Though the cold weather can be a turn off for some couples, winter actually has a lot to offer brides and grooms-to-be.
With celebrations by candlelight, those tying the knot during the colder months of the year can piece together a warming and luxurious big day, complete with hearty food, fine tipples, opulent décor and elegant attire.
So as the temperatures drop, and the nights draw in, we’re in the mood for some comforting winter wedding inspiration, with all the necessary elements covered for an atmospheric big day that gives a sophisticated nod to the season.
And here to provide such details is Matt Jones, managing director of award-winning catering and hospitality company Dine, which caters for more than 200 weddings each year – making him well-versed in seasonal celebrations…
Matt says: As any expert or newlywed couple will know, venue hire can often be one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding. However, if you’re looking to cut the costs while still getting married at your dream venue, winter can be the perfect season. With less demand in winter, venues may offer off-season rates, made even cheaper if you go for a mid-week rather than weekend wedding. Winter may also offer greater availability for both venue and other suppliers meaning you may be more likely to book your dream venue than another more popular season.
With its large windows looking out across the beautiful Roundhay Park, Dine’s venue The Mansion offers the perfect indoor setting for your winter wedding. The Greek Palladian style, Grade II listed building offers several ceremony and reception rooms of varying sizes enabling you to hold your wedding ceremony and breakfast in the same building. Whichever room you choose, they are guaranteed to remain warm and toasty throughout your day whilst affording you some great views.
As the bride and bridesmaids can get ready in The Mansion before having both the ceremony and reception in this stunning building, there is no worry of arriving windswept or snowed on. Situated in the rolling 700 acres of Roundhay Park, The Mansion also offers the opportunity for magical winter wonderland photography.
food & drink
No matter the season, food and drink is one aspect that can make or break a wedding. The coming of winter means warming and hearty food that will leave a smile on the faces of your guests.
When guests arrive at your venue why not greet them with mulled wine or warming sloe gin? Guests will be grateful for this warm welcome to your wedding and it will leave them in a good mood for the ceremony and reception. If your guests include children try serving fun coffees and teas or luxurious hot chocolate for a family friendly alternative.
Whether you’re going for a festive theme or not, the food served at your wedding should be comforting and sustaining. After standing outside having photographs taken, your guests will very much appreciate comfort food that will bring them back up to temperature.
Although it is always a clever idea to offer a choice of food to satisfy all tastes, traditional British food is often a fantastic choice when it comes to your meal. Potted Whitby crab, Yorkshire Blue and leek terrine, and slow cooked pig’s cheek will whet your guest’s appetites for the hearty main course and dessert to follow.
Dine posh fish ‘n’ chips, rack of lamb with an English mustard and thyme crust, and roasted fillet of venison will keep your guests warm and happy.
Dessert can be the perfect course to incorporate fun festive treats into your wedding breakfast. Mince pies, miniature gingerbread houses and Christmas pudding can all play starring roles and bring together everything that makes winter such a special season.
Whatever theme you’re dreaming of, winter offers the chance to embrace opulence, luxury and a wider colour palette. Whether you’re looking for inspiration from snow and frosts or leaning more towards incorporating festive touches into your wedding, there are many ways you can theme your day around the season.
Soft pastels, ivory and nude pink help to bring the winter scenery indoors and conjure up images of a snow-covered winter wonderland. Adding touches of glitter can hint at sparkling frost and snow and tie in with luxurious metallic, such as gold.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to embrace the season, why not incorporate rich reds, teals and purples to warm up the room. Small festive touches such as holly wreaths as table centre pieces, mistletoe to decorate wedding favours or a traditionally decorated Christmas tree perhaps with pegs for guests to express their good wishes to the happy couple, can add that extra sparkle without going overboard.
Different textures and innovative lighting are another wonderful way that you can introduce the season into your wedding without overpowering your guests. Candles and fairy lights both create warmth in your venue while also adding a romantic glow to your day, especially when the sun starts to set. Wool blankets, velvet cushions and faux fur shrugs also give your guests the option of wrapping themselves up while adding ambience to the room.
Although fewer flowers may be in bloom during winter, this doesn’t mean that you must compromise on your perfect bouquet. There’s a huge choice of luxuriant green foliage from flowing ivy to laurel, sprigs of berried holly or rosemary to spikes of eucalyptus. Foliage adds a lush factor to your arrangements and can be cost-efficient too.
While most flowers can be imported so seasonality is not the be all and end all in your choice, some flowers such as peonies can still be difficult to source during winter yet there are a wide range of in season alternatives. Ranunculi and David Austin roses are both flowers which offer that traditional country garden feel if that’s what you are after.
Couples who are trying to keep costs down should also look to year-round flowers such as roses, lisianthus, veronica, alstroemeria and gypsophilia as they will be much cheaper for a florist to source. But don’t worry about lower costs meaning fewer pretty flowers; all of these blooms are stunning and work well with the jewel-like tones that are popular winter colour schemes.
Many brides and grooms get cold feet just thinking about a wedding in winter. Yet as the British weather is unpredictable all year round, the pros of winter vastly outweigh the cons and if planned right a winter wedding can be just, if not more, magical than other seasons.
A great way to avoid the issue of transport, especially if the weather has taken a turn, is to have a marquee wedding at home. Today’s well-equipped marquees can make the perfect option for a winter wedding and come in a range of styles. Make sure to choose one that is fully enclosed, with heaters and carpet and you and your guests will remain warm and cosy all day.
Photography can also be majorly affected by the weather. With the night’s drawing in much earlier during winter make sure to adjust your photo schedule, taking photographs before your ceremony can avoid any lighting issues. Quirky umbrellas can make great photograph props while protecting you from the elements. Make sure to have some on standby just in case the weather isn’t quite as good as you’d hoped.
Just remember however that a good wedding supplier should be prepared for anything. Here at Dine we will always include weather in our planning to make sure that whatever is thrown at you, your big day will still be exactly what you dreamed of.
Established in 1998, Dine caters for more than 100 corporate events and 200 weddings each year as well as providing exclusive private dining.
The company provides event services for organisations ranging from English Heritage and the National Trust to the owners of some of the UK’s most notable private houses.
For more information about Dine visit www.dine.co.uk.