Photo via Wedding Sparrow Holly Louwerse Photography
I'll let you in on a little secret of mine: I LOVE winter weddings, quite possibly even more than weddings in the summer. Don't get me wrong, summers in Montana are pretty incredible, but there's just something about winter weddings that really get to me. Maybe it's because I have always been so obsessed with the Christmas season ever since I was little - so much so that I feel transformed when that first snow falls or when December 1st hits and my house gets DECKED OUT in Christmas decor (stay tuned for that folks).
Either way, I love myself a good winter wedding and have compiled....
10 TIPS TO PULL OFF A WINTER WEDDING
1. Consider Travel Costs and the Holidays
If you know you want to have a winter wedding, but don't know exactly when, take travel costs into consideration. Anything close to Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's is going to have a much higher price tag then weekends later in January or February. Keep that in mind if you have a lot of guests that will be traveling from out of state to your wedding and will be looking for airfare. Also check out apps and services such as Hopper to scope out the best airfare and deals.
2. Glam up your Decor
Perhaps one of my favorite parts about winter weddings is the amount of sparkle and glitter you can get away with that you just can't at your typical Montana summer wedding. Opt for some sequin or sparkle on your bridesmaids (if that's your style) to really brighten up your winter day. Sequin runners or added sparkle on the tables is a great way to incorporate some more glam, especially for those New Years and Christmas season weddings. More winter wedding decor tips will be included in the next part to this Winter Wedding Tips series.
photo by Paige Marie Photography
3. Take weather into consideration when choosing your venue
If you're getting married somewhere like Montana where it snows more often than not, it is a good idea to choose a venue that will allow you to have both your ceremony and reception in the same location. This will limit the amount of traveling both you and your guests will have to do on your wedding day, keep everyone safe, and not to mention save you lots of time.
photo via Uttke Photography
4. Ensure your Guests are comfortable
Most wedding guests are likely used to attending weddings of their friends and family during the summer where weather isn't as treacherous, and clothing is easier to plan. Supplying blankets for guests (especially if you are one of those dare devils that wants a ceremony in the snow) helps to keep them warm and cozy - not to mention it's a great personal touch.
Another great way to keep guests warm and comfortable is to include a "Hot Beverage Station" at the entrance. Sometimes even the later summer and fall weddings get chilly here in Montana, and I love when the couple has some hot chocolate and cider available - it's a real hit with the guests too!
photo via Celebrating Everyday Life
5. Have a Coat Check
Since your guests will likely be wearing large bulky coats over their nice wedding attire, consider having a coat check where your guests can drop off their items in a secure location where they won'y have to worry about lugging them around throughout the reception and can hit the dance floor. Hire someone (possibly even a friend you trust) to operate a table with a couple clothing racks to keep all their items safe and secure.
6. Be Prepared for some "No"s
With the holiday season and the likeliness of winter storms, be prepared to receive some declined RSVPs. Don't take offense - many people opt out of traveling during the winter months due to weather delays and safety, or can only handle it once during the season. *tip: if you're hoping to have a smaller wedding, but HAVE to invite all the family members so as not to offend anyone - choose a winter wedding date ;)
7. Keep your Bridal Party Warm
Let's face it, if you're having a winter wedding, you're going to want to take those swoon-worthy romantic snowy pictures at some point, right? To get the most out of these photographs and ensure your bridal party looks happy (rather than freezing their tails off) have all your ladies wear leggings under their dresses (assuming they are long dresses). They won't show in your photos or to your guests, but your bridesmaids will have an extra layer of warmth to keep them comfortable during photos. Also - keep a stash of Hand Warmers to put in the groom and groomsmen's pockets to warm up those digits.
photo via Style Me Pretty
Another idea I have seen done is to have bridesmaids carry matching muffs in lieu of a bouquet. Not only will this save on your floral costs (tend to be pricy during winter, as many flowers are not in season) but will also help keep your ladies' hands warm! *extra tip: this is another great space to store some hand warmers for extra warmth. Additional bridesmaids accessories include pashminas, blanket scarves or fur coats.
8. Be Consciences When it Comes to Your Florals
One of the biggest downfalls about a winter wedding is the difficulty to find fresh florals at a decent price. There are few flowers that are in season during this time which means prices will be at an all time high. Consider using dried florals for your winter wedding to not only help out your budget, but they will also add to the aesthetic of your wedding. Find a florist that specializes in dried florals like Earth Within Flowers to ensure you will still get the beauty and aesthetic of a fresh floral arrangement.
Incorporating wreaths in place of floral arrangements is a great way to still add flowers and greenery, while also sticking to your theme flawlessly.
photo via The Wedding of My Dreams
9. Drink lots and lots and LOTS of Water
Winter is a very dry time which means it is easy to get dehydrated and dry skin. Take extra care of your skin in the time leading up to your wedding and make sure to always drink plenty of water. Don't skimp on your moisturizer and be sure to carry extra chapstick and hand lotion with you (or appoint your MOH or Best Man to carry it for you) so you don't dry out or crack.
10. Timing is Everything
When it comes to the timing of your winter wedding, allow yourself (and your guests) plenty of buffer time, especially if your ceremony and reception are in two different locations. You want to allow extra travel time in case roads are slick or need to be plowed so that you don't feel the need to rush through the evening if your reception gets a late start. Plan your ceremony earlier in the day to ensure you have enough time in between the two.
Take the timing into consideration when planning for photos as well. The sun sets much earlier in the winter, so plan accordingly when it comes to scheduling your photographs. I recommend taking as many photos prior to the ceremony as possible so that you don't have to race the sun to get all the portraits you want later.
I hope these 10 tips help you in the planning of your winter wedding! As always, feel free to contact me for any assistance you might need in the planning, styling or photography aspects of your wedding.