To do before ‘I do’

Karen Caffarini

Winter weddings can be a romantic and less expensive alternative to those held in the more popular summer and fall months, especially if you tie the knot in a colder climate and in a venue that highlights the beauty of the season.

Still, there are pitfalls couples need to consider when planning a wedding in months that could bring blizzards, below-freezing temperatures and popular holidays.

Travel delays

Remind out-of-town guests to allow extra time to travel, whether by plane, train or automobile, as inclement weather could cause flight delays and road closures, advises wedding planner Wayne Gurnick of Moments by Wayne. Gurnick was voted Best Wedding Planner in Los Angeles, Best Wedding Planner in California and Top 10 Wedding Planner Worldwide by Wedding Industry Experts 2012 Awards.


Consider starting your ceremony and reception an hour earlier than you would in the spring or fall as the sun will set an hour earlier on your outdoor photos, suggested Randall Lorenz and Mary Nadolny of the Meeting House Grand Ballroom in Plymouth, Mich., With the reception ending before midnight, you’ll want to delegate someone to plan an after-reception event, such as a pub crawl or party in one of the suites at the hotel to continue the fun, they said.

Coat check

Your guests might arrive bundled up in coats, boots, hats, gloves and perhaps umbrellas, all of which will be hanging on the backs of chairs if there isn’t a coat check, Gurnick said. Your guests will appreciate having a secure place for all their belongings and you’ll appreciate not having your reception hall filled with outerwear. Also be sure to have enough people manning the coat check so guests don’t have to wait in long lines and no coats end up on the floor.

Consider holidays

Gurnick pointed out that winter holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are busy times for restaurants and banquet facilities, resulting in higher pricing and less availability than during other winter weekends. Also, while these might be good times to ensure close family members, particularly those out of town or college students, will be able to attend your wedding since they’ll be home for the holidays anyway, other guests may decline in order to be with their own families. And while it may sound romantic to have a Valentine’s Day wedding, Gurnick said this is one of the most popular days to go out to dinner and buy flowers, resulting in skyrocketing prices for both. Lorenz and Nadolny said January is usually very slow for venues, which is good for budget-conscious couples.

Outdoor ceremonies or photo shoots

Even if you’re having a mild winter, the weather can be unpredictable. It doesn’t take much to wreak havoc on your hair, make-up, shoes and satin gown, Gurnick said. Have a realistic back up plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.


With global trade, it is possible to get virtually any flower all year around, Gurnick said. But if your flowers are traveling further than your guests, expect to pay a premium.