How exciting to be planning a winter wedding, they can be magical and snug and full of as much joy as summer weddings – but there are some extra things you need to consider.
Often couples spend lots of their summer thinking about their winter wedding and making plans, and it can sometimes be a bit of shock when it comes round to the day and it’s a bit on the cold and dark side.
So, here are my top tips for planning your winter wedding:
Check out the important times
Take a look at when the sun sets on your date and compare that to your ceremony time – that gives you an idea of how much daylight we’ll have to work with after the ceremony has finished. The last half hour before the sunset can be magical, let’s make use of it for your couple photos
Don’t be late!
We’ll have based our plans (and your photo list) on you running to time. So be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get ready so you don’t dip into that precious daylight for photos of you two and with your family and friends after you’re married.
Be realistic about the the temperature
I recommend that a year before your day (if there’s time while you’re planning) pop outside without a coat on to get an idea of how you might feel on the day. Then you can decide if having family photos outside is something that will work for you. This is especially important if you have young or elderly relatives, or friends and family who will be sensitive to the cold. Ideally, for weddings from late October to early March, it’s sensible for all of my couples to plan to do their family photos indoors. We can then head out for couple photos (if you want and the weather allows) and family photos if it’s unseasonable warm.
Consider some layers
Think about clothing options that will look great but also keep you warm if you do want to head outside – a jacket you love that you can layer up over your outfits for example. Or be prepared to get chilly and keep each other warm!
The big group shot
Now this can even be tricky in summer when the weather is bad, in winter we have to be even more sensible about how we plan this. I absolutely understand why this is a photo that couples ask for. The reality is often a bit like herding cats, in the summer that’s totally fine, but in winter… the people who are good at taking instructions end up waiting out in the cold for the people who linger in the bar because they don’t like having their photo taken or really want that post-ceremony drink, cigarette, wee etc.
So, please talk to me in advance about what indoor options there are to hold all of your guests for this photo, if it’s one that you would like, prep your guests so they know what to expect, and have realistic expectations that it’s not always possible to achieve this (although we absolutely will do our best to).
Getting ready rooms
Think about the light that will be available in the rooms where you are getting ready. Photography is all about the light and I can (and will) bring flashes with me to use if the rooms are dark. But if you have a choice, please get ready in the lightest, clearest room. And if you’re having hair and makeup, please have them put you next to the window. Some makeup artists bring big LED lights with them, I can work with those if I need to, but window light is super lush and will make for lovely photos, it will also mean you see your make up as it will look once you leave the getting ready room.
Consider having a first look
One way to make the most of the shorter hours of daylight, is to consider having a ‘first look’. This is a trend that started in the USA but has made its way over here, where couples have their first look of each other in their wedding outfits (and then some couple photos) before the ceremony. It’s not a choice that everyone would make, but it’s there as an option if that appeals to you.
Think carefully about your ceremony room, where you’ll stand and where the light will be
Be sure to talk to your venue about what your room looks like at the time of year and time of day you’re getting married. They can give you advice on where the sun will be and how that might look. Although of course it’s not completely predictable, having an idea of if the low winter sun will pour through the windows can help you decide where to stand. These two examples show how it can really work and look beautiful or how it can cause a problem for your photos that a simply shift in position would fix. Talk to the person who is conducting your ceremony and ask them to move you if you’re standing in a ‘hot spot’ of light, or ask the venue if they have diffusing voiles that can be used to soften any harsh sunlight.
Those are my most important winter wedding temperature and light tips, I hope they are helpful!
Thanks for reading lovelies! Happy planning!