A few things to think about when Planning your Winter Wedding.
Winter weddings are bloomin’ magical. So much of the wedding world is focused on summer weddings – which are beautiful too, don’t get me wrong – that it’s often easy to forget the misty and mystical qualities that winter weddings bring. They’re a gorgeous, glittering beacon in what’s otherwise thought of as a pretty dreary time of year.
Having your wedding in the colder months does mean a couple of extra things ot think about, which I’m here to help you with. As a Kent-based natural wedding photographer, I’ve done winter weddings in grand venues and rolling greenery, and as a London-based natural wedding photographer I’ve shot winter weddings in more intimate, city venues. I love both – they’re both as dreamy as each other – but they do bring their own problems to trouble shoot. Here’s my starter guide for what to consider when planning a winter wedding in the UK:
The lighting when Planning a Winter Wedding
From a photographer’s point of view, this is key. There’s much less daylight in the winter months, meaning the window or ideal photo-taking opportunities is somewhat reduced. It’s not a death sentence for beautiful photography by any means – far from it, in fact, the dwindling winter light is breath-taking in its own way, and candlelight looks oh so beautiful – but it is worth thinking about if you are envisaging blazing sunlight and endless golden tones.
Like star crossed lovers, the timing and the lighting are inexplicably intertwined. The limited amount of natural light is worth considering when planning your timeline. IF you want portraits in nice, natural light, for example, don’t have a late-afternoon ceremony; or, if you’re set on a late-afternoon ceremony, schedule your photos for before. This is especially true of natural documentary photography like mine, where we’re likely to go exploring on our own for a bit, instead of standing static with a big flash gun and a backdrop.
Good old mother nature can be totally unpredictable at any time, but a winter wedding require extra planning to account for rain and ice. Is the ground at your venue adequate for slushy winter weather? Is there cover for your guests as they go from ceremony to reception? Crucially, will it be warm enough for your guests? Grand, high-vaulted spaces are drop dead gorgeous, but they can also be unbelievably cold. Older venues especially can’t be cold-proofed as well as newer ones. It may be worth noting this on your invites to give people advance warning and ensure they wrap up appropriately; and by plying them with bits on the day to keep them roasty toasty, like a hot chocolate or mulled wine station and a stash of blankets. And not just your guests, either, but think about yourselves – do you have a jacket to throw on top of your outfit if you’re cold? Does your dress bustle up if you wanna throw some boots on on the dance floor?
With there being a good chance that roads won’t be dry and visibility may not be 100%, journeys may take a little longer than in the summer months. If your guests are relying on group transport, like buses or coaches, ensure they’d be able to get your people where they need to be in the case of extreme temperatures. Think also about your suppliers: if they have big vans or lorries, will they be able to get to you? (They’ll try everything in their power to, obviously).
‘Tis the season to be merry, and so although it’s not the peak season for weddings, it’s the popular time for events in general. This applies mostly to December, when venues are busy with Christmas meals, work dos and New Year’s parties, but there can be a lot of corporate activity throughout the rest of the season too. If you have a venue in mind that isn’t solely a wedding venue, check well in advance to ensure they’re free.
The availability when Planning a Winter Wedding
It’s not thought of as the best season for things to grow – bar spirits and waistlines – so talk to your suppliers about making the best of the time of year. The lovely Shelena from Bloaum Studio (who I’d highly recommend) says some of the most gorgeous flowers are in season in winter: “If you’re looking for winter whites to create a snowy wonderland, you can think about anemone with the stylish black centres and beautiful cyclamen, as well as classics like tulips, hellbores and roses. Ranunculus are a great alternative for peony lovers (which are in season at the start of summer) as they’ve a similar ruffle of petals are super long lasting. On the other end of the spectrum, ilex and viburnum berries, Icelandic poppies, amaryllis and blackberry scoop scabious can all bring delicious depth and gorgeous jewel tones. Winter is also a great time to play with textures, including asparagus ferns, pines, firs and eucalyptus seed pods. Also, have a think about having some herbs in there – they’re in abundance at this time of year, and will make for a beautifully scented seasonal bouquet.”