Ah, winter. For many brides, it’s not just a time of year. Instead, it’s a dream as distinct as those held by any other bride who’s envisioned a fairytale extravanza, garden party, or evening black-tie affair. The fact is, fields of snow and ice-lined trees make for Alps-sized glamour that few other seasons can match. So, let’s skate through a few popular interpretations of the winter wedding … and favorite favors to round them out.
Woodsy Bird and Twig
One of the newest, super-chic ways to do a winter wedding is the woodsy bird-and-twig and rustic forest theme. Hold this type of wedding in a Victorian mansion, or a classic ballroom with lots of dark wood. Start with colors like ice blue, bright white and brown, then add in a touch of emerald.
To give your setting a winter forest feel, draw on faux snow, bare-branch centerpieces and floor arrangements, and tons of candles and table lanterns. Rent cast-iron floor lanterns joined with organza swags to line a path through your reception. Tuck pussy willows and twigs into chair sashes. Make liberal use of grapevines, pine garlands and wreaths studded with snow-tipped pine cones. Finish the look with a glorious bird-and-twig topped cake.
For many brides, a classic Christmas wedding lets them combine one of the biggest days of their lives with a holiday that’s been a lifelong favorite.
For this type of wedding, pick a venue with warm wood paneling, and ideally, a fireplace and hearth. You can hang personalized stockings for your child guests … or your wedding party.
Terrific colors for a vintage feel: burgundy, cream and gold make a warm and sophisticated palate. Or Christmas plaid and white, which is traditional and rich, yet underused. Hunter green, copper and white is chic, even regal. Mostly-monochromatic weddings are also popular — and perfect for — this time of year, whether it’s black and white with cranberry accents, or almost all-white weddings with a few touches of dark ivy green.
Set the stage early with rich invitations drenched in satin ribbons and wax seals. For drama, consider dressing your flower girls as angels, complete with sweet feather wings. For the bride, you might see a regal cap-sleeved gown with scarlet panels in the train or bodice. Popular bouquets range from all-white callas, stephanotis and roses to luxurious all-red rose arrangements, spiced up with hypericum berries.
As for bridesmaids, they’ll look lovely in burgundy or hunter green velvet, carrying ivy-wreathed candles or silver lanterns down the aisle. When it’s time to depart, have your guests ring tiny silver bells for lasting good luck, and wave goodbye from a storybook horse-drawn sleigh.
Christmas-Style Decorations and Favors: The Details
Evergreen trees and twinkle lights are the building blocks to this look (though with any luck, your venue will have plenty up already). Scent is a wonderful event secret, too: spray the room with an evocative nutmeg or cinnamon concoction, scatter clove and orange pomanders in strategic locations, or simply light some holiday-scented candles.
Then, add a few festive touches: a wooden sleigh for the gift table, a stacked-gift card box (and stacked-gift style wedding cake!), potted poinsettias to set off important tables, and sprigs of holly or pine plus a single red rose tucked into chair sashes. Dress up your tables with velvet runners, and place small potted pine trees in the center, with ornament favors dangling from branches or gift-box style favors tucked underneath. Fresh pine garlands are brilliant for setting the mood and tantalizing the nose. Also, consider hanging colorful ornaments at varying heights with microfilament from candelabras or even overhead chandeliers.
Favorite favors for this old-fashioned celebration? Try rich bar treats in lidded, ribboned favor boxes, such as gingerbread or brownies. Personalized ornaments are also wildly popular, since they’re so fun to display, and help your guests to remember this day for years after. Although not strictly favors, cookie buffets are a splendid way to treat friends to recipes that have long been family treasures. And other popular choices include miniature snow globes, personalized cocoa cones, and tiny pine saplings or spring bulbs.
A Winter Wonderland
All glam and glitter with a fairy tale mood, this type of wedding earns oohs and ahhs from the moment guests enter the room. Your venue choices are flexible, but lighting counts. Keep ambient levels low to play up twinkle lights, lanterns and candles, blue uplights on the walls and pin lights on your trees and bare branch arrangements.
Classic color for a winter wonderland wedding? Ice blue and white. But a fantasy pink and mixed-metals theme is popular now, and so is an elegant combination of navy and silver. For invitations, go with a sophisticated letterpress design: try a delicate silver tree above pale blue lettering. Then, underline the theme with a flower girl who tosses out foil snowflakes from a powder-blue pail … or carries adorable white pomanders resembling snowballs.
As for the bride, she might wear a gown embellished with glittering embroidery reminiscent of snowflake patterns, plus a white faux fur stole and silver and crystal accessories. Popular choices for the bouquet: all-white roses or callas bound in an aqua blue ribbon wrap. Alternately, some choose a Swarovski crystal bouquet made from silver or gold wire.
Wonderland Decorations and Favors, In Depth
As everyone knows, twinkle lights plus iced branches and potted trees are key to this theme. Contact your local greenhouse or an event planner if you’re having trouble tracking down trees to rent.
Then, choose silver Chivari chairs instead of the usual chair covers and sashes. Make liberal use of clear vase gems and LED lights, and reflective water features such as floating candles in clear glass cylinders. For centerpieces, you could also fill clear Eiffel vases with metallic gold ornaments in navy blue and silver, topping them off with acrylic-iced branches or curly willow. Dress up special tables with snowball candles, and don’t forget to order an impressive ice sculpture (complete with lighting to set it off). A candy buffet of white and silver treats in clear containers impressively sets the mood. Finally, white faux fur trim makes a fun and sassy accent for chair backs, vase rims, pillar candles, card boxes or gift tables.
The winter wedding comes in so many glorious forms and flavors. Does yours hark back to the past or beckon us into the future? Tell us about your color scheme, venue and inspirations …. then trade ideas with other winter brides. Don’t forget to post some pics!