The Ultimate List of Do’s and Don’ts for Planning a Winter Wedding
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Winter weddings are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They offer a unique and beautiful setting that’s perfect for a special occasion. If you’re thinking of planning a winter wedding of your own, or if you’re a professional wedding planner looking for tips to help your clients, then read on!
In this article, we will discuss all of the do’s and don’ts of putting together the perfect winter wedding. For example, we’ll cover everything from what to wear to how to deal with the cold weather.
So, whether you’re just getting started or you’re almost ready to tie the knot, read on for some helpful advice!
Do’s and Don’ts for Planning a Winter Wedding
While wedding planning is a subjective process, there ARE some key do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind when planning a wedding for the winter season…
DO: Think about the season when choosing your color palette!
Winter is all about warm, cozy tones. Furthermore, if you’re having an outdoor wedding, colors are especially important because of the way they’ll contrast with your snowy surroundings! So, you’ll want to avoid bright, summery colors. Instead, opt for more muted hues.
Winter Wedding Colors
Go for deeper shades of reds, greens, blues, and purples. You can also play around with metallics like silver, gold, and copper for a truly festive feel!
DON’T: Forget about the weather.
Winter weddings can be beautiful – but they also come with extra considerations like snow and rain. The last thing you want on your big day is a surprise snowstorm ruining your outdoor plans! So, be sure to have a backup plan in place if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
For instance, you might consider renting a tent or canopy to cover your guests. Alternately, perhaps you could rent a heated outdoor space for your reception.
PRO TIP: Learn how to problem-solve like a pro, so you’re prepared for ANY unexpected situation that could arise on your special day!
DO: Think about your guests!
If your winter wedding is being held outside, then your guests will be exposed to the cold for a good portion of the day. As such, it’s important that you plan accordingly.
For example, provide blankets or shawls that they can wrap around themselves while they wait for the ceremony to begin. You might also want to offer drinks like hot cocoa and cider to help your guests warm up!
DON’T: Forget about accessories.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style! When it comes to winter weddings, accessories are key. You’ll want to make sure that both you and your bridal party have the proper attire for a winter wedding.
Think about it: planning a winter wedding requires more than just showing up and saying “I do”! So, be sure to think about all of the little details – from your gloves to your shoes – that will help you pull off the perfect winter wedding.
Here are some quick ideas when it comes to winter wedding accessories:
- Gloves or mittens
- Sweaters or shawls
- Wraps and coats
- Warm footwear like boots or fur-lined shoes
And as we said, don’t forget about your bridal party! Make sure they also have the proper attire, too. Otherwise, your wedding photos will look a little uncoordinated… And they’ll probably be freezing their buns off!
DO: Dress appropriately!
Look, we get it – you want to look your best for such a special occasion. However, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re warm and comfortable. After all, your health is what’s most important (and the same should be said for everyone else there, too)!
So, here’s what we suggest…
What to Wear to a Winter Wedding as the Happy Couple
Winter Wedding Dresses
For the wedding dress, you’ll want to find something that’s made of warmer materials. Think about fabrics like velvet or wool. If you plan on being outdoors for a good portion of the day, then make sure your dress has an outer layer that’s water-resistant and warm.
And don’t forget about accessories! Look for things like a fur stole, capelet, or wrap to keep you both warm and stylish.
What to Wear for the Groom
For the groom, the best choice is usually a suit and overcoat. Choose a darker color palette like navy or black to complement the winter season. Furthermore, make sure it’s made of wool or another warm fabric!
What to Wear to a Winter Wedding as the Wedding Party
For bridesmaids, look for dresses that are made of heavier fabrics and come with long sleeves. You can also check out options like velvet or satin! As for accessories, think about hats, scarves, and wraps to help your girls stay warm.
For the groomsmen, suits should do the trick as they’ll keep them warm and looking sharp. As with the bride, you can also make sure they have matching accessories like gloves or scarves to keep them both stylish and toasty.
What to Wear to a Winter Wedding as a Guest
For guests, dresses and pantsuits are usually the best options. If you’re having a formal wedding, then look for more formal styles like floor-length gowns or tuxedos. However, if your event is more casual, then try to stick with darker colors and heavier fabrics.
What to Wear to an Outdoor Winter Wedding as a Guest
For an outdoor winter wedding, you’ll want guests to gear up with even more layers. Scarves and hats can go a long way in keeping them warm! A coat or wrap is also great for extra warmth and protection from the elements. If it’s really cold outside, then look into waterproof boots and insulated gloves as well!
