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The Dos and Don’ts of Planning a Holiday Wedding

The holidays are here again – even if they’re going to be very different this year! And with the holidays come thoughts of holiday weddings. Perhaps you’re planning a small celebration this year or are putting everything into planning your nuptials for December 2021. Either way, there are pros and cons to saying ‘I do’ around any holiday. One of the best is how magical the whole season can be. Especially if there’s snow in the air! If you have your heart set on planning a holiday wedding, there are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind to make it extra special.

DO give guests plenty of notice. Keeping your guests informed is so important – especially at the moment! Place a link to CDC guidelines on your wedding website and provide details of the Coronavirus safety measures you are putting in place. Ideally, your guests should quarantine themselves before the event, and minimize transmission risk if traveling. If you’re looking ahead to 2021 and beyond, good communication (and a save the date) is still a must. People often make holiday plans well in advance, so it’s essential that you give them lots of notice that you’re planning a holiday wedding. That way, they’ll be able to plan accordingly.

DON’T expect everyone to be able to make it. Even with advance notice, some of your guests may have longstanding commitments or family traditions. Even in a normal year, this is particularly true if you’re planning a holiday wedding ON the actual holiday. Where usually you might expect about 10% of your guests to decline an invitation, that number usually jumps in December. Of course, this year some people may also choose not to attend out of safety concerns.

DO embrace seasonal details. There are lots of tasteful ways to include holiday décor at your wedding and one of the best is to keep it seasonal. Choose winter florals like poinsettias and calla lilies, or rustic winter elements like berries, pinecones, and sprigs of evergreen. And you can never have too many twinkle lights! If you’re getting married at a hotel, many of these details may already be planned and in place so ask!

DON’T go overboard with your theme or colors. The goal is to pay tribute to the festive season but in a tasteful and sophisticated way. It’s also very important that your wedding feels personal. For example, if you love a color that isn’t traditionally associated with this time of year, don’t be afraid to use it! It’s also a good idea to avoid too much holiday music at your reception, so you don’t create the feeling of an office holiday party instead of an elegant wedding.

DO treat guests to a seasonal cocktail. Cocktails are a great way to pay tribute to the season. For example, warming mulled cider, eggnog martinis decked with little candy canes or pomegranate spritzers. Serving pre-mixed signature cocktails butler-style is also a great way to avoid bar lines and practice social distancing.

DON’T forget the coat check! This is a thoughtful detail that’s sure to be appreciated at a winter wedding. Please note: coat checks are not recommended under COVID-19 safety guidelines but looking to the future, they may be options again.

DO make sure the venue and vendors you want are available. Many venues are closed for the holidays, have buyouts, or have their own events planned. Vendors may also take time off to be with their families during the holiday season, so make sure that you have all the key players lined up before you send out those save the dates.

DON’T forget a back-up plan! Winter weddings can be unpredictable in certain climates. For example, severe weather can affect transportation, heat lamp orders, and ceremony locations in unexpected weather. Make several solid back-up plans, but also be sure to invest in wedding insurance for those factors that are out of your control.

Are you considering a holiday wedding?


Images: John and Joseph Photography Inc.