A winter wonderland wedding is unlike any other celebration. The air is crisp, so everyone has to bundle up and get cozy. The setting is dreamy and romantic, with snow all around and the possibility of a snowfall that could happen any time, making it seem like the celebration is taking place inside a beautiful snow globe. Winter weddings are a magical time to come together and commemorate the love shared between two people, but most people overlook them or don’t consider it when in the wedding planning process. It’s more common for couples to immediately consider spring or summer weddings, but a winter-themed wedding can be stunning and offer a more intimate feel that summer weddings just don’t seem to hit.
If you’re considering a winter wedding, there are a few aspects to consider that you wouldn’t need to think about for a summer wedding. There are different details to worry about, like how to keep your guests warm, how to set the stage if it snows, and how to dress yourself and your wedding party for chilly temperatures. You want to make sure everything is picturesque and perfect, but you still have to consider the right decor, how to keep everyone warm, and to plan ahead in case of weather changes. Of course, you still have to think about all the other moving parts of a wedding ceremony and reception that don’t vary by season, like the food selection, dress and suit fittings, the right location, the cake, wedding favors, music selection, and the flowers and other decor.
Without a doubt, no two weddings are exactly alike, so taking your wedding from ideas on social media websites, bridal magazines, and event blogs can still mean your celebration is unique and matches your and your partner’s personalities. You can pull a lot of inspiration from these resources and adjust them to match your taste and style, plus fulfill your needs and the dreams you’ve had of your special day.
It is a lot of work to plan an entire wedding, so it’s a good idea to start with a mood board to convey the vibe and atmosphere you want, and then make a list of the aspects you need, the ones you want, and the ones that would be nice to have but not totally necessary. Items on the list of needs could include a photographer, a cake, and a dress; items on the list of wants could be real flowers, an outdoor venue for the nuptials, and an open bar for guests; and items on the list of things that would be nice to have could include centerpieces for all the tables, wedding favors, and extravagant food items like a chocolate fountain.
If you aren’t sure where to start, you can enlist the help of a wedding planner, although that may not be in your budget. You could also ask some friends who have recently got married to share some tips and ideas. Here are some ideas to help you stir up your creative mind and get planning for your winter wonderland wedding.
Pick a theme
Winter weddings usually have a winter wonderland-style theme, where a lot of the decor is white, flowing, and snowy, with fairy lights, ribbons, and seasonal flowers decorating the venue. Just because it’s a popular choice among winter brides, it doesn’t mean it’s played out or overdone! You can always adjust the ones you see and tailor it to your specific personalities and wants so it feels more intimate to you, your partner, and your most important guests like family and close friends.
Winter wonderland themes feel magical and like they are straight out of a storybook. The goal to achieve the theme is to keep opulence and softness in mind, so including twinkling white lights around your wedding arch, on the backs of your guests’ chairs, or at the wedding party table is a beautiful (and cost-effective!) way to achieve that feeling. Draping white fabric on walls, on chairs, and over tables will add to the softness, as will gently flickering candles. Incorporating whitewashed branches and twigs into your centerpieces can give it a winter forest fee if that matches your taste. Most winter wonderland weddings have a color scheme of mostly silver and white, but incorporating splashes of icy blues can add interest too.
A December wedding doesn’t have to be themed around Christmas unless you specifically want it to if you choose to get married during the holiday month. If you’re personally in love with the holiday and everything it represents, a Christmas themed wedding would sound like a dream come true. Your decor
If winter reminds you of the Disney magic from the film Frozen, you could certainly incorporate that into your big day. The film was wildly popular with kids and adults alike because it was magical, beautiful, and glamorous—all descriptors of a perfect wedding. Start with a color scheme of blues, white, and silver, and try and choose a venue with a waterfront view or a similar waterscape nearby to get a frozen, icy feeling. Blue will be your main accent color for decorations, wedding favors, on the wedding cake, and maybe even on the wedding party’s clothing. can be festive but still understated, using holly, mistletoe, and pine needle garlands, wreaths, candles, and glass ornaments as your main decorations. Green, red, silver, gold, and white are perfect colors for the color scheme that you can incorporate into your wedding dress, bridal party dresses, or groomsmen suits too. Other December wedding ideas could include arriving in a horse-drawn carriage or having Christmas trees or bouquets of poinsettias as focal points in the room.
You could also go with a ski haus wedding theme if you want something a little more different. One of the best ways to spend a snow day is to spend it on a ski hill, so why not bring that atmosphere to your wedding? The ski haus vibes will be recreated through your venue and decorations, so picking a place with a lot of wood finishings or cabin-like architecture can bring this to life. Cozy, plaid blankets can keep guests warm, and you can fill the venue with antique ski haus decor to complete the ambiance.
