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The pros and cons of a winter wedding, from finances to flowers

Experts explain the factors you need to consider with an off-peak event. By Katie Wright.


Let it snow with a winter wedding (Alamy/PA)

Traditionally, wedding season runs from May to September, with the sunny summer months usually seen as the optimal time to tie the knot.

Other couples choose to buck the trend and get married in winter, with a spike in weddings around Christmas time.


There’s no right or wrong, of course, but holding a ceremony in winter can help you save money, and you won’t be competing with the thousands of other couples vying for in-demand vendors and venues.


There are some risks to consider – not least the weather – before deciding on an off-peak Big Day. We asked experts to discuss the main pros and cons of winter weddings…


Pros

Cheaper than summer


(Alamy/PA)

With the cost-of-living crisis continuing, keeping costs down is a major motivator for many couples.


“Winter is a quieter season for many wedding pros, so providing you’re not choosing a date that ties into the Christmas or New Year bank holidays, you can make some serious savings as there is less competition for the dates,” says Zoe Burke, leading wedding expert and editor of Hitched.co.uk.


An indoor wedding could also be more cost-effective, says Matthew Shaw, founder and creative director of Sauveur: “You will primarily be looking at venues that can host everything inside which removes the requirement for a marquee and the logistics that come with it.”


Venue hire is likely to be the biggest cost factor, but you could benefit from lower prices for things like caterers and photographers.


“Many wedding vendors offer discounts for their services during the winter months,” says Jess Martin, wedding expert at party supplies company Ginger Ray.


“You might be able to secure catering and other services originally out of budget in the summer months, helping to keep the costs down.”


Cosier atmosphere



Sometimes, summer weddings can all blur into one, but a cosy, Christmassy event feels special and unique.


“Winter weddings have a vibe that you just cannot replicate in the summer,” says Burke.


“It gets dark earlier so everyone tends to be inside together, often with lots of glowing candlelight, and the colour schemes have a more decadent feel – rich berry tones, velvets and warm metallics.”


And you can plan a sumptuous menu to match: “Warming, filling meals, with mulled wine, hot chocolate and other gorgeous treats that just don’t work when it’s bright and sunny outside.”


Shaw says: “Winter fashion is also a fantastic wedding dress code. Think black tie, furs, and warm winter colours.”


Plus, there’s less chance of guests having ‘wedding fatigue’ following multiple nuptials during peak season, Martin says: “Having a winter wedding, especially one after Christmas, will be such an exciting occasion for your guests to look forward to.”


It might snow


(Alamy/PA)

If you’re really lucky – or choose the right overseas destination – you might have the ultimate white wedding with snowflakes cascading down.


“This isn’t guaranteed of course – and depending on your venue location, might be more of a con than a pro,” says Burke.


“But imagine how wonderful your wedding photos will be if you have a backdrop of beautiful snow. Just make sure you plan accordingly!”


Festive decorations



A November or December wedding means you can incorporate festive decorations on your Big Day.


“Many venues already have Christmas decorations for the season which is a bonus,” says Martin.


“Bring in elements like twinkling lights, candles, seasonal foliage and darker colours for a gorgeous winter decor scheme.”


Burke adds: “I’ve even heard of cases where the first couple to get married at a venue when the decorations are due to go up get to choose the colour scheme. It doesn’t hurt to ask!”


Cons


Unreliable weather


(Alamy/PA)

The primary reason why most couples aren’t keen on winter weddings is, of course, the weather.


“Winter weather can be unpredictable, leading to potential challenges for travel and the venue,” says Martin.


“Storms and wintery weather conditions may disrupt plans and require extra organisation to make the venue suitable, like umbrellas and blankets, while some venue options, like marquees, might not be suitable.”


Plus, there’s the lack of natural light during the shorter days, she continues: “This could impact the timing of your events on the day, so ensure you have created an action plan with all your vendors that takes daylight hours into consideration.”


Shaw says it’s important to visit your venue once the sun’s set: “Venues can look very different when flooded with daylight to after-dark and you’ll want to make sure you’ve seen this.”


Guests might be strapped for cash


(Alamy/PA)

As well as your own wedding costs, you might want to consider guests’ budgets, especially if they’ll need to travel far or accommodation options are limited.


“Budgets can be spread quite thin around Christmas which might mean your guests are on a tighter budget around your wedding than they would be in the summer,” Burke says.


Similarly, you might be competing with festive events: “People’s diaries fill up with parties and family obligations, so I’d recommend getting save the dates out early.”


Limited floral options



“Winter is not the peak season for many flowers, which may limit your choices if you want floral arrangements as part of your decorations,” Martin says, but there are other alternatives.


“This could mean you have to pay more to import the flowers or you have to choose a seasonal option that is more readily available – this isn’t to say it would be any less beautiful though.”


 

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