December 21, 2012
With all the talk of Christmas Entertainment at Events, we’ve not mentioned weddings much in the run up to Christmas – probably because there aren’t many brides who always dreamed of walking down the aisle to the sound of Noddy Holder crowing “It’s Chriiiiistmaaaaaas!” (Although, if you do – Wandering Hands do a pretty good Noddy.)
But while most people turn their thoughts to turkey, trees and presents, there are many couples planning their a Winter Wedding. To make sure we give as much thought to couples who choose to get married when the nights are long – we’ve asked a few of our favourite wedding industry experts to share their thoughts on creating the perfect Winter Wedding.
How do you generally start working with a couple who have a theme in mind?
Jemma Beattie - Head Wedding Planner at The Perfect Wedding Company: When a couple come to us with a theme, the first thing we would ask them to do is provide us with a mood board or collection of photos and ideas which helps us to visualize their vision. Sometimes when clients have lots of ideas, they tend to get carried away and want to include everything. The key to an effective theme is to stick to one main idea to avoid overload. The best advice would be to make sure you include something for all 5 senses.
Kelly - Director and Wedding Planner at the Bespoke Wedding Co: There isn’t always one route to developing a theme. Being a small company, I can tailor the approach to what I think works best for the particular couple. Often though we look at a combination of images from our past weddings, blogs, magazines to build up a visual picture of what we’re looking to achieve to make sure we’re along the right lines.
Bruce Russell - Wedding and Event Planner at By Bruce Russell: The first and most crucial step is to have a clear visual understanding of their theme – ideas, magazine references, online images – anything they can provide so that we are all on the same page. I can then take their ideas and piece them together so that everything flows well conceptually, operationally, and visually.
Sian Gray - Wedding Planner at ESC Weddings: We ask them lots of leading questions and show them photos from previous weddings to really understand what they are looking for and to understand their likes and dislikes. We then put together a mood board of the desired outcome so both parties have a clear direction of the look we are trying to create.
How do you think Winter/Christmas can play in to the theme of a wedding?
Jemma: The main thing with Winter/Christmas weddings is they lend perfectly to the romantic feeling of a wedding. Lots of twinkly lights and candles really help to set the mood of a romantic day. It also helps that people have different perspectives when it comes to Christmas; it can be big, bold and brightly coloured, or it can be romantic, sophisticated and elegant. And it doesn’t have to be all Christmas trees and baubles, the use of natural foliage with brightly coloured berries and roaring log fires can give that little hint of Christmas without making your wedding a Christmas themed one!
Kelly: Winter weddings are a favourite of mine because they are naturally conducive to lots of lighting since it’s dark for much longer each day. I’m a huge fan of the right kind of lighting for an event. It’s one of the most cost effective ways of making impact and transforming spaces with the likes of uplighting, pin spots and winter time is great to use fairylights, storm lanterns and masses of tealights to really create a warm atmosphere.
Bruce: The important element to remember with any theme is that less is more – don’t let it take over. I believe that subtle elements of Christmas or winter, such as colours, music, decorations, etc. can have a great impact. Go for classy, not tacky!
Sian: Winter and in particular Christmas can be a very romantic time. It’s all log fires and snuggling up indoors, spending time with loved ones and enjoying each other’s company. A winter wonderland theme can look beautiful as it is all white so works very well at a wedding.
Winter weddings bring with them a number of travel and logistical concerns, how do you prepare for adverse weather conditions?
Jemma: If you have family travelling a long distance, make arrangements for them to come down early and stay as close to the venue as possible. The same goes for any suppliers although this can be more difficult during the Christmas period as most will be busy with Christmas parties and other events.
Kelly: My view is that problems will occur but it’s how you deal with them and find a solution that sets you apart. In the case of weather, it’s about communication, checking with the venue and all suppliers involved what plans they have made in terms of access, clearing pathways and checking with suppliers that they allow extra time for travel and carry extra relevant kit with them to do their job. I know that the brilliant suppliers I work with time and again would always do their very best to attend a wedding. It’s also about speaking to the couple and encouraging them to have an open mind about any changes needed.
Bruce: Always plan ahead – plan to leave early, watch the weather reports and plan to arrive a few days before if travelling by air. Chose a venue that is easy to get to and close to rail links. You can be prepared and think you have it all covered, but at the end of the day, it’s down to Mother Nature.
Sian: Overseas and long distance guests should try to arrive a few days early for a wedding to ensure they are in the area. Any deliveries could be made early where possible and try to keep the ceremony & reception in the same venue rather than having to travel in-between
What’s the most memorable Winter/Christmas themed entertainment you’ve provided for a client?
Jemma: I used to work in a lovely big stately home and we had a Christmas wedding where the bride was desperate for snow on her wedding day. Needless to say that it didn’t happen so as a surprise the groom asked us to organised a snow machine for her. They set it up at the front of the Hall and it covered the entrance and they had some beautiful pictures that really looked like it was snowing heavily. She was thrilled and it really set the tone for the wedding with the huge big Christmas trees and log fires inside, it was truly magical.
Kelly: Probably the Santa on a sleigh pulled by a tractor that took the bride to the church! But on a slightly more conventional note, we’ve organised Carol singers to greet guests as they exited the church once after the ceremony. We’ve also had guests sing “The 12 Days of Christmas” table by table and a couple have their dance routine professionally choreographed to “All I want for Christmas is you”.
Bruce: This dates back a few years and was not in the UK, but we had two professional skaters perform on a small lake just outside the church – guests enjoyed a short performance before heading to the venue.