During the reception, your guests will be hungry, so take the time to plan out a menu suitable for a winter wedding. If you’re following a traditional wedding meal plan, you will most likely want to include finger foods and appetizers before bringing out starters, a main course, and then ending with dessert. When we think of winter, most people probably associate it with comfort foods, and rich, warm, melt-in-your-mouth cuisines, but with so many variations and options to choose from, it can be hard to pick and narrow it down. Here are some menu ideas and inspirations for each course.
- Appetizers: Especially if your wedding ceremony or photos were held outside, your guests are going to love a hot tasty treat to help them warm up when they come inside for the reception. Lots of finger foods available are a good way to offer a little taste of everything to suit everyone’s dietary needs, whether they’re vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant, or gluten-free. Hot appetizers like meat or grilled vegetable skewers, bacon-wrapped finger foods like scallops or asparagus, or mini sliders are excellent choices that guests will love. Anything stuffed with cheese, like mushrooms, baked potato cups, or mini hotdogs are sure to be a hit as well.
Starters: Once your guests are seated for the wedding meal, you’ll most likely want to bring out starters first. Who doesn’t love a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day? French onion soup or creamy leek and potato soup or a hot meat and veggie stew of some kind are sure to warm anyone up. You could also go with a warm salad with salmon or chicken if that’s more suitable for your wedding theme.
Mains: A December wedding is a great excuse to treat your guests to a hearty homestyle traditional turkey roast or ham dinner complete with all the fixings. A slice of turkey or ham served with stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and steamed vegetables may sound cliché, but it gives off a familial and intimate feel. For weddings that aren’t themed around Christmas, you may want to avoid that type of dinner completely, but some kind of chicken dish is always a hit with guests.
Desserts: Winter desserts are definitely not strapped for choice. Comforting puddings, like apple pie and custard, sticky toffee or Christmas pudding are all great options, depending on how you’re theming your menu. Warm, melt-in-your-mouth cakes like chocolate fudge, red velvet, or black forest cake are favorites that are sure to delight everyone.
Extras: If you want something more extravagant, or want to give your guests a little more choice with something fun they’ll remember, there are ways to add something extra that isn’t served at dinner time. Consider having a dessert table set up for the remainder of the reception once the mains have been cleared. You can include a chocolate fountain with cut fruit for dipping, an ice cream station with hot toppings like fudge, caramel, or warm maple syrup, have a s’mores bar, or various assorted pastries.
You can also hand out individual treats for each guest after dinner, like personalized Belgian chocolates with your guests’ names on them, a personalized bag of cookies or brownies, or a take-home mason jar full of dry ingredients for a delicious soup or chili recipe, decorated with a silver bow.
The menu isn’t just about the food though! You have to consider what your guests will drink while they’re at your wedding, especially if it’s on the chillier side and parts of the celebration are held outdoors. Winter wedding ideas for drinks should help keep your guests warm and are easy to hold and drink if they’re standing or sitting outside.
Depending on your theme, you may want to give guests classic wine glasses, or maybe something a little cozier, like a mug for hot chocolate. If you want to make it more personalized, decorate the mugs with your guests’ names so they can keep them after the party is over.
As for a drink menu, having mulled wine or hot apple cider will be sure to warm up your guests while they celebrate or take photos outside. You can also have rich, hot chocolate available for those guests who don’t drink alcohol (but don’t forget the marshmallows!), and take it to the next level by offering different flavors, like milk, white, and dark chocolate. Add whipped cream and drizzle chocolate to complete the drink. Another alcohol-free idea is to have a coffee bar, complete with flavored syrups or creamers.
Why not also match your bar selections with your theme? Curate specially crafted cocktails for the season to pair with your wedding theme nicely, which the adults will be sure to appreciate. They don’t have to be served during or after dinner either – treat your guests to pre-ceremony drinks they can enjoy both indoors and outdoors to help warm them from the inside out. Some cocktail ideas could include a Nutella Melt (hazelnut spread combined with cream and sugar served in a mug), a CoCo Snowball a blue drink consisting of vodka, Malibu rum, Coco Lopez, and blue curacao with a coconut rim), or a cherry thyme champagne cocktail.
Decide how to keep your guests warm
When hosting a winter wedding, you’ll want to ensure your guests stay warm and toasty for the whole event, because having uncomfortable guests is not ideal. You can offer blankets, hot drinks on arrival, like hot chocolate or mulled wine, have heaters strategically placed around your outdoor venue, or hold your ceremony in front of a fireplace for an extra warm and cozy vibe. Just make sure you’re mindful that the temperature could be quite low, depending on the month you hold your wedding in.
Pick your winter wedding favors
Give your guests something to take home with them to remind them of your big day. Winter wedding ideas have lots of possibilities for unique gifts, so why not go with something a little less traditional and a little more unexpected?
You could leave customized glass coasters on the dinner tables, engraved with decorations like a snowflake or a Christmas ornament, depending on your theme. Gifting a pair of luxurious winter gloves or mittens or giving everyone a plush blanket is also a good, practical idea, and will help them stay warm if you take your celebrations outdoors. With a bit of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, your winter wedding favors and gifts can be special mementos of a day to remember.