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TEAM ZOELLA DECEMBER 15, 2021

Just Married! These couples make a serious case for saying I do over Christmas and New Year

If you’re soon-to-be tying the knot and on the fence about having a winter wedding, allow these happy couples to help you make up your mind.

Sure, summer weddings are irrefutably stunning but there’s a serious case for getting married at Christmastime and New Year. Case in point: snowy photo ops and hair & makeup that actually stays put. No heatwave, no hot mess.

Hardy winter flowers make transporting your bouquet that little bit easier (because nobody wants to be dealing with droopy blooms on their wedding day) and since most of the celebrations take place inside, you haven’t got to panic about one of your wedding guests wearing the gazebo-like a hat or swimming your way up the aisle.

If you get married close enough to Christmas, you’ll already have a perfectly dressed wedding venue and copious festive backdrop possibilities and we all know what that means – less money spent on foliage = more money to stick behind the bar for mulled wine and warm mince pies. Consider that reason enough to take your nuptials into the winter.

Then there’s the appeal of your dream wedding venue being: a) available and b) cheaper, such are the perks of going off-peak! Hello, bougie honeymoon fund.

If you’re soon-to-be tying the knot and on the fence about having a winter wedding, allow these happy couples to help you make up your mind.

Noelle Downing

What made you want to get married at this time of year? One of the nicest aspects of winter is the cosy ambience, flickering candlelight and roaring log fires. 

Danny and I both love and look forward to the fall/winter every year, so naturally, it is when we wanted to get married!

What was your venue like and how important was it for setting the tone for your wedding?

Where we got married was actually a custom venue. So everything there had to be brought in down to the toilets. Ha! So we really had to create an entire mood and atmosphere, which was a challenge I looked forward to!

What’s different about planning a winter wedding vs a summer wedding?

First and foremost, I had to worry about people being cold. So we had to pay for heaters to be running through the tent, and Pendleton provided blankets outside for the ceremony for the guests.  We also had a hot mulled wine station to keep everyone warm and cosy! Perhaps the biggest concern was it snowing since we rented a clear top tent and it would have made the material cave in / unsafe. So we kept checking the weather to be sure since anything can happen in upstate NY, especially in November!

Talk to us about the aesthetic. Did you stick to the seasonal theme?

I 100% committed to the seasonal theme. We got married on a Christmas tree farm so we really wanted to tie in the natural elements of the land. We brought Christmas trees from the farm into the tent and had them decorated with lights. For the ceremony, we had the seating arranged around some of the growing trees which made it feel really organic and nature-y. I also wanted to bring in elements that felt like you were having dinner in the Great Hall (Harry Potter) with the long tables and books scattered! It really did feel like the great hall under the stars!

Peak season prices are one very good reason to say I do in the wintertime! Did you save money by deciding to get married out of season? 

I wish I could say we did. However, since we did a full custom venue, we didn’t really save on much. 

That said, the holiday season can be a busy time of year, were most of your guests able to attend?

Since we actually got married a little bit before the holidays,  most guests were able to attend, but since it was a destination in some ways, meaning a lot of our guests didn’t actually live in New York even though we do, there definitely was more of a drop in guests than you would probably see with a normal local wedding. 

Flowers can also be tricky to get hold of over Christmas and into January, how did you find that process?

I really wanted our flowers and bouquets to mainly be from the Christmas tree farm so we were able to source everything from them pretty much. Think very simple with pine and a few white flowers! 

Another great thing about a winter wedding is the opportunity to layer up and create a dramatic look! What was your dress/suit like? Was there an outfit change?!

Well, really Danny stole the show with his maroon velvet suit, so as far as taking in the seasons he wins. But my dress was embellished with a ton of writing and beads (the lyrics to So This is Love with our names embroidered into it as well), so it was really heavy, and looking back I am so thankful that it was a little chilly so that I wasn’t too hot. I did have an outfit change with small velvet details on the dress. Everything felt super holiday magic, being finished off with my Jennifer Behr celestial pieces. 

One thing you do have to consider is that precious thing called daylight. How much did you have to factor this (and the weather) into your day and was the timing hard to coordinate? 

Luckily my wedding planner lives in the area, so she knew exactly when the sun would set and had been keeping an eye on it. We did the ceremony about an hour before that and took photos before guests arrived and thankfully we love night photos and implemented a ton of twinkle lights it into the tent, so honestly those night photos I still think of my favourite from the entire day.

