A few tips on how to plan a winter wedding
I love winter weddings, it’s the best time to get married! The sun is low (permanent sunrise!), the lights are twinkly and the drinks are mulled. Here are some top tips on how to plan a winter wedding.
It gets dark around 4pm in winter, so a ceremony time of 2pm or earlier is a good idea. This is so you have time to get natural light portraits and group photos before the sun goes down. Natural light is more flattering, so it should be your main consideration. Most winter weddings I’ve photographed have had 3pm or 4pm ceremonies, and we got around the losing light situation by doing the group photos before the ceremony and doing night time portraits. Here is a November wedding in London with the 4pm ceremony.
This is the time of year to go crazy with fairy lights, candles and lots of low, warm glowy lighting. Not only does it create a cosy atmosphere, but it also gives your photos “bokeh” which is the lovely soft out of focus twinkly bit in the background of a photo, like you can see in the photo below. This is from a New Year’s Eve wedding I shot last month – it doesn’t get much more midwinter than that!
Wear a shrug
You’ll probably want to get a few photos outside, even (especially!) if it’s raining or snowing. A fake-fur shrug looks awesome and keeps you warm. For Amy, below, it was the difference between dashing outside for 30 seconds to take an obligatory rain photo, and being comfortable enough to spend 15 minutes in the fresh air having a breather and getting a variety of rain photos.
If you or your guests want to go outside they’ll appreciate a cosy blanket to snuggle under. Fiona, below, probably wouldn’t have left the vicinity of the venue for photos if it hadn’t been for the blanket – and on our walk we stumbled upon a dead sunflower field that was perfect for photos!
If it’s raining, it’s handy to have a few brollies around, for your photos, or for your guests if they need to pop outside. This is pretty good advice for summer weddings in England generally! To make you feel better, I’ve shot only a couple of weddings in my 4+ years as a wedding photographer where it rained aaaaaaaall day. And they were in July and August. Here’s the rainy wedding in August (bank hol of course) and here’s the July rainy wedding at Cripps Barn. That’s it, just those two. All the other weddings I’ve shot where it’s rained it’s been on and off. So fear not, the averages are on your side! However, with the fun rainy wedding photos I take, most of my couples get really disappointed when it doesn’t rain on their wedding day!
Because taking photos in the wet and mud is so much fun! If all you have is your nice clean wedding shoes you’ll miss out on some really cool photos. Pippa and Bex, at their village hall wedding, had their wellies at the ready and we had so much fun stomping through the woods!
Mmmmm yum. A fed and watered guest is a happy guest. Warm food can be anything from tiny burgers to cones of fish and chips to grilled halloumi to chicken nuggets!
It’s not winter without mulled drinks that should be wrong but taste so good.
I don’t endorse sparklers in the summer because it’s not dark until so late that everyone is drunk and it’s just dangerous. But in the winter you can do sparklers from 5pm – perfect!
Forget the weather report
This goes for any time of year really. As long as you have some sort of plan for all weather, it’s going to do what it’s going to do and checking your weather app on the hour every hour won’t make the weather change its mind. Embrace it! Sun is lovely but it’s not great for photos. Light cloud is great for photos (it’s super flattering), rain is great for photos, wind is really great for photos, and snow is really really great for photos!
Fake start time
It could be slippery on the roads, trains could be delayed (ha! that’s every day!), people will drive slower to be safe, so tell your guests to arrive half an hour before you actually want them there, as a buffer. And if they arrive on time, no one ever complained about spending half an hour at a bar.
Enjoy it! Embrace it! Everything about winter weddings is wonderful – the low sun, the twinkly lights, the chance of snow. Make the most of it all and you’ll have an incredible day! If you need any more advice on how to plan a winter wedding, or are looking for a wedding photographer who knows their way around a flash and low light, get in touch!
Check out these gorgeous winter weddings: