At Naturally Chic, it’s no secret we love winter weddings! Here’s 5 Winter Wedding Tips if you’re planning a winter wedding in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
1. Take Advantage of Festive Decor
Mountain Venues in Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Jasper are frequented with skiiers, snowboarders, tourists and holiday shoppers. Shops, hotels and accommodations are often festively decorated from mid-November to January. If you are planning a winter wedding in the mountains why not take advantage of the festive decor already in place and have a winter or holiday themed wedding? Not only will you have a ready-made, warm and inviting ambience in place, but you might also save on wedding decor costs! Truthfully, most guests love getting into the holiday spirit for December weddings!
It’s a good idea to work with the venue decor. You may want to consider a neutral wedding color palette as well so it doesn’t clash with the venues decorations. You can then add your own personal, festive touches to your table decor, favors and other focal points. Candles, pinecones, evergreen boughs and snowflakes can help complete the scene.
For wedding favors consider edible holiday treats such as gingerbread men, snowman cake pops or s’mores. Or how about mini-handwarmers, snowglobes or even a personalized vintage ornaments as guest favors?
If you are planning a winter wedding during the holiday season, be sure to ask the venue what their holiday decor consists of. Chances are their decorations will be elegant and beautiful, but there ‘s always chance it won’t suit your personal tastes. Ask if you have the option of moving or changing out the decor with your own decor. Some venues have professionally installation of holiday decor and can’t accommodate taking it down. Most venues will allow you to move some, but not all of the decor. At least you will know what you are working with!
2. Take Advantage of Festive Activities
The mountain towns of Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Jasper have winter festivities from World Cup Ski events, to the Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise, the Taste of Christmas in November in Jasper, to the Santa Claus Parade in Banff! Most venues also have their own events and activities which are perfect for you and your wedding guests to partake in. With outdoor hot tubs, fire pits, smores, and ice skating, there’s almost always something to do. During the holidays it’s even better….many venues will provide a Christmas tree in your room, stockings to hang, festive meals, and so many more fun activities!
Ask your hotel or wedding venue what activities they have planned on the weekend of your wedding. You may want to include a note in each of your guests’ rooms outlining activities you’ve planned and other activities in the local area!
3. Wedding Photography
There’s nothing like the mountains with a fresh blanket of snow for wedding photographs. Not only are they the perfect backdrop for your wedding ceremony, but also make for spectacular wedding party photos! Add twinkling lights and snow-laden trees, and well, you’ve got yourself a winter wonderland!
In winter, the light fades earlier in the evening than the other seasons. You may want to opt for an early ceremony to take full advantage of the light and have plenty of time for photos. If you’re not worried about tradition, you could opt for a “first look” reveal earlier in the day and take wedding party photos before the ceremony.
Although twinkling lights and Christmas trees may provide beautifully festive wedding photos, ensure that you take lots of photos in a more neutral setting as well. Although festive at the time, you may not want to display your wedding photos in your home in July if they all look like holiday photos!
4. Keep Your Guests in Mind
We’ve already mentioned several ways in which a winter wedding can be a fun and festive experience for your guests, but keeping your guests happy in winter may mean a little extra effort on your part.
If you are having an outdoor ceremony keep in mind that it does tend to cool off more in the late afternoon and early evening. Take care of your guests and don’t make them sit or stand outside for too long! Providing hot drinks and toasty shawls or blankets is always a nice gesture. You might also consider renting outdoor heaters to place around your ceremony site. A warm guest is a happy guest! Also ensure your the venue staff take extra precautions to keep walkways free of snow and ice.
5. Winter Dress Code
The number one rule of dress for a winter wedding is to ensure your guests are warm and comfortable! This is especially important if your wedding ceremony will be outside! If it’s an outdoor ceremony, let your guests know well in advance. Let them know it’s okay to wear their coats and scarves! This doesn’t necessarily mean your guests won’t dress nice, but you may have to be prepared to relax your dress code a little. Mountain weddings can be a different ballgame so allow them to dress warm, especially if it means winter driving conditions for your guests.
Don’t forget yourself and your bridesmaids either! Strapless bridesmaid dresses, although beautiful may not be practical in winter…pashminas or winter shawls may be in order!
If you have other wedding activities planned for your guests (ice-skating, skiing, etc.), send along a Wedding Day Itinerary with dress suggestions or include it on your wedding website.
In our next couple of posts, we’ll be talking more about winter wedding fashion and decor!