Guide to the Perfect Winter Wonderland Wedding

From food to florals, here’s how you plan the wedding of your dreams in the colder months.

By Maggy Lehmicke

Perfect Winter Wonderland Wedding
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • Your venue is most important. There is no such thing as “predictable weather” in the winter months, so start there and plan accordingly.
  • Embrace the true beauty of the winter by going with seasonal florals, food, and color palettes.
  • Consider having cold-weather accessories such as blankets available in case some of your guests are ill prepared.

Summer might be the unofficial “wedding season,” but that doesn’t mean that other seasons should be written off. Springtime cherry blossoms and fall foliage are just a couple of reasons to consider an off-season celebration...though nothing is quite as festive and romantic as a winter wonderland wedding.

Cozy vibes, luxe color palettes, and the potential for a fresh blanket of snow (or faux snow, for those wishing for colder temperatures) are just a few reasons why couples consider a wedding in the winter months. If you’re sold on wintertime, but unsure of how to pull it off, below is a comprehensive guide to making your dreams of a winter wonderland theme come true.

Build the Day Around the Venue

Guide to the Perfect Winter Wonderland Wedding Photo Credit // Nicole Aacke Photography

If you’re looking to get married in the off-season, with the weather in mind, booking your venue is going to be one of the most important aspects of the wedding planning process. While many couples go with an indoor space, it’s also worth considering an indoor-outdoor setup, particularly if you live in an area with reasonable wintertime temperatures.

Greenhouses and barns are great spaces to get a natural, rustic vibe that captures the beauty of the winter season, while cabins and even ski lodges are also great for smaller gatherings. Complete with the right winter wedding decorations, such as twinkle lights, white flowers, and crystal garlands, and you can transform any wedding venue into a winter wonderland.

Book Accommodations Far in Advance

Though for different reasons, it’s just as important to book accommodations and transportation in advance for winter weddings as it is for summer celebrations simply, because of the holiday rush. Between mid-November and early January, flights, hotel rooms, and AirBnbs are generally in high demand. If you’re blocking hotel rooms for the wedding party, make sure that you keep this in mind and chat with your planner or coordinator about the best plan of action.

Keep Important Holidays in Mind

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to avoid the weekends right before and after Christmas when planning your big day. Not only will accommodations and flights be scarce, but prices generally skyrocket around the holidays. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Day are all dates to mark as well, in addition to “unofficial” holidays, such as Super Bowl Sunday. This will not only keep stress levels lower for you but will ensure that more of your guests can attend.

Find Creative Ways to Use an Indoor Space

Even if the majority of your ceremony and photo ops are going to be outside, it’s a good idea to have a few spots indoors as a backup, just in case the weather takes a dramatic turn. Whether it’s a church, barn, or country club, there are plenty of ways that you can get creative with an indoor space to make it festive. Extravagant greenery displays, snowflake-adorned arches, and candle-lined aisles are just a few options that enhance any space and create a uniquely styled shoot that will make your photographer’s job a lot easier.

As much as a fresh blanket of snow would make the perfect wedding day backdrop, you mustn’t count on anything when it comes to the weather, even if snow is common in your region at that time of year. Make sure that you chat with your photographer about all your options in advance.

Make Time for Photos When It’s Still Light Out

Guide to the Perfect Winter Wonderland Wedding Photo Credit // Studio 616 Photography

This is a big one, as it’s something the couple might easily overlook if they’re deep in the throes of wedding planning. Ideally, your photographer will remind you of sunset and take portraits in advance, but this is something to consider even as you’re just beginning wedding planning, as it influences the day’s timeline and details such as the first look.

Incorporate Seasonal Fabrics, Textures, and Colors

Colors such as emerald greens, wines, and deep burgundies all look fantastic in the winter months. This is also an opportunity to incorporate velvet, faux fur, and other fun fabrics in your wedding-day attire to create a stunning look for any winter bride. Tartan plaid and tweed are a couple of unconventional options for runners and accessories, too.

Offer Seasonal Food and Drinks

One of the biggest advantages of a winter wedding is the amazing bounty of the season. Baked brie cheese, soup shooters, and warm, winter cocktails such as hot buttered rum and Irish coffee are just a few possibilities worth considering. You can even get creative with dessert by offering a hot chocolate station with peppermint stir sticks and a range of tasty toppings.

Go Natural With Florals and Greenery

Ordering out-of-season florals are not only expensive but also unsustainable. So, if you’re going to have a winter wedding, you might as well run with what’s available that time of year. After all, when else can you incorporate pomegranates and pine cones into your bouquet?

Ranunculus, amaryllis, roses, and anemones are just a few favorite blooms that are available around the holiday season and beyond. If you’re going for a rustic winter vibe, incorporate lots of evergreen and other natural elements, such as berries and thistle, into your displays. For a more glamorous affair, feathers, gold-adorned fruit, and classic red roses all make great wedding decoration embellishments.

Use Cold-Weather Accessories As Favors

Though you might be good-to-go (emergency kit and all), it’s only natural that some of your guests will be ill-prepared. Instead of renting out blankets for everyone on your guest list, consider including them as wedding favors. Sometimes bulk purchases like these can turn out to be less expensive than rentals if you do your research. Use them as part of your decor by draping them over chairs and your photographer will be sure to thank you. Mittens are another winter accessory that makes a great favor if blankets are out of the question.

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Whether you’re planning a festive celebration around the holidays or hoping for a snow-capped ceremony later in the season, these are some of the most important things to keep in mind as you start to make arrangements. Just make sure that your big day shows off your style and that you take some time to enjoy the romantic ambiance of the winter season.

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