original article posted on Bride.com
Is there anything quite as magical as a winter wedding? From holiday music to wintery florals, these seasonal wedding details can add warmth and charm to even the frostiest of days. If you're about to deck the halls of your wedding venue for winter nuptials of your own, these merry winter wedding ideas are bound to inspire you.
We've recruited industry experts who have seen every snow-covered scenario to show you how to make your big day a real life winter wonderland. From wearing warm-weather attire—nothing says chic like adding a faux-fur coat to your bridal style—to crafting an outdoor bar to capture the spirit of the season (or should we say spirits!), here's everything you need to know to throw a festive fête worthy of the most magical time of the year.
Unwrap some of the season’s best in holiday and winter wedding decor! Here are 22 of our favorite winter wedding ideas.
“We added warmth to this winter wedding by layering cozy textures like velvet and Pendleton plaid,” says Lynn Easton, founder and creative director of Easton Events. A rich and saturated color palette of green, brown, and auburn were included throughout both the decor and floral details. “Abundant candlelight is paramount to any wintry setting,” Easton adds, “and that glow becomes even more impactful if you are able to light a fireplace in the room!”
“For this New York wedding, we played with both festive and classic styles,” says Danielle Elder, founder of Classic Events, adding that they “merged the two by integrating contemporary and traditional elements.” Although she was getting married at a historic venue, the bride opted for a modern laser-cut dress, an element that paired beautifully with the snow-fallen backdrop of Central Park.
Adorning your tablescape with a seasonal color scheme is one of the best ways to showcase your wedding style. For this fabulous fête, Ashley Sawtelle, owner of Ashley Sawtelle, photographed the use of gold in this couple’s vibrant table display. “The metallic catches your eye and adds an element of shine to your wedding photos,” Sawtelle adds. Opt for gold in your flatware to create detail throughout each place setting.
This is your big day to celebrate your distinctive personality and sense of style. 2020’s most major wedding dress trends are not only dreamy but also incredibly versatile.
“Rebecca chose a long-sleeve gown and a gorgeous fur wrap, perfect for her wedding atop Aspen Mountain,” says Virginia Edelson, principal and founder of Bluebird Productions. “Selecting attire that is still classic but warm enough for the possibility of a chilly day is a key factor to consider when planning a winter wedding,” Edelson adds. If you don’t want to compromise your bridal style for a long sleeve gown, consider a removable item (like a jacket) that can easily be taken off for photos.
“Large blooms and a statement bouquet is not always a feasible option in winter,” says Anna Le Pley Taylor, owner of Anna Le Pley Taylor Flowers, “but taking advantage of the textural winter greens and tiny delicate winter blooms are." For a winter arrangement, consider a pop of color with holly, berries, or soft blooms.
This outdoor reception celebrated the frosted color scheme of winter with an elegant twist. “Charcoal linens, burgundy centerpieces, tall candles, and metallic chargers lent themselves to a stunning tablescape that embodied a California winter,” says Sonia Hopkins, owner and principal event designer at XOXO Bride Events. Hanging twinkle lights helped to create an enchanting atmosphere that could be enjoyed both day and night.
“The holiday season is a great time to get married because everyone is in the holiday spirit already!” says Lisa Ciampi Borrés, sales and production manager at Elan Artists. A fun way to make people feel even more merry is with a group of singers serenading together, or even having guests chiming in to sing along. “One idea that can elevate a holiday wedding experience: a choir, whether this is a flash mob of singers dressed in cocktail/evening attire posing as guests and emerging from the crowd to sing a specific song, or a formal choir with robes performing holiday tunes or contemporary favorites,” she says.
Whimsical and elegant, an outdoor bar encompasses the spirit of the season while highlighting the surrounding winter environment. “Moscow mules were served in copper serving mugs and presented on this festive bar display,” says Charlotte Jenks Lewis, owner of Charlotte Jenks Lewis Photography. “A decorative feature that was seasonal and functional,” she adds, “the bar brought joy to guests and added a playful element to the couple’s day of photos.
“Suspending an evergreen garland as an overhead canopy transforms interiors with a wintry, forest-grown ambiance,” says Halle Heyman, director of events at Haven's Kitchen. This indoor winter ceremony featured an abundance of twinkle lights to complement the overarching greenery. “The aromatics round out the senses, too, as guests experienced the crisp scents of the outdoors in the coziness of a heated, indoor space,” Heyman adds.
“Nothing says winter warmth like a tablescape full of candles,” says Jennifer Zukovsky, co-owner of Fionna Floral. "Not only do they add an aspect of warmth to your table display, but they help to create a softness to your overall environment and design.” Votives of varying height intermixed with simple centerpieces presented an effect that was elegantly playful.
