Snowflakes and pinecones are tried-and-true winter wedding motifs, but don’t feel bound to these seasonal fixtures. Holly motifs spell out the season pretty clearly, but they might not dazzle your guests. We’ve provided fresh and exciting ideas that put a unique spin on a classic winter wedding.
Wedding Colors: Reds and greens certainly reflect the season, but overdo this color combo, and your wedding may seem more holiday-oriented than you intended. Consider a less-is-more approach to your color palette: Silver and white with crystal accents can add some serious glamour to your winter wedding. For your ceremony, try a white velvet aisle runner trimmed with white satin ribbon, or decorate the altar with a crystal curtain backdrop adorned with hanging strands of elegant white phalaenopsis orchids. If you’re exchanging vows outdoors, get your guests in on creating the ambience by giving out clear umbrellas to friends and family members as they arrive.
The Flowers: Red roses, calla lilies, and amaryllis are decidedly winter wedding flowers, but if you step outside the flower box, and you’ll find a variety of options for winter blooms. Consider fuller flowers, such as white hydrangeas and soft ranunculuses. White boutonnieres can be handsome when they’re accented with greenery, but they also look great with a simple white ribbon. Add sparkle to your bouquet by wrapping the stems in ribbon embellished with crystals.
Invitations: Since winter weddings are usually held indoors (it’s an ideal time for ballroom receptions), they often call for a more formal invitations. A black-tie event is nicely conveyed by heavy cardstock and a navy blue, chocolate-brown, or even eggplant font with hand calligraphy. For a fresh way to achieve a formal tone for your winter wedding, use thick, frosted Plexiglas invitations in white scripted ink. Send the sturdy invites out to all your guests tucked into silver envelope liners.
Centerpieces: Go beyond glowing candles to add both warmth and romance to your reception site. If you want to heighten the drama, bring in the icy outdoors with ice-carved vases on your reception tables. Have your florist fill the vases with tall winter-white branches and hanging crystals to reflect the light from the tables. Surround the centerpieces with votive candles, and top your tables with white dupioni table linens and frosted glass china.
Escort Cards: Miniature sleighs and holly motifs stamped onto your escort cards would spell out the season pretty clearly, but they might not dazzle your guests. Leave everyone awestruck as they retrieve their escort cards by making the entire table sparkle. Have the cards hand-calligraphed in silver ink and attach them to individual crystals with a ribbon. Hang each from an oversized crystal candelabra centerpiece for a new take on the popular escort card tree.
The Music: A classical pianist playing during dinner is a sure way to create an elegant ambience, but consider a more unexpected accompaniment. For a twist on the tunes, consider hiring an a capella quartet to sing background music at your reception. Have the group sing your favorite jazz and pop songs to set a welcoming and festive tone for the evening. If you’re into a more classical sound, hire a cellist and ask that Vivaldi’s “Winter” be included in the repertoire.
Cocktail Hour: A winter cocktail hour calls for warm, comforting drinks. You really can’t go wrong with hot chocolate and warm apple cider, but it’s your wedding — why not take every opportunity to add an element of surprise? Serve up white hot chocolate in small espresso cups and eggnog in small punch glasses for your guests as they arrive. At the bar, offer saketinis (Japanese rice wine and sweet-flavored vodka) in glasses rimmed with sugar crystals.
The Cake: A wedding cake trimmed in red or green ribbon or topped with roses looks pretty, but bakers who are willing to push the fondant envelope can reflect the winter in totally creative ways. Play up the season with a white, vintage-style cake, dusted with edible silver powder. For accents, have your baker add a white sugar ribbon and crystal drops cascading down one side of the cake.
Favors: Food wedding favors are always a hit, but if cookies or truffles seem passe, try new treat ideas to send your guests home satisfied. Give out small packages of chocolate-covered cranberries or roasted chestnuts. An over-the-top idea that will undoubtedly impress: Have your caterer set up a hot chocolate and churros station to top off the evening.
Honeymoons: While many couples flee the blustery weather for warmer, sandier locales for their honeymoon, a winter wedding can segue perfectly into a snowy escape. Embrace the season and rent a cozy log cabin for a week in Lake Placid, or join the jet-setters at a luxurious hotel in Aspen for some serious skiing, wining, dining, and snuggling.