The Covid rollercoaster we've been on in the UK has made wedding planning really hard; lockdown 1.0, restrictions, further restrictions and lockdown 2.0, has meant couples have less time to plan their special day or have to change and adapt wedding plans at a moments notice. At the time of writing this blog post (25th November 2020), the second lockdown in the UK is coming to an end and we'll be going back to a three tiered system. Small wedding ceremonies for 15 guests will be permitted in all tiers and ceremonies and wedding receptions for 15 guests will be permitted in tiers one and two.
Couples determined to get married, come what may, will have days or weeks to make or re-arrange wedding plans. To speed up the process for those designing a short notice wedding, here's a few ideas of ways to decorate an intimate winter wedding ceremony.
Small weddings can be held in larger spaces, you don't need to find a new wedding venue or even a different room to hold your ceremony just because you have scaled your wedding guest list down. Visit the ceremony room or search for photos on the wedding venue's website and find a striking focal point; a fireplace, a full length window or under a statement light fitting and arrange your ceremony furniture around this. Think about the layout of the seating, the style of furniture and also the view your guests will have. Sometimes guests' view might be restricted at large weddings in long, narrow event spaces. Smaller weddings allow for the perfect arrangement of seating so no-one person's view is obstructed and your guests could feel more a special part of the ceremony of marriage or partnership. You don't have to seat guests in rows, one behind the other, instead, consider a semi circle seating arrangement or even 360 degree seating so everyone can see you take your vows.
Winter weddings are going to be darker than weddings in spring or summer. Even very light and airy rooms will be filled with cool light. Ditch the overhead lighting and concentrate on adding plenty of romantic, flickering candlelight. Candlelight is the quickest and easiest way to change the way your ceremony space is lit and adding candles will give a warm, cosy and inviting aesthetic for your guests, as well as looking great in your wedding photos too. When decorating your small winter wedding, you could line your church aisle or ceremony walkway with large floor standing lanterns, glass candle vases or hurricane vases and weave coloured glass votives into your table arrangements. When styling your reception, opt for tall dinner candles in metal or cut glass candlesticks on your reception tables or choose a statement lantern or five arm candelabra to elevate your tablescapes and make the room look even more special and luxurious.
If you've moved your wedding date once or twice already due to the coronavirus pandemic, you've probably had to go about planning your wedding in a different season to your original date. You might also be rethinking your colour palette if it was better suited to a spring or summer wedding. Most hues will work for winter weddings with the addition of accents in metallic colours or by adding warmer tones to your existing colour choice. Review what you have set in stone (bridesmaid gowns, grooms suit and venue decor) and talk to your florist and wedding stylist about adding additional hues into your palette or reworking completely according to what seasonal fresh flowers will be available. The latter is probably the simplest, however, both are an option. Make contact with your venue and ask about their plans for festive decor. They may be adding trees and garlanding to the event spaces so to ensure you get a consistent look or to design your wedding around, find out what will be in situ on your proposed date. Most venues tend to pick a neutral colour palette for Christmas in either champagne gold, silver or gold so it complements most wedding colour palettes and styles.
Winter weddings require you to plan for your guests comfort and warmth. If you are having your wedding ceremony outdoors or in a chilly village church you may want to supply some soft, warm blankets for sitting on or wraps for guests shoulders or laps. You could also plan to keep your ceremony relatively short and plan outdoor photos to be snapped quickly to avoid people standing in the elements too long and yourselves and your wedding photographer from getting cold! Neutral colours such as light grey, cream or white work can be hired from wedding prop hire companies locally and can be displayed in attractive baskets for your guests to pick up if needed. Alternatively you could place one across benches on rolled and tied with ribbon at each of the guests chairs. Some couples choose to purchase blankets and embroider with their initials and wedding date as a keepsake favour for guests to take home after the wedding. If you are hiring blankets for the day or giving them to guests, be sure to include some personalised signage so guests know whether to return them or to take them home.
However you choose to style your wedding, be sure to include only the things you love. Spend on elements are important to you and don't feel pressured to include elements that aren't essential or desirable to you both. Your budget may need to be reallocated to accommodate spends you hadn't expected or considered and you'll have less time to ponder; sometimes I think having less time to plan makes us better at making more decisive decision making and more proactive. If you're looking for ideas or have the ideas and need to source props and decor for styling your small winter wedding I'd love to hear from you. My dry hire service is ideal for those decorating weddings with the help of loved ones and is a simple and flexible option if you want to create a unique and stylish day without purchasing decor yourself. It's a sustainable way of decorating a wedding and means you can choose luxury items without the associated price tag.
To view the styling collection on my website click here