Nippy Nuptials

a pros and cons list for winter weddings

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth

+ Everybody gets married in June and July, so holding your ceremony during the colder months is sure to make it more memorable.

– Blizzards, ice storms and other extreme weather phenomena could make attending the wedding inconvenient or downright dangerous for guests.

+ Snowy vistas can be striking backdrops for wedding photos, and muted winter lighting can be flattering (and less likely to make your bridal party squint).

– Likewise, inclement weather could force you to postpone your wedding entirely, a costly and inconvenient proposition.

+ The white of winter can dramatically set off a white wedding dress. Likewise, winter opens up a new color palette for apparel, flowers, etc., particularly bold, dark colors.

– Want outdoor photos? Either hope your photographer works fast or consider fur-lined formal wear.

+ Reception halls, churches and other venues are more likely to be available during the off season. This makes the winter months ideal if you want to get married more quickly than two years from next June.

– Unless your guests and wedding party are particularly hardy, an outdoor wedding is out of the question (at least in Wisconsin).

+ Low demand may equal lower costs for venues as well as service providers who are eager for business during the off season and may be willing to negotiate.

– Slush, snow and salt may ruin expensive gowns and suits, making for an unhappy wedding party. In addition, if your guests don’t wipe their feet adequately, expect a sloppy mess on the dance floor.

+ Family members and friends may already be in town for the holidays or at least have more time off from work to travel.

– Out-of-town holiday celebrations and vacations may mean some non-relatives won’t be able to make it.

+ Seasonal food and drinks can spice up the reception. How about hot cider instead of a bowl of punch and a multi-tiered fruitcake instead of a traditional wedding cake?

– Wedding planning will add enormously to the pressure and expense of preparing for the holidays.

+ Winter-themed wedding favors can be fun: candy canes, Christmas ornaments, candles – there are plenty of possibilities.

– Because some venues may already be decorated for holiday parties, your ceremony and/or reception may take on a Christmas theme whether you like it or not.

+ Sure, it might snow, but rain is unlikely. Take that, Alanis Morissette!

– Some wedding accessories – flowers in particular – may be more expensive during the winter.

+ A cold-weather wedding may help you appreciate your warm-weather honeymoon afterwards.

– Airline prices usually spike around the holidays, making for a more expensive honeymoon (and more expensive travel costs for far-away guests).

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