When newly weds Erin and Terrance Loo planned their Texas wedding, they didn’t expect snow–which is what made their winter wedding all that more magical when they held it in a small outdoor ceremony in College Station and were surprised with 7 inches of snow.
But a magical winter wedding doesn’t have to be confined to weather or geography. Winter weddings are popular for being more affordable, unexpected, and a bright note during the shorter days.
Here are 7 tips for how to plan your own winter wedding.
1. Plan Your Timeline
Planning to take photos? The best time to start a winter wedding for an outdoor ceremony is early afternoon. Make sure you get photos done by 4pm at the latest, and keep in mind that weather conditions could also impact lighting. Even for an indoor ceremony, consider who you’re inviting: if you have many older guests that have to travel far, you’ll have to consider possible accommodations if you opt for an evening wedding so they won’t have to travel much in the dark. Finally, make sure you visit your wedding venue once at the time you’ll be there, so you understand how it’ll look for lighting.
2. Buy Your Dress Early
It’s always advisable to buy a wedding dress up to 9 months before the wedding, but for a winter wedding, consider shopping earlier. Wedding dresses with sleeves, perfect for a winter wedding theme, may need additional alterations. Additional bridal accessories, like shawls or capes also need to be considered.
3. Shop for Deals
Whether you’re looking for a class wedding A line wedding dress from a bridal store in Sacramento, or searching for a venue, keep in mind that winter weddings are becoming popular for at least one reason: they tend to be cheaper than weddings in other months. Take advantage of winter sales, and always ask if there are discounts available for catering and venues.
4. Winter Worthy Attire
Whether you have a glamorous or even casual wedding dress look in mind, consider a wedding dress with sleeves–both for warmth and to celebrate the winter theme. Keep bridesmaids warm with winter accessories, and make sure you have a coat check, if needed, for the reception. Communicate with your guests anything they need to know about heating or attire.
5. Buy in Season
Another way to save money and plan a fantastic winter wedding? You’d be surprised by how much you can shop in season. Great ideas for winter wedding flowers include lilies, pansies, snow drops, English primrose, and even poinsettias and winterberries. Create a fresh, and more affordable wedding meal feature produced in season. Opt for kale, radicchio and endive salads featuring mandarin oranges and meyer lemons; caramelized brussel sprouts, and warming squash soup for the appetizer course. Kumquats and pomegranate create festive notes on a fruit and cheese platter.
6. Make a Plan B
It’s always good to have a second plan in mind for a wedding, but when planning a winter wedding, this is especially important. For outdoor ceremonies in cooler climates, make sure you not only have adequate heating but also an alternative location. For any winter wedding, have a plan in place in case of inclement weather. Make sure to check with your venue about cancellation policies, as well as their heating and electric systems. You don’t want to be left in the dark or cold.
7. Be Mindful of Holidays
Winter weddings take place around several important holidays–or they can. On one hand, during a normal year, holidays often mean more relatives are around. On the other hand, it’s important to respect people’s desire to spend the holidays with loved ones. If you do want a winter wedding near the holidays, accept that some guests may or may not attend, and plan, as an added bonus and for the wintery weather, to offer accommodations, or at least recommendations, for your guests.