5 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Winter Wedding

A bride and groom standing in front a lighting building in the snow.

There are many wonderful reasons to get married in the winter: mother nature provides you with beautiful scenery, you often have your pick of your favorite vendors, and your wedding is sure to stand out from the long list of couples that tie the knot during “wedding season.” However, getting married in the winter does require certain accommodations—and failing to meet them can lead to major problems. Here are a few mistakes you should avoid with your winter wedding.

1. Picking the Wrong Date

Whether you’re getting married in January or June, picking the wedding date is always tricky. You have to find a date when everyone’s available: your vendors, your bridal party, your family and friends. And when you’re getting married in the winter, you have to schedule around another obstacle: the holidays. If you pick a date too close to major family gatherings like Christmas or Thanksgiving, you risk getting a lot of people declining the invite.

This scheduling issue can affect both your wedding day and your pre-wedding activities. You may want to have a bridal shower in November ahead of your February wedding, but if you schedule it too close to Thanksgiving, a lot of your guests may be unavailable. If you take a little extra time and consider everyone’s calendars when scheduling winter wedding events (you may even want to run the dates by your closest friends and relatives), you’ll have a much nicer turnout.

2. Pretending It’s Still Summer

A bride and her two bridesmaids wearing fur jackets and standing in a snowy courtyard.

Nearly all the advice you see in bridal magazines and blogs assumes you’re getting married in the summer or fall. After all, most couples do; in the U.S. a whopping 80% of weddings take place between May and October. As a result, the wedding industry shapes most of its trends around these seasons—and that means they aren’t always suited to the winter.

While there’s nothing wrong with consulting a bridal mag or wedding website for inspiration, it’s important to use common sense and adjust their advice to suit your situation. For example, if you read somewhere that strapless bridesmaids’ dresses are all the rage, give your girls something to wrap up in as well. If you don’t, you’ll wind up with a retinue of human popsicles, and that is never on trend!

3. Booking Separate Locations for the Ceremony and Reception

We’ve all been to summer weddings with a second location. You have the ceremony somewhere lovely and quaint like a local church, then move to a larger space like a restaurant or event hall for the reception. In the summer, this change in locations is only tough if you have guests who can’t follow instructions. In the winter, however, it’s a whole different animal.

During the winter, any number of things could ruin the trip from one location to the other. The cold weather could tamper with your guests’ cars. Holiday shopping traffic can bog down the trip from ceremony space to the reception site. If you live somewhere that snows, an unexpected blizzard could leave you snowed in—without any food or music! The safest bet for you, your spouse, and your guests is to simply book one space for both ceremony and reception.

4. Ignoring the Spirit of the Season

A cake decorated with Christmas pinecones and berries with a lighted tree in the background.

One of the great things about getting married in the winter is the wealth of décor you can find everywhere you look. Need some fairy lights? Got ‘em. Some elegant floral arrangements? Right over here. Of course, there is one minor issue with all the accessible decorations: they may remind folks of that other holiday that’s right around the corner.

Look, I get it. Very few couples want to have a Christmas-themed wedding. But when you get married in the winter, you can’t ignore the quintessential look of the season, and that means embracing a miniature fir tree or two. I’m not saying you need Santa Claus centerpieces, but your floral selections and decorations should reflect that warm and homey wintertime feel.

5. Forgetting the Wedding Insurance

You know that unexpected blizzard I just mentioned? Well, it’s not just a problem for you and your guests; it also means your vendors can’t make it to the venue. Your catered dinners will go uneaten, your flowers will wilt, unseen by your guests—and if you don’t have wedding insurance, you’re going to pay for it no matter what.

If you’re getting married in the winter, you’ll want to get wedding insurance, especially if you live somewhere where inclement weather is a common occurrence. Insurance will cover you in case of issues with your venue or vendors. In some cases (for example, a snow or ice storm that keeps everyone stuck at home), you can even postpone your big day and not pay anything but your deductible! This is one expense that can be invaluable for a winter wedding.

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