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:
Grab some HotHands (your bridesmaids and groomsmen will thank you).
Have hot tea or hot cider on hand.
If you're wearing a ballgown, put some fleece lined leggings on underneath!
Invest in an optional, removable coverup like a gorgeous faux fur jacket, stole or cape.
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!