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Ask A Wedding Expert: Winter Wedding Tips

Making the case for a cold weather date

With engagement season coming to a close, it’s time to set a date for the big day. While warm summer days seem to always get preference for the festivities, choosing a winter date affords its own unique opportunities. We spoke with Anne Chertoff, trend expert at WeddingWire, who argues the case for a cold weather date. At WeddingWire, Chertoff is the go-to for wedding style, etiquette, decor and engagement trends. The website and app connects brides with the perfect vendors and venues in their city and provides helpful tools for planning, like customizeable wedding checklists and curated inspiration from the site’s editors. Here, Chertoff reveals why a winter wedding date might be the ideal choice.

What are the challenges of a winter wedding?
The main challenge for a winter wedding is the weather. Inclement weather can block roads and cause accidents, which can prevent people from arriving at the wedding venue on time or at all. It can wreak havoc on travel plans when guests are flying in for the wedding. Airports closing and flight delays and cancellations can prevent guests or certain details from arriving, specifically flowers that are being flown in. 

Couples have to be aware that the weather can prevent their wedding from happening, or prohibit some guests from attending. They should keep an open mind and be flexible if they have to kick in Plan B.

What are the best reasons to get married during the winter? 
There are plenty of perks for couples that choose to wed in the winter. Many vendors and venues offer specials in the winter, so couples may be able to score a great deal – and lots of savings – to get married in the winter months. A couple’s venue might already be decked out for the holidays as well, so there is the potential to save some money on decor. There’s also less competition to book vendors for those coveted Saturday dates in the winter. Quite often, family and friends have more free time in the winter – couples won’t have to compete with summer vacations! 

Family and friends will also already be in the thankful, celebratory, family-oriented spirit during this time of the year – plus a wedding gives your guests another opportunity to get dolled up in their holiday finest.

Also, if winter is your favorite season because of the snow and picturesque scenery, couples may be in luck and get a gorgeous snowy backdrop for their wedding photos!

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What are the best winter wedding venues?

For many planning winter weddings, indoor venues are generally the best bet, unless a couple lives in an area that’s warm year-round. For grander affairs, consider hotel ballrooms, country clubs and banquet halls. For something more intimate, historic estates or winery tasting rooms are fun and unique options.

If you live in an area where snow or inclement weather is a possibility, look for venues that offer valet parking or at least on-site parking so guests don’t have difficulty finding a parking spot and don’t have to walk in their evening clothes in ice, snow or slush. 

You can also choose a venue or destination that is super fun to visit in the winter, such as a ski resort or mountain lodge. Take advantage of the winter weather and you can have picturesque portraits with snow-capped mountains in the background. And guests can enjoy skiing, sledding and other winter sports over the weekend.

What color palettes work for a winter wedding?

Using white as a neutral or backdrop color allows for pretty much any color combination for a winter wedding. WeddingWire research shows that last year, the number one most popular color combo for winter weddings was white and gold, followed by white and black. There was a tie for third between white and silver and blue and gold. Festive jewel tones (amber yellow, plum, and cobalt blue) paired with metallic details create seasonal flair to the decor that really pops. If your wedding falls near a winter holiday, pick its colors for your palette, for example: Christmas (shades of red and green), New Year’s Eve (black and a metallic – gold or silver), Valentine’s Day (hues of red and pink – maybe blush). WeddingWire’s Color Palette Generator also provides lots of great ideas for couples looking to nail down their signature colors.

What are the best dishes to serve at a winter wedding? 

For a winter wedding, choose hearty comfort foods. During cocktails, you can serve small portions of mac ’n cheese, mini meatballs and bite-sized grilled cheese sandwiches. For the first course, offer guests a cup of soup, such as butternut squash or potato leek. For mains, you can serve steak and potatoes or salmon with a side of roasted vegetables. And for dessert, you can add warm chocolate molten cakes in addition to wedding cake. Or pass frozen hot chocolates on the dance floor! As guests leave at the end of the night, have a coffee station with to-go cups near the exit for guests to enjoy with a warm doughnut on the ride home.

Are there any winter wedding trends you’re seeing?

Many designers are showing wedding gowns with long sleeves for 2017, which are beautiful and weather appropriate for a winter wedding. Brides can accessorize with a fur or faux-fur stole or jacket, which can be lovely for taking photos outdoors.

Sequins and shimmer are a great winter wedding detail, especially when the wedding is inspired by the snow and ice of the season. Bridesmaid dresses can be found in sequins from neckline to hemline, tablecloths can be encrusted in sequins, invitations can have crystal or glitter embellishments, and even a wedding cake can have edible glitter details! 

Jeweled tones can add richness to a winter wedding color palette, and in rich velvets – as upholstery on lounge furniture, the bride’s shoes or even the groom’s jacket – can add warmth and texture to a wedding’s details.  You can also find jewel colored flowers and have bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces made in deep purples, dark maroons and rich reds.

Winter weddings allow couples to bring the outdoors in. Incorporating accents like birch tree branches, pinecones, and faux fur pillows bring a wintry, cozy twist to the big day. Buffalo check patterns, used in the invitation suite, as a table runner, or even as an accent to favors, are a great way to acknowledge the holidays in a bit more subtle way. 

Baristas can be hired to serve various coffee drinks toward the end of the reception and as guests leave.  Couples can create their very own coffee house with custom cups, cup covers, stirrers and napkins, as well as a complete menu of Americanos, cappuccinos, espressos and mochaccinos! 

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What are a few unexpected touches for a winter wedding that you’d suggest or that you’ve seen?

For areas that usually get a lot of snow, the newlyweds can make their getaway on a horse drawn sleigh!  Have it decorated with balloons, streamers and a just married sign, and make sure there’s a warm blanket and maybe a thermos of cocoa or coffee for the couple to enjoy as they make their way to the hotel.

Start a fire pit if one is available at your venue, or the hotel everyone is staying at, and give everyone a s’mores kit so they can enjoy a late night snack around the fire. 

I’ve seen fun photos of couples out in the snow taking photos and they’re wearing galoshes or snow boots with their wedding dress and suit. Since you can’t beat Mother Nature, you’re better off joining her and enjoy yourselves in the snow for a bit. Your wedding-day shoes can be kept clean for you to change into before the ceremony.

What would you say to someone who is hesitant to get married during the winter?

While you can’t guarantee the weather will be ideal, a snowy backdrop can make for beautiful wedding photos.  Also, with a good Plan B and wedding insurance, you should be secure in your choice to wed in a winter month.

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