It’s fascinating to see winter through the eyes of a photographer: today we’re talking about nature’s palettes and early sunsets – and you won’t want to miss this post if you’re having a winter wedding. There are practical considerations I’d never have thought of – as well as some lovely ideas (perfect excuse for a cashmere shawl?!) which will make your winter wedding everything it should be.
As a wedding blogger I see a ton of photography from weddings throughout the year. I also see the very best – and the very worst – photography. Some photographers can’t cope with winter weddings – and that’s a fact. My personal advice is to choose your photographer very carefully. Find someone (like today’s feature writer Sue) who can shoot in low light, without ruining your photos with flash, and who can capture the atmosphere of your winter wedding.
If finding a good wedding photographer is important for summer, it’s super essential for winter – trust me.
Sue Kwiatkowska is a Brighton wedding photographer experienced working in low light conditions. She’s written a brilliant advice article for winter brides and grooms, and I was so pleased when Sue said I could share it with you on the English Wedding Blog. The following five tips will help you get your winter wedding right. I hope you find them useful!
1) Get married at the right time of day – don’t leave it too late!
Once the clocks go back at the end of October, so the days get shorter and the nights draw in quicker. If you are planning to head off for photos of just the two of you after your ceremony that make the most of your surroundings bathed in winter’s cool light, then check sunset times and look to have your pictures taken with at least an hour to spare. If you are planning a ceremony for much later on in the day then you might want to consider a ‘first look’ pre-ceremony to take advantage of the available daylight. It is really easy to forget in the hustle and bustle leading up to the big day that in the middle of winter it will be dark by 4pm and natural light photographs will not be achievable after dusk.
Create a romantic atmosphere with twinkly lights and candles
If on the other hand you are planning to fully embrace the low light ambience of the season and work the available light into your photos then you can add a bit of drama and/or twinkle to proceedings by way of candles and fairylights. It is really important to check that the photographer you book for your winter wedding knows how to shoot in low light situations otherwise your photos could end up blurry, too dark or blasted out by harsh, direct flash.
2) Make the most of the chill and buy snuggly wraps and shawls!
A winter wedding gives you (and your guests!) a very good excuse to invest in a warm throw, shrug or cape to ward off the winter chill and really set the tone and feel of the day. Nothing says winter wedding quite like a luxurious cashmere throw or faux fur shrug slung over your shoulders. In fact why not go the whole 9 yards and get dressed up in velvet and add a hat to match! There is nothing more miserable than a shivering bride and, with the best will in the world, no amount of excitement, or whiskey chasers for that matter, will keep out the cold of a January day. Think practically girls and wrap up – you could be standing around outside for photos for longer than you think!
3) Prepare for every possible kind of weather
Summer weddings can of course be unpredictably stormy/wet/scorching hot but if you are getting married in winter then you will need to be even more relaxed about what the weather might throw your way! Bring along some umbrellas and wellie boots if it is wet as these can make for some fun shots and get you outside and around your venue for photos that might not otherwise be possible.
Muddy Jimmy Choo’s need to be avoided at all costs!
Snow on your wedding day can make for some truly beautiful portraits and its light diffusing qualities give a wonderful purity to your images so don’t be put off by the white stuff – pull on your snow boots and get out there!
4) Work with seasonal colour – late autumn or full on winter?
Winter brings with it a limited natural palette but if you are getting married on the cusp of autumn/winter you might be lucky enough to catch the end of the autumn season in all of its rustic glory.
Autumn makes for a fabulous back drop to your photos as do carpets of crunchy leaves.
Red berries and sparkly frost also bring the natural colours of the season firmly into play.
Your choice of flowers might not be as great as it is throughout the summer but rich winter colours like red and purple and seasonal greens can really add that warm, cosy feel to your wedding.
Bright bouquets can also add some much needed colour to a gloomy day and can really make photos pop.
Carry the theme through to your table pieces and room decor (even your bridesmaids and groomsmen’s outfits), throw in a tree or two if you are getting married over the festive period and you’ll be sure to get your guests in the Christmas mood.
5) Think about your reception venue lighting
Creative lighting really comes into its own at winter weddings when the days are short and the nights are long. The industrial style lighting wrapped around the beams at the barn wedding pictured below is a personal favourite and added a warm and rosy glow to the room.
Candles either simply placed on tables in wine bottles or magnificently displayed in candelabras can be used to great effect and fairy lights in my opinion can transform the dingiest of dark corners.
Be sure to check out the venue’s own lighting when you are scouting out places for your winter wedding.
Quirkier venues will no doubt have some creative takes on it like vintage style lampshades and custom designed signage. Grander venues often have entrance halls with magnificent chandeliers gracing the ceilings and often cleverly light up the outside of the building once dusk falls.