There are many reasons to have a wedding in winter – the romance of a snowy winter wonderland (if you’re lucky), cheaper prices on venues and suppliers, and your nearest and dearest not having wedding fatigue. Yep, a winter wedding can be a novelty for your guests and romantic practicality for you and your partner. But, if you don’t think carefully about your guests, you could leave them out in the cold. Here are a few tips to help keep guests happy at a winter wedding.
Check out the ceremony venue for warmth
This tip is really aimed at those of you planning to get married in a church. Churches can be cold. Massive stone buildings with lots of windows are notoriously difficult to keep warm, so this should be checked out before you make a decision. Talk to the vicar and make sure that the building’s heating system is up to scratch and ask him to turn it on well before guests arrive.
If you have already chosen the venue for your ceremony and you’re worried about the heating, ask your guests to bring extra layers. There’s nothing like people complaining to ruin a romantic moment.
Don’t get married somewhere too remote
Winter weddings take a bit more practical thinking than summer weddings. If your wedding venue is at the bottom of a winding country road, your guests could end up getting stuck and arriving late. Or worse, not arriving at all! Choose a wedding venue that has good access from main roads. You can even source your own grit and make sure the roads are well prepared in the days leading up to your wedding. A remote venue might be romantic, but it won’t be if your guests don’t arrive.
Lots of candles
Okay, you can’t rely on candles to heat the whole venue. You’ll need a proper gas or electric heating system in place to cover that. But candles do put out a small amount of extra heat. The main reason for a lot of candles is that it makes the venue seem warmer. There’s something endlessly festive and pretty about hundreds of candles placed around the tables. You will have to talk to the venue beforehand to make sure they are okay with you lighting candles.
Provide outdoor heating
At a wedding, it’s not just the smokers that want to nip outside for a minute. Your guests might want to take a breather from the dancefloor or get away from that annoying uncle talking their ear off. A well-heated outside area is a perfect place for that. Check with your venue to see if they have outdoor heating and if not, think about providing your own. You can hire patio heaters easily by searching on Google.
Have a box full of blankets
You’ve seen those boxes full of flip-flops at summer weddings. A basket full of blankets is the perfect winter version of that. Your guests can grab them at will to get cosy and enjoy the evening. This will keep older guests happy. They might not want or be able to get up on the dancefloor to warm up.
You can get creative with the box and put a message for your guests. A popular one is: “To have and to hold, in case you get cold”.
Choose a venue with plenty of indoor space
Most of your winter wedding is going to be indoors. It doesn’t matter how lucky you are with the weather, your guests won’t want to spend too much time outside. That’s why you should focus on the indoor space. Try to avoid having just one area for the guests to be in. A venue with a separate bar area is perfect for your guests to be able to move around and mingle.
Use faux fur as seat covers
This is one of the more expensive tips on this list. It’s going to cost you a pretty penny to drape all of your seats in faux fur but nothing screams winter wonderland like white fur coverings. Your guests can remove them from the chairs and wrap themselves up if it gets a bit cold. You could also use fur as part of your bridesmaid’s dresses. Match a white fur with a darker colour like champagne pink.
Unlike candles, fire pits will actually put out some serious heat. There’s no better way for your guests to keep warm outside than a roaring fire. They are also great for creating a fantastic vibe without spending too much money. You can source chopped firewood locally and ask one of your guests to keep the fire going. The only problem with fire pits is that you and your guests will go home smelling of smoke.
Offer warm drinks, instead of champagne
Swap the champagne flutes for mugs of mulled wine to create a wintery atmosphere at your wedding. You can take inspiration from ski resorts bars and serve mulled wine (or Gluhwein as they call it in the alps) in large metal urns. This will keep your guests warm as they arrive and will also save on costs. You can buy mulled wine for cheap from any supermarket. Be warned though, it sells out fast around the festive period.
Serve warm food
At most summer weddings, the evening buffet is full of cold finger foods. This might be cheaper, but it’s much less appetising when the weather is cold outside. Instead, serve up a hot buffet full of warm winter treats. Our favourite hot buffet dishes include chilli con carne, Thai green curry, and beef bourguignon. You can serve any of these dishes with warm bread, rice, or chips.
Keep the sitting around to a minimum
The best thing to keep your guests warm and happy is to get them up on their feet dancing. Start the party as early as possible and hire a band or DJ that can get everyone going. At a winter wedding, the sitting around should be kept to a minimum. Aim for a short dinner and speeches and get the party started straight away. The fact that it’s dark outside early helps this feel more natural.