Joe Blackman, founding director and CEO of Collection 26, shares his tips for making your winter wedding truly magical
With the first frosts of winter on the way, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share with you some advice from my experience in producing both high profile and intimate weddings, and highlight what to look out for when planning the perfect winter wedding.
When looking for your perfect dress, keep in mind that it is likely to be cold outside and, if you are having a church ceremony, it is likely to be rather cold in the church as well. It will however be nice and warm (hopefully) at your wedding reception, so removable layers are a good idea. Take advantage of the seasons trends, and look at McQueen’s recent show in Paris for inspiration – a white ostrich feather jacket will look gorgeous over a close fitting, silk crepe gown.
If you want to have your wedding photos taken outside – plan to have your ceremony earlier in the day to make sure you catch the last of the day light with plenty of time. We always suggest visiting your ceremony venue with your photographer in advance of the wedding to scout out a few places to have your photos taken, keeping in mind that if it is icy or stormy, you may need to find somewhere inside as a backup.
Use the early arrival of night time to your advantage and fill your wedding with an abundance of candle light. Line the aisles, adorn every table and mix them with twinkling fairly lights to create a warm, glowing aesthetic to juxtapose the frosty temperature outside. Silver mercury or gold tea light holders will create a warm ambience, while clear glass will create a contemporary, incandescent glow.
Before setting your heart on a certain flower or specific arrangement, speak to a florist to see what is in season, and what will fit within your budget. In winter there are less flowers available, making those that are in season more expensive, so it is worth checking with your florist what will work best within the look of your wedding.
Make sure you discuss contingency plans with your suppliers regarding the weather. If the roads are icy, or a foot of snow has just fallen it may be tricky for some suppliers to get to your venue, particularly if they are coming from further afield. Using local suppliers will help reduce the risk of them not being able to get to you, and larger companies are more likely to be prepared for the snow than smaller, independent traders. Stay in touch with your suppliers in the run-up to the wedding to check that the weather won’t be an issue. If you have a planner they will be able to deal with all of this for you.
Check what seasonal dressing your venue may have at the time of your wedding. Hotels and manor houses will often have their Christmas decorations up as early as mid-November, so it’s best to check if there are any restrictions on taking them down if you wanted to. You may have to pay an additional fee to have their in-house teams take down and re-install the arrangements, otherwise use them to your advantage and incorporate them into the creative dressing for the day.
If you want to break away from the classic white winter wedding with icy blue lighting and glittering details, you could look to using a white and gold scheme with different textures of white finished with metallic detailing. Gold has made a big impact this year and is set to be even more popular next year, and combined with a bright white stays contemporary and fresh. For something more vibrant, look at bright, jewelled colours such as amethyst, emeralds and rich ruby reds, which will sparkle in the candlelight.
Make sure your venue has suitable heating and ventilation, so that you and your guests are comfortable throughout the day. Barns and manor houses have character but may need some additional heating, and equally a room full of fan heaters and no ventilation could get stuffy and uncomfortable. It is possible to still have a marquee wedding in winter months. Most marquee companies will be able to advise on which heating system will be best suited to their structure. Make sure they include heating and estimated fuel on their initial quotes so you can get an accurate idea of how much it will cost from the start.
Classic cars can be unreliable at the best of times, and in bad weather conditions they could be prone to breaking down or not starting. Choosing a contemporary wedding car that would be more reliable, such as a Rolls Royce Phantom, would be a good alternative and ensure you get to the church on time.
One of the best things about getting married in winter is that it’s the best time of year to honeymoon in the Caribbean! Head to the beautiful island of St Lucia for a beach front hotel leading straight onto the white sandy beaches, or head to Barbados if you prefer a buzzing, lively atmosphere. However, if you want to embrace the weather, head to the Swiss mountains for active days spent on the slopes, followed by a relaxing evening in your own private spa.