#1: Plan Your Time for Photographs AccordinglyThe sun goes down much earlier in the winter months, so you won't have as much time to take advantage of the daylight for photographs come 4 or 5 o'clock. I highly recommend beginning your day with a First Look (find my helpful articles about first looks HERE and HERE) and completing at least a large portion of your portraits before the ceremony, if not all. Check out www.timeanddate.com to find out approximately when the sunset will be on your day. To take advantage of some winter sunset portraits you'll want to set aside the 15 minutes before that sunset mark. If you won't be able to plan pictures during the lighter hours, make sure your trusted wedding photographer is comfortable shooting portraits indoors or in low evening light, and scope out any spots that might have pretty twinkly lights for a gorgeous background. Advanced knowledge of flash and other lighting techniques is a major bonus for low-light portraits and something you may want to scope out in their portfolio if you are still deciding on your photographer.
#2: Be Prepared to Stay Warm & Toasty
Red, runny noses and blue fingers don't add to your portraits, and too much time in the bitter cold will not make your wedding party's experience as enjoyable as it could be. Here are a few ideas on keeping yourselves and your VIP's from catching a cold:
- Find yourself a pretty, festive coat or cape that will compliment your dress and allow you to enjoy your time outdoors. There are all kinds of vendors on Etsy who will create a custom piece just for you. On a tighter budget? This can be an awesome "something borrowed" if you know anyone who has a vintage option- maybe even that heirloom fur you've always eyed in Gramma's old photos! Don't feel like it needs to be white, either- feature a color in your wedding scheme or opt for your favorite snuggly blanket instead!
- Consider a pair of winter boots (like sparkly, fur-lined Uggs!) to keep your feet warm and your fancy heels sleet-free for those romantic outdoor photos. You'll also want a protective shoe bag for your pretty shoes so you can throw them into your wedding day essentials tote bag between changes. Slip a few paper towels into the shoe bag so you can wipe off any dirt or salt before tucking them away.
- Gift your bridesmaids with pretty, yet functional shawls, scarves, or cardigans that will compliment their dresses.
- Choose photo locations that have heated indoor areas in addition to pretty outdoor scenes, or hire a heated limo or bus to make sure your VIP's have a warm spot to wait for you and warm up between shots.
- Treat your guests to warm winter drinks during cocktail hour. Consider featured cocktails that feature coffee, tea, or hot apple cider. And of course, hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows for your younger guests!
#3: Pad Your Schedule to Allow for Winter Travel
If possible, you may also want to minimize the distance between venues and hotels as much as possible. Venues that will accommodate both your ceremony AND your reception will come in handy if you end up with more than a few romantic flurries! Snow, sleet, and ice can slow down the roads considerably, so add some extra time between your events or schedule a longer cocktail hour to accommodate any potential delays without making your guests or your limo driver feel the need to rush. Even if you don't end up needing the buffer time, you will enjoy having a lower-stress day with a leisurely schedule! Who wouldn't love more time to hug their favorites or sneak away for ten minutes alone, just because you can?
#4: Consider a Live Broadcast of Your Ceremony
Some guests may be more hesitant to plan a trip during the winter, or they might have many commitments around the holidays and be unable to get away. Then of course, there is always the chance that winter weather could stir up some travel struggles and delays. If a storm causes missed flights or keeps out of town guests from driving in, they'll be able to enjoy your ceremony and celebrate with you from the comfort of their own home. Ask around to see if any local videographers or DJ's offer this option as an add-on to their packages. Or, if you're brave, find a friend who knows how to run a GoPro and a wireless mic. There are plenty of apps that will allow you to live stream from your own device. If you do go this route, whether you hire a professional or ask a friend you will want to include an additional tech-savvy friend or family member in the planning and final details so they can take point on this task on the big day if anyone needs help. Give your virtual guests this person's contact info so they can help them get connected at least 30 minutes before the ceremony begins.