Wedding Planning Guide
winter wedding ideas
Cozy, romantic wedding ideas to inspire your winter wedding.
Photo: Cory Ryan Photo
What happens when you couple the most wonderful time of the year with the best day of your life? Absolute magic. Sure, there is some weather to weather, and holidays to navigate around, but the beauty and style of winter plays so wonderfully with weddings that the inspiration is endless.
That said, we’ve narrowed down our absolute favorite winter wedding ideas here, so you can plan a big day that will warm everyone in the room. Wondering what flowers are in season during the winter? We've got the full list below. Not sure what to wear? Keep reading for our guide to winter wedding attire. Looking for some winter wedding decoration ideas? We've outlined our favorite winter wedding decoration ideas for both the ceremony and reception, along with creative favor ideas so you can send guests home with a thoughtful, cozy parting gift. And if you're up for a DIY project or two, we've got some winter wedding ideas if you're on a budget.
WINTER WEDDING COLORS
A winter backdrop narrows your ideal wedding color wheel a bit—but hey, with all the other decisions you’ll have to make, having a shorter list of options is going to look better by the day. Oh yeah, and they’re all beautiful. Our best advice? Look to Mother Nature and your wedding setting for inspiration for your winter wedding colors. A few of our favorite color combinations are below but if they're not enough, dive deeper into winter wedding color schemes.
- silver + white
- plum + sage + grey
- chocolate brown + white
- silver + navy
- black + gold
- dusty blue + dove grey
- black + white
- emerald green + blush + rust
- burgundy + blush + rose gold
- navy + burgundy + gold
- moss green + navy + taupe
- plum + moss green + gold
WINTER WEDDING INVITATIONS
Get your guests excited for and enthralled by your winter wonderland celebration with a wedding invitation that complements the snow-globe setting. Here are some tips to nailing this wintry look for your winter wedding.
- Foil-pressed invitations for a glittery, glamorous, luxurious look.
- Black and gold stationery (whether it ends up being your wedding colors or not, this is a striking seasonal approach).
- Evergreen tree silhouettes (bonus points if they’re letterpressed).
- Heavy cardstock for your invitations.
- Calligraphy for guest addressing (and on the invitation design itself).
- Silver envelope liners.
- Navy blue, dark brown, or deep purple for font colors.
"Torrone" wedding invitation
WINTER WEDDING ATTIRE
Now that temperatures are dropping and snow is falling, you'll want to put together a wedding-day look that's chic and stylish, but practical to boot. The “look good, feel good” mantra obviously still applies, but you’re going to want to make sure that part of “feeling good” is also “feeling warm.” There are a number of beautiful, fashionable ways to pull this off. We're also sharing some general fashion tips for a winter wedding. (If you're a guest about to attend a winter wedding, you can also consult our “What to Wear to a Wedding” guide.)
For the bride
- Long-sleeve wedding gown for extra warmth.
- Skip white and opt for a silver- or champagne-colored wedding dress.
- Instead of open-toed shoes, scope out bejeweled evening boots.
- Don't forget a complementing sparkly clutch to stash all your essentials.
- A cape or faux-fur jacket for warmth while taking outdoor photos
For the groom
- A black tuxedo is always classic and chic, especially in the wintertime.
- For a winter suit, look for a warmer, thicker fabrics like wool, tweed, cashmere, flannel, or herringbone.
- When it comes to winter suit colors, you can't go wrong with classic black, navy, or charcoal. But if you're up for having some fun with color, consider oxblood, cognac, or hunter green.
- A three-piece suit will provide more insulation; you could even swap the vest for a sweater to layer beneath the suit jacket, for a more informal look.
- Velvet tuxedo jackets are in—as the main look or a second one. Yep, the guys are getting two looks these days too, so if you need something more traditional for the ceremony but want to jazz it up for the reception, put a thoughtful collection of jackets together to transition through.
- Don't forget the accessories: Cozy scarves, wool or textured ties, and a streamlined coat all look stylish and practical.
For the wedding party
- Instead of lighter fabrics like chiffon or organza, opt for bridesmaid dresses in heavier-weight textiles like velvet or taffeta.
