Hosting a wedding during the winter season can be a magical and romantic experience for both the couple and their guests. With snow-covered landscapes, cozy fireplaces, and twinkling lights, it’s no wonder why so many couples choose to have a winter wedding.
To plan your winter wonderland event, you’ll need to do the following:
- Establish a budget
- Decide on a date
- Select the right venue
- Pick out winter decor
- Plan an amazing menu
- Carefully plan your accessories
- Hire the perfect photographer
- Keep guests comfy
Winter weddings offer endless opportunities for unique and creative touches, from hot cocoa bars to fuzzy blankets for guests to cozy up with. In this guide, we’ll provide essential advice for hosting the ultimate winter wedding.
Establish a Budget
Create a wedding budget with your partner so you know how much you want to spend for your big day. Start by breaking down the various areas that you should be allocating finances to, including the following:
After establishing how much you’ll spend, begin looking on websites like Pinterest for inspiration as you dive into the planning process. Also, create a tentative schedule for when you want to complete key tasks, such as picking a wedding date and venue.
Consider All Expenses
As you develop your budget, ensure you evaluate the costs for every wedding purchase. For instance, when you set a price for your gown, remain mindful of alterations.
Likewise, you should have a breakdown of wedding deposits so you can properly prepare for each expense as it arises. While vendors charge specific rates for their work, they may require a down payment before the wedding in order to reserve their services. Keep in mind that you may have to establish a wedding fund early on to maintain sufficient finances for the event.
Decide on a Date
Deciding on a season is often the first step in picking a wedding date. Now that you’ve confirmed you want to tie the knot in winter, you’ll need to determine exactly when. Getting married around the end of December—during the holiday season—may entail different decor and expenses than saying “I do” in mid-February.
Talk to your partner about how both of you envision your wedding. How do you want to decorate? When does your dream venue have openings? Do you love the idea of a snowy day? These questions will help you find the perfect date for your winter wedding. If you want snow in your photos, it’s better to plan for mid-January or February when winter is in full swing.
Holiday vs. Non-Holiday Weddings
The winter holidays are a magical time of year for many. However, it’s important to note that this time of year is also quite expensive despite winter being the off-season for weddings. More specifically, December is the priciest month because many winter love birds desire holiday-themed events. If you want to save money or avoid competition for top vendors, evaluate dates in January, February, or early March.
Moreover, you may want to consider when most guests are available, as many people have family obligations they don’t want to miss during the holidays. On the other hand, having your wedding during the festive time of year could be the perfect way to unite the entire family.
Select the Right Venue
As you tour venues, it’s best to have a tentative date in mind, such as a month or even a certain week. Finding a venue that can accommodate your wedding may be difficult if you’re too specific about the date since certain weeks in winter can become very busy for vendors.
Also, consider hosting both the reception and ceremony at the same place. This not only simplifies the logistics of the day but also ensures a seamless flow of events. And be sure to evaluate factors of cost and guest capacity in each venue.
Additionally, engage with the venue manager to understand what accommodations they offer. Inquire about their relationships with vendors, furniture rental options, and decor availability. This information will help you assess whether the venue aligns with your vision and needs for the event.
Everyday Bride Tip
If you want a few specific accommodations in a venue, create a checklist of items. As you tour venues, note what each place offers with a yes or no. After touring several options, you’ll have an easy way to compare which venue best meets your vision and requirements.
Pick Out Winter Decor
In winter, the decor for your ceremony space and reception should reflect the season. You can do this by carefully selecting your color palette, opting for winter flowers, and carefully evaluating each centerpiece. Incorporating specific materials, such as lace or wool, can add to winter’s elegant or cozy feeling, although the material you choose will depend on your preferred theme.
Winter Color Palettes
Picking a color palette helps you choose the flowers and decor to personalize your ceremony and reception space. Likewise, you’ll use these hues to determine the colors your wedding party will wear on the big day. During winter, neutrals, darker hues, and jewel tones are the most stylish.
Some winter color ideas to inspire you include:
- Snowy oasis: powder blue, mint green, and snow white
- Romantic bliss: blush, burgundy, and gold
- Winter sunset: dusty rose, navy blue, and lavender
- Holiday fun: crimson, emerald-green, and silver
To make selecting a winter color palette easier, consider the overall theme of your wedding. If you want it to look like a winter wonderland and plan to have snowflake decor, consider options similar to the snowy oasis. Ideally, the theme and color palette should tie together.
