We were excited to contribute to this recent article for Gatehouse Media about planning a winter wedding…
“It’s not uncommon for girls to grow up dreaming about their wedding, and for many future brides, their fantasy nuptials often take place on a beach, or under the stars on a summer night.
But the vision of a warm-weather weddding is something brides may want to reconsider. Some planners, such as Boston-based Natalie Pinney, co-founder of Whim Events, calls winter a “fantastic time of year” to tie the knot.
“It’s so magical, it’s so cozy,” she said. “People love to be cozy in winter. … it’s all about creating that cozy ambience.”
In addition to capturing the romance of the season, Kelli Sigmon, founder and principal consultant of Boston’s Swank Events, said couples who wed during winter — the off-season in the industry — have good odds of booking vendors and venues at a discount, cuts that can range from a few thousand dollars to fractions as high as 15 percent.
“It’s kind of a shame more people don’t consider it,” she said of winter weddings. “It can be one of the best times of the year to have a wedding, especially an affordable wedding.”
Just because a wedding happens in winter doesn’t mean it can’t have glamour. Here are some suggestions from wedding planners about how to make a cold-weather wedding an event to remember.
One of the perks of a winter ceremony, said Susan Cordogan, owner of Chicago’s Big City Bride wedding planning, is that the season’s early sunsets mean brides can have fun with lighting.
While summer weddings don’t darken until well after dinner, winter allows couples to focus the decor on lighting.
One option is textured lighting, which she says “turns any wedding into a ‘wow’” by creating patterns or shapes on walls, ceilings or floors. She recalls one of her brides opted for textured lighting to create a paisley pattern on the walls of the reception hall that matched her invitations. Other possibilities include water patterns, leaves, snowflakes or bare branches.
“It just adds depth and interest to a room,” Cordogan said.
The season is also ideal for incorporating candlelight, which Cordogan said can be done on any budget. She said candles enclosed in glass — especially silvery mercury or crackle glass — can make a room beautiful. In addition, pillar candles can be wrapped in lace or ribbon, while Pinney said inserting a candle into mason jars filled with Kosher rock salt makes the mineral looks like snow.
Meanwhile, instead of floral centerpieces, Cor- dogan suggested hanging a lit chandelier above every table or choosing long, rectangular banquet tables with lights above each one.
When it comes to bouquets, said Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Haddonfield, NJ, consider adding unexpected elements such as cotton, mini-pinecones, succulents, dusty miller and antique broaches. Pinney said brides can also “let nature be your guide,” by picking icy white or light pink roses, green eucalyptus leaves or any other blooms in pale, icy colors. Winter is also an ideal time, Sigmon said, to consider alternatives such as bouquets made of feathers or paper flowers.
And for brides who worry that a winter wedding means importing flowers from elsewhere, Jesse Deckard, a senior wedding and event design consultant at Chicago’s Bliss Weddings and Events, said “quite honestly, that’s how the floral industry works.”
“Even in the amazing summer months,” he said, “(flowers) are still coming from New Zealand and South America.”
In fact, he said blooms such as peonies, tulips and blooming branches like cherry blossoms are more readily available and grow better during winter.
Deckard, at Bliss Weddings, said one way couples can “embrace the season you’ve chosen” is through colors and fashion. Faux fur, bolero jackets, hand muffs, capes, cloaks and elbow-length gloves can be included in the bride and wedding party’s outfits and can pop in photos.
When it comes to photos, Pinney said couples can get “amazing pictures” by taking the wedding party outdoors, writing a few words in the snow and dressing in earmuffs, mittens, cardigans and scarves.
When it comes to colors for dresses and decor, Deckard said “gun metal” tones are popular — pewter, rose gold, black, white and navy.
And just because a wedding happens during cold weather doesn’t mean couples should exclude pastels. Sigmon said more winter brides are choosing soft hues such as pale gray-blue, lilac and baby yellows and greens.
In addition, Pinney said a blush-colored palette of light pink, coral, ice blue, gray, and champaign “look really gorgeous together,” for snowy weddings, but she said what’s more important than the season is for brides to be happy with the result.
“This is your wedding,” she said. “If you want to wear yellow, who cares if it’s in the winter?”
Instead of an icy drinks, brides and grooms can keep guests warm by offering hot drinks to contrast the chilly weather. Fisher, at Two Little Birds, said hot chocolate, flavored coffee, warm cider, tea or hot toddies can be served as guests arrive at the ceremony. Couples can even create a bar that opens after cake cutting — think a hot chocolate bar with whipped cream, marshmallows, Peppermint Schnapps, Bailey’s and Kahlua. The night can end by serving warm treats such as cider donuts, mini pies or warm cookies.”
image via ashley bartoletti photography