Although many 2018 brides are itching for the spring weather that's upon us, we can't help but reflect on the fact that this winter was the perfect cold season - majestic snow-covered tree tops, fluffy snowflakes that you could catch on your tongue, and ice skating with your significant other on the countless bluebird days. With this Canadian nostalgia in mind, it's easy to understand why the winter wonderland wedding has become a favourite for brides booking into 2019 and beyond. Aside from the obvious beauty that comes along with winter weddings, below we list all the reasons why hosting your wedding in the colder months - November, December, January, February, and March - allows certain advantages that spring, summer and fall weddings just cannot provide.
One of the main perks of choosing a winter wedding is the wider selection of dates available for you to choose from. Venues, and other key vendors, that are in demand, will book peak season dates (spring, summer and fall) a minimum of twelve to eighteen months in advance. On the flip side, winter dates generally do not sell out as quickly, giving you more time to choose the perfect date to say 'I Do!'. The only winter time frame that is generally off limits for venues is the month of December, when Christmas parties are in full swing. However, with the hecticness of the holidays, it's common courtesy (and less stressful) to avoid this time of year for weddings, and instead focus on the magic and romance of a New Year's date (if hosting a wedding over the holidays is your preference). On that note, we love the idea of ringing in the New Year at the same time as your married union - it gives you something meaningful to do (because we aren't the only ones trying to figure out New Year's plans one week in advance), it will be the only time you will ever have everyone you love together in the same place during the holidays, and you will gain an extra hour of bar service and dancing!
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
In addition to having more luck securing your dream date and vendors, friends and family will thank you for choosing the winter season for your nuptials. Everyone knows that the warmer months bring on busy schedules, and rather than having to compete with the many other commitments of your loved ones, choosing a winter date almost guarantees their attendance at your wedding. As well, it's less likely that you'll have to share your wedding date with other couple friends - whom are more likely to get married in the summer or fall - allowing the focus to shine only on you, and avoiding feelings of 'wedding burnout' from guests who have numerous weddings to attend in the summer. Hosting a wedding after the holidays feels fresh and inspiring, and gives you, loved ones, and even vendors, something to look forward to.
Since winter weddings are less predictable and held during the slower months of business, many vendors - including venues, florists, decorators, and photographers - will offer price incentives on offseason wedding bookings. Venues, like St. Marys Golf & Country Club, offer reduced rates on all regular wedding services and food and beverage packages. Additionally, St. Marys offers venue exclusivity during our winter months, meaning that, even at the offseason rate, brides and grooms have the whole establishment to themselves for their wedding - the Clubhouse stone fireplace for their ceremony (below), the Ballroom for their reception, and the snow-covered golf course for their photos.
There is just something about a long-sleeved wedding dress that resonates timelessness, class and pure elegance - a perfectly chic choice for a winter bride. And, of course, there's always the added bonus of a long-sleeved gown keeping brides covered and warm during the crisp winter temperatures. With intricate full lace sleeves and a cathedral veil adorned with matching lace, you will look like royalty on your big day. Elevate your bridal style with accessories like a faux fur stole, trendy cape, or glamourous long evening gloves. And finish the look off with a fashion-forward, yet timeless red lip.
THE WEDDING PARTY
For the groom and groomsmen, consider handsome velvet jackets, ties or loafers in black, navy blue or forest green. For the bridesmaids, long gowns in moody shades like slate or navy blue, grey, cranberry, or black will look perfect paired with warm accessories like blanket scarves, pashmina wraps or fur stoles to match your own. As for the rest of your guests, consider noting a black tie dress code on your invitations, as there is no better time for formal wear than a classy winter affair.
Floral & Decor
NOSTALGIC HOLIDAY INSPIRATION
Choosing to host your wedding during the months leading up to or following the holidays naturally allows you to incorporate the nostalgia and magic of the season into your wedding vision. Festive fabrics like plaid or velvet - in rich shades of green, navy, black, or red - work perfectly at place settings as napkins or belly bands, as pocket squares for the groomsmen, or as ribbon adornments on ceremony chairs. Complete the look with cozy faux fur throws tossed over guest seating, or mixed in with elegant table details like pillar candles and metallic charger plates.
Considering fond feelings of the season are often associated with its distinct scents, winter greens should play a big role in your wedding plan. Varieties like pine, cedar, balsam, and magnolia leaves are full and fragrant, and also relatively inexpensive in comparison to other types of floral arrangements. And while certain types of flowers will be out of season and limited, remember that winter weddings are supposed to be unique, so embrace unlikely floral pairings of thick greens, fresh berries, and pine cones, with delicate blooms like roses rounding out the mix. Much like scent, an intimate and cozy ambience is another factor that contributes to holiday excitement. If your venue has a stone fireplace, inquire about utilizing this feature for an unexpected rustic photo booth backdrop or for your ceremony setting, and have your decorator and florist accent with loads of romantic candle light, as well as cascading, winter greenery.
