Event Producer & Marketing Manager, Blue Wren Farm.
“So, when’s the wedding?” To the newly engaged, this question will be asked so often it will verge on being annoying. Chances are when you do get around to thinking about it seriously, you’ll decide it’ll be spring or summer, depending on availability of your preferred venue… so probably not until the year after next in the highly competitive post covid-restrictions world we now live in.
Planning a wedding during winter is, to be quite frank, off the table for most couples. The warmth of spring and summer inspire brides around the world to envisage an outdoor wedding with friends sipping champagne and shoulders glinting in the sunlight. But when it comes to wedding planning, there are a myriad of compelling reasons that make throwing a winter wedding an incredibly appealing option. We’ve got all the convincing you need.
Take your pick
Planning a wedding during the winter months, otherwise known as the low season, means supplier availability will be at its highest. Competition for the venue of your dreams, that band you simply must have, and the in-demand florist are all likely to have the most availability during the winter, which increases your chance of booking them.
For the recently engaged couples who want to get married as soon as possible, hearing you’ll likely have to wait for one to two years to line up a wedding venue and suppliers will come as an unwelcome shock. If you can be flexible about your date and location, a winter wedding could very much be your answer.
The weather is more comfortable
A summer reception is the dream of many – outdoors on a sunny afternoon, Aperol spritz in hand. The reality, however, is often less than idyllic in the Australian heat. Seeing your guests arrive all decked out in their very best, only to end up flushed, dripping with sweat and sunburnt before the reception even begins. Not great for your wedding photos!
The hot summer sun and standing around for extended periods can quickly accelerate dehydration and the effects of alcohol for guests, leading to a memorable situation for all the wrong reasons.
Winter can be chilly, of course, but winter days in Australia are often fairly mild. Remind guests to bring a coat if some of your formalities will be outside, and incorporate ways to keep everyone warm if they will need to be outdoors.
Tips to keep people warm
Throwing a wedding in winter doesn’t mean you have to keep everyone indoors at all times, you just need to ensure people will be warm if expected to be outside. Luckily there are plenty of fun ways to do it. Outdoor fire pits are functional and aesthetically show stopping if your venue lends itself to them. If not, outdoor heaters are pretty standard for most event venues. Providing hot water bottles and blankets for guests make it fun and inviting for everyone to get cosy too.
Plan your timings carefully
Timings are key to maximising the warmer, brighter times throughout the day. Starting too late in the afternoon may minimise the hours of daylight you have for drinks and photos. An earlier start for your ceremony and an early finish for your reception are ideal in winter, particularly if your wedding venue is in a location that gets especially cold.
Of course, you could dare to be different and make yours a daytime wedding. There’s no denying that although cold, Australian winter days are mostly stunning. Blue skies with a fresh nip in the air, but stunning, nonetheless. Find a wedding venue with the gardens of your dreams and start the ceremony at midday with a long lunch to follow rather than a dinner. Not only will you be able to make the most of the winter sunlight and natural lighting, but your wedding day will be unique. Those blankets and hot water bottles can be kept on hand for when the sun starts to go down.
Choosing the right wedding venue
When it comes to choosing your venue, some lend themselves to a winter wedding more than others. You might love a venue by the beach for the large deck area which overlooks the shore below, but that deck is rarely going to be pleasant in the middle of winter, no matter how many heaters there are to huddle around.
Choosing a venue with the infrastructure to keep guests warm is key. A few things to check are whether there is sufficient space indoors for your guests and whether the atmosphere will be welcoming enough to encourage people to stay inside. Talk to your wedding suppliers about the kind of vibe you want to create early on in the wedding planning process and make sure everyone will be comfortable.
Planning your menu
Winter wedding? Winter themed menu. This is not the time for a light seafood grazing table. A winter wedding menu begs for a hearty but elevated meal to warm guests from the inside out. With more time to be spent indoors it’s a great opportunity to make the food the focus and keep guests seated for a little longer than usual. A multi course degustation is a beautiful way to celebrate a special occasion and will certainly be a point of difference to set your wedding apart from the rest. It doesn’t need be heavy or overly filling, but the added finesse will more than make up for the lack of oysters and kingfish crudo you’d expect at a summertime wedding.