DON’T: Take ALL of your photos outside.
Yes, outdoor photos can be stunning with a winter backdrop. But don’t forget that it’s also freezing! You’ll want to make sure you take some of your photos indoors as well, just so everyone can stay warm during the process. Even if it’s just for a few quick snaps – do it!
DO: Pick the right venue!
When it comes to choosing the right venue for your winter wedding, there are a few things you should consider. First, think about how much space you’ll need for your event. Also, decide whether you’d like an indoor or outdoor ceremony and reception.
If your wedding will be indoors, then choose a space with good lighting (so that you don’t have to compensate with too many extra lights). You’ll also want a venue that can provide heating, as this will make your guests much more comfortable.
Finally, if you opt for an outdoor wedding, then be sure to choose a location that won’t be hit by extreme weather conditions.
PRO TIP: To really ensure that you’re selecting the perfect venue for your needs, make sure it has these 7 things!
DON’T: Assume your winter wedding will be cheaper just because it’s the “slow season”.
While winter weddings are considered by many to be cheaper than wedding held in the other three seasons, this is a bit misleading. Firstly, depending on the wedding, it can cost just as much (maybe even more) than a summer wedding. Secondly, even if it is cheaper, it may only be by a small margin.
After all, there are still costs associated with things like venue rental, catering fees, decorations, music and more. Plus, when you consider all of the little extra things that are specific to winter weddings (e.g. snow removal, heating, and so on), costs can add up quickly.
Thus, planning ahead and budgeting accordingly could save you a lot of money in the long run!
Need some help saving money for your winter wedding? Here are some tips we think will do the trick:
- Look for venues that offer discounts during the winter season
- Ask vendors if they offer any discounts or specials
- Consider hiring a professional wedding planner (we’ll touch more on this later)
- Put aside a budgeted amount of money into your wedding fund every month in the months and/or year(s) leading up to your big day
PRO TIP: Thinking of hiring a wedding planner? Here’s everything you need to know about the process, the research you need to know, etc.!
DO: Prioritize your wedding decor!
When it comes to winter wedding decor, you don’t need to go overboard. But in the same breath, you also shouldn’t forget its importance. This goes for both indoor AND outdoor setups!
Whether you’re looking for warm and cozy winter vibes, or something more romantic and festive – there are plenty of ways to make your wedding decor stand out. For instance, if you’re having an outdoor ceremony, look for decorations that can withstand the cold such as lanterns or fairy lights.
For indoor receptions, opt for cozy blankets on the chairs, a faux fur aisle runner, and plenty of candles. Greenery and colorful florals are also great for both indoor and outdoor setups. They can add some much-needed life to the space!
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that winter weddings shouldn’t be overly complicated or flashy – they should be simple yet beautiful. Especially if you’re having it outdoors, your beautiful scenic backdrop should be the main focus!
PRO TIP: These 5 winter-themed wedding decor trends are ALWAYS sure to impress!
DON’T: Schedule things too late in the day.
During the winter, the sun sets earlier than usual. This means that if you plan for your ceremony too late in the day, you’ll miss out on all of the beautiful natural lighting (which, as you know, makes for perfect wedding photos). Plus, no one wants to be straining their eyes to see you from their seats!
For best results, try and keep your ceremony between 12-3 pm. This will give you plenty of time before the sun sets to having your ceremony, capture beautiful photos, and create lasting memories.
DO: Have a coat and boot check!
As a winter bride or groom, you’re already dealing with the pressure of making sure your outfit looks good and fits perfectly. So, why not help your guests out by offering them a coat and boot check? This way, they don’t have to worry about lugging around their bulky coats and boots at the wedding – which can be both inconvenient and dangerous.
You can even get creative and have your coat and boot check double as a festive photo booth! Just add some winter-y props, a few festive backdrops, and voila!
DON’T: Go for a holiday theme.
Okay, this one may be a bit harsh – especially if you’re a couple that really loves to embrace the holidays. But, the truth is that it’s really easy to go from festive to tacky with holiday-themed weddings… Especially if you don’t know how to execute them properly.
