A guide to planning a winter wedding!
So after a chilly winter I thought it was the perfect time to write a guide helping couples plan a winter wedding. There's a few things to consider when planning a wedding between Nov-Feb that don't apply when planning a summer weddings, especially from a photographic perspective and I wanted to write a bit about how to get the most out of your wedding day. All photos from Ross & Tara's December wedding.
The weather in England is unpredictable at the best of times but especially in winter it has been known to cause some serious disruptions. When people think of a winter wedding they think beautiful snowy backdrops, but in reality torrential rain, strong winds, icy roads and snowed-in cars can often be more likely. Making sure you have an indoor space for your ceremony & reception is a MUST - even if the weather's clear it's still bloody cold!
Timings are absolutely key when planning a winter wedding, as the best photos revolve around the light. Having an earlier ceremony (1pm is perfect) is a great way to make sure you get some photographs in the natural light. The sun sets about 4pm so it gives you about 2 hours for couple photos, formals, and plenty of lovely guest candids too. Getting dark earlier can also be a bonus though if you're after sparkler shots, fireworks or love the idea of outdoor fires at your wedding!
Wrap up warm!
Really stress to your guests that it might be cold - I know it seems obvious but so often I turn up to weddings and everyone is totally underdressed! If you having any areas outside or there's a slight walk between venues strongly suggest sensible footwear - or even wellies! And the same advice goes for you too as well, I advise having a dress you don't mind getting a bit mucky if you want some more adventurers outdoors couple photos too. A winter wedding is the perfect occasion for a faux-fur jacket!
The good news is there are lots of beautiful winter wedding venues around Shropshire and the UK! Make sure the venue has good heating, and if it's an old barn or venue that's prone to getting cold that they have extra heaters. If you are having a marquee or tipi wedding make sure you hire in some proper hot air blower heaters too! It's surprisingly exactly how chilly it can get, especially if your guests aren't wrapped up enough. Picking a venue with a nice light ceremony room is a good idea too, so that your photographer won't need to use flash during one of the most intimate and personal parts of the day.
Colours & Decoration
Colder months are such a good opportunity to explore those wintery colours like dark greens, reds, golds and other metallics. When decorating your venue or thinking about backdrops try and use light as much as possible - festoon lights look SO good in photos! Avoid coloured lights though as these tinge your guests faces and mean you'll end up with green photos!
Choose a professional photographer with winter wedding experience
Having a photography good with and on and camera flash skills is MUST. Winter weddings acn be much more challenging to shoot and even if someone has experience shoots in August that doesn't mean they can necessarily handle a winter wedding. There is so much scope for creativity with use of fairy lights, reflections, festoons etc. so go with someone who you know can do a good job whatever the weather. Also trust your photographer when it comes to asking advice for timings, locations and back up plans - it's part of the service you're paying for!
Definitely make sure you have wedding insurance. I suggest this to ALL my couples as you just never know what might go wrong, but in a season where there are storms, snow blockages and other delays it really pays be covered if worst comes to worst.
Back Up Plans
Having a back up plan in place might be a good idea, for example if I am shooting a wedding (especially if not local) and I am worried about the weather I'll make sure I have another photographer on standby just in case the absolute worst case scenario happens and I couldn't make it. if you're getting married at a rural location do the suppliers all know this and have similiar Plan B's?
It will also mean being flexible with backdrops and timings, for example if I'm scheduled to do the formals at 2pm but it's hailing then I'll say push it back till 2.30 when it might have stopped. A it of fluidity is needed on the day to get the best results, and for this I would say definitely trust the supplier you're working with.
And if you're looking for a winter wedding photographer in Shropshire please don't hesitate to get in touch!