From Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, a holiday wedding is a popular and surprisingly cost-efficient trend. Planning one of these nuptials can be a lot of fun, but they also come with some challenges. After all, anyone who has tried to get together for New Year’s knows the struggle.
That said, there are ways to make sure you’re on top of everything and can plan an amazing holiday wedding.
The Etiquette of Planning a Holiday Wedding
There are a few very important things to consider when planning a holiday wedding: weather, outfits, and time. Make sure you’re speaking with clients about these details, especially for winter holiday parties and engagements.
The Guest List Problem
One thing to keep in mind when planning a holiday wedding with clients is that not everyone is going to come. Making sure they have realistic expectations about attendance is crucial. The holidays are a special time to a lot of people, and friends and even family may just have other plans they can’t change.
One way to help couples counteract this is to send Save the Date cards very early on, or perhaps have a range of dates on there, having people select when they would be available. Then couples can solidify their wedding date based on that feedback. It may be too much of a step for some, but it is an option for those who are very concerned about who will be able to make it.
Comfort and Warmth
The holiday season tends to be cold, and clients will need to make accommodations for their guests and wedding party so they don’t catch a chill. Encourage them to have their party in warm outfits, like velvet and satin. No silk sleeveless dresses for a New Year’s Eve wedding, please!
And if people are outside, planning ahead with heat sources is vital. There are plenty of options for clients to choose from, from portable ceramic heaters and heat lamps to actual fires (safely lit of course).
Planning Ahead for Holiday Chaos
Most people would agree that the time around the holidays is chaotic all on its own. Throw in a wedding and things are bound to get crazy. However, that’s why couples hire a wedding planner in the first place.
Holiday parties may be booking out venues that clients will want for their wedding or reception. To get ahead of the game, make sure you’re assisting them in scheduling places far ahead of time. Vendors may also be booked up because of parties and other engagements.
Touch base with your holiday vendor list to keep track of their availability. After all, you don’t want to sell couples on an amazing caterer, only for them to be booked up when you try to reserve them.
Snow, Ice, and Nothing Nice
A winter wonderland is the ideal scenario for many a holiday wedding. However, the weather is far from predictable and your clients need to manage their expectations. If they want to get married somewhere that always has a white Christmas, they’d better be prepared to deal with travel delays and everything else that comes along with a lot of snow.
Safety is vital, so make sure your clients are taking the necessary precautions. The last thing they, or you, want to be dealing with on the wedding day is a car accident or stranded bridesmaids during a snowstorm.
Make sure there is a backup indoor space if clients want an outdoor ceremony. Ice-covered trees may look gorgeous in photographs, but they can be extremely dangerous, as can icicles.
Let’s Talk About Holiday Wedding Budgets
For the budget conscious, holiday weddings, or at least those in the winter, are a great way to save some cash. It’s the off-season for weddings, and while your planner may not be as full as it is during the spring and summer, there are still plenty of nuptials to be had.
When it’s Cheaper
When speaking with clients about creating a budget for their holiday wedding, make sure they are aware of the cost-cutting benefits of holiday-timed weddings. For starters, family may already be in town if it’s close to major holidays. This will cut down on extra travel time and expenses.
If a couple is a DIYer or definitely keeping a tight hold of their purse strings, there are a lot of elements that will be cheaper during this time of year. Instead of florals, couples can use branches, pumpkins, and other cheaper plants to save some serious cash.
Also, there will be tons of holiday sales going on, so prices for alcohol for a bring-your-own-beer bar, or spirits for a wine-only bar, will cost much less than at other times of the year. If a couple is planning a year ahead, post-holiday decorations are going to be heavily discounted.
Encourage them to do their shopping right after the holiday around which they want to get married. Just put everything in storage until closer to the wedding in a year’s time.
When it’s Not
There are some financial drawbacks to having a wedding between Thanksgiving and New Years. Flight costs are always through the roof, as are gas prices and bus and train tickets.
Everyone is traveling during this time, and while doing holiday dinner and a wedding during the same time will overall save money, travel prices are still something that clients need to account for.
Hotel rooms will also be booked up around the holidays, especially in the era of COVID-19 where having everyone camped out in the same house may not be the norm. Make sure clients are booking ahead and understand these prices may be inflated.
This can go for venues as well. If couples want to get married at a ski lodge or somewhere that is a very popular winter destination, those prices aren’t going to be low—especially around the holidays.
They may end up paying more than usual as a matter of fact. Choosing the right venue for their budget will be critical. Make sure you have alternatives to show them.
Working New Year’s Eve and Christmas into the Wedding Theme
When it comes to themes, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are perfect for a magical wedding. There are plenty of ways to bring aspects of both holidays into a special day for your clients. Pinterest has a load of ideas and options, so don’t forget to make some mood boards for your clients and their respective holidays.
From the subtle and glamorous to the outrageous and ostentatious, here is a guide to working in everything from party decorations to recipes and color schemes.
Christmas Decorations for a Wedding
If a couple is getting married around Christmas, it will be a breeze working in that holiday theme. Christmas decorations come in many shapes and sizes and can be perfectly matched to your clients and their taste.
Play off a popular Christmas song like “Silver and Gold” for a classy Christmas theme. Add in pops of deep red and green for some extra Christmas spirit, but keeping with the metallics will heighten the Christmas decorations and the mood.
A full-on Christmas themed wedding can have small evergreens as statement pieces around the reception space, either bare for a softer addition, or fully decorated to really drive home the theme. Wedding guests can get their favors in wrapped boxes, making it seem like they all got a Christmas present for going to the wedding.
Garland, lights, tinsel, and ornaments can all be incorporated into the decoration and design. If a couple likes traditional Christmas cartoons, throw in some Rudolphs, Frosty the Snowmen, and elves into the mix. A North Pole-themed photo booth would also be a great idea.
Decorations for a New Year’s Party
New Year’s Eve is always a party in and of itself, so having a wedding on or near the holiday is a great way for clients to celebrate the new year and their new marriage at the same time. Ideas for incorporating the holiday into their happy day include a countdown to the ceremony or first kiss as a married couple, noisemakers to blow, and Auld Lang Syne as a wedding march.
Outfits are a great way to play up the New Year’s theme as well. Couples can have everyone come in their party wear. On that note, having a later wedding can also tie in the New Year theme.
Recipes for a Successful Holiday Wedding Dinner
Themed food is always fun and can be a great way to tie in holidays as well. From roast turkey to Christmas cookies and champagne, encourage your clients to really lean into the theme. Not only will this make their wedding memorable to guests, but it may work to their benefit financially as well.
They always say to shop in season, so chances are that hotels and other venues with built-in packages will have holiday-themed offerings. Also, most people in a creative field, which is most vendors, love to have something a little different to work on.
Holiday Weddings to Write Home About
A well planned and executed holiday wedding is not only satisfying but can be wonderful for your portfolio too. While there are not as many weddings during this season, that just gives you more time and resources to make them extra special.
So whether it’s a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed reception or a glamorous New Year’s Eve ceremony, make the holiday weddings you plan as good as presents on Christmas morning.