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Planners Share Their Best Tips for Pulling Off an Understated Holiday Wedding

Here's how you plan a celebration without making it feel like a holiday party.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Lauren Fair Photography

The list of reasons to choose a wedding date during the holiday season is long. Not only is the time of year incredibly romantic, but there's also a good chance that most of your out-of-town relatives and friends are open to traveling, or have travel plans already in the works. Plus, most venues are more affordable and are at the top of their decorating game. "They will have additional lighting, greenery, and décor setup for holiday events, so you'll save on adding any of that into your budget," says Brandi Hamerstone, a wedding planner at All Events Planned. "The holiday season is a time when people are feeling excited and ready to have fun, so what better place to bring them all together than at a wedding?"

 

But just because you're planning a December wedding doesn't mean your ceremony and reception need to scream "Christmas." If you're on board with the more reasonable prices and the added charm that comes along with the season, but maybe not so interested in details like eggnog and mistletoe, read on. Planners shared a few hacks for hosting a wedding during the holiday season that's not centered around the holidays themselves.

 

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

 

Wear the wedding dress of your dreams.

Saying "I do" during the winter doesn't mean your attire has to feature fur, bells, or even long sleeves. Wedding planners agree that the bride should wear whatever she wants, but do advise keeping comfort in mind. That means if you're planning to wear a stapless wedding dress, bring along a jacket or shawl to keep you warm if you get too cold. And if you want to embrace the season, that's great, too. Candice Dowling Coppola, owner and creative director at A Jubilee Event, says you can play up your winter wedding date without making your look feel holiday-inspired.

 

Avoid the colors red and green.

If you really don't want your reception to look like it's taking place in the North Pole, avoid any dead-giveaway colors. "Even if it seems to make sense in terms of season, the red and green hues will turn any wedding into a holiday-themed party," warns Hamerstone. This doesn't mean you have to eliminate all holiday décor in the entire venue. "Pine cones, greenery, lighting, and winter whites are all beautiful at this time of year." Don't be afraid of other colors that might not seem ideal for the winter, either. "Having a bright and color-filled day is a fun option for your guests and will generate a jovial, but not holiday-inspired, environment." This is where you can utilize what is available to you. She suggests hanging colored bulbs from the ceiling to coordinate with your wedding floral design to "encourage a full experience of style from the top of the venue to the bottom."

 

Skip a holiday-inspired reception meal.

Just because your guests are excited to eat ham and sip on eggnog doesn't mean you have to serve dishes those at dinner. "While lots of venues will have those kinds of menu options available, remember that most people are already eating these holiday-inspired entrées frequently," says Hamerstone. Instead, she suggests creating a seasonal winter menu that doesn't revolve around family dinner options. "A really delicious menu option during winter will always be soup," she says. "They are something different and unexpected at weddings but can be amazing."

 

Don't shy away from outdoors.

Just because it is chilly out doesn't mean you have to keep your entire wedding indoors. A great way to incorporate the outdoors during a winter wedding is to have a horse and carriage ride for your guests. "Or provide scarves and blankets as favors and let guests sit by a fire outside while having drinks," suggests Hamerstone. "You might even be able to find a venue that will provide heaters so that you can have a snowy ceremony that won't leave your guests freezing."

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