Welp, since we're expecting ~2-4" of snow tonight IN OCTOBER, I figured I might as well start writing about winter weddings. We just got back from Europe where it was sometimes chilly but definitely not as cold as the Midwest. I wasn't ready to come back to this nonsense. Even though it feels like winter and December should be light years away, truthfully my December couples are about one month out from the big day! Crazy right? So I wanted to give you time to implement some of my top 10 tips for planning your winter wedding. I'm still in denial though.
1. Serve warm drinks at your cocktail hour and reception.
Consider serving a signature drink like a Hot Toddy or mulled wine, and a non-alcoholic drink like hot chocolate. One of my brides also told me recently about a drink called Hot Damn - made with hot apple cider/juice, hot damn cinnamon schnapps, and whipped cream - and I'm here for it. Here's some more inspiration for warm boozy drinks!
2. Purchase shawls for your bridesmaids to wear.
Cozy shawls always make for cute group photos; you could choose neutrals like cashmere or faux fur, or a fun seasonal pattern like buffalo check. Even if you don't want shawls in all your photos, they will be perfect for the girls to wear while they're waiting in between photos. Plus, they make a great gift that they will continue to use after the wedding. Don't forget a luxurious faux fur shawl for yourself like this one!
3. Bring winter boots for outdoor photos.
If you're planning to take photos outside (which you totally should!), make sure to bring winter boots or at least a warm pair of shoes. There's a good chance you can keep them on during your photos as they likely won't show, but at a minimum you can wear them as you walk to each photoshoot spot. I know it's tough to brave the cold, but outdoor lighting adds so much to your photos, and they'll be extra dreamy if there's snow! Promise.
4. Plan for extra travel time.
Since you may encounter ice or snow on your wedding day, you should plan for extra time between activities. For instance, it may take guests longer to arrive, so you may need to plan for a late ceremony start time. You should also give yourself plenty of time to get to each location, especially in the morning so you don't feel rushed. Overall, the best advice I can give you is to just go with the flow that day. As much as I love a solid timeline, it's important to be flexible with weather.
5. Arrange transportation for your guests.
If you have a lot of guests traveling from out of town or your venue is a bit of a drive from the nearest hotel, consider booking a shuttle service to transport guests back and forth. Shuttles are always a nice option in general, but especially courteous when weather could be bad. Your guests will truly appreciate the gesture and feel more relaxed throughout the day's events.
6. Decorate with lots of candlelight.
The glow of candlelights can really warm up a space and create an inviting atmosphere as people walk in from the cold. Candles add an instant cozy factor and they're ultra romantic. Other decor could include garland, Christmas trees, pine cones, and lots of layered textures to up the cozy factor.
7. Plan your desserts around the season.
Of course you should have your wedding cake and eat it too if that's what your heart desires. But, I think another great option is a dessert station with seasonal desserts like warm apple pie or decadent dark chocolate cake. For elevated winter dessert ideas, check out this article.
8. Give your guests hand warmers upon arrival.
As guests arrive to your ceremony and/or reception, why not have a small basket of hand warmers available next to your guest book? I know I would be so happy if I encountered this at a wedding. Truly, thoughtful little details like this do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Instant mood booster.
9. Dial in your winter wedding skincare routine.
I didn't think about this aspect until I came across this tip on One Fab Day - "don't forget beauty prep"! Of course! Make sure to stay moisturized and hydrated in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Guard against chapped lips, stay committed to your skincare routine, and drink lots of water.
Who would I be if I didn't include this as my final word of advice?
For more gorgeous wintry wedding ideas, check out this article from A Practical Wedding! Summer brides, it's so good you might just have a change of heart.