Cozy fireplaces, mugs filled with hot cocoa, and fluffy white snow. Some say winter's the most wonderful time of the year and, if you agree, it may be the wedding season for you.
But, before you opt for a Winter Wonderland wedding, read our guide to discover what's in season, what's in vogue, and what to take into consideration.
The Skinny on Winter Weather
Depending on the geographical location, winter weather varies dramatically. In the southern parts of the country, it can simply mean throwing on an extra sweater. In the north, however, it's pretty typical to see the temperature around freezing (32 degrees—or less!) between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day.
For some, a winter wedding with a powdery-white backdrop is a dream come true—but you can't always count on snowflakes to cooperate! If snowy wedding photos are a huge priority, make sure you're tying the knot in a region that typically has snow on your wedding date.
And speaking of cooperation, all that white stuff may look great in pix, but winter weather can waylay your traveling guests. If they'll be driving or flying in, your guest list could take a huge hit if there's a big snowstorm.
Winter's got a lot going on! Between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, there's a bunch of holidays you'll need to work around. While a New Year's Eve wedding sounds oh-so-magical, many of your guests may already have their own plans. And we don't recommend a Christmas wedding for obvious reasons.
Here are a few dates to keep in mind:
- Hanukkah – December
- Kwanzaa – December
- Christmas – December 25
- New Year's Eve – December 31
- New Year's Day – January 1
- Super Bowl Sunday – typically the first weekend in February
Winter Wedding Pros & Cons
There are lots of pros to getting hitched in the winter—some you might not have considered!
- Winter décor. Think cozy accents, faux fur, glittering metallics, and seasonal foliage!
- Potential for off-season discounts on tropical honeymoons. Plus, you can avoid hurricane season!
- Guests may be more inclined to travel because they already have time off.
- Vendors may be more willing to negotiate on price since it's a slower season.
But…there are definitely some negatives to a winter wedding:
- Working around several holidays could prove to be a difficult task.
- You can't predict what the weather will be like—so your "white wedding" may end up seriously short of snowflakes.
- Out-of-town guests could be affected by weather-related travel delays.
- The sunset happens pretty early. Keep in mind that in some areas of the country, it could be dark by 4:30pm.
Be sure to check with your photographer about the earlier sunset's infamous "golden hour." This is the prime time to take outdoor wedding photos, and it's worth planning your ceremony around.
Winter Color Palette
Let's go beyond the literal "Red and Green" holiday wedding or "Winter White" affair. There are so many sophisticated color palettes to consider for a luxe winter wedding! Think moody emeralds and plums, warm cream and berry tones, or dazzling silver and gold. And you can't go wrong with a classic black & white ball.
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Depending on the location of your wedding, cooler temps might mean those cold shoulders need to be covered up. Opt for bridesmaid dresses with long sleeves or faux fur wraps, so your girls won't be shivering during the ceremony. It also doesn't hurt to ask your venue what temperature they keep their event space, just to have that info tucked away in the back of your mind come shopping day.
For groomsmen, there's no limit to where you can take their winter wedding ensemble. Trade the suit jackets for nice warm sweaters or cardigans. You can even experiment with sweater vests, scarves, and heavy wool jackets. We're swooning just thinking about all the possibilities.
Working With What's In Season
When you buy what's in season, you get food and flowers at the peak of their supply when costs are normally lower. Plus, when they're locally grown they don't need to be shipped halfway around the globe. So not only do you save money, but you also reduce your carbon footprint. Win-win.
—Winter Wedding Food—
What better way to keep your guests warm and cozy than with good old-fashioned comfort food? Luckily, winter produce is full of starchy goodness: sweet potatoes, parsnips, and all manner of squash. Roasted root vegetables, steaming bowls of soup, and mashed potatoes will no doubt make everyone happy.
—Winter Wedding Flowers—
While many flowers bloom year-round, there are some in-season winter flowers we're especially fond of:
- Brunia berries are small silver balls that add a perfect accent to your winter bouquet.
- The popular succulent trend is a fun winter wedding flower alternative.
- Manzanita branches are wintery and rustic, and can even be spray-painted silver or gold.
- Pinecones have an über winter feel, so they're a perfect complement to any winter wedding arrangement.
- Hypericum berries are also a really festive addition to bouquets.
- Roses are a year-round classic, but their diverse colors (like white or deep red) are especially gorgeous for winter.
Winter Catering Trends
Warm and creamy soups like tomato, lobster bisque, and clam chowder are excellent starters, but we love the trend of passing them as hors d'oeuvres! Serve them in mini-mugs and turn them into soup shooters. Bonus points if they come with a heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwich.
We also love the idea of food stations. How about a mashed potato bar with all the fixings, or a pasta station with different noodles and sauces? And just because it's cold doesn't mean you need to avoid lighter foods like salads! Seasonal fruits and veggies such as apples, cranberries, and turnips pair perfectly with heavier comfort foods.
For dessert, there's no better way to treat your guests than to offer a hot cocoa bar. Offer customized wedding mugs as wedding favors and miniature donuts for dipping! Yum.
Also, consider warm apple pie, pear cobbler, and gingerbread as an alternative (or addition to!) your wedding cake. Better yet, put a chocolate fondue pot on every table and you've got yourself an easy DIY dessert reception!
Winter Wedding Cake Trends
For couples sticking with a traditional wedding cake, rich flavors like dark chocolate, caramel, and red velvet are perfect in the winter months. For especially non-traditional cake-lovers, why not try out a combo of french vanilla and bourbon, or even peppermint and white chocolate?
Frosting and icing can help dress any cake up or down, as well as accentuate the flavor. Keep your cake simple with flat white fondant adorned with seasonal accents, or go dramatic with edible gold leaf. The choice is yours!
Winter-Inspired Wedding Favors
Think about gifting your guests with items they can use over and over again, like a ceramic mug or Frasier fir-scented candle. Or, if you're into edible favors, food is always a good call. You can thank your guests for coming with DIY hot cocoa cones, candy canes, or mulling spices!
Wintery Signature Cocktails
Pay homage to the winter season with white russians, mulled wine, peppermint cocktails, or hot-buttered rum. We'll say cheers to that!