Wedding Wonderlands

CTW Features

Winter weddings can be magical affairs with reception venues turned into glittery fantasy lands and snowy landscapes providing the ultimate romantic setting. If you’re tying the knot in a cold-weather locale, here are the trends you’ll want to know.

Gowns and Accessories

“For a winter gown, look for fabrics in satin, Mikado and denser laces to provide a bit of extra warmth without weighing down the dress or the bride,” says Catalina Maddox, bridal fashion director for David’s Bridal. She suggests considering styles beyond strapless – dresses with illusion necklines and sleeves. “Lace or tulle sleeves in various lengths are trending in designer collections and can be found in most any silhouette. Brides intent on strapless can add a trendy bolero for warmth, like the angora version Kate Middleton wore to her evening wedding reception. Faux-fur shrugs are another great option, says Maddox, and “add instant vintage style to slim charmeuse and lace gowns. Brides can finish off their winter look with a pair of delicate lace or shiny satin gloves for the ultimate in old Hollywood glamour.”

Color Palettes

Brides wanting an alternative to the traditional winter palette of silver and white should consider a range of pastels says Veronica Alexandra of Blue Ivy, a Boston event planning firm with clients throughout the country. “Light lavender, light berry, all the way to gray looks modern when combined with white.”

December brides, who want to forego holiday red and green, might opt for deep purple accents. “The eggplant tones which have been popular can go very rich and dark for a winter wedding,” Alexandra says. Sapphire, the jewel-bright hue popular in fall ready-to-wear, is likely to be another strong accent color for winter weddings, according to Lori Stephenson, of LOLA Event Productions in Chicago. “It’s a great alternative to red.”

Snowy winter palettes will remain front and center, with the freshest combinations involving tonal whites, “white and cream, and white plus ivory,” says Karen Pecora of Karen Pecora Events in Philadelphia.

Flowers and Reception Décor

Whether for bouquet or venue florals “white amaryllis, anemones, and tulips are beautiful winter flowers,” says, Emily Candee of Vine Floral & Event Design in New York City. She also likes snowberries, pussy willow, and birch bark for accent elements. The trend for mixing rich and varied textures in wedding flowers applies to table style as well. Look for lace overlays, shimmery shantung silks, and patterned runners, along with eclectic assortments of clear and silver vases filled with flowers, says Lori Stephenson. Berry stems and ornament balls can alternate with or substitute for flowers when budget is a factor.

For large spaces with soaring ceilings, consider arrangements that offer vertical drama. Karen Pecora likes tall branches of phalaenopsis orchids in high, clear cylinders or glitter branches with base clusters of white hydrangeas.

Reception menus. Warm, spiced wines can be a welcome addition to the cocktail hour during winter months. Add a soup course and “serve it in a great shooter glass,” says Lori Stephenson. Serve a late-night snack as dancing winds down for guests venturing into the cold – warm pies with ice cream, and anything hot and chocolate are sure to be popular. Also consider “a well-done coffee station,” says Beth Helmstetter of Beth Helmstetter Events in Los Angeles, “with mixers like Irish cream, Kahlua or peppermint schnapps, along with whipped cream and cinnamon sticks.”

Most planners don’t see a lot of seasonal variation with wedding cakes. In cold months, there might be a spice cake base or white chocolate elements to the frosting.

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