Let’s talk feasting! What food and drink did you have at the reception?

For the first course, we had a delicious kale salad served family-style. Then for the second course, we had Neapolitan pizza for the tables, and we actually had our chef bring in a pizza oven special for this. Then for the following courses, we had our guests pre-select from 3 entrées – ricotta gnocchi, short rib, or scallops. For dessert, we had our wedding cake obviously, but we had 2 different flavours plus 3 different kinds of pie. When it comes to food, we really sacrificed nothing because we looove food!

What was your first dance song?

Longer Than by Dan Fogelberg

How did everything go on the day? Did you ever have any reservations about getting married in the winter?

Best day ever honestly. I don’t have a single regret.

Hard question but do you have a stand-out memorable moment from your big day?

So I think for Danny and I both, one of the most memorable moments was after we did the first look and we got about an hour to ourselves taking photos, but also really soaking in the last minutes left of being not married and kind of talking about our journey as a couple and how crazy it was at this day was finally here, and we were so giddy and excited and it’s honestly a memory I’ll never forget. 

If you were planning your wedding all over again, would you do anything differently?

To be honest I’m not a big regrets person but there’s truly not a single thing I would do differently.

Your best advice for anyone planning a winter wedding…

If you’re paying for it, you do you, and don’t feel bad about any decisions you make that other people might push back on. We didn’t invite kids/anyone under the age of 18 and I know some people may have been saddened by that but we really wanted people that had kids to maybe have their first night out that they had since having a kid. It was our day to celebrate our love and I am glad that I made the decisions that are best for us at the end of the day!

Camille

One of the nicest aspects of winter is the cosy ambience, flickering candlelight and roaring log fires. What was your venue like and how important was it for setting the tone for your wedding?

Where I’m from the winter is not usually that cold so I knew I wanted a venue that had an outdoor ceremony space and an indoor space for the reception. We ended up choosing a wood-panelled interior that felt cosy while still not being too rustic. It was super important to me to have a nice venue to provide the backdrop for all of our pictures. With relatively minimal decorations we were ankle to create a cosy yet Christmassy atmosphere.

Talk to us about the aesthetic. Did you stick to the seasonal theme?

I wanted our wedding to feel inspired by Christmas without being too overwhelming. So for the colours, we went with green, white, silver, and small pops of red here and there. We also put up Christmas trees behind our sweetheart table with lots of greenery and lights everywhere. One of our major nods towards the season was our guest book. We bought wooden ornaments and silver sharpies and had guests decorate and sign them with little notes. Now every Christmas we have a dedicated tree for the ornaments that our friends and families made at our wedding. I also set the dress code as “festive cocktail” encouraging guests to embrace royal toned winter colours in their outfits. 

Peak season prices are one very good reason to say I do in the wintertime! Did you save money by deciding to get married out of season?

SO MUCH MONEY! My husband and I got married on December 23, which was not only an off-peak time but it was also a Monday. I highly recommend this if you are planning a wedding on a budget because most of your guests can attend a wedding right before a holiday because they have those next days off, but wedding vendors often charge less not just because of the season and for weekdays. This can also mean you have full access to any vendor you’d like because they’re less likely to be booked by other couples.

That said, the holiday season can be a busy time of year, were most of your guests able to attend?

It sounds terrible to say, but we chose that date knowing that it meant people may not be able to come. I didn’t want a huge wedding but due to family obligations, I had to invite a lot of people. Out of the 250 people we invited about 100 were able to attend. This was better though because it was just our close family and friends.

Flowers can also be tricky to get hold of over Christmas and into January, how did you find that process?

We did all of our own flower arrangements and bulk ordered them from Costco. I also chose a lot of greenery with just a few flowers sprinkled in, so that made it easier.

Another great thing about a winter wedding is the opportunity to layer up and create a dramatic look! What was your dress/suit like? Was there an outfit change?!

My dress was originally sleeveless but I knew that I really wanted long lace sleeves so we were able to add a company under the dress to achieve that look. It had an all lace bodice and a ball-gown type skirt. I also had my hair styled to include flowers and greenery.

One thing you do have to consider is that precious thing called daylight. How much did you have to factor this (and the weather) into your day and was the timing hard to coordinate?

