Winter romance is in the air—and circled in red marker on the calendar! With her support team in place, the bride can turn to planning the big day. Here are ten tips for creating a picture-perfect winter wedding.

1. Hold the Ceremony and Reception in One Venue

Winter wonderlands start with careful planning. One of the easiest ways to welcome the magic of winter—not the stress—is to use one venue for both the ceremony and reception. 

It sounds glamorous to hold a ceremony in one location and then transport guests to another venue for the reception and celebration. The reality, however, is that winter demands a finer touch. Guests shouldn’t have to fight bad weather twice. 

Brides might also consider a venue that offers on-site accommodations. Not only will it reduce driving demands, but it will help the happy couple spend more time with loved ones.

2. Make Day and Night Venue Visits

Wedding venues offer different looks depending on the time of day. From mid-day illumination to late afternoon shadows and full evening darkness, daylight has a major impact on the wedding atmosphere. And since winter days are shorter and get darker earlier, it’s important to know what the venue looks like by day and by night. Brides planning to incorporate lighting might want to bring a small sample to test it out.

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3. Pick a Festive Color Theme

Before going further, focus on color. With winter more muted than summer’s brilliance, this is the perfect opportunity to use color to full effect. Typically, the colors that work best with winter weddings fall into two categories: subtle and rich.

Subtler colors might include cream and gray or silver and pale green. Richer colors might focus on dark red and brown or burgundy and blue. Use colors sporadically across design elements to tie everything together.

4. Plan for Outerwear

Weather happens. That means guests will be bringing jackets, umbrellas, and protective footwear to a winter wedding. Brides should make sure there’s a designated area—that’s waterproof—for storing outerwear. Whether this is a small utility room, an official cloakroom, or a freestanding coat carousel, it’s an integral part of the plans.

5. Carry a Winter-Season Bouquet

Seasonal flowers create the best look at weddings. They’re often less expensive as well. Instead of warm-weather blooms, opt for a wintery bouquet filled with a selection of the following:

  • Anemone
  • Narcissus
  • Amaryllis 
  • Hypericum berries
  • Eucalyptus leaves
  • Snowberries
  • Hellebore
  • Evergreens like pine or cedar
  • Viburnum berries
  • Brunia
  • Tallow berries
  • Ranunculus
  • Olive branches

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6. Focus on Warm Comfort Foods 

With cooler weather in the air, people naturally turn to comfort foods for warmth. A wedding reception dinner should focus on hearty foods rather than light nibbles. Various vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes will appeal to and nourish guests of all ages. Think of main courses like butternut squash ravioli, roast dinner, puff pastry-wrapped pork, chicken potpie, or stuffed mushrooms or bell peppers. 

7. Hire a Season-Experienced Photographer

Brides want to look their best, so it’s important to make sure the photographer knows how to shoot in more muted backgrounds or even in the bright white brilliance of a snowy scene. Check the wedding photographer’s portfolio, and pay special attention to any winter-season photo sessions. If they are clear, focused, and expertly done, reach out for introductions. 

8. Decorate with Candles and Fairy Lights

Another trick is to create a cozy ambiance with twinkling fairy lights. Brides can string lights across the venue to create a magical wonderland. They can also put the focus on one area, such as a brightly lit backdrop for the ceremony. Candles, with their soft, flickering glow, are another way to decorate an intimate space. These elements welcome friends and family and create a sense of calm, even if the weather outside is anything but tranquil.

9. Provide Guest Comfort

If there’s a chill in the air, it can put a damper on even the most joyful of occasions. To keep guests content and comfortable, think about adding elements designed for warmth. Blankets and wraps are an excellent choice, as are small portable heaters for a barn or outbuilding venue. Plus, think about warm drinks. A hot chocolate station is a fun addition that will warm guests and put a smile on their faces.

10. Think Lace and Layers

Finally, the bridal gown is as unique as the bride herself. When choosing fabrics and textures, brides should aim for cloth weight and warmth. This might include thick lace, multiple layers, heavy beading, or even generous long sleeves and a train. And don’t forget about the bridesmaids! They stand by the bride and support her, and that means they deserve a dress that not only complements the bridal dress but keeps them warm, too.

There’s a lot that goes into winter wedding planning. But try not to worry too much about the rain or snow pouring down from the heavens. Water is vital to life. For a bride-to-be planning her day, she’ll want a good plan, her favorite traditions, and excitement for what the future holds.

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