9 expert tips for planning a winter wedding
Characterful cosy venues, roaring log fires, hearty comfort food and snowy photographs – it’s easy to see why winter weddings are growing in popularity in the UK.
But what are the key things couples need to consider when planning a wedding in the colder months? We turned to wedding experts Nina Beer, Christina Burgess and Louise Armstrong to find out.
Nina is the owner of Occasion Queens, a wedding coordination and venue consultancy service in the UK. With 16 years’ experience in the industry, she knows a thing or two about planning a great wedding.
Christina is the Sales & Events Manager at The George IV in Chiswick, a popular winter wedding venue that accommodates up to 200 guests in its Boston Room, and Louise is the Sales and Events Manager at The White Swan Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon – one of the Midlands’ most historic wedding venues.
We asked for their top tips and advice for planning the perfect winter wedding.
Above photo credit: thedignums.com
Why get married in winter?
Christina, Sales & Events Manager at The George IV in Chiswick, said while summer is the most popular wedding season, there are plenty of great reasons to get married in autumn or winter.
“Winter weddings are becoming more frequent in the UK, especially with pub weddings, because the venues are characterful and cosy and the moody weather makes for stunning photographs – especially if couples are lucky enough to get snow on their wedding day,” she explained.
“Overall, winter weddings are really magical and special, and we do a lot of them at The George IV because of the layout of our Boston Room.”
Nina, owner of Occasion Queens, said the rise of pub weddings and couples opting for unique and relaxed wedding venues has led to a significant increase in winter weddings.
“There’s not really a ‘wedding season’ anymore,” said Nina.
“It doesn’t matter what season you get married in, unless you specifically want an outdoor wedding, which is always rather risky in the UK. There are so many beautiful wedding venues now that the need to be outside isn’t as much of a desire. Winter weddings are the way forward.”
Louise Armstrong, Sales and Events Manager of The White Swan Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, said winter weddings are perfect for couples looking for a cosy and intimate atmosphere.
“Winter weddings work particularly well for smaller more intimate groups as you’ll already have a cosy atmosphere to start with. Hearty winter food, open fires, candles and character venues make winter weddings particularly special. Avoiding peak summer means not having to worry about sweating off a perfect face of makeup, and it’s also likely that you’ll save a bit of money, too.”
Tips for planning the perfect winter wedding
When planning a winter wedding in the UK, there are a few key things to consider, according to the experts.
1. Choose a venue that suits your theme
Photo by Sam Lane Photography.
Christina said: “When choosing a winter wedding venue, find one that fits your theme. Often the venue’s décor provides much of the decoration, so all you need to do is work around the theme you’ve chosen, which makes the decoration process that little bit simpler.”
Nina added: “From creating a winter wonderland, to opting for a simple romantic theme with candle lights everywhere, find the right decorations that truly works with your venue. Your décor could be inspired by Christmas and go all out with trees, tinsel and baubles or a Narnia winter forest with twigs, cotton pods and gentle fairy lights, or you could opt for a more classic look with foliage and candles.
“There are so many options for bringing the winter theme into your wedding, but you need to make sure you choose the right venue so you’re not trying to turn it into something it’s not.”
Read more: The best winter wedding venues in the south of England.
2. Prepare for any weather
Photo by Graham Nixon.
Louise said: “No matter what season you get married in, there’s always a chance it could rain. Make sure you find a venue that has covered areas suitable for photographs, and make sure you’ve got a plan for keeping dry when travelling to the venue.”
Christina added: “Make sure you choose a venue with reliable heating so that your guests will be comfortable. It’s also a good idea to factor in the journey between the ceremony and the reception if they're not being held at the same venue, making sure you have transport organised well ahead of time.”
3. Scope out photo opportunities
Photo by Joasis Wedding Photography.
Christina said: “When choosing your venue, consider the surrounding area and its suitability for photos. What landmarks, parks, beautiful buildings and quirky locations would make great backdrops for your wedding photos, and where can you go if it’s raining?”
4. Choose food and drink to match the season
Nina said: “Work with the season just like you would work with the décor of the venue. For example, you could have a hot chocolate station, a mulled wine station, or, my personal favourite, serve amaretto with warmed apple juice. Bring the season into your wedding with the food and drink.”
Christina added: “Autumn and winter are all about hearty, hot comfort food, like a traditional roast. All good wedding venues will offer a tasting session so you can sample your wedding menu and make sure you’re happy with the dishes and wines.”
5. Get creative with winter accessories
Christina said: “Winter accessories are a must – such as a fur shawl, clear brolly, or velvet suit jacket for the groom. Not only do they add to the photos, they also proof against the weather, so don’t be afraid to accessorise!”
6. Find the perfect date
Louise said: “Avoid key dates for Christmas parties. December is a busy time, so consider your guests and what they may have on during the festive season. January is a wonderful time for a winter wedding, because it’s a low-season for hospitality and your guests are less likely to have other engagements.”
7. Start early
Photo by Will Patrick Weddings.
Louise said: “Remember to book an early wedding ceremony, otherwise you will run out of daylight. If you go for a 3pm ceremony the light will be gone by the time you get to the reception, so make sure you factor this in and allow time for photographs. A bonus is that with the sun setting earlier in the day, you can start your evening party that bit sooner, which means you have longer to enjoy it.”
8. Just add candles
Christina said: “Since the sun sets early, make sure your venue comes alive at night by decorating with candles, providing sparklers, lanterns, and fairy lights. They look beautiful in photos, too.”
Nina added: “Candles are perfect for making a venue romantic in winter. For example, The Counting House in London [pictured above] already has a beautiful warm glow and ambience, so decorating with candles, even if they’re LED, really enhances the décor. It’s so lovely in winter – it’s a perfect winter wedding venue.”
9. Consider hiring a Wedding Coordinator
Nina said: “A lot of people put their heart and soul into planning but only a few think about how it will come together on the day. Having a wedding coordinator to ensure everything comes together smoothly makes all the difference.”
Occasion Queen’s on-the-day coordination services are included in wedding packages at The Counting House, a historic pub wedding venue in Bank. Find out more about wedding coordination by Occasion Queens.
Find your perfect winter wedding venue
Now that you’ve heard tips from the experts about what to consider when planning a winter wedding, it’s time to find your perfect venue.
Fuller’s has a great number of beautiful wedding venues across the south of England perfect for every season. From rustic to contemporary, quaint to quirky, each of our venues offer a unique and special backdrop for your special day.
Whether you’re looking for ceremony-licensed wedding venues to hold your entire day, or a stunning place to enjoy your wedding breakfast and after-party, we have a dream wedding venue for all, with first-class hospitality and premium food and drinks.
Click here to find a wedding venue
This article was written by Janelle of ContentQueen.
For wedding venue inspiration, check out our wedding testimonial blogs: