Planning a winter event

Off-season wedding often mean better rates, but discounts vary from month to month. January provides the best bargains in many cold-weather locales. During December, you’ll be competing with corporate parties for venue space and vendor business says Veronica Alexandra of Blue Ivy in Boston.

Be super prepared in snow-prone states. A historic mansion atop a hill or a venue accessible only by little-traveled country roads might offer transportation nightmares should weather turn bad. “I once had to hire a snow plow to get guests to the reception,” says Karen Pecora of Karen Pecora Events in Philadelphia. “Brides need to keep their location’s weather risks very much in mind and always have a plan B.” Hotel weddings are smart options for snowy months, as the bridal party and guests can lodge in the place where the ceremony and reception are held.

Take advantage of holiday décor in December as many venues will be decked out in festive trimmings. “Play off it and enjoy the extra decoration without the extra cost,” says Lori Stephenson of LOLA Event Productions in Chicago.

Go light on roses from December through February. “Wholesalers are already marking them up for the Valentine’s rush,” says Stephenson.

Have fun with winter touches. “Arrange for guests to be greeted with hot drinks, like hot apple cider or mulled wine,” says Beth Helmstetter of Beth Helmstetter Events in Los Angeles. “These drinks will warm everyone and have them ready to celebrate.” And winter-theme your favors. Helmstetter likes to “leave baskets of pashminas or knit scarves around the venue space. Send guests home with homemade slippers or make-your-own-cocoa kits.”

Set a glittery stage. “Use candles everywhere,” says Helmstetter. “Nothing brings out the romance of the season like candlelight.” Venues with fireplaces lend a special ambiance, too.

Serve great comfort foods. “Winter heightens everyone’s taste for them,” says Helmstetter, who includes items like butternut squash soup with creme fraiche, cornish hens, and lightly whipped potatoes on her menus. “For cakes, dark chocolate with salted caramel filling is a very popular winter flavor.”

Save time for outside photos. “Brides should have a vintage wrap or fun boots to play up the cold-weather locale,” says Lori Stephenson.

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