While arguably the most underrated season for weddings, I have to admit I love a winter wedding. Perhaps I’m a little biased since I, too, got married in December. Nevertheless, to me, there is nothing quite like the magic of the holidays paired with the décor, colors, and warmth associated with the season. It makes planning a holiday wedding one of the most joyous experiences.
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Day are right around the corner. And in true 2020 fashion, the holidays may look a little different this year. Whether you’ve planned an intimate celebration over the holidays or you’re thinking of something grander for December 2021, there are quite a few things to consider for your winter nuptials. You must take into account planning and travel logistics, the menu, and tasteful design elements, especially if there’s snow in the air.
So, if you plan on saying “I do” around the holidays, follow these “dos and don’ts” to ensure you have a wedding that is filled with all the cheer, joy, and magic of this most wonderful time of the year.
DO Give Your Guests Plenty of Notice
Because the holiday season is so heavily traveled, it’s important to give your guests ample notice when planning a holiday wedding. This way they have enough time should they need to rearrange their travel plans to include your wedding.
If possible, consider notifying your guests earlier than usual. At HauteFêtes, we suggest sending out your “Save the Date” notification a year in advance. We also recommend you send your formal invitations out at least 10 weeks before the wedding. If you have a short engagement, sooner is better when giving your guests notice.
DON’T Expect Everyone to Make It
The holiday season is known for travel and vacations. And people often plan holiday vacations in advance, especially when they are traveling to spend time with family. Because of this, don’t be surprised if you receive a larger percentage of “declines” in RSVPs than if it were a non-holiday wedding.
DO Incorporate Seasonal Décor and Colors
There are a lot of tasteful ways to incorporate holiday décor into your wedding without it screaming “Christmas!” You can choose seasonal florals like roses and calla lilies, or winter elements like berries, pinecones, garland, and sprigs of evergreen. These features keep your holiday wedding design classy and elegant.
You can also incorporate festive details, such as jewel-toned colors, and perhaps even a holiday teaser for your stationery suite. For lighting, candles in cut glass candle holders, mercury glass touches, and twinkle lights can all bring festive vibes to your wedding while adding to the romance of the occasion, too. Finally, consider dressing your bridesmaids in a wintry color such as navy or burgundy.
DON’T Make it Holiday-Themed
Speaking of design, while holiday details such as Christmas music and red and green decor are all reminiscent of the season, you don’t want your guests to feel like they’re at a holiday party instead of your wedding! Instead, work with your wedding planner to incorporate your wedding vision into every aspect of the celebration.
At HauteFêtes, some of our favorite holiday wedding decor elements are:
- choosing neutral-toned wedding colors or reinterpreting classic seasonal colors in an unexpected way, such as pairing red with an otherwise all-white table;
- incorporating sparkly accents, gilded details, and seasonal touches by bringing the outdoors in with greenery accents on your chandeliers; and
- considering cozy accessories, such as a velvet, plaid, or corduroy dinner jacket for the groom or a faux fur shrug for the bride as a luxe nod to the season.
DO Create a Warm and Inviting Reception
There are more ways to winterize your wedding than just through décor. If you have an outdoor ceremony, your guests will be ready to warm up and start the party! You can create a cozy atmosphere at your reception with a great signature cocktail or holiday drink.
Consider greeting your guests with a hot toddy or spiked hot chocolate. During cocktail hour, serve them a seasonal cocktail. And during dinner, a warm soup. Use candles to create a cozy glow that connects with your outdoor theme, and provide guests blankets during the ceremony to keep them warm.
DON’T Leave Booking Your Vendors To the Last Minute
Just because you’re planning a holiday wedding does not mean wedding planners and photographers are not busy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Trust us. Once you’ve booked your wedding planner, work with them to secure your venue and wedding vendors well in advance. Also, keep in mind that pricing may increase over the holidays.
For example, flowers always tend to cost more during the winter months, as well as during certain holidays such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Even more, due to the influx of orders, vendors have to pay employees overtime. Travel prices are typically higher during the holiday season as well, so it’s a good idea to add a little wiggle room in your budget to accommodate the added prices.
At HauteFêtes, we help you plan and manage your wedding budget so you are prepared for all the costs that come with planning a holiday wedding.
DO Consider a Weather Back-Up Plan
Winter weddings can be unpredictable. For example, severe weather can affect transportation, heat lamp and tent orders, and ceremony locations. If you’re planning a winter wedding in a snowy climate, it is important to make several solid back-up plans that include spectacular wedding tents, heating elements, and even salt and sand for icy pathways.
Together with your wedding planner, work with your venue to identify different indoor ceremony and reception locations should you need them. Your wedding planner can also help you coordinate with your florist to adjust the décor in the event you need to move the setting and change a backdrop. And finally, with less light in the day, work with your photographer to make the most of the light and plan any outdoor portions of the day accordingly.
DO Have Your Winter Wedding with HauteFêtes
Winter weddings are one-of-a-kind. With so many different holiday elements to incorporate into your special day, there are hundreds of ways to make your winter wedding elegant, intimate, and magical.
From personal experience of having my own winter wedding to helping many couples plan tremendous wintertime celebrations, at HauteFêtes we are joyfully ready to help you start planning the winter wedding of your dreams. Be inspired this holiday season and let’s start planning a holiday wedding today!