Winter Wedding Tips for Brides

It might be almost spring but it is flurrying outside right now so this post is still relevant! 

If you are planning on saying "I do" between the beginning of November and the end of March, I am so glad you are here! 

There are a ton of benefits to having a winter wedding and it is becoming a more popular option for brides and grooms. It can also be a busy time of year for guests so choosing your date carefully was likely on your mind. Whether you've secured your date and you're knee deep in planning or you're still considering the possibility of a winter wedding, there are a few important things for you to know! 


Mind The Sun

Careful timeline planning is important regardless of your wedding date but if you're getting married between November and March, it quickly becomes the number one priority. Regardless if your area recognizes Daylight Savings or not, the days are shorter in the winter which means, there are less hours of daylight! This is incredibly important to pay attention to as soon as you start your planning. 

Regardless if you've hired an all natural light photographer or not, you certainly do not want all of your wedding day portraiture taken after dark, indoors with flash. That coveted natural light is important for your makeup artist too! 

As you're doing your planning, it is imperative to make sure that your portraiture will be completed before sunset (wedding party, bride and groom, bride with bridesmaids, groom with groomsmen, groom portraits and bridal portraiture). For some couples, this may mean that you need to do a first look. If the sunset is within 30 minutes of the end of your ceremony and you're not planning on doing a first look... you will have little-to-no natural light portraiture (which is basically every one of those photos you've pinned and stalked and loved for years).

It's imperative that you work with your photographer to create an ideal timeline that strategically uses those few hours of precious daylight.  

Make Smart Choices

It's likely that regardless of the temperatures, you will spend some time outside during your portraiture. If at all possible, I try to pop in and out of cars or heated buildings if the temperatures are absolutely brutal, but sometimes that isn't possible or realistic. 

It's still possible to find ways to stay warm and comfortable:


Properly Prepare Everyone 

Yes, it's likely that its going to be a level of cold that is bone chilling. We're all cold - we're all in this together. From your vendors to your bridesmaids, everyone is fighting off the shivers and brushing away goosebumps. 

Most times, bridesmaids and family don't mean any harm when they complain but it can leave the bride feeling responsible or guilty. It's important to set an expectation that complaining begins and ends before the wedding day kicks off. As a bridesmaid, you don't want to leave the bride feeling like she's personally responsible for you being uncomfortable and honestly, the constant whining during portraits is really obnoxious to wedding vendors too. 

I've shot portraits in -3°F, my camera got so cold that it locked up and it took me almost 10 minutes to feel my fingers again. But the entire wedding party was so understanding of the importance of their cooperation to the bride and groom on their magical day. They smiled and brought their A-game so we were finished with full wedding party portraits in a record 5 minutes! But on the flip side, I've also dealt with wedding parties who couldn't focus and wouldn't stop complaining when it was barely lower than 40°F. Winter wedding portraits can be incredibly epic so they're definitely worth the frozen toes. 

Keep Your Guests Comfortable

Incorporating a hot drink into the cocktail hour menu (think: spiked hot chocolate or spiked hot apple cider) could do wonders for making a perfect first impression on your guests and making them feel extraordinarily welcomed. 

If any portion of your wedding (like the above mentioned cocktail hour) is outside, be sure to incorporate plenty of those propane patio heaters. Additionally, if you're able to provide a coat check, your guests will be grateful to not have to keep their coat at their seat. 

Most importantly, seriously consider have your wedding all at one location within just a few minutes of your hotel accommodations. Winter weather can inevitably lead to poor driving conditions that can be stressful for your guests. If there's an impending storm, even your local guests might want to check into the hotel early just to be closer to your venue and not risk missing your special day! We're seeing big storms even in March here in Pennsylvania so no matter how much you pray for good weather, preparation is key! 


Now... go forth and plan that snowy, magical, wintery wonderland of a wedding that you've been dreaming of! 

The Secret to a Stress-Free Wedding

Humor me for a minute. 

I want you to take 10 seconds and think about all of the things that go into creating a typical wedding day. Now, I have an advantage because weddings are my life, but here's what I was able to come up with in those ten seconds: 

catering, alcohol, cocktail hour, servers, hair and makeup, cake, bridesmaids, groomsmen, family, flowers, officiant, music/DJ, centerpieces, reception decor, wedding dress, ceremony processional

That is a lot of moving parts. Give me even more time and I can come up with a list of wedding day details that would make your head spin. Everything from transportation, parking and hotels to wedding day breakfast and lunch, the rehearsal dinner, the after party and your cake. There are details as tiny as the knife you will cut your cake with (for all of 5 seconds). 

Even if you've hired a wedding planner, there are a lot of decisions to make. The majority of my clients do not have a wedding planner and only some have a day-of coordinator. It's not all that popular here in our neck of the woods so when I show up to a wedding where there is a day-of coordinator, I could cry with joy. Otherwise, that responsibility is shared between all of the other wedding day vendors. As with any large event, there are an abundance of small details that all need to align perfectly to create a smooth and chaos-free day.   

Now again, humor me and imagine you're the bride and while you're sitting in your makeup chair on one of the most important days of your life, everyone keeps asking you a million questions. But they're not the fun kind. 

What time do I need to put on my bridesmaid dress?
When is the DJ going to get here? 
How are we getting back to the hotel later tonight? 
Where are your shoes? 

The bartenders are late. What do I do?
No one can find the officiant. What is his name?
Who has the wedding bands?
Where is the framed photo of grandpa supposed to go? 
What order do we walk down the aisle in? 
What do we do after the ceremony is over? 
How are we doing reception introductions? 
What time is the cake being cut? 
Where is Mom? Where is Grandma? 
What time will the caterer be arriving? 

Here's my point: Over the years I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of brides who tell me, "we just want our wedding day to be chill and relaxed and stress free. We want to drink and dance and have a good time." I think somewhere along the lines, brides started to assume that the way you have a chill wedding day is to just say that you're a relaxed person and you want a low-key day and hope it happens because you've been really calm about everything leading up to your day. I'm so sorry to burst your bubble... but that's not how this works. That's not how any of this works. 


The secret to a stress-free wedding is smart, detailed planning. 

I'm talking about an immaculately planned timeline that covers even the smallest details, a personal timeline and list of responsibilities for each key person involved, a list of vendor contacts that is easily accessible during the wedding day, a detailed design plan and plenty of buffer time built into your day. When you eliminate the questions for those helping you pull off your big day, you eliminate the stress. 

When I see brides wearing thin and freaking out, it's because too many people have asked them too many questions, people aren't sure where they are supposed to be at a certain time and no one is helping because they haven't been told how. Usually there is a missing groomsman in the mix there somewhere too. 

If you're in the midst of planning your dream day, I want to urge you to dig in, write it all down and schedule out every detail. That's the way to create a day that is calm, free of stress and joyous from start to finish. Eliminate the questions and develop a plan.

Some of my favorite, practical planning resources (for weddings and beyond) are: 

  • Google Drive for storing documents, creating timelines and making guest lists
  • Doodle for deciding on dates and gathering people easily
  • Wunderlist for managing multiple to-do lists
  • GroupMe for communicating effectively with family and bridesmaids

Unsure of where to start? Check out my timeline freebie download to give you a good idea of what your wedding day structure should look like. 

If that all seems overwhelming and absolutely terrible to you or you just don't have the time to commit to being your own wedding planner... I highly recommend you invest in a professional wedding planner! If even that sounds like hell... have ya considered eloping? 😉

You deserve to start your forever with a day that feels like pure magic.