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7 Tips for Stylish Winter Weddings

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1. Pick a sophisticated palette

For a formal take on winter style, event designers and founders of Madison, Wis.-based Cherry Blossom Events, Andrea VandeBerg and Sarah Sarbacker, love to mix metallics – think mercury glass, gold and silver décor with cool platinum up-lighting and ivory linens. Cherry red, pink, gray and white are great for a vintage wintry vibe, or stick with timeless black and white, forest green, cream and gold, or icy-blue hues and neutral tones for a palette that says “winter chic” rather than “holiday camp.”

2. Play up the positives

November to March can be awfully dreary, but these chilly months also have plenty of unique charm. The Cherry Blossom team advises picking a venue with a beautiful fireplace to amp up the cozy ambiance, using seasonal décor like ice luminaries to line an outdoor aisle or stairs of your venue, and indulging in a gorgeous (and warm!) coat, cape or stole for pictures. The formal feel of cold weather events also makes them a perfect time to go for hot gown trends like sleeves, dramatic necklines and backs, and silver, gold and blue materials.

3. Embrace nature

Sure, peonies may be hard to find this time of year, but why not add a brilliant pop of color with décor centered around branches of crimson berries and seasonal fruit such as cranberries and oranges, suggests Katherine Jameson, owner of Katherine’s Event Planning in Bar Harbor, Maine. Other tasteful choices include evergreen garlands and wreaths surrounding bowls of floating votives, and wood elements like signs, centerpiece stands or chargers.

4. Prepare for weather snafus

Snowed-in airports, icy roads and even rainstorms can lead to late or absent guests. The Cherry Blossom team recommends keeping an open mind and making sure you have a Plan B – maybe you delay the ceremony 30 minutes if only half your guests have managed to slog through the downpour in time. Having your event at the venue where you’re staying or providing transportation can help minimize delays.

5. Be practical

To ensure guests are comfortable, VandeBerg and Sarbacker advise having a coat check so that guests don’t have to lug around their heavy jackets, and hiring a valet service if there is a bit of a hike between the venue and parking lot. If your ceremony is outdoors, rent a fleet of heat lamps and offer baskets of complimentary blankets, mittens and hand warmers.

6. Inquire about off-season pricing

From wedding planners and caterers to florists and photographers, many vendors will trim their fees by five to 10-percent to fill their slower times of year, says VandeBerg and Sarbacker. You’re also likely to find off-season deals on quaint bed and breakfasts and charming inns (think venues, lodging or honeymoon), adds Jameson. The only caveat: December can mean competition with holiday parties and vacations.

7. Get in the spirits

The Cherry Blossom team suggests creating automatic atmosphere and seriously good cheer with an apple cider station (adult and kid options), trays of hot toddies and mulled wine, or a spiced – and spiked – coffee or hot cocoa signature drink.

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Tags: winter weddings