DREAMY Winter Wonderland Theme
A consistent theme in the wedding industry is bringing the outdoors in, so why not mimic the beauty of the season by transforming your indoor celebration into a winter wonderland. Monochromatic weddings are what dreams are made of, so run with a colour scheme of all white and cream, and outfit your backdrop, tables, and chairs in layers of varying white fabrics and textures. For a personalized twist, throw a beautiful icy accent colour into the mix, such as blue, silver or grey - for bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen ties, table stationery, floral applique overlays, or dramatic up-lighting. Line centerpieces, entrances, walkways, and your ceremony aisle with romantic candlescaping, and complete the look with white carpet runners. Have your florist loosely arrange winter greenery around candle groupings, hanging from chandeliers, or tied on the backs of chairs. Encourage your decorator to embrace the current trend of translucence, adding acrylic tables and chairs, sparkling silver, ice sculptures, and glass accents throughout the space - then increase the shimmer with string lighting.
And if you really want to run with the theme and have guests blown away by the whole experience, get married outside in the snow! Alternatively, some venues will offer covered patios or seasonal closed-in spaces, with floor to ceiling windows that make you feel as if you are outdoors. Either way, ensure guests are notified of the ceremony setting ahead of time, and then leave out warm faux fur or wool blankets for them to bundle up in - and don't forget the cute and obligatory sign "to have and to hold, in case you get cold"!
Food & Beverage
Who doesn't love a warm bowl of hearty soup on a cold winter's day? Not only does choosing a winter date naturally motivate you to select a gourmet soup for your first course (something less expected than the usual starter salad served in the warmer months), but it also allows you to choose other unique options for the rest of your wedding fare. For the late night snack bar, offer guests comfort food like mac and cheese, classic grilled cheese sandwiches, s'mores, or the Canadian favourite - poutine! And if you simply can't choose just one option for late night, ditch the three-course dinner option, and go for something a little more fun and unexpected - like the St. Marys food and beverage package 'The Friday', which is based on the idea of serving your guests all of your comfort food favourites in a casual party setting.
Hot Chocolate Bar
What every good winter wedding needs is a feel-good hot chocolate bar. The true kids and big kids (er, adults) in your crowd will appreciate this fun treat as a welcome beverage, during the cocktail reception, or paired alongside your late night snacks. Of course, no hot cocoa would be the same without the fixings, so consider including marshmallows, graham crackers, fudge sauce, whipped cream, brownie pieces, candy cane crumble, and shaved coconut. Add interest to your display with wintry wood crate or tree stump risers, loose greenery, glass jars, and fun custom signage. To heighten the experience for your adult guests, you could post a sign encouraging them to visit the bar for an added shot of flavored liqueur. And if hot chocolate isn't your thing (not a chance!), you could instead opt for a warm apple cider stand, complete with cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and caramel sauce for drizzling.
Nothing says ultra dreamy (or Canadian) like a fresh snowfall, and the way the light reflects off the snow makes everything appear magical and picturesque - perfect for winter wedding photographs. Add in snow-covered tree tops and floating snowflakes, and you're basically guaranteed to have breathtaking, frame-worthy images for your wedding album. As well, detail shots of wedding accessories, like your designer shoes or vintage hairpiece will pop against a crisp, white backdrop of snow. If the two of you are feeling adventuress or have a particular shared winter hobby, ask your photographer to capture shots of you for a special memory in your wedding photo collection - such as horse-back riding, snow-shoeing or ice-skating.
Attractions for Guests
Winter weddings in Canada mean that your guests can enjoy unique activities during their weekend away - recommendations that you can include with your invitation suite. In the St. Marys, Ontario region, the River Valley Winter Snow Tube Slide is a fun place to spend an afternoon with family tobogganing down the hill. Alternatively, a horse-drawn sleigh ride is a memorable and relaxed experience for couples (or a unique way of arriving to your own wedding). Only fifteen minutes from St. Marys is Stratford, where the Thomson Carriage Sleigh Rides will allow you to unwind and enjoy the beautiful Ontario countryside. As well, ice-skating is always a favourite Canadian winter pastime, and this activity will be especially memorable for guests coming from places not accustomed to snow. In the heart of neighbouring city London, lies Victoria Park, where an outdoor skating rink is a main attraction in the winter months for both locals and visitors.
Choosing the date of your wedding isn't only about the actual day you will get married - the two of you will celebrate your union every year on that very date. And what better way to celebrate your wedding anniversary than on a romantic getaway. While the winter months bring us all kinds of magic and sentiment (as we've pointed out above), many of us look forward to escaping to a warm destination for a week or two. Thus, lining up your wedding date with your annual vacation plans means that you will have an excuse to travel year over year, and experience new locations and cultures together as husband and wife!
What's your favourite perk of the winter season? Would you get married in the winter months? Let us know in the comments below!