The shorter days and the unpredictability of the elements make winter the least-popular season for weddings, with the vast majority of couples opting for summer or fall nuptials.
But more and more couples are finding the idea of tying the knot in the winter season romantic, cozy and unique — and also convenient in terms of booking venues.
While winter weddings can magical, they don’t come without their share of problems. It’s vital to think of every weather contingency, and to think of your guests: Will they have to walk along an icy path to get to the ceremony? Does the reception hall get chilly due to all the large windows? Or, conversely, does the room lack ventilation and get too warm and stuffy? Should a valet be stocked with umbrellas so no one gets drizzled on getting in and out of their car?
Following are tips to help create a winter wedding wonderland:
Rich seasonal colors make this a great season for weddings, but overdoing the reds and greens can make the ceremony more holiday-oriented than you intended. Consider a less-is-more approach to your color palette: Silver and white with crystal accents can add some glamour to the proceedings. For the ceremony, try a white velvet aisle runner trimmed with white satin ribbon, or decorate the altar with a crystal curtain backdrop adorned with hanging strands of elegant white orchids.
The first potential pitfall for weddings in most parts of the country is obviously the chilly temperatures. Be sure to dress your wedding party weather-appropriate. You can still choose strapless dresses or bridesmaid dresses with shorter hems, but consider incorporating wraps in an accenting color or even opaque tights if they will be spending a significant amount of time outdoors.
As for the bride, the long-sleeved wedding dress trend is gaining more and more favor, with brides everywhere rocking tons of new styles. From plaid toppers to lacy sleeves and modern minimalist long-sleeved dresses, the diversity in this style makes it a no-brainer for many winter brides.
While you probably won’t want to plan an outdoor winter wedding reception (especially if you live in an area that gets plenty of snow and ice), there are still lots of ways to bring the beauty of the season indoors. Hang garlands of greenery or icicle-like crystals to highlight your dance floor or cake table, and incorporate plenty of candles, pinecones, and glittery details into your centerpieces. Another way to create a cozy reception is by using plenty of lush, soft textures — such as velvet, chenille, or tweed —into your decor. If you want to heighten the drama, bring in the icy outdoors with ice-carved vases on your reception tables.
FOOD AND DRINK
Serve soup shooters during the cocktail hour, hearty comfort food during the dinner, and pass out shortbread cookies and spiced cider for your late-night snack. When it comes to the cake, have the baker play up the season with a white, vintage-style cake, dusted with edible silver powder. For accents, why not add a white sugar ribbon and crystal drops cascading down one side of the cake.
For later in the evening, a decked-out hot chocolate and churros station will warm everyone up. As far as favors are concerned, send your guests home satisfied with small packages of chocolate-covered cranberries or roasted chestnuts.
A winter cocktail hour calls for warm, comforting drinks. You really can’t go wrong with hot chocolate and warm apple cider, but why not serve up white hot chocolate in small espresso cups as the guests arrive.
Red roses, calla lilies, and amaryllis are decidedly winter wedding flowers, but if you think outside the flower box, you’ll find a variety of options for winter blooms. Consider fuller flowers, such as white hydrangeas and soft ranunculuses. White boutonnieres can be handsome when they’re accented with greenery, but they also look great with a simple white ribbon.
A classical pianist playing during dinner is a sure way to create an elegant ambience, but consider a more unexpected accompaniment. For a musical twist, hire an a capella quartet to sing background music at the reception. If you’re into a more classical sound, hire a cellist and ask that Vivaldi’s “Winter” be included in the repertoire.
In the end, don’t sleep on winter. It holds its own magic and can help create goosebumps (and not just from the chill in the air).