As December commences, a holiday spirit begins to consume our minds. Scents of peppermint and pine fill the air and we all anxiously await the season of celebration, joy, family, and togetherness. For some couples, it seems only natural to add to the merriment of the season by hosting a holiday wedding. So here are some things to consider when planning your holiday nuptials (or really any festive gathering).
The world is decorated
Michigan is (hopefully) already beautified with a blanket of snow. And even if it’s not, there’s still an extra sparkle in the air. Planters are filled with greens, wreaths hang on every door and most venues have a touch or two of holiday style.
As I recommend at any time of year, make sure your overall theme and color palette blend with the setting. Ask how the venue will be decorated and whether or not the décor is removable if it isn’t your particular style. It’s also a good idea to ask when the venue will be decorated and when those same decorations will be removed. I’ve worked with brides who were married in early November, which you would think would be more of an autumn wedding, however the reception site already had the mantles trimmed with garland and the trees lit in the background. And by January 2nd, the tinsel and mistletoe may or may not be gone.
Embrace the Season
While you don’t necessarily need to have a wedding that screams Christmas or New Years, subtle touches that nod towards the season will help set a celebratory tone for the event. Guests are already in a holiday frame of mind and there’s a good chance that somewhere throughout the night, evergreens will appear. Incorporate wintery and classic greens and flowers. Don’t be afraid to add a little extra sparkle. And holiday foods and seasonal treats are welcomed.
It gets dark early
December hosts the shortest day of the year. The majority of my summer soirées start around 4:00 – 4:30pm, followed by a 6pm cocktail reception, which makes photo opportunities in the perfectly golden sunset hour fit seamlessly into the evening. However, since it’s pretty dark by 4:30pm in December, you may need to shift your timeline. If you want outdoor pictures, it’s essential you do a first look prior to the wedding ceremony. Or you may have to break up the ceremony and reception in your day-of timeline, leaving a couple hour gap between the end of the ceremony and the start of cocktail hour – which really only works if your ceremony and reception are at separate locations.
But on the bright side (no pun intended!), the short days allow for a really romantic, intimate, cozy feeling for the night. The glow of candlelight can illuminate the space and you won’t have to wait until the end of the evening to put to use those beautiful café lights that you’ve so painstakingly strung across your reception space. I even once saw bridesmaids carry candles down the aisle, which might just be my favorite thing ever.
You could have a blizzard
I can’t really sugar coat this. There’s the possibility for inclement weather with any celebration, however, the possibility for difficult travel becomes much more real during Michigan’s winter months. Ask family and friends to plan on arriving early. Find hotels nearby and block out rooms for both the night before and after the wedding. Pack your snow boots, they’ll go perfectly under your wedding dress, and make sure you have something warm to drink.
Embrace the holiday season and the warm fuzzy feelings that are all around. It really is one of the most romantic times of year and whether we’re planning a grand gala or spending a quiet evening at home, we should all spend it with the ones we love.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Shelby is lead wedding planner, artistic director and floral heart behind The Day's Design. She delights in celebrating romantic, natural and fancy free occasions throughout Northern & West Michigan. When she's away from her design work, you'll find her at home with her hubby and two beautiful baby girls, daydreaming along the shores of Lake Michigan, strolling through local antique stores, picking wildflowers or blogging more about wedding and life adventures at The Day's Dream blog.