How to Have a Successful Winter Wedding

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Winter Weddings Rock!

Winter weddings are near and dear to my heart! Matter of fact, I’m here because my parents were brave enough to have one. And, if I had the chance to do it all again, I’d trade my summer wedding to say my “I do’s” in winter too. If your wedding is this winter, BRAVO! You are a real trailblazer and a pretty smart cookie! For those couples still in the “date debate,” follow their lead, and give winter a look. This underrated and seriously misunderstood season is worthy of your consideration and here’s why:

Availability and Affordability

With the relative lack of competition, winter weddings get the pick of venues, vendors and pricing (YES, almost everything is negotiable come winter in these parts). Vendors tend to work harder and give more because business is slow, and they simply have more time and incentive to serve you.

Little Social Calendar Competition

With a whole lot of nothing on the social calendar, your guests will jump at the chance to break their hibernation and join your celebration. Isn’t it great to be the one and only event, rather than one of many!

Winter Weather Jitters

So let’s tackle the obvious concern: bad weather. The reality is, our weather patterns are getting more severe, and the potential for event-disrupting weather is a year-round concern, not just a winter problem anymore. So what’s a couple to do?

  • First, make sure you have an email address and/or cell phone number for every guest so that you can communicate with them on event-day should you change or alter plans.
  • Consider purchasing event insurance. The premiums are affordable. According to the online quote that I received for my fictitious January wedding, it would cost $298 to cover a $50,000 wedding cancelled for a weather event. You can add liability and property coverage for a nominal additional cost. Check it out yourself at: www.wedsafe.com and be sure to read the fine print.
  • Also, consider adding language to vendor contracts that provide you the option to reschedule due to weather on a mutually agreed upon date and understand the costs involved.

Bottom line, weddings are a significant financial investment, and should be protected just like a car, a boat, or a home. Be smart as it relates to your vendor contracts and postponement clauses, and checkout your insurance options. It will give you peace of mind.

Music Matters

A winter wedding is all about the vibe, and music is a critical component. Think about it this way: in summer, there are beautiful landscapes to behold, pretty verandas and gardens to explore, and lovely ocean and countryside views. In the winter, you can’t be outdoors, which means it’s all about the fun-factor in the room, and music is the special sauce! The good news is, you just might get your pick of band or DJ and at a price you like because it’s WIN-ter!

Décor and Ambiance

A downside of winter (in the Northeast) is the high cost of flowers. Pretty much every type of flower we typically think of for a wedding needs to be flown in, and that’s expensive. Weddings planned on or around Valentine’s Day are a double wammy, because flowers and roses triple in price, and florists are crazy busy. So, what is a bride to do? Fear not, there are many creative options other than floral that can achieve a smashing look at a reception.

  • Room lighting along the perimeter and ceiling is an affordable way to achieve a big, room-transforming look.
  • Even better, you can change the lighting colors during the event adding suspense and visual interest. Some venues have the lighting already built-in like Finley Catering’s gorgeous space, Union Trust.
  • For the table center, consider crafting displays that tell your story as a couple such as the places you’ve traveled together, or your favorite movies, books, bands, etc.
  • Create tablescapes comprised of similar objects, such as candles in all different sizes, shapes and heights.
  • Use interesting containers and add non-floral décor elements such as feathers, fabric, photos, beads and crystals. Select a unique cloth and chair cover and let that be your statement.

Make it an Overnight

Cut down the drive time and potential problems on slippery roads by hosting the ceremony and reception at the same venue. Even better, select a venue that has sleeping rooms and encourage guests to make it an overnight, which exponentially increases the fun-factor, while reducing the risk-factor.

Dress the Part

Capturing that awesome winter shot with snowflakes swirling in the background is the goal; but, it’s not going to happen if your teeth are chattering, and your shoulders are scrunched up around your ears. Dress for the temperature by adding a lovely stole over your wedding dress. Don’t forget about the beautiful bridesmaids, they might need one too. And finally, if satin or fabric covered footwear is your choice, please consider wearing boots or other shoes in transit as snow and water will leave yucky stains.

Making Guests Comfortable

Here are a few ideas that go a long way in making your guests feel warm, cozy and cared for:

    • The morning of your wedding, send out a group email to all guests attending, telling them how excited you are to see them and providing event reminders such as times, locations and GPS addresses. This is a huge help, particularly for out-of-towners and those who misplaced the invitation.
    • Ask guests during the RSVP phase if they have any special needs. These could be dietary in nature, like a food allergy, or it could be something else, like accommodations for a wheelchair. Wheelchairs take up two regular spots at a banquet table, so it’s good to know in advance so you can plan the seating accordingly and make the guest feel comfortable.
    • Add valet parking, particularly if your guests are parking in an open-air lot, so they don’t slip and slide their way to the front door.
    • Ask for weather mats at the reception entrance (ceremony too) to prevent slips particularly if the flooring is tile or stone.
    • Provide a well staffed, friendly coat check to warmly welcome guests, and to assist in stowing away wet coats and winter gear.
    • Butler a specialty cocktail, such as a Black Walnut Old Fashioned, to warm guests up as they enter the event space.
    • Say good night and thanks with hot cocoa in a to-go cup available for guests at the car valet. Adding a heart shaped strawberry tart in a monogramed box with a thank you note is a nice touch too.
    • Ask the venue to assign a staffer to assist with transportation needs for those guests who aren’t feeling comfortable with the drive. Note: Uber is currently testing a new event service UberEVENTS, which allows party givers to provide a unique code to guests that can be activated in the promotions section of the Uber app before requesting a ride. This allows the party hosts to cover the cost of the guest’s transport.

Cold and Flu Season

Planning a wedding is filled with trials, and tribulations, and that can take a toll on your immune system; and as winter is the cold and flu season you’re doubly susceptible. Bolster up and protect yourself by getting your flu shot and encouraging your wedding party to do the same. Also, a regular dose of vitamin C is an excellent preventive, as is a good night’s sleep, healthy eating and mindful meditation. And, remember to bring that anti-bacterial gel to the reception. You’ll be shaking hands like a Presidential candidate, so be rid of those germs before the honeymoon.

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