Winter weddings demystified!

In the deep of winter in the UK the night time settles in pretty early – usually around 4pm by December time. So, if you’re planning a winter wedding, what do you need to be aware of in order to get the best from your day and what ideas might help you along the way?

If you’re planning your own winter wedding, get in touch to discuss how I can help with your photography or to ask any questions about your day. I cover wedding throughout the UK and worldwide. I have covered many winter weddings and am very experienced at using lighting to the best effect.

snowy-winter-wedding

Q: Why have a winter wedding?

If winter weddings are more difficult to organise because of lack of daylight, why have a wedding at winter? Well, the top reasons I’ve heard are:

  • We love a honeymoon destinations which has the best weather during the UK winter (such as the Caribbean, the Maldives or Thailand).
  • We love winter! The snow, the crisp, fresh morning and the Christmas feel.
  • Our preferred venue is already booked during the summer, or it will be cheaper at Christmas.

So, you’ve decided you’re going to get married in winter. What extra preparations do you need to take?

1. What time for your winter wedding?

Since it’s likely to be dark by 4-5pm, you need to allow enough time for everything to happen. Too often couples get married around 2pm at a church and then have to travel to a venue and there’s no light left to take advantage of it.

If you are getting married at the venue, I’d get married no later than 1.30. If you are getting married at a church and moving on, I’d get married no later than 1, or earlier if it takes a long time to travel to the venue.

Your photographer will usually need around an hour and a half minimum before you sit down at the venue to take all of the photographs necessary. If you are travelling, remember that everyone does not drive at the same speed and wedding cars often travel significantly slower.

If you are going to get married after sunset and your venue will be dark, make sure your photographer can show a wedding where they have covered this before, especially if they will be at the back of the ceremony room. Re-lighting an entire ceremony room is not for the inexperienced!

winter-wedding-ceremony

2. Which winter wedding venue?

In the winter the weather is not usually much worse than the British summertime, although it will be colder. However, you are more likely to have snow, rain, sleet or even fog. Selecting the right wedding venue for your winter wedding will be essential.

Your guests will not want to be outside for long periods, so make sure the indoors will cater for everything they may want. If you have very poor weather, it might be necessary to take photographs indoors, so consider where a shot of everyone might be taken, where the group shots might be taken and where your couple shots might be taken.

Also, if the weather is very snowy, how easy will your guests find it to attend the various locations during the day? Think about the roads they will have to travel on.

Finally, you need to make sure the wedding looks right. There’s little point in choosing bright colour which will not fit with the Christmas decorations at the venue. Dark colours tend to work best.

winter-wedding-theme

If you are to be married just before Christmas, you will often find that your venue will have decorated the venue for you which will save you money and give you a theme to begin with. Make sure you speak to them about the decorations they will be using to ensure that you don’t clash.

christmas-tree-at-winter-wedding

3. Which winter wedding dress and outfit?

If you’re getting married in late November through to early February you can guarantee it’ll be cold – it may even not make it past zero degrees! That means you and your bidesmaids will need to consider how warm you’ll be outdoors for long period when you’re thanking guests outside the church maybe, or when photographs are being taken.

christmas-wedding

Your winter wedding dress should have a shawl which you can add when necessary. Also consider your wedding shoes carefully because it may be slippy or wet underfoot. Or cheat and bring some boots to wear under your dress! Just make sure your dress will reach the floor…

safety-first-with-boots-under-wedding-dress

4. What about winter wedding photography?

Photography is obviously closest to my heart, so you should choose a photographer who can take well lit shots of the two of you indoors…

winter-wedding-lighting

… and outdoors…

winter-wedding-sparkler-shot

…. and be able to take well lit group photographs indoors of groups, in case the weather isn’t suitable for outdoor photography, or there isn’t enough light during the day.

indoor-group-photography-at-wedding

This will be essential. You should make sure they are capable of using “off camera flash” which will produce the best results.

5. Where to go for a winter honeymoon?

You’re lucky. Many of the most beautiful places in the world have the best weather during the UK winter. For your winter honeymoon, consider places like Mexico and the Caribbean, Mauritus, The Maldives and Africa, Zanzibar, Vietnam and Thailand. If you want to go further, take a look at Australia, New Zealand and South America too.

winter-honeymoon

Finally…  get in touch to discuss how I can help with your photography. I am based in the North West of England but cover weddings worldwide.

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