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What to Remember When Planning a Winter Wedding: Advice from Real South Dakota Brides

Photo by The Photography Shoppe

Winter is a time of the year that can often be described as magical. This season is known for its beautiful scenery and ability to bring people together. However, having a winter wedding in South Dakota can bring its own set of challenges to be cautious of, which is why we have some tips and tricks from our real brides on how to successfully execute a winter wedding day. We don’t let a little snow stop us from anything. 🙂

Advice For Planning Your Winter Wedding:

  1. First and foremost, the most uncontrollable factor of them all: the weather.  What do you do when the weather doesn’t aid in providing the picture in your head of what your big day should look like?

“Do not have a picture of what you expect the weather to be like. It’s important to remember that the weather is completely unpredictable and could be totally different than you had hoped for. Control what can be controlled and make the most of whatever weather situation occurs.” -Kaitlyn, November Wedding

“Keep winter travel in mind. The week of our wedding, there was a blizzard on Thursday. Even though the roads were clear for Friday and Saturday, sidewalks were still iced over. Try to keep traveling distance between venues, hotels, etc. to a minimum, or provide a shuttle.” –Danielle, February Wedding

“Be open to different florals that you had pictures as some are not available in the winter months.” – Kaitlyn, November Wedding

Take a look at this winter wedding gallery…and this one to give you some ideas for how to decorate a winter wedding!

2. Accessorizing accordingly (both you and your bridal party) to make sure that you not only look great for photos, but also stay warm while taking them!

“Pack a warm pair of shoes! Even just from venue to venue throughout the day, or for outdoor photos, warm shoes were a LIFESAVER.” -Danielle, February Wedding

 “Invest in a shawl of some sort! I got mine only a few days before our wedding on amazon and am SO glad that I did! Not only did it help take of bit of the edge off of the cold weather, but looked gorgeous in photos.” – Kaitlyn, November Wedding

3. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Taking photos outdoors in the cold can be a challenge, but the results are absolutely beautiful!  Here are some tips on how to handle pictures:

“If you are doing outdoor photos and have kiddos in your party, schedule any photos they are in first. The quicker you can get them out of the cold, the better!” – Danielle, February Wedding

“Layers. If your dress allows for it, don’t be afraid to layer up underneath. Leggings and warm socks make a huge difference when have to be outside for an extended period of time.” –Danielle, February Wedding

“I would caution taking your outdoor photos before the ceremony, depending on how cold it is outside. We took ours beforehand, but it was so cold out that our flowers froze and were sagging for the ceremony.” –Danielle, February Wedding

Danielle // Photo by Erica Lynn Photography

4. Winter weddings bring forth a different set of challenges different from those of a summer wedding. But, since they are less common, sometimes vendors offer special discounts during these off-season months.  Who doesn’t love to save a little money?

“Ask vendors if they offer an “off-season” discount as many of them do!” – Kaitlyn, November Wedding

5. Embrace it and make it yours! Winter weddings are on the rise, and there are so many unique ways to differentiate a winter wedding and make it truly fun for both you and your guests.

“The winter greenery, color palette, and gorgeous pictures make for an unforgettable wedding day.” -Danielle, February Wedding

“Also, it is fun to have a hot drink option for your guests. Our hot cocoa/coffee bar was a hit, especially when guests were arriving during social hour.”
– Danielle, February Wedding

Kaitlyn // Photo by Erica Lynn Photography

“My favorite part about getting married in the winter was that opportunity I had to be different. While winter weddings are definitely on the rise, I still felt as though our wedding was special and unique because it took place in November and we were able to use different decorating styles and colors. Though our day was freezing cold, I can look back and giggle on the memories made taking pictures outside! (PS: winter wedding pictures turn out BEAUTIFULLY!) Finally, I loved that many of our guests were really looking forward to our wedding because they hadn’t attended one since the summer. Many expressed how they were “wedding-ed out” during the summer months but were looking forward to ours.” – Kaitlyn, November Wedding

Here are 8 more things to keep in mind when planning a winter wedding:

  1. Make sure someone is in charge of snow removal at your venue — that means all parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways are clear so guests can make it in safely.
  2. Remember, you may have a lower RSVP count than planned if guests think the weather is too iffy to travel. This count may change as late as the day before your wedding because of weather, road conditions, below zero temperatures, and more.
  3. Have coat racks available for your guests (in a hallway or out of sight is ideal!)
  4. Winter wedding colors are lovely, but don’t feel like you have to stay in the pine green/berry red box. What about frosty silvers, deep plum, navy, and dark teal? What about deep burgundy with gold and accents of pine cones and pine garlands? Consider a color palette appropriate for the season, but have some fun!
  5. Allow plenty of travel time for guests to get from the ceremony to the reception site…and parking. Consider having both at the same venue!
  6. Think of how much fun a hot chocolate bar could be! Caramel flavoring, mini marshmallows, peppermint sticks (and shots of Bailey’s)?! What a great pairing for dessert. A s’mores bar would be so memorable! Anything comforting and cozy is a great option.
  7. Offering a shuttle service from the hotels you recommended to the reception site would be a thoughtful touch so your guests don’t need to brave the roads. The shuttle can make trips every half hour (after dessert and cake-cutting) for convenience.
  8. Have ushers ready to help guests down a slippery sidewalk or windy entrance. Offer more assistance in taking people’s coats from hosts/hostesses, etc.

If you need any help planning your winter wedding or have any questions, feel free to contact Hitch Studio. We can help with all the winter logistics so you stay warm and stress-free.

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