I caught up with the fabulous Katherine from Honey & Horseshoe events. Katherine is a wedding & events planner and co-ordinator who specialises in all things country. She has been kind enough to impart some of her wisdom to help you plan your best winter wedding possible.
Whether you’re getting married in winter because you love the season, are sentimental about a particular date, or because it can be less costly, having your big day in the country can come with its challenges at this time of year. Regardless of your venue, be it a barn, a country house or a marquee, here are my 5 top tips for making your country wedding a success, even in deepest darkest winter!
Light, or lack thereof
Even during the summer months the country gets dark after sundown thanks to the lack of light pollution from surrounding towns and cities. This is one of my favourite things about being in the country, however it can pose challenges for your wedding day. With the sun setting as early as 4pm during the winter, your lighting is an important factor to consider. If your venue is entirely indoors then you should have no problems finding your way to the bathroom and snack table, however even then your guests will have to leave at the end of the night and locate their cars or taxis! Consider using small stake lights to illuminate the car park, or tiki torches to line paths. If your wedding involves outdoor spaces or entertainment (think fireworks!) or takes place in a marquee, you’ll need to get creative with your lighting. Fairy lights can be magical during the winter months, and you can decorate trees, furniture and other features with an abundance of them. There are great options now for outdoor, weatherproof lighting – this tip is not only practical, but can also add lots of ambience to your after-dark celebrations!
Katie here, with my photographer’s hat on, you should strongly consider the time of day for your ceremony. In winter even at midday the sun is lower in the sky than in summer. This can mean it is not always as effective at lighting dark buildings (churches!) that have limited artificial light sources, and which also don’t allow flash lighting. A candlelit sunset ceremony may sound romantic, but the low light makes photography very difficult if not on occasion impossible, and your photos will be affected. In addition after the ceremony you won’t have any daylight for couple or group photos, so be sure to choose a photographer confident in low light, or organise either a first look for you and your partner prior to the ceremony for couple photos, or a couples session on a following day.
The weather can let us down at any time of the year, however in winter we expect colder temperatures, rain or snow. Particularly when having your wedding celebrations in the country, the weather can be another obstacle to overcome. Outdoor spaces may become muddy or icy which can lead to tricky conditions for your guests’ arrival and departures. Consider your spaces for your winter wedding – if parking is in a grassy area, you’ll need to combat the potential for mud with good surfacing or someone on hand with a tractor to help if anyone gets stuck. If you’re planning photos in the stone courtyard of your country house venue, take care to check it isn’t too icy or treacherous out there. Importantly, always have a back up plan if an element of your day is planned for a part of the venue where the weather may play a role! If this sounds overwhelming, tip number 5 provides a solution to remove all these worries so read on!
Keeping Warm & Cosy
As previously mentioned, we expect cooler temperatures in the winter. However, when the chill sets in this is a great opportunity to tie in your country wedding theme with some cosy but stylish methods of keeping you and your guests warm! Providing a basket full of blankets is practical but can also look decorative, and it’s the perfect excuse to accessorise your wedding outfit with furs (faux, please!), tweeds or capes. You can also break out your favourite country boots to throw on for those outdoor portions of the celebrations, or provide Wellies in fun colours and patterns for your guests. Fire pits and heaters can also look stylish as well as providing much-needed warmth, especially for your smoking guests or during your outdoor entertainment. Some of your heat sources can also double up as extra lighting!
Decorate For The Season
You’re in the country and it’s winter – use this theme to help decorate your venue! Get inspired by what you see around you in the great outdoors at this time of year, and use winter-flowering plants, pine-cones, chestnuts, rustic woods and cosy wool and fur textures to bring the outside, inside. Of course, you can use any colours you want at any time of year, but winter time is a chance to create a palette based around those lovely rich, warm colours we so associate with Christmas!
Choosing Your Suppliers
My final tip is to carefully consider your suppliers when planning a winter country wedding. As I mentioned at the end of tip 3, this section will help alleviate your worries about any of the other features mentioned. When booking your photographer for your wedding, chat to them about the time of year and possible weather conditions – have they shot weddings in adverse weather before? Are they comfortable shooting in low light conditions, or do they capture artificial lighting features such as fairy lights and torches well? Have a look at their previous work and get a feel for them as a person to ensure you are the right fit!
Last but not least, why not consider hiring a wedding planner or on-the-day coordination? When you do this, your planner does all the thinking and organising related to weather-related Plan Bs, providing what you’ve asked for to keep your guests warm, and ensuring all your lighting is rigged up, plugged in and ready to function all night long. You will also have somebody to decorate your venue exactly how you imagined it and, if you choose a full planning option, guide you towards some great suppliers that will help make your day perfect.
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