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How to Throw a Winter Wedding Without Ruining Your Guests' Holidays

When holiday cheer turns into holiday jeer.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Kate Headley

A wedding during a winter holiday weekend has always been your dream. You picture yourself surrounded by family and friends as snowflakes fall in the background of a reception spot decorated in Christmas finery. Nice image but all your guests may not share that vision of blustery bliss. Because of the timing of your wedding, some may have to give up their much-anticipated plans to go on vacation during Christmas week, or they have to cut short their annual visit to relatives who live in another state. Be considerate of the special circumstances that surround a Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa wedding so that you're not inconveniencing anybody. Here's how to do it right.

 

Festive Ideas for a Christmas Wedding

Send save the dates way in advance.

A winter wedding around the holidays is exactly why save the dates were invented—to give guests a heads up during a busy period. Inform them early about your wedding so they have ample time to make plans they won't have to change later. Send the cards out six months to a year ahead of the nuptials and list a few basic facts: your names, the wedding date and location and, if you've set one up already, your wedding website.

 

Pick a day that's not too close to the actual holidays.

For any guest who celebrates these holidays, being invited to a wedding on December 27, for example, could put them in a quandary: Do they keep to their annual plans to visit their grandparents who live far away or do they attend your wedding? It's a touchy situation because someone is bound to be upset, whether it's Grandma and Grandpa who were looking forward to the visit or you, who was counting on your friends celebrating your wedding with you.

 

Or consider getting married on New Year's Eve instead.

If you're intent on throwing a wedding during the holidays, make it December 31. Many people won't mind a NYE wedding since it's a guaranteed party, and who wouldn't want to be at a party with lots of food and booze and revelers? Think about your crowd and whether or not they'd be into a wedding celebration that includes champagne and a countdown.

 

How to Pull Off a Surprise New Year's Eve Wedding

Be respectful of guests' vacation days.

Don't expect all your family and friends to use up their vacation days from work to attend your holiday wedding. While some people may have accrued lots of days off and need to use them or lose them before the new year, just as many people may have only a day or two left. Using them to attend an out-of-town wedding in the winter probably doesn't top anyone's wish list.

 

Avoid high-traffic days.

The cost of traveling anywhere goes up dramatically around the holidays. Everyone will pay more for flights and hotels, so be financially aware when picking the date. Earlier in the month may mean lower prices, which could mean more loved ones can attend your wedding. You may also get discounted rates earlier than later in the month.

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About the Author

Nancy Mattia

Though Nancy has been writing about weddings for years, she admits that watching a bride walk down the aisle—even on TV—still makes her tear up. The New York-area writer's other favorite wedding moments are when the groom sees the bride for the first time, hearing the toasts, and when she sees a waiter with a tray full of hors d'oeuvres walking towards her. 

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