The Festive Issue: Planning a Winter Wedding
Ho ho ho, Darlings! It’s a rather badly hidden secret that I (Anna from bride&glory) just love this time of year. In fact, I seem to get more excited about all things Christmas with every passing year. Shouldn’t I have grown out of this by now? Hazard a guess.
As for winter weddings, I can actually talk to you from my very own experience of walking down that candle-lit aisle at the beginning of December five years ago. I know, I know – everybody simply loves a summer wedding. It’s that vision of blue skies, sunshine and gentle breezes. Pimms sipped from deckchairs on lawns. Dancing into mild summer nights. I won’t lie: it’s magical when all of the above comes together. But the reality can be quite a different cup of tea. I’ve seen storms, torrential rain, bridesmaids freezing in feather-light dresses and be-suited men melting away in scorching heat. Summer truly is a mighty beast these days.
So all hail the winter! At least everybody will expect to wrap up warm and, if it happens to be a milder day, that’s a bonus. Likewise, you’ll expect the skies to be grey so if you wake up to the most magnificently blue skies like I did, it’ll feel like a wonderful gift, just for you. So think about the warm glow of a roaring log fire, the smell of a Nordman Fir tree mixed with scrumptiously creamy eggnog, pine garlands wound up banisters, intertwined with twinkly fairy lights. Can you see it yet? The beauty of it is that festive weddings can accommodate any theme. You wouldn’t necessarily think of pastel colours in autumn but the luscious green of Christmas foliage goes with pretty much anything. Have you not seen Liberty’s pink Christmas decorations yet? Trust me, there’s something for every colour palette. And what a way to be clever with your budget! If you’re getting married late November or early December, just put those Christmas decorations up early. At least that’s the excuse I’m sticking to, and to this day no less…
Seriously though, if you’re getting married at a venue like a hotel or similar, they will probably already have decorated for Christmas and everything will look fantastically festive, putting you and your guests into the right celebratory mood. And if you’re planning more of a barn/marquee/kåta tent wedding, why not buy your Christmas trees early, use them for your wedding day decoration and then transfer them to your newlywed home. Tiny trees wrapped with hessian and a pretty bow make the most beautiful decorations. And wreaths! Use wreaths with candles in vases as the middle centrepieces. They’ll look utterly divine and you can give them to your family and friends to take away afterwards. Isn’t it just lovely to think that your nearest and dearest will hang your wreaths on their doors, reminding them of the happiest of days for weeks to come? And the place cards, oh, the place cards! One of my brides used baubles and hand painted guests’ names on them. Not only does it make for the prettiest decoration but it will remind everyone of you and your simply wonderful day for years on end.
In terms of logistics, winter weddings are quite similar to autumn weddings so bear in mind the all important matter of temperatures. You don’t want to freeze, and neither do your guests, so have extra hand warmers, scarves, blankets and gloves to hand if you’re planning anything outdoorsy like fireworks or photographs. If there is a little walk from the ceremony to the reception venue, greet your guests with a do-it-yourself hot toddy station. Have the instructions on how to mix the concoction printed on cocktail napkins, display cinnamon sticks, lemon slices and stirring sticks in pretty containers and voila, you have a winner. And of course, a mulled cider/wine or eggnog bar will go down just as well.
It may sound oh so patronising but do bear in mind the risk of snow. Many a couple have gotten caught out by a sudden snowfall, preventing their guests and/or suppliers to actually get to the venue. I’m a big supporter of wedding insurance (I just think that, in the big scheme of things, it’s a small amount of money very well spent), but when it comes to winter, you’ll really want to think twice about back-up. And don’t be shy: discuss it with your venue and your suppliers. Have they encountered heavy snowfall previously and how did they deal with it? What are the back-up plans in place? How will the vicar or registrar get to you? Trust me, once you feel secure in the knowledge that you’ve covered all back-up bases, there’s nothing standing in the way of your winter wedding being every bit as marvellous as that midsummer night’s dream.
Sleigh loads of candy canes and Happy Christmas!