How to Plan a New Year’s Eve Wedding

A bride and groom at their New Year's Eve wedding and holding sparklers.

One of the most romantic nights of the year is unquestionably New Year’s Eve. Think about it: you get all dressed up with your closest pals, go to a nice dinner or head to a party and, of course, you drink champagne and steal a smooch at midnight. There aren’t many nights better suited for a wedding than New Year’s—and a New Year’s Eve wedding celebration can be one for the books. If you’re considering a New Year’s Eve wedding, or if you’ve already set the date for one, here’s how to plan it without a hitch.

Inform Your Guests Extra Early

It’s always best when you can spread the word about your wedding date early, but when you’re planning for a holiday wedding—the absolute sooner the better. As soon as you book the venue and sign a contract, you should think about sending save the dates or putting up a wedding website right then and there before your friends and relatives start making holiday plans or booking vacations.

Make it Glamorous

A bride and groom drinking champagne at their wedding.

The whole point on getting married on a night like New Year’s Eve is to take advantage of the glitz and glamour of the celebration. Lean into that with all of your decorations, bridesmaids dresses, and even the dress code for the guests. You want to make your guests feel as though they are attending the party of the season, so really make sure you give them everything you’ve got. Incorporate shimmery golds, metallic silvers and sparkly hues everywhere you turn in the ceremony and reception space to give the night a more elevated and romantic look than your average New Year’s Eve party.

Ask Your Vendors if There Will Be an Upcharge

Wedding vendors like bakers, DJs, or caterers can generally expect that they are going to be busy most weekends for events, but they may not have planned on being available during the holidays. Although technically New Year’s Eve isn’t a national holiday, many people take the opportunity to visit friends, attend parties, or even extend their Christmas celebrations with family. Because of this, booking a vendor for a New Year’s Eve wedding may be difficult, or potentially even more expensive.

As you’re looking into which vendors you’ll be booking for your wedding ceremony and reception, you’ll definitely want to ask if there will be an upcharge for their services on a holiday and what that fee is. The last thing you want is a surprise on the contract or on the bill at the very end of the night.

Hold a Fireworks Display

A bride and groom watching a fireworks display in the night sky at their wedding.

A fireworks display is always appropriate for a New Year’s celebration—but it can put your New Year’s Eve wedding ceremony over the top. To plan a fireworks display for your wedding, first check to see if your city is putting on its own show and whether or not it will be visible from your venue. Have your DJ or band make an announcement about the fireworks and then have all your guests head outdoors to enjoy the show—with coats on and patio heaters, preferably.

If your ceremony space is a bit tucked away, inquire with your venue about hosting your own professional-level fireworks show. They may ask that you seek out your own permits and may require you to have the show a certain distance from the venue, but nothing could be more magical or memorable for your guests than your own private fireworks show.

…Or Hoist up a Lantern

A couple lighting a paper lantern and letting it float away in the night sky during their wedding reception.

New Year’s Eve celebrations are more than just about leaving the last year behind—they’re also about making wishes and promises for the year to come. This is especially important if you’re a new husband or wife and you have an extra special reason to be excited about the upcoming year.

A beautiful way to celebrate your new marriage and the new year in general is to light paper lanterns and release them into the sky during the reception. Have your guests make wishes for the both of you as well as their own families during this elegant display of lanterns against a winter-y black sky. A wishing lantern release will make for beautiful pictures and will be a memorable experience for all your guests.

Have a Final Countdown

Having a New Year’s Eve wedding means that you have to incorporate a countdown of some kind during your ceremony or reception. Whether you wait to have your ceremony until 11:45—ensuring a first kiss around midnight—or you have your DJ stop the music a few minutes before 12, a proper countdown will only add to the festivities and fun of the night.

To make your countdown truly special, provide your guests with party hats, confetti, noise makers, and champagne to toast the new year, as well as your new marriage.

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