©iStockphoto.com/Chris Hynes Photography Image by: ©iStockphoto.com/Chris Hynes Photography
"Some couples have good memories connected with the winter season and want to associate their big day with it," says Fidan Ismayilova, a Toronto-based wedding planner. "Other couples know that getting married in the winter season, which is an off-season in the wedding industry, will be more cost-effective for them."
Whether you're looking to save money or you just love the sparkle of the season, here are Ismayilova's tips on planning a magical winter wedding.
1. Choose a venue with a natural landscape
You don't have to get married right outdoors to reap the esthetic benefits of a beautiful winter landscape.
"Look for a venue that gives that winter feeling, like lakefront venues with a nice view, venues in the mountains or a banquet hall with big windows," says Ismayilova.
Windows showcasing a snowy landscape is one effortless decor move that will complement your theme, add natural glitter to your space and make your photos pop.
2. Get creative with your wedding colour palette
"Winter weddings aren't by any means limited to the colours of ice and snow, so get creative," says Ismayilova. "For a more elegant look, try red and gold. For bright and crisp, consider gold and a beautiful apple green. Or use a smattering of shades of blue or greens accented by white or silver to really achieve that wow factor."
You can absolutely make the most of your winter theme and still incorporate your favourite tones. Think back to your best memories of winter and make use of colours that come to mind. A deep blue night sky? A red nutcracker? It's all about what winter means to you. Keep in mind that bold colours look even better when surrounded by a white backdrop.
3. Warm up the atmosphere with the right lighting
You can easily amp up the intimacy and warmth by choosing the right accents to complement your colour scheme.
"The go-to colour palette for winter weddings is the traditional bright white with silver accents," says Ismayilova. "Warm it up by including accents of fire, as in candles, and look for a venue with the option of a roaring fireplace."
Elements of fire can be adjusted to your taste. For a glam look, go for white or silver candles.
If you're into a more rustic esthetic, use candles with birch holders or a blazing fireplace.
Here's a trick for adding some extra sparkle: "Using a touch of blue light will add warmth and shimmer to the room. Shimmering light blue linens and glassware will reflect the light in a way that will simply add sparkle, rather than colour," says Ismayilova.
4. Make wedding guests feel comfortable indoors and out
That intimacy and warmth you create in your space should extend to the outdoors as well. Even if your wedding is entirely indoors, some guests may want to head out for a breath of fresh air, especially if the landscape is beautiful -- it may call some guests out for a closer look.
"Create a station with hot chocolate or German Glühwein, either for the whole night or a late-night station with hot drinks and shortbread cookies," says Ismayilova. "You can also provide blankets for smokers going outside."
Ensure your wedding guests are informed of any outdoor components to your wedding in advance, and be prepared for some under-dressed guests. You'll want everyone to feel taken care of.
5. Plan lighting practically
Winter poses an issue that requires you to take heed when planning the logistics of your wedding: the fact that the days are much shorter.
"Considering that it is getting dark earlier, use more candles or lights at the reception area to create that cosy atmosphere -- and for practicality," says Ismayilova.
Candles create a natural glow, but they're not always enough. Consider spotlights or mini lamps at each table. You won't want anyone to forgo signing the guestbook and you'll also want your photos to look their best.
The cosy nights and crisp days of winter lend themselves to a different kind of wedding magic. Keep in mind your guests' needs, strategic lighting and a proud display of the great outdoors, and you're well on your way to a sparkling wedding. Channel what winter means to you and let your best memories of the season be your planning guide.
Plan the most beautiful wedding you can imagine with expert tips and helpful advice from our special wedding planning guide.