Winter romance

Karen Caffarini

Not everyone planning a winter destination wedding is flying south. For beautiful, romantic and unique weddings some couples are going north, to resorts on snow-blanketed mountains, historic New England inns or big cities decked out in wintry splendor. On-site planners can make the wedding, and the remainder of the trip, memorable for you and your guests.


This picturesque state and its ski resorts make for an intimate and cozy wedding with plenty of ambiance, said Samuel Sadowsky, a Boston-based wedding photographer who has followed several couples to the northeastern state. “It’s snowing outside, and you’re getting married by the fireplace. There’s cognac, maple syrup, chestnuts roasting and horse-drawn carriages,” Sadowsky said. Guests can enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing and hiking before or after the ceremony and reception. Another plus: prices generally drop in winter. One site, Inn at the Round Barn Bed and Breakfast in Waitsfield, has a justice of the peace on staff and spa treatments.

New England

Massachusetts and New Hampshire have their share of romantic winter wedding destinations, too. Picture historic buildings, fireside ceremonies, executive chef-made cuisine and late-night hot chocolate. Many, like the Publick House Historic Inn in Sturbridge, Mass., which dates back to the late 1700s, have discounts on winter packages.


Portland, offers breathtaking views of the Columbia River Gorge and the region’s many mountains, providing a picturesque setting to exchange vows. Venues include The Columbia Gorge Hotel, a hotel and spa set on a scenic cliff; the Cooper Spur Mountain Resort, which boasts views of Mt. Hood, nearby Mt. Adams and the distant Mt. Rainier; and the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, which offers guests ski lessons and skiing after dark, said Ghilianie Soto, assistant account executive, tourism, for Development Counsellors International. The Holiday Ale Festival for beer lovers and Chocolate Fest provide fun winter excursions, Soto said.

Boston Harbor

Imagine having your wedding reception on one of three vessels that cruise around Boston Harbor. The weather outside may be frosty, but it will be nice and warm inside the climate-controlled vessels, which offer fine dining with restaurant-style menus, floral centerpieces and entertainment, if desired, said Katie Toole, wedding account manager with Entertainment Cruises Boston. Tie the knot on New Year’s Eve and enjoy great views of the city’s fireworks from the vessels’ many windows. After the reception, the bride, groom and guests can board a party bus and tour historic Boston and some of its hot spots.

New York CIty

“The city has its own energy,” said Sadowsky, who photographed the groom and his groomsmen on an empty city street in March, with snow coming down. “There are a lot of options for cool pictures that you’ll enjoy looking at 25 years from now,” he said of winter weddings in New York. He said this particular wedding was an elegant, black- tie event. But with few people choosing often dreary March to wed, discounts could make an elegant wedding at a posh New York hotel more affordable.