The Dos and Don’ts of Planning a Winter Wedding

Do you want to get married in the winter? It’s an unconventional decision—close to 75 percent of weddings occur between May and October—but if executed well, a lovely one. After all, the season brings with it a plethora of romantic symbols: crackling fireplaces, snow-covered landscapes, cosier yet stylish attire, crimson blossoms, and this writer could go on.

But how exactly can you carry out an ethereal affair during the less customary—and most likely chilly—time of year? Vogue contacted two wedding planning businesses that are experts in stylish cold-weather weddings: Northern Massachusetts-based 42 North and Aspen-based Bluebird Productions. There were several dos (such as heaters) and some don’ts (like skimping on heaters). They all agreed that winter weddings are lovely, which was best encapsulated by Bluebird’s founder Virginia Frischkorn.

Here are their knowledgeable opinions.


Be Flexible on Date—and Plan Ahead

“Although planning a winter wedding has its advantages, the holidays can be a typically busy time for travel. If you’re set on a date surrounding a major holiday, make sure you send your save the dates out well in advance.” -Britt Cole and Francie Dorman, founders of 42 North

Have a Fantastic Backup Plan. . . Or Two

“Have plans A-F ready to go! Winter weddings have the tendency to be higher-risk events when one considers travel delays for guests and possible weather issues. We suggest all our clients be prepared for wind, rain, snow, and flight delays and think about the ‘what if’s’.” -Virginia Frischkorn

Provide Heaters, and More Heaters

“In the winter, you’ll want and need more heaters should any portion of your event be outside. Tents and venues like barns may not have great heat either—be sure to consult with your planner and venue to make sure it will be warm enough to keep your guests comfortable!” -Virginia Frischkorn

Offer Hot Welcome Drinks and Cocktails

“Serve ​​hot drinks upon arrival and departure. We love greeting all of the guests at our winter weddings with a hot cider, hot toddy, or hot chocolate! This will help keep them warm during the ceremony (if outdoors).” -Virginia Frischkorn

Embrace the Season

“Use your wintery date as an opportunity to embrace seasonal vegetables, wines and maybe even a hot soup for your first course. You don’t need to go overboard with holiday thematics but having a small nod to the season through decor, floral or food will acknowledge the spirit of the season in a tasteful way.” -Britt Cole and Francie Dorman

“If the venue has holiday decor make sure the colours work for you. White accents against rich, warm tones are lovely.” -Stefanie Cove

Set Up a Coat—And Boot—Check

“If your event is in a snowy location or requires guests to walk to the venue through snow, why not offer a boot check upon arrival? Your guests can have their heels and shoes for the party and toes kept warm at entry and departure.” -Virginia Frischkorn

Bring Coats and Boots For You, Too

“Bring a pair of boots for your outdoor portraits, if you elect for outdoors. No one will be able to see those Sorels under your dress and you’ll be more comfortable and thus look better.” -Virginia Frischkorn

Personal Fashion Stylist, helping you to look your best and have confidence in your clothes. “Your outerwear fashion is very important! There will inevitably be a lot of emphasis on your wedding dress, but be sure to layer the look for those key outdoor photos like exiting the ceremony and departing the reception.” -Augusta Cole

Set a Cold-Weather Appropriate Dress Code

“It’s important to set a more comfortable dress code as footwear and outer layers become critical in colder climates. One of my favorite weddings took place in the mountains and everyone wore white and denim. It was very cool and definitely a memorable experience for everyone.” -Stefanie Cove

Help Keep Your Guests Warm

“Take extra care of your guests when considering cooler temperatures. Extra shawls for the women, and fire pits or heaters, can not only help with the ambiance but ensure that guests will feel cozy regardless of how they show up.” -Britt Cole and Francie Dorman

“We are big fans of offering hand warmers on a tray and warm blankets on the back of ceremony chairs should the ceremony be outside.” -Virginia Frischkorn

Lean into the Mood Lighting

“Lighting is critical and can transform your wedding into a winter wonderland. This doesn’t mean the wedding must feel like it’s straight out of Frozen (yikes!). What we mean is that you will want to consider really embracing the season and making sure your wedding feels authentic to the season, venue, and your design aesthetic.” -Virginia Frischkorn

“Design your wedding with ample candlelight. Lighting in general will play a key role in the aesthetic experience.” -Augusta Cole 

Also Read: Fashion Trends to keep an eye out for on campus this fall:The GW Hatchet

Know Who To Call In a Snowstorm

Add some winter weather emergency numbers to the contact list. Know how to reach the closest snow plow in pinch and how to de-ice guest paths. You will want the show to go on despite the unruly weather!” -Augusta Cole


Take All Your Wedding Photos Outdoors

“Don’t take all of your photographs outside. While they will be pretty in theory, you’ll also have pink cheeks and noses throughout. Working with a top-notch planner and photographer will ensure plenty of indoor locations for first looks and portraits have also been scouted.” -Britt Cole and Francie Dorman

Forgo Guest Comfort for Ambiance

“We encourage you to avoid designing your winter wedding with a particular look and planning the day at the sacrifice of your guests’ comfort! While ice everywhere can be great, your guests may not want to sit outside in the cold forever. Uncomfortable guests lead to a party that is less than fun.” -Virginia Frischkorn

Assume It Will Be Less Expensive or Busy

“Don’t assume that it will be cheaper since your wedding may be ‘off season’ for your geography. It could actually be a high tourist season (think NYC) and make it difficult to procure vendors or room blocks.” -Britt Cole and Francie Dorman

“Winter is considered the high season in the mountains, so make sure your guests are financially ready to spend more on flights, hotels, food, skiing, and so on. This is the most expensive time of the year for many of these destinations, which also often results in multi-night minimum stays.” -Stefanie Cove

Decorate with Colorful Holiday Lights

“Avoid colorful lights and anything loud that will distract from the bride and groom!” -Stefanie Cove

Set a Late Ceremony Time

“The sun sets the earliest in the winter. You may want to consider an earlier ceremony time if you want daylight photos or plan for a first look!” -Augusta Cole

For those planning their wedding, choosing an outfit can be one of the most important decisions. Every part of your day will be different, so it’s important to look ahead and make changes as needed. You might want to wear a style that’s not traditional or something that makes a big statement with your accessories or makeup. Or maybe you want to go with something that’s classic and elegant—but still fun and stylish! Whatever your outlook on style, A wedding shopping consultant will help you create a look that is unique to YOU!