If a degustation is too formal for you, there are a growing number of caterers who specialises in cooking with fire on display (venue approval is a must for obvious reasons). Delicious warming food and a live cooking performance to entertain your guests; all in keeping in theme with your winter wedding.
Spice up your beverage selection and make it bold and delicious to get people into the spirit. Hot spiced alcoholic cider, whiskey with freshly squeezed green apple juice, or mulled wine are sure fire ways to impress. Capitalise on the warmth of wintry flavours and elevate the experience so the drinks are a point of difference.
Winter wedding dress ideas
A winter wedding calls for more coverage of your body, or as we like to see it, more real estate to impress. Exaggerated sleeves are having a moment and are a fun way to inject personality into your gown while keeping you warm. If that’s not your style, sleek full coverage gowns are not only elegant and fashion-forward, but practical too. Of course, if your heart is set on a more minimalistic design, you can style it up to match the winter theme with faux fur, wraps or long gloves, or have a second outfit to change into after the ceremony and wedding photography is done.
Prepare your guests
Encourage your guests to dress appropriately for the time of year through your dress code. Coats and jackets are a must, but a more formal dress code will also encourage guests to dress a little warmer. Gowns for the girls, tuxedos for the guys. Winter weddings are the ultimate opportunity to get nicely dressed up while staying warm and cosy.
Winter inspired florals
Brides, be warned. Depending on your wedding date your favourite type of flowers may not necessarily be available. Let it be your inspiration to do something different. Your florist or wedding stylist will be able to guide you on what varietals will be in season on your wedding day. COVID19 led to a shortage of imported flowers, which is a blessing in disguise. If you want flowers in their prime at a cost-effective price, what’s in season is what is best. Double tulips, Ranunculus and Cymbidium orchids are all in their peak during the winter months and are truly stunning. Natives and deeply colour hues are always a winner in winter. You can definitely still have your dream wedding without white hydrangeas.
It can help keep costs down
Wedding suppliers are often prepared to offer discounts for winter weddings due to the aforementioned availability they often have during the quieter period of the year.
Venues especially, so be sure to talk to your vendors about whether they can reduce the cost in any way. This is an especially important factor to keep in mind if you’re planning your wedding on a budget. Shop around for the best deals when researching wedding venues.
Your wedding photos will be stunning
Why? The sunlight in winter is less harsh than during the height of summer which makes it easier for couples to looks natural. Less squinting in the bright light and need for relief in the shade required. The dusk and twilight period also offers perfect lighting for romantic wedding photos.
Make it a destination wedding
If you’ve been considering a destination wedding, winter is a good time to do it. Social calendars are usually at their most lenient during the winter months, meaning your guests are likely to have the extra time and money to spend travelling away for an event. Just be sure to choose a location with sufficient accommodation options that cater for every budget and give your guests plenty of notice to book their transport and accommodation. Most wedding venues will have the resources and advice to share that information with you right away.
Your guests won’t be wedding fatigued
The spring and summer months can be jam-packed with weddings. While very fun, attending several weddings in a short period of time can be draining, both socially and financially. Winter weddings are something out of the ordinary which your friends can look forward to during what may be an otherwise quieter period. And if you’ve made it a destination wedding, even better!
Think about the honeymoon
While we might not currently be able to travel anywhere, we like, that won’t last forever. A winter wedding in Australia means the timing will be perfect for you to honeymoon overseas where the weather is warmer. It will also forever provide an excuse to have an annual anniversary celebration at that time of year somewhere warm. Now that’s just clever planning.
The most important thing to remember is to focus on the things you love about winter and celebrate them. Find a venue that lends itself to being warm and cosy, incorporate fun ways to get everyone into the spirit and design a menu which showcases seasonality. Depending on the weather being warm and sunny on your wedding day in the middle of winter will only lead to anxiety in the lead up, so avoid planning a summer style wedding for the middle of winter. Commit to the time of year and let it be your underlying theme.
So, what are you waiting for? Your dream wedding awaits, and it is going to be stunning. Time to pick a date, bring out the faux fur, get acquainted with the wedding vendors that will be as excited about a winter wedding as you are now, and start imaging that honeymoon. Your special day can be all you imagined it to be in the winter months, and it could minimise your levels of stress and save you money.
Still not convinced? We love hearing from you! Email us at [email protected]
Want to know our 16 vital tips for planning a destination wedding? Check out our ultimate guide.