You’ve already started planning your winter wedding. Whether you’re looking to add some finishing touches, or you’re racing the clock, here are ideas to make your wedding as shiny as a polar bear’s nose.
You’re in luck. Since winter isn’t considered prime wedding season, you have less competition, even for popular venues, so you don’t have to reserve dates as far ahead. You’ll also probably be able to negotiate for lower rates. And winter is a great time for off-season tourism rates, so you may be able to score a more reasonably-priced honeymoon, as well.
Beware the holiday wedding. While it’s tempting to notice that the majority of your friends and family will have time off of work and school, you’ll have to schedule extra-carefully to avoid competing with other holiday events. Also, keep in mind that travel fares dramatically increase over the holidays, so if you’ll be inviting a lot of out-of-town guests, it might be kinder to schedule around the major fly-times.
Winter Wedding Fashion
Winter is a time for “ice,” so stock up on diamond jewelry. Whether you wear actual jewels or just shine like them, you can glitter like a snowflake on a winter morning.
While skimpy gowns are impractical in colder weather, winter fashions allow for more creativity than the standard sleeveless sheath. You can use thicker, more luxurious fabrics like velvet, or have fun with fur. Whether vintage fur or artificial “fun” fur, fuzzy trim makes any article of clothing more cozy. Play with fur-lined gloves or even a fur-lined tiara. You can also use furry trim to line the bouquet.
Think of yourself starring in your very own fairytale. Adorable snow boots lined with white fur and demure white fur muffs aren’t just for Hans Christian Andersen characters anymore. Wrap an elegant shrug around your shoulders to keep warm – they’re a perfect place to add a splash of color. If fur isn’t your style, you can ask a knitter in your family to make an especially meaningful wedding gift.
Winter bouquets are the perfect opportunity to add more dramatic elements. You can go wild with sprigs of evergreens (do you dare attempt flocking?) and red holly berries, tiny pinecones, cotton bolls, and twisty twigs. Vibrant poinsettias and amaryllis carry a bold seasonal tone, while white marabou takes the bouquet in a more delicate direction. Baby blue eucalyptus lends your flower arrangements a frosty look.
Hearty Warming Food
What foods make you think of cozy, romantic nights by the fire? Baked apples, hot cider with cinnamon sticks, winter squash, or roast duck all lend a snug, warm atmosphere. Winter is a time for rich flavors to melt memories of the snow outside. Creamy pumpkin soup, steamed milk and hot chocolate (spiked or not is up to you), eggnog, and spiced wine reflect the uniqueness of your season, as do classic “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”
Your cake can benefit from seasonal connotations, too. Serve your cake on a “rustic” log pedestal to call to mind crisp evenings in the woods, or coat your cake in sugar crystals to make it sparkle like newly-fallen snow.
Have fun with your cake topper. Consider his-and-hers snowmen, a pair of cardinals, or a bride and groom sliding down your cake on a toboggan.
Use ice to your advantage. Serve drinks in sculpted-ice shot glasses, freeze ice cubes in cute shapes for drinks, or even embed small party favors in ice cubes.
If there’s not a lot of snow outside, you can rent a Sno-Cone machine to make sure each guest gets to catch some snow on their tongue anyway.
I’m Dreaming of a White … Wedding
The biggest rule of a winter wedding is: don’t plan around the weather. As romantic as a snow-blanketed day may be, temperatures in winter can be unpredictable (unless you’re in Greenland), so don’t set your heart on anything likely to disappoint.
You’re not entirely at Jack Frost’s mercy, either. If you live in a warm climate and can’t stand the thought of skipping a winter wonderland, rent a snow machine for the occasion.
If you’re going for a fairytale winter theme but aren’t sure whether the snow will oblige, utilize your venue’s large windows and decorate your own winter wonderland. Even if the world is gray and slushy, you’ll still get the wedding of your dreams.
Frosty Favors and Winter Wedding Treats
Winter wedding favors offer plenty of options. Give your guests snowflake wine stoppers, festive bags of hot cocoa packets, spiced teas, snowman cookies, cute gloves and winter boots, scarves, Christmas tree ornaments, chocolate Hanukkah gelt, peppermint candy, warm knit socks, or personalized snow globes. If you happen to be a bride or groom who knits, snuggly handmade favors are the perfect way to thank a small number of special guests.
Winter Décor – Kitsch can be cool
One word: mistletoe. You and your sweetie can stand under it for a picture, or two guests might just decide it’s their turn at the altar next!
Decorate your tables with ice sculptures if you’re feeling extravagant, or bright red cranberries floating among candles for a simpler look. You can also stock up on inexpensive winter decorations, like strings of lights and snowflake ornaments, at after-Christmas sales. Hang snowflakes and crystal icicles from candelabras and bare branches. Roll a snow-white carpet down the aisle.
Winter colors can be delicate and light or deep and rich. Think white like snow, red like berries, earth tones like an evergreen forest, and blue like a crisp winter sky. An elegant black and white color palate brings to mind stark branches on snow, while gold and silver evoke more regal tones.
Are you planning your wedding around a favorite winter holiday? Incorporate it into your theme with strings of lights, scented candles, evergreen wreaths, decorated trees, and dramatic bare birch branches.
Decorating isn’t all about the visual senses. Use scents like cinnamon, peppermint, pumpkin, and pine to evoke pleasant winter memories.
Adventurous Spirits and Romantic Wedding Locations
For the perfect winter venue, rent a ski lodge or nature retreat. Pick somewhere with a large fireplace for added seasonal cheer. Your guests can stay in log cabins after the reception and you and your newlywed spouse can enjoy a hot tub in the cool night air.
While white limos are the classic option, you can carry the winter theme further and rent a horse-drawn carriage to carry you and your sweetie from the event.
For the truly adventurous couple, have your wedding on skis or snowshoes, or toboggan down the aisle (just let the band know they have to play the wedding march very quickly).
The bottom line is: Winter is a time for playfulness and romance. Even though you won’t have the strapless dresses and outdoor dinner of a warm-weather event, you will more than make up for it with imaginative touches of your own.