10 Things to Consider When Planning a Winter Wedding in the Inland Northwest
Believe it or not, but there are people out there who prefer winter. My husband is one of them. The Inland Northwest is his jam! We have all four seasons, and he has a different hobby for each season (you should see our garage). However, the reason I am bringing this up today is not to discuss outdoor hobbies. Instead, I want to let you know that a winter wedding requires a whole new set of logistical guidelines you will have to pay attention to. There are places in the United States where a winter wedding doesn’t mean much more than not having 100-degree weather. But winter in the Inland Northwest is whole different ballgame! If this is your absolute favorite season and you are dead set on getting married during the coldest months of the year, let me give you 10 tips to help you in your planning process…
1. In my opinion, weather here is even more unpredictable in the winter than in the summer/fall months. You could have 2 inches of snow, 3 feet of snow, or 35 degrees and sunny. And that forecast can change… overnight.
2. If you are opting for a beautiful snowy outside ceremony, be sure to put that prominently on your invitations, because no one wants THAT to be a surprise when they arrive. Don’t feel pressured to have an indoor ceremony just because you are getting married in the winter. You do what feels right for you, but make it a priority to let others know your plan because it is also important that your guests feel as comfortable as possible. No one wants grumpy wedding guests.
3. Have blankets. Period! This goes hand in hand with point #2. Don’t try to guess if you guests will be chilly. If you look at the temperature outside and it says anything below like 55-degrees and you are asking your guests to stand/sit outside for more than 10 minutes, give them that blanket to add another layer and keep the heat in.
4. Be prepared to have minor delays with the timeline on the day of. Remember when I said weather is unpredictable? Winter is the worst time of year for driving… snow, ice, accidents, etc. If guests don’t look at the forecast before they head out and don’t give themselves extra time or don’t quite have the right tires for the road conditions, it can cause them to be later than they expected when arriving to the venue.
5. A positive advantage about hosting a winter wedding? Vendors usually have more availability in their schedule than they do in the summer/fall months. Drawback to hosting a winter wedding? Vendor capabilities may be more limited due to the natural weather factors. I am more specifically talking about rental companies. Some are just simply not equipped to handle the winter driving conditions (or don’t want to risk it), so you may be left with limited options.
6. Having a (very short) ceremony outside in the blustery winter is one thing, but please please please plan to have an indoor reception with HEAT! A big, beautiful wood burning fireplace is a perfect accent to a winter wedding reception. Cozy up and really feel that flame burn.
7. Consider leaning into that winter feel and choose a long sleeve wedding dress. Of course, this is by no means a requirement, more so for your comfort. Let’s be real, you are going to be cold standing outside at the altar and for pictures no matter what, but why not help take that chill off your arms a little bit? OR add in a fur coat/shawl! This can be a fun addition & detail for a winter bride.
8. When I was standing outside in the bitter cold waiting for the premier of the Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 movie… wait, what? I didn’t do that… But really, when your knees are shaking and you are doing everything in your power to stay warm, one of the best things to hold is a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate to wrap your hands around! This is the perfect excuse to have a super cute hot cocoa bar waiting to greet all of your guests as they arrive. They will be delighted to have a warm beverage coating their cold throats.
9. Please be mindful of the date you choose to get married when looking at the winter months. I say this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are a lot of holidays that people are celebrating at the end of the year, so their calendars may be more limited when it comes to attending a wedding. Secondly, statistically, winter is the most expensive season for Americans. Which means they may have to prioritize where they are spending their funds.
10. My last little tip is to be mindful & realistic when planning your dinner menu. Keep in mind that the same ingredients may not be as readily available during the winter months as they are during the summer months. Instead, take this opportunity to plan a fun, hearty meal with ingredients that your guests are not used to seeing at part of a wedding menu. Be creative and think outside of the box!
Feel ready and more energized to plan your winter wedding now? Great, let’s do it! If you liked this short list of tips, be sure to click on the contact button HERE to learn all about what else I can do to make sure your wedding day is perfect, authentic to you, and as stress-free as possible! And be sure to check out these other blogs. If you are debating between a winter and spring wedding, or if you just in general don't want to miss a detail!
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