Planning a wedding is rarely simple – that’s why we’ve put together so many different wedding planning guides to try to help you out – but winter weddings bring their own unique set of challenges. There’s a lot of things to think about that you wouldn’t generally have to consider with a summer wedding. That doesn’t mean it has to be any more difficult though, it’s just a matter of knowing what to expect – and if you get it right, your winter wedding can be every bit as spectacular as the most perfect of summer weddings. Before you deep dive into your planning, here’s a few things to consider as you get started.
Make sure to wrap up warm! This could mean choosing a dress with sleeves, or leaning into vintage glamour with a faux fur wrap or feathered ostrich cape, or even just having plenty of shawls or blankets nearby to wrap up in when you’re not having your photo taken.
Some brides find that sheer adrenaline will get them through and they don’t end up feeling the cold – this is great, but remember that your bridesmaids won’t have the same experience, so make sure your girls are dressed for the season. Co-ordinate their warmer wear the same way you would their dresses. This could be matching wraps or colour-coded coats, there’s plenty of freedom to choose something that still has them looking fab without meaning the cold has them looking like your ‘something blue’.
For your groom and his groomsmen, thicker fabrics such as luxe velvet or woollen jackets not only have a more seasonal look but provide added warmth as well.
Get the Right Temperature
Make sure your guests are nice and warm, too! Have lots of shawls, rugs and blankets available, and create a warm outside space for those who need a breath of fresh air at any point – fire pits and outside heaters are both great ideas, while some form of overhead shelter from the elements is absolutely essential. If you are having open fires, just remember to make sure any guests bringing children are aware.
Of course, you’ll want the interior to be nice and warm but don’t let it get too hot and stuffy, especially the reception where your guests should be working up a sweat on the dancefloor. Talk to your venue about how they heat the space. Remember, as well, to seat the right people in the right places – that means keeping older guests away from potential drafts and closer to fires and radiators.
A Romantic Atmosphere
Early evenings and wintery weather mean everything feels so much cosier indoors in the winter. Lean into this with the atmosphere you create, starting with your lighting. Embrace candlelight wherever you can to create a soft, romantic glow, and add to this cosy feeling with twinkling fairy lights.
Lush, soft textures like velvet create added ambience, while blankets and hot water bottles for your guests to wrap up in really reinforce this cosy feeling.
Don’t forget you can also decorate outside as well – candle-lit walkways, fairylights in trees, open fires all adding to the romantic atmosphere. Another bonus of the early evenings: if your venue – and your budget – allows it, you could take advantage of the winter evening darkness with your own celebratory firework display after the speeches.
Hearty Food and Warming Drinks
Cold weather cocktails are perfect for making your guests feel all warm and fuzzy inside – baileys cocktails, for instance, make for an indulgently festive tipple. Serving warm drinks is another great way to keep your guests nice and toasty; you could lean into the festive season with mulled wine or cider, or set up drink stations with luxurious hot chocolate.
In terms of food, you can’t go wrong with hearty and homely dishes. Roast beef and potatoes is a classic winter staple for a reason, as it’s perfect for warming up on a cold winter’s day – or you could go for a hog roast or a hearty stew like a bourguignon. For starters, swap salad for soup, and for dessert try something warm like sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownie or apple pie. Extend this to your canapes as well – there’s nothing better than a miniature Yorkshire pudding!
Be Prepared for the Weather
One of the hidden benefits of a winter wedding is that you don’t actually spend too much of your time fretting about the weather. This might seem counterintuitive, but while a summer wedding is often accompanied by worrying about rain, in winter you know that there’s a strong chance of poor weather, so you’re already prepared for the worst – it focusses the mind!
Make sure there’s plenty of space for storing your guests’ coats and scarves – a coat check with attendant might be advisable for medium to large parties. A proper all-weather mat for drying shoes is essential if you don’t want muddy, damp floors, or people slipping about on the dance floor. Consider having a change of footwear – wellies or warm boots – to change into, especially for going outdoors for pictures. You can always change into your heels just before the photos are taken!
You should also allow for extra time for people to arrive in bad weather, since it also usually means bad traffic, too – this includes your suppliers, so request they arrive earlier than you’d expect in summer to allow for lateness.
Having a contingency plan for the worst possible outcome is always advisable. Chat to your vendors about a plan for the weather – your photographer will be able to help you formulate a backup plan for where to do photos if it’s a horribly rainy day, for example.
The upside of course is the chance of snow, which gives you an almost unrivalled backdrop to your wedding pics. Just be aware of timings – you’ll lose light a lot quicker and a lot earlier in the winter, so you need to plan your pictures with this in mind.
We hope you found this helpful, but if you need more planning advice look no further – we have a three-part guide to Planning Your Lake District Wedding; Click here for part one, part two and part three. We’ve also put together guides to Finding Your Wedding Theme, Steps to Finding Your Wedding Colours, and 10 Last Minute Wedding Planning Tips.
You can also check out a couple of winter weddings that we’ve hosted here at New House Farm for some added inspiration; we’ve included some images in this post. Liam and Kirsty had a stunning winter wedding, while you can find Tracy and Paul’s laid-back and relaxed wedding here, and click here for Jen and Joby’s rustic wedding.
Looking for the perfect Lake District winter wedding venue? Come and take a look at what we offer at New House Farm. Our beautiful lakeside location and rustic Hayloft Barn makes for the perfect fairytale wedding in any season! To arrange a viewing please contact Hazel on: 07841159818.