- Skip the knee-length dresses and go for longer skirt lengths like midi or floor-length—your bridesmaids will appreciate the extra warmth.
- Or, consider a jumpsuit—pants are warm and chic.
- Wraps or pashminas for bridesmaids in a color that complements their dress (or in your accent color).
WINTER WEDDING FLOWERS
You might think flowers may be hard to come by in the dead of winter, but that's not necessarily true. There are still plenty of beautiful blooms available during the winter season. Traditional wedding flowers like roses and tulips are available year-round; those can be supplemented with in-season winter flowers like anemones, hellebores, and an assortment of seasonal berries to create a lush, wintry look. To help you get inspired for your own winter wedding flowers, here are some of our favorite ideas for bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and more. Also, for more on winter wedding flowers, read our Complete Guide to Wedding Flowers and scroll to the bottom, where we list some of the best flowers for a winter wedding.
- All-white bouquet of wintry blooms and branches
- Baby’s breath, which resembles tufts of snow
- Anemones (especially the variety with white petals and black centers)
- Dusty miller leaves (which have a luxe, velvety texture) and berzilla berries add a pop of soft grey to arrangements
- Branches of bright-red ilex berries
- Privet berries for a shot of navy blue color
- Loads of fresh, fragrant greenery like fir, cedar, and pine to evoke the season
- White hypericum berries add a wintry touch to the groom and groomsmen boutonnieres
WINTER WEDDING CEREMONY IDEAS
The most important part of the wedding day can also be the most stunning, whether you’re opting for a cozy indoor ceremony or braving the outdoors. Here are our favorite winter wedding ideas for your ceremony.
- For an indoor reception, ask your florist to recreate the tree-filled landscape inside for your vow exchange.
- Mistletoe-esque greenery (or actual mistletoe) above your altar
- Line your aisle with glass cylinders filled with water and floating candles, placed atop fresh evergreen branches.
- Pews decorated with evergreen boughs and/or pinecones
- Hang small holiday wreaths from the chairs along the ceremony aisle.
- Trade in your altar for a large, cozy fireplace
- Tie small sprigs of pine or cedar around ceremony programs
- Place rings atop a small, faux-fur pillow
- A basket with blankets or throws for guests to stay warm during outdoor ceremonies
- Instead of tossing rice, pass out jingle bells tied to ribbon and guests ring them as you exit the ceremony.
- Or have guests toss white-colored biodegradable confetti as you exit the ceremony to resemble snow.
- Depart from the ceremony in wintry style in a horse-drawn sleigh
Photo: Melissa Kelsey Photography
WINTER WEDDING RECEPTION IDEAS
The reception is the place to go all out and create your own dreamy winter wonderland, and there is no shortage of ways to bring this look to life. Here are a few (okay, more than a few) inspiring winter wedding ideas for your reception.
- Velvet table linens will add a rich, luxe feel to your reception tables.
- For a more rustic look, plaid table linens will feel cozy and festive.
- Welcome bags containing winter essentials such as hot chocolate packets, chapstick, hand cream, travel candles, mittens, aspirin, ear muffs, etc.
- Directional signs pointing to reception festivities, along with holiday sayings on signs (e.g., “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” “Baby, it’s cold outside,” “Walking in a winter wonderland,” etc.)
- Twinkling lights outside and inside your venue
- Snowflakes projected onto reception venue walls and dance floor.
