Winter wedding ideas

Marguerite MacRobert

Why choose a winter wedding?

Does the expression ‘winter wonderland’ hold appeal? There are a number of reasons to plan a winter wedding. Perhaps it’s your favourite season and you’ve always loved the idea, or you live in a country like we do at Namibia Planners, where winters are mild and not so very different to summers (at least during the day time!).  While winter weddings in the northern hemisphere can be associated with Christmas, which some people love riffing on as a winter wedding theme, in the Southern Hemisphere, where Namibia Planners work their magic, the winter is in the middle of the year.

Winter weddings can be budget friendly

Peak bridal season in many countries tends to be in spring, summer and autumn, so winter weddings can be cost-effective, with some venues running specials or charging slow season rates. You will probably have a wider selection of venues, caterers and other suppliers to choose from.

Low season flights and accommodation costs could also make it easier for far-flung friends and relatives to attend your wedding.

Unique bridal party attire

Your bridal dress may look like no one else’s, as you can have long sleeves, faux fur or feather trims around your veil, or romantic capes, soft scarves or pretty shawls. Layers of soft luxury fabrics like velvet and cashmere knits can be absolutely gorgeous and elegant long gloves or a muffler in place of a bouquet can add further interest and unique textures.

Bouquet and other accessory options might also include warmer colours like wine red, jewel-tined flowers, crystals, winter berries or dark green winter foliage, which could be better suited to your complexion or personality than the paler colours associated with a cool summer or spring wedding. A friend of ours married with a dramatic red velvet cloak over her wedding dress. Talk about making a statement!  It looked fabulous and suited her flamboyant personality brilliantly. Take a look at these lovely ideas for winter wedding dresses and alternative winter wedding bouquets.

Challenges lead to creative solutions

Unusual challenges posed by the weather or season can turn out to be creative stimulation that gives you and your planning team a wedding like no other. Having special fire bomas, fire pits or unique tabletop fire arrangements to keep guests warm and add amazing atmosphere. Different flowers might be in season, or a lack of flowers might lead to unique alternatives like ostrich feather plumes, more use of candles and special ornaments, or arrangements of shells, wood or other interesting design elements like ice sculpture.

My wedding was in a mountain area with very cold autumns, so we were able to make a beautiful giant ice bowl with flowers and berries frozen into it, to hold ice cream to go with the cake. This would be a disaster in the summer as it would have melted in minutes! You can watch a video on how to make an ice bowl with flowers here.

Winter food is delicious

You can have hearty items that would not work in the summer and more choices of food and drink that warm people, or at least won’t melt or collapse in the heat. Mini pies, mulled wine, hot chocolate sherry, treats with lots of cinnamon and ginger (or other warming spices)… the options are endless, and quite exceptional for people used to mostly summer weddings.

Winter wedding photographs can be extra atmospheric

Make sure your photographer has a reputation for getting the best out of the winter season lighting and atmosphere, such as cloudy weather, snow, dry grass, evergreen trees, or mist.

We attended a wedding in the mountains where the stunning view was cut off by mist, but the resulting atmosphere was an absolute fairytale.  The photographer took full advantage. They had bubble wands for all the guests instead of confetti, and because all the plants in the forrest were damp, the bubbles stuck to the leaves instead of popping, and reflected candle light, making magical halos the mist. The photos were like something from a fairyland movie and we’ll never forget that romantic winter wedding.

You might simply be a winter person

If either of you are very fair-skinned and tend to turn into a tomato at the slightest hint of heat, or  your feet swell up in hot weather and you break into a sweat easily, a cooler weather wedding can be a huge relief, particularly if you are marrying in a hotter region, like Namibia or South Africa. Perhaps the heat tends to make you grumpy. Some people are just more winter people, so your wedding ought to reflect that.

Earlier sunsets can be really useful for magical night lighting

An earlier sunset can be a bonus if you want an afternoon wedding and night time dancing with pretty lighting. This is  much more difficult to achieve with a very late summer sunset in some regions, and venues wanting to close and send staff home before they turn into pumpkins.

This can be important if you have slightly older guests or children at the wedding as well, as they won’t be up to dancing until 3 a.m. if you only get going at 11. You don’t really want a long wait between dinner and your opening dance, either, so those earlier winter evenings can be great for getting the night sparkling quickly.

Whatever the weather, Namibia Planners would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and ideas in the comments!

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