The Ultimate Guide to New England Winter Weddings
Some of you might be surprised to learn that I love winter weddings! There aren’t nearly as many of them here in New England, but I get really excited when I do have one to photograph! Jon and I are still in the early planning stages of our own wedding, and I’m even trying to talk him into being open to one 😉
Winter weddings (especially with potential New England weather) do take some extra thought, but when done well I think they’re incredibly beautiful. Today I’m going to talk about the advantages of deciding to have a winter wedding, as well as the tips to follow when planning your own winter wedding.
8 Advantages of a Winter Wedding
Here in New England, it’ll come as no surprise that the decision to have a winter wedding opens up a lot of availability for your venue and other choice vendors. With peak wedding season generally running May through October, that leaves 6 months of flexibility! I’m most commonly booked 12-18 months in advance of a wedding, with some of my couples booking their summer venues two years in advance! The wedding market in New England is very strong, and if you have your heart set on a particular venue and season, you may need to have a long engagement in order to get it.
When you’re open to a winter wedding though, the options open up! As the demand is far lower, it’s more likely that your dream venue and vendor team will have the availability to make your wedding come to life. The even bigger bonus is that your vendor team will be rested, refreshed, and so excited for your day — because it’s one of only a handful versus one of several in the midst of the busiest time of year.
2. Less Stress About a “Plan B”
With the exception of a major blizzard (I’ll talk more about that soon), having a winter wedding can actually reduce the amount of stress leading up to your wedding! Imagine your typical summer or fall wedding for a second . . . the ceremony is planned for outside on the back lawn of the venue, with all photos planned for the garden and coastline. When it rains or is really windy, all the sudden you’ll need to:
- Move an entire ceremony – your heart was set on the outdoor setup, so it’s not exactly what you visioned
- Move all of your photos indoors, maybe a few can happen outside between rain showers
- If it’s tented, you’ll need to think about the sides and flooring (no way you want the rain to make the ground all muddy)
- And the list could go on and on . . .
When it comes to winter weddings though, you go in knowing that some of these parts of the day will be inside. There’ll be no need to move your ceremony indoors — it will already be there; designed and executed as you had hoped. Some of your photos may have been indoors anyway — but chances are, great natural light was something you looked for in your winter wedding venue, knowing this is a possibility. And if the elements do go into effect on your day, you already know that your reception space will be unscathed and go exactly as planned. If you’re someone that will stress over the “what if’s” of your rain plan, a winter wedding could be a good way to save yourself from stressing over something out of your control.
3. Ceremony Ambiance + Mood
This is THE reason I most love winter weddings! The ambiance is incredible! Lighting is a major consideration when planning your winter wedding timeline, but is also the element that allows a winter wedding to really shine.
Ambiance: “The character and atmosphere of a place.” ¹
Because we’ll lose daylight earlier in the day, many couples that have a winter wedding will add lighting to their design out of necessity. The bonus of this, whether it’s strung bistro lights or an altar surrounded by tiered candles, special lighting adds an incredible amount of ambiance. This creates extra depth and interest in your photos. And it truly sets the mood for your event. And since lighting will set the mood, all of those feelings are that much more noticeable in all of your wedding images.
Don’t get me wrong, an outdoor wedding ceremony is beautiful in its own way too. But I’d argue that you have far less control over the ambiance and mood that is set to start your event.
4. Snow in New England
Weather is the one thing that is out of your control, no matter what season your wedding is in! For a winter wedding, there are three possibilities when it comes to snow:
- No snow
- Some snow
What I have to emphasize here is that in a typical winter, there aren’t many full-out blizzard days. Yes, they absolutely happen (particularly February and early March). But the actual chance of a blizzard happening on your wedding day is less than likely. After more than 100 weddings, I genuinely feel like it’s more likely to rain on a summer/fall wedding day than it is to blizzard on a winter wedding day.
Instead, some light snowing is probably more likely. And let me just say, that adds so much to the ambiance and feel of the day!
I say all of the above because if you are semi-interested in a winter wedding, but nervous about the possibility of a blizzard — chances are you’ll be okay. The biggest consideration should be out of town guests. If many will be flying in or driving a significant distance to get to your venue, then you might want to avoid peak winter. But if most of your family and friends are local to the area, they’ll be able to make it in most situations. I’ll talk some more below about wedding insurance too, in the event a blizzard were to hit.
5. No Humidity — Did You Say Black Tie?
Since we’ll be avoiding the heat altogether, another advantage of a winter wedding is that there’s no humidity! Some people are really affected by heat and humidity — they’re uncomfortable, irritable, and not necessarily the most pleasant to be around . . . if that’s you or your fiance, you might consider a winter wedding more seriously. Not to mention, your hair and makeup with also thank you!
Oh, and you’re thinking about a black tie wedding? Even better. Tuxedos weren’t made with outdoor summer ceremonies and cocktail hours in mind . . . and if you ask your fellow gentlemen, they’d be much happier sporting them in the winter. Everyone will look that much more dapper, and actually be comfortable to enjoy the evening.
7. No Wedding Fatigue
Let’s just be honest and say that wedding fatigue is a real thing. Since the spring through fall is filled with so many weddings in New England, chances are good that your guests will attend at least a few others in the same year as yours. And sometimes, that gets tiring . . . When your wedding falls in the winter months though, your wedding will probably be the only one they attend that season. It’ll be more special and an occasion they fully look forward to attending. Not just “another” wedding on the list of events planned for the summer.
8. Your Wedding Will Stand Out
In a sea of pastel bridesmaid dresses and peonies in the wedding world, a winter wedding is going to stand out in a great way! Remember, most New England weddings happen over the summer — those weddings all share similar floral seasons, color palettes, and views. You’ll have the option to stay traditional with your own colors and design — or something bold and fresh! One of the beauties of a winter wedding is that because it’s not the “norm”, you really can make it completely unique and your own.
For those of you considering a New England winter wedding (or elsewhere!), my biggest piece of advice for great photos is to consider the sunset time. When you’re planning your overall wedding timeline, sunset will play a large roll in which photos you’re able to get in natural light depending on whether or not you’re doing a first look and your ceremony time.