- Soft-blue uplighting for the venue for a decidedly cool, evening party
- Full hot chocolate bar with multiple flavors, toppings, to-go cups, and liqueurs such as peppermint schnapps, Bailey's, and Kahlua
- Outline venue windows with fresh garlands in cedar and pine, along with plenty of twinkling lights
- For the escort cards:
- Display a Christmas tree with guests' names and table numbers on ribbons or ornaments hanging from the tree
- Pinecones next to, attached to, or as your actual escort cards
- Miniature sleighs with escort cards attached
- Ornaments in your wedding colors as escort cards (these can double as favors)
- Mugs as escort cards (these can also double as favors)
- Candy canes attached to escort cards
- Sleigh bells tied to tented escort cards
- Escort cards tied to sprigs of fresh evergreens
- Tie two small twigs together on each end to create a stand for each escort card
- Fill low trays with fresh cranberries and nestle escort cards inside in rows
- For the centerpieces:
- Wood slices displayed as bases for floral centerpieces
- Glass cloches filled with LED holiday lights to create a warm, festive glow
- Lush greenery garlands of fresh cedar and/or pine branches as a table runner down the center of rectangular reception tables
- Silver compotes filled with a variety of white blooms and silver-colored dusty miller leaves
- Candlelit lanterns surrounded by fresh winter greenery and pinecones
- Clear-glass cylinders filled with pinecones and surrounded by sprigs of fresh winter greenery placed on the table
- Pillar candles surrounded by a wreath of holiday greenery for a simple, striking look
- Shimmering tablecloths to add seasonal sparkle to your tablescape
- Sprigs of holly or evergreen placed on each napkin
- Frosted glassware for guests' beverages
- Candles placed among bright berries across tablescape
- Candlelit lanterns as lighting throughout your venue
- Hot chocolate and churros station for late-night snack
- Baskets of fleece blankets or pashminas, individually rolled up and tied with ribbon so guests can help themselves if they get chilly
WINTER WEDDING CAKES
There’s plenty of delicious decor to be had with your winter wedding cake. Here’s some winter wedding inspiration that will have your mouth watering (or maybe just ours).
- Top a simple buttercream-frosted cake with sugar-dusted cranberries for a frosty look.
- Gift-wrapped inspired cake design so your cake looks like an edible stack of presents
- Fresh sprigs of cedar, pine, or fir to simply decorate the tiers
- Partially frosted cake (aka a “naked” wedding cake) decorated with small pinecones on each tier
- Hardened drizzled-chocolate to resemble evergreen trees studding each cake tier
- An all-white wedding cake decorated with sugar snowflakes.
- A dessert display of freshly baked cookies instead of a wedding cake (bonus points: have cute, custom treat bags for your guests to take cookies home)
Photo: Dan Fredo Photos + Films
WINTER WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IDEAS
Winter wedding photo opps can go toe-to-toe with beach wedding pictures for their unique and utterly Instagram-worthy quality. Here are some can’t-miss photos for your winter wedding:
- Smiling, laughing, and kissing in the snowfall
- Venture outside to pose alongside your city’s holiday decor.
- Rings as Christmas tree ornaments
- Hop on a ski lift and have a photographer ride the next one and photograph you both from behind.
- Pose in front of your reception’s holiday-themed decor (perfect for your first Christmas card as a married couple).
- Walk hand-in-hand down a snowfallen path.
Photo: When He Found Her
WINTER WEDDING FAVORS
Keep going with the wintry theme by sending your guests off into the night with a warm and cozy parting gift. These winter wedding ideas will certainly do the trick.
- Tree saplings wrapped in burlap that guests can plant at home
- Pashminas or fleece blankets for guests to use at the wedding and also bring home
- Gingerbread cookies
- Mason jars or mugs containing hot chocolate mix/kits
- S'mores kits
- Warm cookies and a glass bottle of milk
- Handmade candles poured in small mason jars in wintry fragrances like pine, cedar, or campfire
- Personalized chapstick
- Enamel camp mugs that have been personalized with the wedding details
- Bags of coffee beans from your favorite local roaster
- Holiday ornaments (that may have been their escort card)
- Coffee mugs (that may have also been their escort card)
- Mulled wine or cider kits for guests to enjoy at home
- Mini bottles of bubbly to keep the festive vibes going at home
Photo: Greg Finck
WINTER WEDDING IDEAS ON A BUDGET
Beautiful, seasonal winter wedding ideas that won't break the bank.
- String a pair of pine cones to pieces of satin ribbon and tie them to the chairs along the ceremony aisle.
- Greet guests as they arrive at the ceremony with a beverage station of hot drinks like tea, hot cocoa, and coffee.
- Gather small pine cones and display one at each place setting with a small place card tied to the stem.
- Tie small sprigs of cedar or pine to each napkin at every place setting.
- Instead of a floral centerpiece, place a trio of pillar candles in glass cylinders in the center of each reception table and add several sprigs of fresh greenery to the tabletop.
Photo: Ciprian Photography