Instead of going for a full-on winter wonderland theme, consider opting for something more subtle and classic. Think timeless color schemes such as:
- Whites and blues
- Classic wedding decorations such as florals and candles
- Elements that will make your winter wedding stand out
Now, if you absolutely do want to incorporate some sort of holiday theme into your wedding, feel free to do so. After all, it’s your big day – so who are we to tell you what to do? All we’ll advise is to just make sure it doesn’t take away from the overall essence of your big day.
DO: Go with seasonal flowers!
Winter weddings are the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. And one way to do this is by opting for seasonal flowers in your bouquet and centerpieces. Seasonal flowers can be a great way to add some festive vibes without going overboard!
For instance, if you’re having a winter wedding in December, consider adding some festive red roses and evergreens to your bouquet. Or, if you’re having a wedding in February, opt for bright yellow daffodils or pink tulips!
The possibilities are endless – just make sure to do your research on what flowers look best during the winter season before making any decisions. And if you need some help choosing the right flowers, The Knot has an awesome Ultimate Guide that’ll steer you in the right direction!
DON’T: Make everyone have to travel too far.
We know, you want everyone to be able to attend your big day. But, if you’re having a winter wedding, it’s best to keep the location nearby so your guests aren’t forced to travel too far in bad weather. After all, no one wants to risk getting stuck in a snowstorm on their way to your wedding!
The same can be said if you plan to hold your ceremony and reception in two different places. If that’s the case, make sure they’re relatively close to each other so your guests won’t have to worry about driving around in bad weather.
DO: Stay hydrated!
Another critical tip is to make sure you stay hydrated during both the planning process and the big day itself. Planning a winter wedding can be a stressful endeavor – and it’s important to take care of yourself amidst all the chaos that comes with it! So, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep your energy levels up and your spirits high.
Similarly, on your wedding day, make sure that you – and everyone else in your wedding party – have plenty of water on hand. This is especially important if the temperature drops, as it will help to keep everyone warm and hydrated.
It might also be a good idea, right before the ceremony starts, to provide water to your guests as well. It’s a nice gesture that ensures they stay comfortable while watching you say your “I do’s”!
DON’T: Go too far in the opposite direction and cause guests to overheat.
On the flip side, winter weddings can also mean that it’s easy to overdo it. For instance, if you decide to use a lot of candles or lights in your reception space, make sure that you don’t leave them on too long. You don’t want your guests to start feeling hot and sweaty – not exactly what anyone wants during a winter wedding!
Moreover, make sure not to overcompensate during the reception by having the heat set too high in the venue. You don’t want to make your guests feel uncomfortable either! Not to mention that, realistically, drinking may be involved. This can certainly lead to guests feeling too hot, so make sure to keep the temperature of your venue just right.
DO: Pick the right food and drink menu!
When it comes to planning a winter wedding, you don’t want to forget about the food and drink menu. Winter weddings provide the perfect opportunity for you to get creative with your selections. For instance, consider adding seasonal dishes such as mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and creamy soups to your menu for an extra cozy feel.
For those who prefer drinks at their wedding, try adding some hot toddies or spiced cider to your list. Not only do they add a festive flair – but they’ll also keep your guests warm and cozy!
PRO TIP: Wow your guests with these 12 alcoholic + non-alcoholic holiday-themed drink recipes!
DON’T: Get too disappointed if guests decline your invitation.
As you’re planning your winter wedding, try not to feel too disappointed if guests decline to come. Remember that winter can often mean bad weather and travel inconveniences that people may not be willing to endure. Moreover, the winter season can be especially tough on those who suffer from mental health issues like depression.
As such, it’s important to be understanding and respectful of the decisions your guests make. After all, you want them to feel comfortable and safe, right? Ultimately, try to keep in mind that the most important thing on your big day is the love between you and your partner.
So, try to stay positive and keep your eyes on the prize!
DO: Get creative!
Winter weddings can be a great canvas for getting creative. So, take advantage of the season and have some fun with your decor!
Winter Wedding Ideas
Here are some ideas you can totally feel free to steal for your big day:
- Add pops of bright colors in areas like your centerpieces or bouquets to contrast against all the white.
- Think about adding more greenery as well, like evergreen foliage or holly branches.
- Go for the gold! Use metallic themes for your decor to give off a luxe, wintery feel.
- Bring the outdoors in with pinecones, snowflakes, and winter-inspired accents.
- Think outside the box when it comes to your cake! Incorporate sparkles, snowflakes, or edible glitter to make it extra special.