I think anyone who has an outdoor wedding stresses about the weather, but we made contingencies. If it was raining we were planning to move inside and if it was cold we had purchased blankers and rented space heaters to pass out to guests at the ceremony. We also stated on our wedding website that the ceremony would be outdoors so they should dress accordingly! The ceremony started at 5pm which meant that we had the last bit of sunlight for the wedding and a beautiful sunset for all the group pictures.

Let’s talk feasting! What food and drink did you have at the reception?

Our goal was a Christmas dinner type menu. We had butler passed around Hors d’oeuvres with mac n cheese balls and cucumber bites. Then for dinner, we went with roast beef, mashed potatoes, bread, and green beans. We had a semi-open bar along with hot chocolate.

What was your first dance song?

LOVE by Nat King Cole

How did everything go on the day? Did you ever have any reservations about getting married in the winter?

I had really tried to prepare myself mentally for something to go wrong, but I was so fortunate that nothing did! It was one of the most beautiful and peaceful days of my life. And more than one person told me it was one of the most fun weddings they’d ever been too, which made me feel very happy.

Hard question but do you have a stand-out memorable moment from your big day?

We got married outside on a property next to a big field. After we said our vows a bunch of cows in the pasture next to us started lowing so loudly the minister had to pause until they were done. Everybody laughed and it’s still one of my favourite moments.

If you were planning your wedding all over again, would you do anything differently?

Two things: First- enjoy everything about being a bride-to-be. Have an engagement party, have a bachelorette party, make a big deal out of dress shopping. It’s easy to get stressed over everything, but this is all a once in a lifetime experience to get ready to celebrate your love for your partner. Second- if you have family coming into town from far away try to plan something simple so you can all spend time together if not before the wedding then maybe after. If I could do it again I would have planned a brunch for the next day to fully enjoy being surrounded by my friends and family without all the stress of the wedding coming up.

Tara

What made you want to get married at this time of year?

We wanted to get married on New Year’s Eve as we loved the idea of ending one year and starting a new one as husband and wife. We also liked the idea of the glamour of an NYE party wedding. 

One of the nicest aspects of winter is the cosy ambience, flickering candlelight and roaring log fires. What was your venue like and how important was it for setting the tone for your wedding?

We got married in a small and intimate venue.  We had lots of candles and low lighting to add to this mood. We spent a lot of time in the bar area with dimmed lights and candles on tables. We had sparklers at midnight as well which was lovely. 

What’s different about planning a winter wedding vs a summer wedding?

The days are obviously a lot shorter and it’s cold so the majority of our day was spent inside rather than outside. Our photographer worked with us to get the most out of the light and we had to keep as warm as possible during outdoor photographs. One way we did this was that my bridesmaids and I had faux fur wraps to keep us warm. 
Talk to us about the aesthetic.

Did you stick to the seasonal theme?

We didn’t have a lot of Christmas decorations, only at the hotel that my bridal party and I got ready at. We went for a glamorous theme with glitzy dresses and lots of champagne. We asked all guests to wear their favourite party outfit as opposed to traditional wedding guest outfits. 

Peak season prices are one very good reason to say I do in the wintertime! Did you save money by deciding to get married out of season?

The opposite! Getting married on New Year’s Eve meant that we paid a premium for the venue and the staff. 
That said, the holiday season can be a busy time of year.

Were most of your guests able to attend?

Being New Year’s Eve we found that most guests were happy to attend a party! We had a small wedding with only 40 guests and it felt very special to spend the day with just our favourite people. 

Flowers can also be tricky to get hold of over Christmas and into January, how did you find that process?

We had an amazing florist who worked with us to source flowers in our colour theme of pink and navy blue. We had a lot of greenery which added to the winter look. 

Another great thing about a winter wedding is the opportunity to layer up and create a dramatic look! What was your dress/suit like? Was there an outfit change?!

I had a sparkly Sophia Tolli Gown and my bridesmaids wore pink sequin, floor-length gowns. We wore faux fur wraps and I had a dramatic crystal headband that caught the light in the venue beautifully.
One thing you do have to consider is that precious thing called daylight.

How much did you have to factor this (and the weather) into your day and was the timing hard to coordinate?

We got married at 2pm and then went straight outside for photos. At this time the lighting was still good and the photographer was able to get some lovely shots. As the sun went down my husband and I went back outside or into darker rooms in the venue to get low lighting photos. 