Perfect Flowers for Winter
As you select flowers for your bouquet or centerpieces, strive to select in-season options. Some of the most beautiful winter flowers include:
- Winter Jasmine
- White Roses
You may also want to include non-floral greenery, such as a spray of evergreen or a few pinecones mixed in with your flowers, for a touch of elegance and beauty.
Non-Floral Pieces for Winter
As beautiful as flowers are, they may not fit into your wedding vision or spending plan. Sometimes, even in-season flowers come with a high price tag, especially if you buy bouquets for yourself and bridesmaids in addition to centerpieces. If flowers aren’t an option for your wedding, consider other decor ideas, such as lanterns, floating candles, or holiday ornaments.
Everyday Bride Tip
Add fairy lights to the insides of the lanterns or wrap the lights around glass centerpieces for soft and stylish table lighting.
Plan an Amazing Menu
As you plan a winter wedding, choosing the right meal for your guests is crucial. Consider what foods and drinks are most enjoyable during this time of year.
Regarding food, most venues have set menus for you to choose from, so be sure to ask the manager if they offer seasonal dishes. If the location allows you to bring in your own caterer for food, consider serving dishes such as braised short ribs or roasted turkey with cranberry sauce as dinner options.
Ideas for Drinks
When it comes to drinks, consider some non-alcoholic beverages, such as hot cocoa or warm apple cider, to keep guests toasty. As for bar drinks, there are all sorts of signature cocktails for your winter wedding, such as cranberry champagne or peppermint cocktails. You could also allow guests to spike the hot cocoa or cider if they desire.
Ideas for Appetizers
When choosing appetizers for your winter wedding, consider warm and hearty options to keep guests satisfied. Some ideas include mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup shots, savory tartlets filled with winter vegetables, or a charcuterie board featuring seasonal meats and cheeses.
Ideas for Dessert
For dessert, you can stick with traditional options like wedding cake or switch it up and offer a variety of winter-themed treats. You could also set up a s’mores station for guests to roast marshmallows and create s’mores. Other options include a hot chocolate bar with various toppings or a dessert table filled with winter-inspired treats like peppermint bark, gingerbread cookies, and cranberry white chocolate truffles.
Wintery Cake Options
For many couples, a wedding cake is a must-have. If you want to keep with the winter theme, take time to select the ideal flavor. Some ideas include:
- Chocolate cake with peppermint buttercream frosting
- Spice cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting
- Vanilla cake with cranberry filling and white chocolate ganache
You could also add specific decor to your cake, such as snowflake designs, edible glitter, or edible gold accents.
Carefully Plan Your Accessories
As you decide what to wear for your winter wonderland wedding, carefully evaluate your accessory options so your ensemble aligns with the season. As a winter bride, you’ll want to wear stylish accessories that keep you warm. For instance, a fluffy shawl draped over your shoulders looks elegant and pairs wonderfully with any gown style. For a cozy and chic look, you may also consider opaque tights or fur wraps.
Moreover, grooms can incorporate winter elements into their attire by adding a pop of color with a velvet bowtie or wearing a tweed suit. Specific materials like wool may be ideal for the tux jackets, as it will help the groom and groomsmen stay warm.
Don’t Forget Your Bridesmaids
Traditionally, the bride gives her bridesmaids a gift the day before the wedding. To help your friends keep warm on the big day, consider giving each of them a faux fur bolero. You could also gift them hand muffs to wear instead of carrying bouquets.
Hire the Perfect Photographer
Your wedding photographer should specialize in winter photography. This time of year presents unique opportunities for stunning and creative outdoor photoshoots, as well as certain challenges that require specific skills and expertise. Ask the photographer if you can review their portfolio to determine whether their skills align with your vision for your wedding photos.
Everyday Bride Tip
Keeping the wedding party toasty is especially important if you take photos outside where temperatures drop below freezing. Remember this when selecting attire for your wedding party to ensure they stay warm during all the wedding activities.
Keep Guests Comfy
While the beauty of a winter wedding is undeniable, it’s important to keep guests comfortable when they’re outdoors. Consider providing blankets or heaters if parts of your ceremony or cocktail hour will be outside.
You could also welcome guests to the venue with a self-serve warm beverage stand. And if the reception space has fireplaces, ask the manager if they can light these on the big day to add to the cozy ambience.
Follow Your Dream
The most important piece of advice in our guide to hosting the ultimate winter wedding is to make your vision the priority. Following a winter theme is fun, but at its core, your wedding day should always reflect what you and your partner want.