6 Practical Tips to planning the perfect Winter Wedding
Amid the chaos of this Corona Virus outbreak, you may have been one of the many couples who have had to make the heart-breaking decision to postpone your wedding. I can only imagine how hard this is, especially after all the hard work and planning that will have gone in to preparing for a Spring or Summer event, only to now be facing the prospect of an Autumn or even Winter wedding.
But do not fear! Winter weddings can be just as magical and breathtakingly beautiful as a Summer wedding. There are, however, a few things you can do to make sure you are as prepared as possible for a colder season wedding.
1. Tweak your wedding design to encompass a more wintery concept.
The two main things to consider are your colour palette and your flowers.
There is absolutely no reason to completely change your colour palette if you have already bought dresses and other items, but you may like to consider adding one or two darker toned colours to bring some depth to an otherwise pastel or ‘summery’ palette.
You can add subtle accents of these warmer tones in the form of napkins, candles, shoes, waistcoats and, perhaps most significantly, your flowers.
Flowers will be your main design consideration. Whilst it may be possible for your florist to source some imported flowers which may not otherwise be available in the UK in winter, using only ‘summer’ varieties in the depths of winter would look out of place. If you have already chosen your florist, have a conversation with them about how you can alter the floral design to suit your new wedding date, possibly with the addition of some new colours to add that wintery element.
n.b. Bear in mind, however, that there may be some knock on effects to the availability of flowers following the Corona outbreak and your florist may not be able to advise on specific availability until much closer to your wedding date. Try to be as open and flexible as you can and trust in your Florist’s experience – they are absolute magicians when it comes to creating beauty out of what is available to them.
2. Consider your lighting
Embrace the shorter daylight hours and take the opportunity to inject even more romance to your day with oodles of candles. You can fill both your ceremony and your reception space with candle lanterns, tealights and dinner candles to create a soft hazy glow.
Also, consider adding some fairy lights or festoon lighting along pathways to guide your guests in the dark, or string a canopy of lights across your reception ceiling to create the feeling of dining under the stars.
3. Consider the light
No, that wasn’t a typo! Light (or lack of it) plays a major role in a winter wedding and therefore deserves to take up two points!
Remember that it gets dark much earlier in the winter months so it is worth considering how that might affect your photography schedule. Make the most of the daylight and consider altering the timings of your day to ensure the main photographs can be taken before the sun goes down. Involve your photographer when you are working out your timeline as they will be able to advise on the best times and locations for your photographs.
I asked Wedding Photographer, Amanda Karen Photography, about her tips for planning a winter wedding from a photography perspective.
“The first thing to think of is your timings. The sun will set a lot earlier in the winter, so if you’re wanting group shots and your couple portraits in the beautiful grounds of your venue, then you may need to tweak some of your timings to make sure you can make the best use of the light. The bonus to a winter wedding is that with that gorgeous golden hour of light being earlier, you can get some stunning sunset shots that you may not have been able to get in the summer where the sunsets at 9pm!”
“Think about where you can have your images inside and talk to your photographer about where the light is best to do this. You can always spruce up an indoor area for photos by adding some sort of backdrop, be it florals or fairy lights. And if you do still want to brave the outside (as you can get some really dramatic shots in the weather) then wrap up warm, think about footwear and the umbrellas will be a must!”
And from a practical point of view she suggests…
“Think about how you can wrap up warm if you’re heading outside. You don’t want to be sporting a blue tinge to your skin if you’re cold during your portraits! In the UK, it’s always wise to have a wet weather plan, but this is even more crucial in the winter months. Have white umbrellas on hand if you’re needing to head outside between locations.”
4. Four seasons in one day.
This is the UK after all! We never know what the weather may throw our way and you might find that you have the most glorious sunny day in the middle of December. Or you might not. Plan for all eventualities, but above all, plan for the cold.
Bridal attire – consider investing in an additional item of clothing to wear over your dress – particularly if you have already bought your ‘perfect for summer’ dress. There are some truly stunning winter accessories available, from faux fur stoles, bridal coats, capes or elegant cover ups. Go back to your dress shop and talk to them about what they might have coming into stock that would complement your dress. Don’t forget about your Bridesmaids -they will also need to be kept warm!
Footwear – be bold and consider bridal boots instead of shoes! With the options now available, you will be no less stylish, but your feet will be warm and dry! Alternatively, make sure you have a spare pair available to wear for your outdoor photographs, so you don’t ruin your designer shoes sinking into mud or standing in puddles!
Keep your guests warm – provide blankets and shawls for your guests for when the temperature drops. Either display in stylish baskets around the room, or drape across the back of chairs. If you still wanted to utilise outdoor areas, think about having firepits with relaxed seating, to encourage your guests to gather socially without getting cold. You could also consider offering warm drinks as an alternative at your drink’s reception, such as mulled wine or spiced mulled cider. Ensure that you have an area for guests to hang their coats, preferably with an attendant to keep them safe and to assist your guests at the end of the evening.
Plan for rain – provide umbrellas for your guests, should the weather take a turn for the worse. Display in stylish stands or baskets at the entrance to your venues, for easy grabbing as your guests step outside.
These baskets umbrellas from Brolly Bucket are stylish and practical.
5. Minimise the need to travel
If possible, consider holding your ceremony and reception at the same venue. This not only cuts down on travel time and frees up more time for photographs while the light is good, it reduces the risk of delays caused by bad traffic due to bad weather and limits the amount of time your guests need to spend outdoors.
6. Tweak the menu
If your menu choices were based on seasonal produce with a summery vibe, you may want to consider tweaking the options to provide something a little heartier or warming. Speak to your caterer about how you can adjust the menu without completely steering away from your favourite dishes. They are food architects and will be able to build you a menu to perfectly suit your taste, using the best seasonal produce available.
We may have been thrown a curve ball this year but try to stay positive and push on with your wedding plans. With a few small tweaks to your original design, your winter wedding will be just as beautiful, if not more so, than you had originally planned.
If you would like some help or guidance with planning and re-designing your wedding to suit the winter months, I offer creative planning and styling sessions which we can safely conduct via zoom, skype or FaceTime. Take a look at what I offer here.
With special thanks to Amanda Karen Photography for her contribution.