To me Winter Weddings are gorgeous, but there is plenty of opportunity to be unprepared for the cold circumstances!
I love the opportunity with Winter Weddings to utilise the early dark evenings and create a cosy and warm environment for guests. All the rich gem colours and indulgent fabrics seem more fitting to use at this time of year, and you don't have to worry about feeling hot and flustered in the Summer sunshine! And not to forget, things can be a little cheaper.
I recently photographed a Winter Wedding, and as a photographer I noticed some changes in the way things run. I thought I'd go over some points that may be useful if you are planning a Winter Wedding yourself!
1 - Keep in mind that you start to lose natural light at about 3pm
It starts to get dark very quick in the Winter, and I know we all know this but it can easily slip your mind when you are planning the day's events. It is common to have your ceremony in the afternoon these days, but this can cause an issue in the Winter if you are looking to have your group shots and couple shots outdoors after the ceremony. I would say you need to keep 1.5 hours free for photos post ceremony, so keep that in mind with the early sunset!
2 - Don't be cold!
I think Bride's feel that they can't wear a jacket because it will take away from their Bridal look, or a jacket wouldn't fit in with their style for the day. I understand that to walk down the aisle and for most of the day you want to wear just your dress, but I urge you to look at jackets or some kind of cover up for getting to and from places and for later in the day if you head outside for photos! If you are freezing, it will show in your photos and you won't enjoy the process as much! There are so many beautiful and really cool options for jackets and cover ups. I have seen Bride's wear denim and leather jackets embroidered with 'Bride' on the back, shawls, fake fur stoles. You could customise a jacket with pins and badges related to you and your Wedding. You're also more likely to use these cover ups again, unlike your dress. Here's a few links to some of my favourite options:
Denim jacket - Etsy
Leather jacket - Etsy
Faux fur cape - Asos
Bride pin - Not On The Highstreet
3 - Try to think about your guests and where they will be throughout the day
Don't forget to think about where your guests will be for long periods of time throughout the day. I suggest thinking about your drinks reception and time between the Wedding breakfast and evening reception: will it be warm enough? What can you provide to them to keep them warm? I have seen Bride and Groom's provide blankets for their guests, as well as hot drinks such as mulled wine (if your date is close to Christmas!) or hot chocolate. Your venue should already have options for keeping the venue warm but have a think about heaters and maybe there is a wood burner you can use, or a fire pit for outside. Also think about any smokers in your wedding party: have they got somewhere sheltered to go outside? These little things will make them more comfortable and will go a long way with their experience on the day.
4 - Do think about extreme weather conditions
I know it is unlikely, but do think about what you can do if it snows or if heavy rain is forecast. Would the venue be difficult to get to if it snowed heavily? Will your transport arrangements still go ahead in bad weather conditions? Do you need to provide umbrellas or flat shoes for people in the bad weather? Also have a think about where you can do group shots and couple photos if the weather is bad. Your photographer can help you with this, and this is something I always try to chat about with the couple when I venue visit with them before the Wedding. It's good to be organised in the event of change!
Also something really important is to see if there are any clauses in any contracts you sign regarding bad weather. You don't want to be caught out in the future if there is bad weather and you're not covered for a refund or an alternative if something needs to be cancelled.
5 - Is your photographer able to work in low light conditions?
Naturally in Winter the days are darker, and then it gets dark a lot earlier than a Summer Wedding. It is important that your photographer understands this (I am sure they do if they are experienced, and it is not something you should really have to worry about) as it can make photographing the Wedding difficult. I'd just say have a check over their portfolio again and see if they have and examples of Winter Weddings or any images where there has been low light conditions. Or if you are at the stage of meeting photographers you could bring this point up in conversation. Summer Weddings naturally have a lot more natural light available to work with and that inevitably makes taking photos easier for the photographer, and the darker conditions can be a shock if you've not photographed a Winter Wedding before!
6 - Don't feel restricted!
Lastly, I just want to say don't feel restricted to your theme, styling and anything else when planning a Winter Wedding! I know I have mentioned how Winter Weddings are a good opportunity to build a cosy atmosphere and use 'Winter' colours and themes, but if you want a Summer themed Wedding with cocktails and Hawaiian shirts in the Winter then you go for it! Go the whole hog and build a beach and get some palm trees in! I always stress to all my couples to make sure they are doing them when it comes to planning. Don't feel influenced by other people's comments and opinions, be true to yourselves as a couple. It's your day, just be mindful of what other plans and precautions might need to be put in place.
I hope that this will help you in one way or another with your Winter Wedding!