Wedding Planning Guide

winter wedding ideas

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.

Photo: Cory Ryan Photo

Color Palette Ideas

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. Not enough? Dive deeper into winter wedding color schemes.

  • Silver and white with crystal accents
  • Purple and white
  • Chocolate-brown and white
  • Silver and navy
  • Black and gold
  • Icy blue and silver
  • Black and white

Stationery Ideas

Get your guests excited for and enthralled by your big day with stunning, more formal wedding stationery. Here are some pro tips to nailing this look:

  • 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

Attire Ideas

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—plus some general fashion tips for a winter wedding. (You can also consult our “What to Wear to a Wedding” guide.)

  • Wraps for bridesmaids in a color that complements their dress (or in your accent color)
  • Cape or faux-fur jacket for warmth while taking outdoor photos
  • Black-tie dress code for your guests makes for stunning pictures (or go one level up to the elusive white tie)
  • White hypericum berries add a wintry touch to the groom and groomsmen boutonnieres
  • All-white boutonnieres
  • Silver- or champagne-colored wedding dress
  • Crystal-adorned shoes with a complementing blinged-out clutch
  • Black cocktail dresses for the bridesmaids
  • Bright red lip for the bride

Flower Ideas

Flowers may feel hard to come by in the dead of winter, but there are a number of beautiful bouquet ideas that will liven up any decor:

  • Roses in deep red and burgundy shades
  • Calla lilies
  • Amaryllises
  • Baby's breath, which resembles tufts of snow
  • Traditional potted poinsettias
  • Hanging orchids (they'll look like snowflakes!)
  • 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

Ceremony Ideas

The most important part of the day can also be the most stunning, whether you’re opting for a cozy indoor ceremony or braving the outdoors. Here are our favorite ceremony ideas:

  • Mistletoe-esque greenery (or actual mistletoe) above your altar
  • Line your aisle with glass cylinders filled with water and floating candles
  • Pews decorated with evergreen boughs and/or pinecones
  • Trade in your altar for a large, cozy fireplace
  • Place rings atop a small, faux-fur pillow
  • Decorate chairs down aisle with ornaments and berries in your wedding colors
  • Horse-drawn sleigh to leave your ceremony (and arrive to your reception)
  • A basket with blankets or throws for guests to stay warm during outdoor ceremonies
  • Have guests blow bubbles as you exit ceremony for an iridescent, crystal-esque look

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 decor touches:

  • Winter welcome bags for the other kind of destination wedding (think hot chocolate packets, chapstick, mittens, aspirin, ear muffs, etc.)
  • 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 peppermint liqueur and/or Bailey’s
  • Outline venue windows with garlands and lights
  • Ice sculptures of your first initials
  • For the escort cards…
    • Christmas tree as your escort table, 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
    • Escort card tree with crystals hanging alongside ribbon with guests’ names and table numbers
    • Ornaments as escort cards in your wedding colors (these can double as favors)
    • Mugs as escort cards (these can also double as favors)
    • Candy canes attached to escort cards
  • For the centerpieces...
    • Miniature wood tree trunks or rustic wood pieces
    • Icicle illusions with hanging crystals from candelabras or table lighting.
    • Vases with white branches and hanging crystals.
    • Glass bowl with ornaments as centerpieces, surrounded by wreaths of holly, ivy, berries, pinecones, and/or evergreens
    • Square glass vase with roses, berries, and greenery for centerpieces
    • Pillar candles surrounded by a wreath of 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 glass china for the table
  • Candles placed among bright berries across tablescape
  • Lanterns as lighting throughout your venue
  • Hot chocolate and churros station for late-night snack

Cake Ideas

There’s plenty of delicious decor to be had with your winter wedding cake. Here’s some inspiration that will have your mouth watering (or maybe just ours):

  • Sugar-dusted pinecones and 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 decorate the tiers
  • Partially frosted cake (aka a “naked” wedding cake) to resemble snowfall
  • 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 wedding cake (bonus points: have cute, custom treat bags for your guests to take cookies home)

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
  • Smile on a nearby ski lift
  • 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

Favors Ideas

Send your guests off into the night with warmth. These favor ideas will certainly do the trick:

  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Mason jars or mugs containing hot chocolate kits
  • Warm cookies and a container of milk
  • Personalized chapstick
  • Ornaments (that may have been their escort card)
  • Coffee mugs (that may have also been their escort card)
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