Utilize Your Venue's Decor
PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN OTH STUDIO
When marrying at a hotel or favored venue, often the site itself will be decked out with holiday decorations, an aspect to consider when finalizing day-of ideas. “We definitely emphasized some of the more seasonal decors with added florals and lighting to play up both the setting and the couple’s desired wedding style,” says Kerri-Lynn Orsini Mulhearn, owner of Stella Day Events. “A bonus display of festive elements provided by your venue is an added benefit to hosting an event around the holidays," she adds.
One way to emphasize the seasonal snow aspect of a winter wedding is to opt for an all-white color scheme—sprinkled with the traditional holiday green and red. “We incorporated traditional ‘holiday greens’ into the decor including pine, evergreen, and mistletoe,” says Heather White Sherrill, director of operations at Aster and Park, who also added small pops of red to enhance the holiday feel without taking away from the atmosphere of a winter wonderland. “We used white velvet linens on the tables which were reminiscent of a snowy landscape,” she adds.
This stunning couple was able to integrate seasonal elements into their day of-style while paying homage to their wedding location of New Orleans. “Adding props to the traditional Second Line procession really showcased a festive quality to their photos and day,” says Greer Gattuso, owner of Greer Gattuso. For her winter bridal style, the bride wore a long-sleeve lace gown with a full skirt, a delicate mix of femininity and tradition.
Cassy Anderson, owner of Cassy Rose Events, recalls a winter wedding that utilized the seasonal indoor backdrop provided by the rustic venue. “In this case, a beautiful vintage hearth served as a ceremony backdrop and a cozy focal point throughout the evening,” Anderson says. Adorn your mantel with florals and votives to create another layer of coziness to your design.
If emphasizing an all-white color scheme isn't your thing, doing just the opposite is an interesting alternative. "Just because it's winter doesn't mean you have to opt for all white and muted tones,” says Carrie Wilcox, owner of Carrie Wilcox Floral Design. For this outdoor display, vibrant shades of red complemented the wooden table and the centerpiece’s loose greenery. “Bright colors against the snow will add a breath of fresh air and excitement to your table,” Wilcox adds.
“The use of brown leather for the seating makes you feel the familiar sense of comfort and ease that comes with the colder months,” says Graham Ervin, director of sales at the Cedar Room, when describing this winter wedding in Charleston. “The draped greenery gives the illusion of a forest while the green garland mixed in with apples and other fall fruits brings the feeling of the season inside." If integrating outdoor seating into your design plans, make sure to include plenty of blankets or heat lamps to adjust guests to the colder weather.
For winter hair and makeup, Dani Wagener, owner of Dani Wagener Beauty, encourages a bold red lip to add to a holiday-inspired style. “We chose a deep burgundy for her lip color to give an ‘old Hollywood’ feel which paired amazingly with her stunning Vera Wang gown,” Wagener says. Not only will your color choice stand out against your white gown, but will add an element of glam to your photographs.
Kat Braman, owner of Kat Braman, recalls a Palm Beach wedding that seamlessly tied in the tropical features of its location with the winter season. “This beautiful December wedding at the Breakers stayed true to the characteristics of Florida—as well as the season—with a variety of tropical plants that were painted white to create a winter vibe,” Braman says. The palm trees lent a unique quality to the refined environment.
“This bride wore a striking floral cape by the Law Bridal over her gown for the outdoor shots, an aspect we considered when arranging her bouquet of a similar color scheme,” says Jennifer Haf, owner and designer of Bloom Floral Design. Play up your accessories by correlating them with major parts of your wedding style, including the florals in your bouquet.
“Don’t shy away from an outdoor wedding, even during the cooler winter months,” says Elizabeth Lane of Fearrington Village. “A winter wedding presents the perfect opportunity to throw a festive and cozy affair.” If you don’t want to host your entire event alfresco, consider an outdoor ceremony followed by a cozy indoor reception.
A striking personalized element for your event, calligraphed signage is a lovely option for your winter ceremony or reception. “Wrapped in greenery, this Lucite sign was the perfect model of contemporary charm,” says Sarah Drake, principal planner and co-owner of Cole Drake. Utilize your signage for welcome decor or create a grander display for your seating chart.
Brian Dorsey, owner of Brian Dorsey Studios, suggests “if you're going to get married in the winter, then embrace the winter.” Whether snowy or frosted, Dorsey advises going out into your environment to capture some memorable winter photos. Nothing will capture the essence of your winter day then photos set against your snowy backdrop.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.
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