Recently i’ve been deliberating over the planning of my own wedding and it got me thinking; if I find the thought of planning a winter wedding difficult then how do a couple who have no experience of weddings go about planning the perfect winter wedding?! So I thought I would share a few tips, but let me start by telling you that whilst many a wedding photographer dreads the thought of a cold, dark wedding; I absolutely LOVE them! Don’t get me wrong, I love all weddings, the excitement, the build up, the emotions, the big tight hugs from family you’ve not seen in years, dad busting a move on the dance floor and granny falling asleep in the chair after one to many sherries, weddings just float my boat, full stop. But when you add in the frosty cold air, the promise of Christmas in the near future or even a New Year celebration and i am like a kid in a sweet shop! There’s just something so magical about this time of year!
Winter weddings do pose some challenges however so theres a few things to take into consideration when planning your big day; heres some pointers to help you plan the perfect day.
Many venues offer low-season discounts for weddings or will allow you to have a smaller number of guests in the ‘quieter’ times which could save you a fortune and come in handy if you are planning an intimate wedding.
When you’re getting married between October and February the venue is more important than ever, if its raining or god forbid snowing you’ll need to think about where you might be able to go for your photographs, are there big bay windows and a beautiful fireplace in the lounge, or a gazebo that your willing to leg it to should the heavens open. Is there a conservatory or covered area where there’s plenty of light? Or are you going to throw caution to the wind and get out there come hell or high water? When considering your venue ask the event organisers what people do in the event of bad weather and make sure there is somewhere you can do the family photos. Chances are it may be absolutely fine on the day but its best to be prepared for every eventuality!
Planning everything all at the one venue (where possible) will make things easier if the bad weather arrives and avoid you having to get in and out of a car or achieving the ‘windswept’ dragged through a bush look! If thats not possible, consider providing guests with a warm drink like mulled wine to warm the cockles as they arrive, keeping the guests happy will mean you can concentrate on having the time of your life!
There will be much less available light and on some dull days in the height of winter (Nov-Feb) light may be fading as early as 3pm so its worth considering the time of your ceremony to allow time for photos. You wouldn’t believe how many people forget about light, but if you’ve got your heart set on some beautiful natural portraits you’ll need time for this. Your photographer will be able to advise how long this will take and what to do, but typically winter wedding ceremonies take place around 1pm or 2pm at the latest to allow plenty of time for daylight photographs.
Don’t worry if you’re hoping for a later ceremony, photos after dark can be amazing, just make sure your photographer is equipped for that and knows how to use lighting creatively for this.
Choose someone who is experienced, you’re going to need to trust your photographer’s judgement and be assured that your photos will be just as beautiful as the ones on his/her website despite the fact you didn’t step outside. Its ok to ask how many weddings a photographer has photographed, ask to see some examples of winter weddings and ask them if they have a plan for rain. If you’ve booked a photographer with fresh, bright images on their website just be prepared for them to have a different look if its a dull, wet day, your photographer can only work with what they are given.
Never assume that your photographer can handle any situation, some fantastic photographers NEVER shoot winter weddings because they aren’t experienced in using flash (for example). So if you’ve chosen someone whose work is bright and fresh like mine and you have your heart set on some creative night-time shots, make sure thats something they can do.
Some photographers will offer discounts especially if you are booking within 6-12 months of the wedding, or they may allow you to reduce their full day package if you prefer shorter coverage.
Are you a hitch up your dress and go out in all weathers sort of bride? Make sure you discuss this with your photographer beforehand, most professionals will have a selection of umbrellas in the car and aside from gale force winds they may ask you to step out for at least a couple of quick creative shots. Of course this is always totally up to you but if you have your heart set on those creative rain shots like most of my couples, you probably wont mind getting a little soggy for a masterpiece!
Wellies are a great idea for some fun photos and will save you from loosing all feeling in your feet plus something warm to wrap around your shoulders, trust me no amount of Prosecco and adrenaline will keep you warm at zero degrees!
TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Preparation brings me nicely on to creativity, sometimes the weather is so bad that you may have no choice other than to embrace it for your couple photos. I’m not saying you have to stand outside in gail force winds and rain for an hour, no, your family shots can all be done inside somewhere warm and so can the majority of your couple shots if needed but for something really amazing are you willing to put complete trust in your photographer if they say, “right its raining, here’s a brolly just go and stand over there in the rain and gaze at each other” because you may just end up with something magical and unique!
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer get in touch to check my availability and talk about your winter wedding. You can see more examples of my work here.