Let’s talk feasting! What food and drink did you have at the reception?

We had canapés and Krispy Kreme doughnuts with champagne straight after the ceremony. We then had soup and roast chicken for dinner and a trio of desserts. As the wedding went on until after midnight we had a late-night buffet with cocktails in the evening. 
What was your first dance song?
“I knew I loved you” by Savage Garden. 

How did everything go on the day? Did you ever have any reservations about getting married in the winter?

We were worried about it raining but our photographer talked us through how he uses puddles to take stunning reflection photos. By the day of the wedding, we were almost looking forward to rain- but we didn’t get any!  
Hard question but do you have a stand-out memorable moment from your big day?
When the clock struck midnight and we were outside, toasting the new year and our new marriage with champagne and sparklers and all of our favourite people. That is a memory that will stay with us forever. 

If you were planning your wedding all over again, would you do anything differently?

Nothing! It was absolutely perfect for us. 

Your best advice for anyone planning a winter wedding…

Do it!! You may have less time outside in the sunshine, but you won’t get sweaty! And the time you would have spent outside, you can spend inside dancing!!  

Laura

What made you want to get married at this time of year?

It is my favourite time of the year. My husband proposed to me in December and we started “officially” dating in December. There was something about a winter wedding that I couldn’t pass up. 

One of the nicest aspects of winter is the cosy ambience, flickering candlelight and roaring log fires. What was your venue like and how important was it for setting the tone for your wedding?

We got married inside a post and beam venue in Canada called Temples Sugar Bush. It’s a maple sugar bush in the springtime and a wedding venue the rest of the year. 

There was a blizzard the day before our wedding so everything was covered in a fresh blanket of snow. That really upped the cosy vibe. We got married in front of the roaring stone fireplace amongst our friends and family. It was every cosy and love-filled feeling I could have hoped for. 

What’s different about planning a winter wedding vs a summer wedding?

Planning a winter wedding with reliable transportation for our guests was really important to us. Knowing that no matter the weather they would be safe. Other than that I feel like it’s the same.

Talk to us about the aesthetic. Did you stick to the seasonal theme?

We did! My mom made garlands from our families farm as the table runners, we had black lanterns and paper table runners with gold dots all over. During dinner, we played Michael Buble’s Christmas album. My flowers were deep reds, plums and pinks.

Peak season prices are one very good reason to say I do in the wintertime! Did you save money by deciding to get married out of season?

We did! We were married on an “off-season Saturday” but I wanted to get married in the winter anyway so it just felt like a bonus perk.

That said, the holiday season can be a busy time of year, were most of your guests able to attend?

Because of the snowstorm the day before the wedding a few guests were unable to attend. But all the most important people were there and that’s all I could ask for.

Flowers can also be tricky to get hold of over Christmas and into January, how did you find that process?

I really wanted peonies they’re my favourite flower. We splurged and had them shipped in from Europe. Other than those I think the flowers were all locally grown in greenhouses. 

Another great thing about a winter wedding is the opportunity to layer up and create a dramatic look! What was your dress/suit like? Was there an outfit change?!

My mom made me a shawl to wear around my arms. I was freaking freezing. I also wore my hunter boots because they were easy to slip on and off and kept my feet out of the snow. I wore my dress all night long, I loved it too much to change out of it! 

One thing you do have to consider is that precious thing called daylight. How much did you have to factor this (and the weather) into your day and was the timing hard to coordinate?

It wasn’t too difficult for us. We did our “first look” and bridal party photos before our ceremony.

Let’s talk feasting! What food and drink did you have at the reception?

Our venue had incredible food! We had maple bourbon chicken, salad, mash potatoes, carrots, butternut squash soup.. it was delicious. 

What was your first dance song?

Die a happy man by Thomas Rhett. But another memorable song for us was one of my girlfriends sang me down the aisle to Mean to Me by Brett Eldridge. 

How did everything go on the day? Did you ever have any reservations about getting married in the winter?

None, it was incredible, I recommend it to anyone who thinks it’s right for them! 

Hard question but do you have a stand-out memorable moment from your big day?

The ceremony was my favourite part, all cosy by the fire surrounded by our loved ones. 

If you were planning your wedding all over again, would you do anything differently?

The only thing I would do differently is to not have reception only guests. I would have loved for everyone to come for the whole evening! 