- Alternately, ditch the cake altogether and go with an alternative! Think doughnuts, cupcakes, or even mini pies!
- Set up a DIY hot chocolate station for guests.
- Provide warm blankets and throws for them to snuggle up with in the colder sections
- Incorporate some winter-themed games for guests to play and have fun.
Of course, there are tons more ideas out there. What we’re saying is, let your imagination run wild!
DON’T: Forget to stick within your budget.
Money can often be a tricky subject when it comes to weddings. Planning any wedding can get expensive, so make sure you keep your budget in mind when planning your wedding in the winter.
Also, don’t forget that prices for certain items usually go up during the winter due to holiday demand. Do some research and talk to vendors before committing – this way you can compare prices and still get quality services that won’t break the bank.
Now, if it’s not in your budget, don’t be afraid to let go of certain elements of the wedding in order to stay within your means. And if you are in your budget but are still looking for ways to shave some costs?
Here are some things you can do to save your pennies:
- Ask your friends and family for help!
- DIY as much as you can (like decorations and favors)!
- Book a venue that’s already decorated, so you don’t have to spend extra money on decor.
- Combine your rehearsal dinner and wedding reception into one big party, so you don’t have to pay for two separate events!
- When considering your bouquet(s), opt for locally grown flowers and greenery!
- Bake your own wedding cake (this could make for an awesome date night for you and your partner)!
- Shop around for the best deals on wedding dresses and suits!
PRO TIP: Save a ton of money with these 5 DIY dollar store decor ideas!
DO: Book your venue ahead of time!
As we mentioned earlier, winter is seen by many to be the “slower season” for weddings. As such, you may be inclined to wait until the last minute to book your venue.
However, the fact is that winter is still very much a popular time for weddings and other events (such as corporate functions). Meaning, you definitely should NOT put off booking your venue. Rather, you should make sure you secure your date and location as soon as possible.
Now, what should you do if your venue is already booked up on your preferred wedding date?
Find out what other dates are available during the same season in case your first choice isn’t available! This way, you can still have a winter wedding without having to wait until next year.
DON’T: Neglect sunscreen.
Fun fact: even though it’s cold and snowy outside doesn’t mean the sun isn’t out! Sunscreen is actually just as important in the winter as it is any other time of the year.
So, sunscreen should still be a part of your daily routine – especially on the day of your wedding. It’s not uncommon for brides to forget about this small detail, only to regret it later when they have sunburns on their arms or faces the day of their wedding. So, make sure you stock up on some SPF and apply it before stepping into the sun!
Also, don’t forget to bring a bottle with you just in case – there’s no telling if a sunny day will turn into an overcast one! You want to be prepared for anything.
Finally, make sure your guests know to bring some sunscreen as well. No one wants those sunburns!
DO: Have fun!
At the end of the day, it’s important to keep in mind that your wedding should be a fun and memorable experience for everyone involved. Planning a winter wedding can definitely present its own unique set of challenges, but don’t let them get you down or distract from the joy and excitement of planning your special day!
So, take the time to enjoy the process and be sure to have plenty of fun with it! Try new things, get creative, and make sure everyone has a great time. After all, that’s what weddings are all about!
DON’T: Overlook the benefits of hiring a wedding planner.
No matter what time of year you choose, wedding planning is no easy task. That’s why working with a professional wedding planner can be so helpful!
A wedding planner will not only help you stay organized; they’ll also be there to assist you in making the right decisions for your big day. Plus, they may even have access to deals and discounts that you won’t be able to find on your own.
And remember, a wedding planner doesn’t have to break the bank either. There are plenty of affordable wedding planners out there who will work with whatever budget you have!
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the planning (which is totally normal!), don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Planning a winter wedding doesn’t have to be stressful – and with the right team, it can actually be quite enjoyable!
PRO TIP: Interested in becoming a professional wedding planner yourself? Earn your internationally-recognized wedding planning certification in as little as 3-6 months by training online with QC Event School!
Planning a Wedding in the Winter: Final Thoughts
Planning a winter wedding isn’t always easy, but it can be done! Just remember to stay organized, keep an open mind, and enjoy yourself throughout the process.
By following these DO’s and DON’Ts, you’ll have a beautiful and unique event that is sure to wow your guests and leave them with fond memories for years to come.
Do YOU have any other do’s or don’ts to add to this list? Drop them in the comments below!
Happy planning – and best of luck!