If you’ve chosen a winter wedding, chances are you have visions of marrying in an idyllic snow-covered venue before celebrating your nuptials with a backdrop of winter décor, a huge roaring fire and a delicious menu of seasonal treats.
During this dreamy day, there’s nothing quite like a winter warmer or two to keep your guests cosy, enhance the atmosphere and give your day a gorgeous seasonal feel. To inspire your choices, we’ve selected the top 20 winter warmers...
Let’s deal with the practical issues first: if you’re getting married in the winter your bridal lingerie needs to be practical as well as beautiful. Corsets add a layer of warmth as well as streamlining your silhouette and other winter wedding underwear tricks include wearing a moulded strapless slip and choosing elegant maxi briefs rather than skimpy knickers.
Tights will be a life-saver on a freezing cold day for bride and bridesmaids. Brides could always carry sexier hold ups in their purse and change into them at the reception.
Particularly effective if you’re wearing a vintage dress, long gloves look sophisticated — and keep your hands warm. Consider matching the gloves to your colour palette, and bridesmaids could wear matching gloves to tie in the look.
If you’re marrying in church it could get chilly. Provide soft, fluffy blankets for the guests and then transport them to the reception afterwards; they’ll come in handy if you’re taking photos outside or there’s an outdoor smoking area.
Even if your venue is a short walk away, why not provide heated transport for your guests on a cold winter’s day. This could be anything from a luxury car with heated seats to a nice, cosy mini bus – it will be much appreciated.
If you’re marrying on a wet or snowy day, wellies are essential. The chic Catherine Wellies from Wedding Shoes Direct are brill for the bride. Plus, you could collect a bunch of second hand wellies in assorted sizes and line them up outside the church or registry office for your guests to use.
Don’t forget your bridesmaids when you’re outside posing for photographs: you may have a wonderful furry bolero to keep out the cold, but make sure you organise stylish wraps, shawls or jackets for your maids too.
Hot Choc Welcome
When your guests arrive at the venue, why not warm their cockles with a steaming mug of creamy hot chocolate. If you want to serve an alcoholic version, try adding dark rum and honey, or amaretto.
Canapés are always a welcome treat when your guests arrive at the reception venue, and they’ll love spicier options such as Moroccan spiced chicken in puff pastry, chilli prawn and lime taco trays, and goat’s cheese and cayenne pepper wraps.
Roaring Log Fire
Nothing beats a real roaring fire if you want to offer your guests a traditional winter warmer — and a beautiful fireplace makes a lovely backdrop for photographs too. Most venues mention if they have a real fire on their website or hitched listing; for example, at Makeney Hall Hotel the winter wedding package includes photos by the roaring log fire, and a snow machine!
Charm with Chestnuts
Whether you invite your guests to toast their own, or hire a roast chestnut stall as a quirky feature for the reception, this is one winter warmer everyone will love. You could also try roasting marshmallows (just don’t forget the melted chocolate dip!)
Growing in popularity for winter weddings, hand warmers have a small metal disc inside that you crack to release heat for around 30 minutes (just long enough for outdoor photos or a firework display). They can be re-used and personalised for your wedding.
Rather than offering mulled wine (or mulled cider, if you want to be on-trend) as an arrival drink, why not serve it in flasks on the tables so guests can help themselves? This could also work well if you have an outdoor or conservatory area where people will gather.
Seasonal Soup Starter
You can’t beat a warming winter soup as a starter. Consider celeriac and Roquefort, a Scotch broth with winter root vegetables or a spicy parsnip soup.
At any winter wedding, serving Christmas dinner as the wedding breakfast will be a hit. If you’d rather avoid a totally traditional menu, swap the turkey for roasted goose with cider gravy or serve succulent braised venison with all the Christmas trimmings; wild mushroom and port brioche is great option for vegetarian guests.
A spectacular dessert for a winter wedding, Christmas pudding is a rich and luxurious alternative. Look for recipes with French Cognac and/or dark rum for a truly warming experience.
Serving straight whiskey as a digestif after the wedding breakfast is a wonderful way to keep the winter warmth going — or an Irish coffee will go down a storm.
People love to be outside, whatever the temperature, and if your venue has outdoor heaters available (if not, you may be able to hire them) your guests will usually take advantage, creating a fabulous outdoor atmosphere.
Mark the transition from wedding day to evening reception by furnishing your guests with a winter cocktail. Think indulgent drinks involving hot buttered rum, brandy with crème de cacao, orange bitters and homemade limoncello with honey syrup — or the simple marriage of champagne with fresh pomegranate is deliciously seasonal.
Round off your day with the ultimate winter wedding warmer: a hot seasonal buffet. Forget the finger rolls and serve a steaming vat of chilli with crusty bread, corn on the cob and lashings of sour cream.