Your best advice for anyone planning a winter wedding…

My advice to anyone planning any type of wedding is to do what speaks to you, it’s one day you get to celebrate your love surrounded by the people who support and love you. Splurge on things that are important to you and don’t on the things that don’t matter to you. It’s your wedding, you make the rules. 🙂

Francesca

What made you want to get married at this time of year? 

We’re both quite ‘active’ people, we like games and things but the problem with Summer is the uncertainty over the weather so the next best thing was to go big on the party side of things and NYE is the best time for a party. Plus we liked the idea of just planning the whole thing and it being done within the year.

What was your venue like and how important was it for setting the tone for your wedding?

We wanted a fairly rustic, casual setting so chose a venue with a big barn for the ceremony and the party. We wanted a cosy atmosphere – everyone looks better in candlelight right?! So we went big on festoon and fairy light. The venue also had a big house attached which meant that a lot of our friends coming up could stay. The wedding was in my home town of Yorkshire but we live in London so all of our London friends were able to stay meaning we didn’t have to worry too much about transport on NYE which was another big win. 

What’s different about planning a winter wedding vs a summer wedding? 

Not having to worry about the weather. We knew it would be cold so planned for mostly indoor time. We didn’t need to have a plan A and a plan B depending on the weather which made things a lot less stressful! 

Talk to us about the aesthetic. Did you stick to the seasonal theme?

Yep, the groomsmen wore black tuxedos and the bridesmaids were in a deep red colour. My dress was had constellations that looked a bit like fireworks. The bouquets were very seasonal with more foliage than bright flowers. The table plan was a giant clock, there were confetti cannons, espresso martinis, sparklers, fire pits…

Peak season prices are one very good reason to say I do in the wintertime! Did you save money by deciding to get married out of season?

I think NYE meant we still paid the premium prices unfortunately.

That said, the holiday season can be a busy time of year, were most your guests able to attend?

I think pretty much everyone invited could attend; no one likes coming up with NYE plans right?!

Flowers can also be tricky to get hold of over Christmas and into January, how did you find that process?

We had a lovely florist so no problems.

Another great thing about a winter wedding is the opportunity to layer up and create a dramatic look! What was your dress/suit like? Was there an outfit change?!

My dress was from Pronovias and it was amaaaazing. It’s called Hidden Galaxy I think and was plain but with an open back with jewelled constellations. Nick wore a tuxedo and the jacket was a dark red velvet. We felt very fancy. After the first dance, I changed into a shorter, lighter, less white, sparkly number with trainers so I could dance. It also meant I could put an all-important bra on!

One thing you do have to consider is that precious thing called daylight. How much did you have to factor this (and the weather) into your day and was the timing hard to co-ordinate?

I think we were okay, we had great photographers who took advantage of the moody lighting!

Let’s talk feasting! What food and drink did you have at the reception?

Our food was incredible. As I’m from Yorkshire and Nick is a cockney, our caterers put together a Yorkshire/Cockney tasting board for the starter; Yorkshire cheese, pies, Yorkshire puddings and even some smoked eel pate. For the main, we served a big pork shoulder to one person on each table and it was their job to shred it using big claws, we gave them chef hats and aprons. We had that with a big potato rosti, some veg and lots of gravy! Dessert was a sticky toffee pudding followed by an espresso martini. We served pies, peas and liquor later in the evening but I think people were full!

What was your first dance song?

Can’t take my eyes off you by Frankie Valli played by our band.

How did everything go on the day?

Did you ever have any reservations about getting married in the winter?

No and looking back, I am so glad we did! It being cold outside meant everyone stayed inside and danced. Plus everyone was up for a party!

Hard question but do you have a stand-out memorable moment from your big day?

Hmm, that is difficult. I think maybe waiting to walk down the aisle, listening to the version of Bowie’s We Can Be Heroes is one. I’d listened to it so many times in the build-up that it felt surreal listening to it on the day itself. Then just generally dancing all night!

If you were planning your wedding all over again, would you do anything differently?

I would stress a lot less in the build-up!

Your best advice for anyone planning a winter wedding…

I would probably tell people not to sweat the small stuff, people don’t need activities to entertain them, focus on the music as people will want to dance. I’d also tell people to plan for everything to be indoors and if the weather is nice enough to be outside then that’s a bonus.

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