Winter weddings are beautiful, unique, and tough to plan. While getting married in the winter can be an advantage (it’s off-season for many venues and vendors and you may get some discounts!), it can also be really hard to nail down the logistics. I’m here to give you some of my best tips on how to plan a snowy wedding or winter elopement.
1. Wear the right winter footwear.
If you’re planning to have your winter wedding or elopement ceremony outdoors in the snow, take this opportunity to find a stylish and warm set of snow boots. You can change out of these for the reception but you’ll be so happy you have warm toes during your ceremony and photo session. I have always been a fan of my Sorel boots (going on 9 winters and counting!) and love the look of their Joan of Arctic boots. Don’t forget a tall pair of winter socks as well. My favorites are Smartwool PhD Ski Socks.
2. Invest in lovely winter wedding accessories.
This is your excuse to get that beautiful fur coat or shawl you’ve always wanted! Accessories like a wool coat or shawl not only look great for outdoor winter wedding photos, but they keep you nice and toasty warm. Also, don’t forget about your bridesmaids! Purchase them scarves or shawls in your wedding colors as bridesmaid gifts that they can wear for the outdoor portions of the day. They’ll be happy to have a warm layer that looks good in photos and keeps them warm! A few of my favorite winter wedding accessories are this BHLDN sweater wrap or these shawls from Sissily Designs.
3. Keep your guests (if you have any attending) comfortable.
Think cozy blankets draped over ceremony chairs or a basket of hand-warmers as people arrive. If you choose to have your winter wedding or elopement ceremony outdoors, be sure to consider the comfort of your guests. Make sure you have a warm place for them to gather (and maybe a hot cocoa station!) before any following festivities begin.
4. Keep everything in one location.
When planning a winter wedding, look for a venue or ceremony location that doesn’t require too much travel between the ceremony and any other places you’d like to take photos or gather at afterwards. This way you won’t be required to travel on dangerous snowy roads and will keep the whole day flowing if there happens to be inclement weather. Also be sure to have a backup location in case of any unforeseen weather circumstances.
5. Find a venue with lodging nearby.
Similar to number four, the more you can keep you and your guests from having to drive themselves, the better. If your ceremony location isn’t close to lodging, consider hiring a shuttle or car service to transport you and any guests that might be attending to the nearest hotel with or town with lodging. Some of my favorite winter wedding venues in Washington are Pine River Ranch, Sleeping Lady, Mountain Springs Lodge, and Swiftwater Cellars. My favorite winter wedding venues in Jackson Hole are Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee Resort, Hotel Terra, Spring Creek Ranch, and Amangani.
6. Embrace winter ambiance.
Think candles, dried flowers, woodsy foliage, and lights hanging from above. Maybe you’re getting married in a rustic cabin and can drape lights from the ceiling beams, or fill your ceremony space with tea lights and tall candles to set the stage for the perfect winter wedding vibe. There are so many unique and beautiful ways to decorate your ceremony space in a way that celebrates the season! You might also consider carrying a bouquet of dried or seasonal foliage to showcase all of the beauty of winter. Hire a professional florist to help your vision come to life.
7. Lighting is everything.
Due to the fact that the sun sets early in the winter, be sure to plan your ceremony at a time of day when there will be enough light. On that note it is also best to do a “first look”, so that you’ll have enough light to take all of those winter wonderland photos you’ve been dreaming of!
8. Have a coat check and boot storage.
If you are having guests attend and your ceremony is outdoors, this is a must! Many guests will likely wear snow boots if standing in the snow and want to change into more comfortable shoes once they get inside. Set up a coat rack and rubber mat for guests to store their outerwear when they enter the reception space. This will keep coats and clutter out or your reception space and allow more room for your guests to be comfortable.
9. Send your guests off with winter favors.
There are so many fun ways to celebrate winter and sending your guests off with winter wedding favors allows for so much creativity! Some of my favorite ideas are personalized mugs with hot cocoa fixins, a s’mores kit, or even cozy winter blankets in your wedding colors.
10. Near a ski resort? Plan a post-wedding ski session!
One of my favorite ideas, being the snowboarder that I am! If you love to ski and got married near a ski resort, why not plan a post-wedding ski session? Your photographer can come up with you for a couple of hours the day after your wedding or elopement and capture you having fun on the slopes and celebrating your first day as newlyweds!
Thanks for reading and I hope this gives you a lot of great ideas for planning a winter wedding! If you’re getting married in the winter and looking for a photographer, be sure to ask about my winter wedding special! I offer all couples getting married in the winter months an additional hour of coverage to their wedding collection for no extra charge. Email [email protected] for pricing and availability. I look forward to hearing about all of your winter wedding plans!