Who says winter brides have to miss out on a dreamy outdoor wedding? Certainly not us! With a little extra planning and smart attention to detail, it's possible to have an enjoyable outdoor celebration no matter when you're tying the knot. To figure out exactly how to get it done, we tapped pros in two cold climates: Mandy Connor, owner of Hummingbird Bridal and Events in Boston, Massachusetts, and Claudia Rollin, owner of Harlow & Dahlia Events in Burlington, Vermont. With countless winter weddings under their belts, they've got the best advice for making your outdoor event a huge success, even in the chilliest season.
Minimize Travel Time
When touring potential wedding venues, it's important to consider the flow of the day as a whole rather than simply focusing on the outdoor space you're considering for your ceremony or reception. While this advice goes for brides of any season, Rollin stresses it's especially important for winter brides. "It will likely be very chilly outside and if you can avoid having to transport guests from one venue to another, this will be key to an intimate and successful outdoor wedding," the pro explains. If you know you want to have an open-air ceremony, choose a spot that's in quick walking distance to your indoor cocktail hour space. Guests may be eager to warm up if it's an especially chilly day.
Expect the Unexpected
Once you've figured out the flow of the day, it's time to focus on making the most of your space while also ensuring guests will be as comfortable as possible. In the unpredictable winter months, this is a tall—but not impossible—order for an outdoor wedding. "When planning an outdoor wedding in a wintery location, you've got to prepare for any possible weather element, from bright winter sun to snow or freezing rain," says Connor. "I suggest using a clear tent—this gives you the feeling of being outside with unobstructed views of the beautiful outdoors while offering you full coverage from weather elements." With your blank canvas on lock, you can begin to build your ideal look protected from whatever Mother Nature throws your way. But no matter your theme, Connor says there's one universal element that's an absolute must: "Don't forget the tent heaters!"
Cozy details are winter wedding staples, and they're something both of our experts say are an easy way to make an outdoor celebration during this time of year much more comfortable. Fire pits outside the tent give guests a warm area to relax during cocktail hour or the after-party. When it comes to signature cocktails, lean into the season with warming offerings like the classic Hot Toddy, spiked hot chocolate, or even cleverly named drinks like the Frost Bite. Finally, don't shy away from photo-ops that are both adorable and practical. Monogramed throws, mittens, and blankets make for memorable photos as well as very welcomed favors.
Dress the Part
Don't forget about the most important guest of all: You! Winter brides have the advantage of experimenting with many different stylish accessories, so use this power to your advantage. "Don a beautiful pair of white gloves or a pair of white mittens," says Rollin. "Diamonds are also a fabulous option as their cool quality will bring out the beauty of a winter wonderland and will stand out in photos."