It's hard to believe it's already February as we've been so wonderfully busy with beautiful bridal couples this busy summer wedding season, and though the sun still beats down hot upon our backs as we work away, our winter brides are now in full swing with their planning for upcoming winter weddings in a few months so today, rather than posting inspiration for a summer wedding, we thought we'd put the spotlight on winter weddings - how to plan, the style, the inspiration, the locales:
While we adore summer weddings, there's something so inherently magical about a winter wedding, especially so if you're granted the luxury of a snowy scene for your big day. While those locations may be few and far between in the major cities, heading a little out of town to Ohakune in the north island or Queenstown and surrounds in the south can bring an abundance of that winter wonder and the magic of candlelight and sparkling fairy lights.
Our director is particularly in love with winter weddings - the earlier hour of dusk, the warm firelight, the intimacy of a smaller gathering, the long sleeved gowns and fur accoutrements, the lush evergreen foliage and deep colours of the winter florals. Winter weddings should never be discounted simply due to the possibility of bad weather - it's even an old tale that rain on your wedding day brings good luck!
If your venue is a little further off the grid than a major city centre, factor in a back up generator to ensure the festivities aren't over far earlier than planned due to a powercut.
Choose a venue that is easy to get to with plenty of local accommodation and safe transport - especially if you're in a snowy locale nestled in the mountains.
Add extra travel time to get to your location(s) and consider holding the ceremony and reception in the same venue for ease of transportation and to ensure the day's events continue on schedule.
The usual timeline will be either brought forward or pushed back depending on what light you hope to capture. With dusk far earlier than in summer, your sunset ceremony may need to take place at 4-5pm while in contract a summer sunset ceremony might take place at 8-9pm. If you're hoping to capitalise on the darker more intimated winter feel, then you have a lot more freedom as to when you begin.
Talk with your photographer about the look and feel you hope to capture to work out the best timings for the required light.
For clothing options, look for 20s-40s influences with furs, cardigans, long sleeves, scarves and pashminas. A striking art deco beaded gown would look perfect paired with a fur shrug while an elegant form fitting long sleeved gown would look incredible with a simple updo and ear adornments - elegance is simplicity. For the bridesmaids, attire is far cheaper in the offseason and you have the perk of finding all of the deep berry hued dresses made for winter weather at the likes of Alannah Hill to select from rather than the usual 'bridesmaid'-specific gowns.
While most colour palettes will still suit a winter wedding, we love to focus on the deep romantic berry hues, the jewel tones and warmer gold, bronze and copper metallics.
Think Romanov Russia, Gatsby Glamour or Woodland Vintage - three dramatic extremes but all perfect examples of winter wedding wonder:
Romanov Russia: Gold, glass, jewel tones, crystal, firelight, chandeliers, candlesticks, coppers, bronzes, trinkets, elegant and sleek attire, white roses or berry toned florals, very formal.
*Gatsby Glamour: *Black and gold or silver, glitz, crystals, balloons, champagne saucers, art deco attire, pearls, art deco fonts and designs, prohibition, feathers and jewels, white orchids and lillies.
*Woodland Vintage: *tree trunk slices, hollow out tree limb napkin rings, moss, pinecones, birds, feathers, greenery and antlers.
We love mittens and scarves or blankets for an outdoor ceremony for favours or depending on your theme, s'mores, candles, matches, sparklers for the send off, coffee beans, honey pots, handwarmers in mini hottie covers, snowflake trinkets - there are so many options that are outside the realm of the usual favour fare.
Think texture - winter has some incredibly unique and textural blooms. Apart from the variety of seasonal evergreen foliage, you're also gifted with dried flowers, or unique blooms such as
In creating a memorable winter wedding, guest comfort is going to be a priority. If your ceremony will take palce in an area exposed to the elements, offer mittens, blankets or pashminas for warm favours and have a cosy roaring fire and patio heaters set up to warm the area. Incorporate velvet seating, candelabras and hurricane lanterns mixed in with fairy lights or edison bulbs and cosy reception seating.
Offer a variety of warm drinks such as mulled wine, spiced cider, tea, coffee, cocoa and hot toddies served in copper Moscow Mule mugs.
Winter weddings can be some of the most magical and memorable weddings - they're often significantly less expensive than summer weddings and you won't be competing with other couples for vendors but moreso, winter weddings are more intimate and feel 'warmer' than many summer weddings because there's almost more a sense of community within the bubble of the winter wedding locale.
Remember too, to utilise our free wedding advice portal where you can ask us anything about your wedding journey and we'll respond with the benefit of our 16 years in the business!