In most parts of the country, throwing a winter wedding is a gamble. A lot of people thought I was crazy for choosing a February date in New Jersey. Luckily, we were blessed with gorgeous weather on our wedding day — it snowed the following day! Here, the most important things I learned while planning my winter wedding:
You’ll Save Money — on Most Vendors
Since the winter isn’t a peak time to get married in most parts of the country, you can score some major discounts. We saved big on our venue, and we also got discounts on our photographer, videographer, DJ, and transportation. One area where we did not experience any savings: Flowers. Because there are fewer flowers in season, you may have to pay a premium or forego your first (or second or third) choice bloom.
You’ll Need to Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario
As a winter bride, you have to know the answer to the biggest question: what will you do if there’s a blizzard on your wedding day and no one can get there?
The best way to preempt wedding disaster is to ask the “what if” questions while searching for your vendors. We made sure to ask our major players — venue, photographer, videographer, DJ — what would happen if we were forced to cancel due to inclement weather. The vendors we booked would allow us to reschedule for another date at no additional cost, assuming he or she was available on the new date.
Of course, getting all of those vendors in the same room again on a different date isn’t always possible. If you’re wary, you may want to consider wedding insurance. Most policies will protect you against losing your deposit money due to a weather-related cancellation, meaning that you can then book a new vendor who is available on your new date without having to pay extra.
Be Prepared for Some Surprising “No’s”
While we didn’t receive too many “no’s” overall, we were surprised by some of the guests who declined to attend. Elderly guests and out-of-towners may be more likely to decline a winter wedding invitation, due to concerns over icy conditions or airline delays.
Embrace the Season
When I first started planning, I was adamant that I wasn’t going to let my February wedding date dictate my wedding style. Why did I need to have a winter wonderland theme or use burgundy and gold just because I was getting married in a cold-weather month? But as I got deeper into the planning, I realized that one of the things that would truly make my wedding unique was embracing this less-than-popular wedding season. Suddenly, I became obsessed with snowflakes, frosted branches, and icy blue lighting. So, yes, I ended up with a winter wonderland theme, and I loved it! You can also embrace the season by serving wintry cocktails, like spiked hot chocolate and eggnog.
Tread Carefully Around the Holidays
If you’re dreaming of a Caribbean honeymoon, you’re in luck — the winter is a wonderful time to visit. But watch out for price increases near the holidays. While planning our trip to St. Lucia following our President’s Day Weekend wedding, we learned that we’d save nearly a thousand dollars by waiting until the following week to depart.
Likewise, flowers (especially roses) are in high demand around Valentine’s Day; you may face higher prices or lower availability.
Also, if you're thinking about December, be sure to check when Hanukkah begins and ends. And if you're planning a New Years Eve wedding, some guests might not be too happy if you decide on a dry wedding.
You’ll Become a Weather Stalker
Yes, most brides check weather.com constantly during the week leading up to the wedding to see if there’s a chance of rain. But if you’re a winter bride, you may find yourself taking it a step further and researching how many times in the past five years it has snowed on your chosen date. You’ll research historic weather patterns around your big day, while being perfectly aware that you’re acting crazy, because it’s not like you can prevent the snow from falling. But it’ll make you feel really smart when it’s 60 degrees and sunny on your wedding day — you can tell people you did your research.
Winter brides, what would you add to this list?
—Kristen O'Gorman Klein