets darker earlier in the day, so work with your vendors to create a timeline that lends itself to suitable lighting. 

It's also important to pack accordingly—you might want a shawl to cover up in between shots or an old pair of shoes to throw on if you're walking on snowy (or muddy) ground. Take some time to scout the best locations too. You'll want to avoid standing in dirty snow or on an icy surface. 

Do Create a Cozy Reception Space

There are plenty of ways to make your reception an inviting space. With the sun setting early, candles will add a romantic glow to your party, while lush and soft textures (think: velvet ribbon around napkins or chenille pillows in the lounge) will build just the right ambience. To play up the theme, arrange fire pits outside or have a custom hot chocolate or hot toddy bar inside.

Don't Forget a Coat Check

If you’re marrying in a place where your guests will be bundled up, offering a coat check at your ceremony and reception spaces is an important detail that shouldn't be overlooked. Given that your guests will likely be wearing jackets, they'll want a safe place to store their belongings throughout your wedding day. They'll appreciate the thought behind the gesture since they’ll be focused on you (not their extra items). 

Do Be Considerate of Indoor Temperatures

It might be cold outside, but things could very well heat up on the dance floor. If it seems like guests are breaking a serious sweat, ask your wedding coordinator or site manager to turn the heat down a notch (or two). If there are separate thermostats for different areas of your reception space, set the one for the dance floor area a few degrees lower.

Don't Overlook the Possibility of Inclimate Weather

Weather can be unpredictable during the winter months, so it's important to make alternate plans in case of inclement weather. Arrange transportation for your guests from the ceremony to the reception, or provide them with local car services to help them travel between venues. Be sure to touch base with your ceremony and reception venue site coordinators to discuss anything you need to know about handling poor weather on the day of your wedding. 

Do Receive Guests Indoors

If you want to have a receiving line, coordinate the schedule ahead of time so guests aren't left freezing outside. If your ceremony space has a large enough entryway or vestibule, you may be able to wait there and have guests greet you after the ceremony. To hold a receiving line at the reception, do it inside rather than greeting guests as they enter. That way, when the line starts to bottleneck, guests in the back aren't left waiting (and shivering).

Finally, wedding favors that could be of use during the ceremony and reception are an alternative and thoughtful gesture too. If you're expecting chilly weather, your loved ones will appreciate a thoughtful present like a throw blanket that they can use throughout the day.

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