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Everything You Need to Know About Winter Weddings (Incl. Christmas Decor)

winter wedding blog header image

When it comes to planning a winter wedding, there are more than a few hurdles to overcome. Between Christmas decor, warm roast dinners, and winter-themed crafts, guiding your clients to a special and magical day under a blanket of snow is a wonderful experience. 

Winter weddings are romantic and glamorous, with a natural backdrop and tons of opportunities for themed menus and decorations. Navigating those pesky hurdles, however, can be daunting. That’s why this is everything you need to know about winter weddings.

With Winter Weddings, Timing is of the Essence

Winter weddings are popular for the fact they tend to be cheaper, as it’s not prime wedding season, and the sort of magical romance that comes along with falling snow.

That said, when talking with your clients about planning a winter wedding, there are a few things to keep in mind. Timing and when the wedding will take place, and where, is very important.

A January wedding in Virginia is unlikely to be snowed out. It’ll be chilly, but guests won’t be freezing their toes off. A January wedding in Ontario, Canada, though, is going to run the risk of some serious temperature drops. It all depends on where the nuptials will be taking place.

Timing a winter wedding isn’t all about the weather, however. There are these pesky things called major holidays, and they are what may make a winter wedding more difficult. But there are steps couples can take to get all their snowflakes in line and have a wonderful winter wedding.

Beware the Blizzard

winter snow storm in city
A Winter storm can ruin your perfectly laid plans. Do you have a Plan B?

Much like destination weddings, planning a winter wedding has one major adversary: the weather. When talking with clients about a winter wedding, your first two questions should be: where will it be and in what month? 

While the weather these days can be a bit unpredictable, there are certain places in the world that tend to get snow more regularly than others. Do your research on average snowfall when it comes to wedding locations. 

If clients want a snowy wedding, great, but make sure they are aware that there are added risks associated with that. They will need to have contingency plans in place if there is a major storm, if the power goes out, if guests are too cold, or if the roads are not safe enough to travel. Aesthetics are great, but not when they come at the cost of safety and enjoyment.

December is the safest month, weather wise, for winter weddings, but there are a number of holidays during that time, which makes it a strategic challenge.

Holiday Humbugs

Themed weddings around holidays are nothing new. Halloween weddings are a staple for the fall, but when it comes to winter, there are a whole bunch of holidays squished together. From Christmas to Hanukkah to Ramadan and New Year’s Eve, winter holidays come in rapid succession.

Helping clients plan a wedding around these holidays, or even on one of them, may be a logistical nightmare. However, it is entirely possible to pull it off.

Make sure couples know that a majority of their guest list is likely to say no if their wedding falls on or too close to a major family holiday. They may want to opt for a micro wedding and really narrow down their guest list.

A lot of venues will be booked out for holiday parties as well, so make sure clients know they need to be planning much farther ahead than they may reasonably need to if they were just having a regular winter wedding.

Don’t Get Cold Feet (Literally)

The winter is, generally speaking, a bit brisk. Winter weddings can be gorgeous, glamorous affairs, but the fact is that it is likely to be chilly. Keeping guests, as well as the wedding party,comfortable and warm is quite important.

If any aspect of the ceremony or reception is outdoors, make sure there are plenty of heat sources for people. This can be everything from electric heat lamps to bonfires and heated tents. As long as people have a place to go to warm up, clients will have a much happier wedding overall.

How people are going to be dressed is also something to have couples take into consideration. Strapless dresses aren’t such a great choice for the bridesmaids in February. Make sure clients don’t force people into clothes that aren’t practical for the weather. Recommend velvets and heavier dresses, warmer suits, and accessories like faux fur stoles and shawls.

Create a Winter Wonderland

groom in a tuxedo, in winter, with pine cone decor
A pine cone and conifer Christmas decor option never heard.

A great way to really capture the essence of winter is with seasonal decorations. There are a lot of options when it comes to winter wedding decor, from subtle and soft to bold and bright. Here are some ideas to run past your clients.

  1. Glitter and Shine: Mimic newfallen snow with glitter and shine, not only as make-up but in accents for decor. For a DIY project, decorate flower vases with silver glitter spray paint for a stunning centerpiece.
  2. Frosted Decor: By incorporating frosted champagne glasses, clients can bring the outdoors inside, as well as add a chic element to dinner time.
  3. Silver and Gold: Like the song goes, silver and gold are perfect colors for Christmas decor, and they work brilliantly for winter weddings as well. Use these metallic shades in combination with deep red and greens for a bolder color scheme, or a variety of blues for something more dainty.
  4. Romantic Candlelight: Clients can never go wrong with having candles at their wedding, and a winter wedding is a great occasion for candles to add some warmth and atmosphere.
  5. Evergreens, Pines, and Firs: Incorporating these traditional winter trees into winter wedding decor will bring in a natural element and also tie in well to Christmas. Couples can even have a Christmas tree as part of their wedding for some extra ambience.
  6. Cranberry and Mistletoe: By using seasonal plants, fruit, and flowers, a winter wedding will really stand out. Use cranberries and holly to add beautiful pops of color to table decor or even on top of plates.
  7. DIY Gifts and Presents: Have clients capitalize on the holiday season when it comes to winter weddings and encourage gifts for guests to take home. Some great winter DIY ideas include hand-poured candles, Christmas cookie packs, customized ornaments, or even something as cute as a make-your-own snowflake.

Christmas Decor, Cookies, and Cocoa

A winter wedding is a great way to incorporate the love for the holidays and feed two birds with one scone. A Christmas-themed wedding has a ton of options and can be as subtle or flamboyant as clients want. 

Silver bells, wreaths, and white Christmas lights are great for an upscale Christmas theme. For couples who want to go all in, Christmas trees, presents, snowmen decorations (or even real ones), Christmas carols, and maybe even a White Elephant reception gift exchange will bring the holiday to the forefront.

When it comes to accents and bringing winter into the decor, it’s all about the staples. Use candy canes as decorative accents on the table, or garland along a family-style table as a classy centerpiece.

Cinnamon, Cranberry, and More: Drinks and Desserts

The dessert bar should lean into seasonal flavors like peppermint, cinnamon, eggnog, and chocolate. Cookies are a fun way to incorporate the holidays, as they can be for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Ramadan. Besides, everyone likes a fun cookie.

A hot cocoa bar will be a fun twist for guests, as would a mulled wine station for those who want something seasonal but a little more elegant. That said, incorporating alcohol into the hot cocoa bar is always a choice as well. There are plenty of winter-themed cocktails as well, and after-dinner coffee can always be served with some peppermint simple syrup on the side.

When it comes to food overall, winter is synonymous with warm, hearty meals. Encourage clients to lean into the season and to stay away from boring, typical wedding food. Turkey or even cornish game hens are a great way to do that for proteins. Use seasonal root vegetables and warm everything up with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

A few more ideas about how to incorporate the holiday spirit into the drinks and decor.

Planning a Perfect Winter Wedding

Planning a winter wedding is a great way to liven up a notoriously slow season. By showcasing what you can do with obstacles like holidays and weather, clients will see you as not only knowledgeable but creative as well.

Make a Pinterest board with your ideas, as well as any winter weddings you’ve done. Show off those Christmas decor receptions and beautiful snowy aisles. You never know, you may just be on someone’s Christmas list to plan their big day.

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Annette Corrie

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Our ‘Certificate of Professional Wedding Planning Course’ is here to help you through the process, by providing a step-by-step guide to getting started and becoming successful in your new career. This course will help you gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to oversee all the details of a wedding. This course will help you prepare a successful and magnificent event!

Annette Corrie

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