Like many couples who’ve been forced to postpone their wedding due to the pandemic, Emily Johnson and Zachary Reichenbach were not too happy when they had to move their date from May to March.
“I was very upset my wedding would no longer be the warm spring event I had envisioned for so long,” says Johnson. “These days, I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out ways to modify all the details to make everything, from the flowers to the décor, more winter-appropriate.”
Wedding postponements have resulted in many couples having to marry at a time of year that wasn’t part of their original planning, says Troy Williams of Simply Troy Lifestyle + Events, a California-based wedding and event planner. “But with some good insight, it’s easy to succeed and adapt.”
Here, 17 experts—from florists to bakers and fashion stylists—share their advice on how to do just that.
What to Consider If You're Going From Warm Weather to Cool Weather
Postponing your wedding from spring or summer into fall or winter? Check out these easy ways to tweak your details.
"I actually tell couples to stick with their primary palette, as there’s no reason to give up something they already love,” says Courtney Szymkiw, co-owner of Detroit Design Co. in Metro Detroit. “Simply add a few warm tones to your color story. If you were planning a spring wedding of blush, peach, and ivory, try including muted tones of toffee, mauve, or ochre. If you had a summer wedding of bright, punchy colors, add some rich shades of plum, navy, or emerald. These additions can be made by updating your table linen color or by incorporating your new color theme into your program or place cards.”
Emily Butler, owner of Karson Butler Events in Washington, D.C., recently took a color palette from a spring wedding and muted it for the fall. “Bright orange became muted rust, black became charcoal, and bright white became soft ivory.”
“I originally wanted the bright colors associated with spring and the beginning of summer incorporated into my wedding plans. But now with a winter wedding, I’m altering the palette to be a bit more neutral and include more greenery, blush pinks, and dusty blues,” says Emily Johnson.
Ambiance plays a big role in a cool-weather wedding. It’s all about creating the feeling of being warm, even if it’s cold and dreary outside. “Lean into bistro lighting, velvet-draped entries, and soft-seating vignettes,” adds Szymkiw.
You can also play with textures and patterns to add depth in the colder months, focusing on colors that accentuate the elements of the venue at that time of the year, suggests Israel Benyair, general manager, Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington, Connecticut. “During the colder months, we like to use a single metallic color, such as copper or brass, throughout our property.”
Luxurious textiles such as velvet, suede, leather, and faux fur make for great linen and napkin options at cold-weather celebrations, while seasonal foliage, including maple branches or evergreen boughs, can introduce rich textures to your cold-weather tablescape. Adding candlelight and layered elements such as mixed metallics or wood can also contribute to the visual warmth, adds Szymkiw.
“I encourage couples to embrace the season’s bounty as a way to manipulate their original vision,” says Leslie Price, owner of In Any Event in New York City, New York. “For example, they can incorporate seasonal fruits like pears and pomegranate into their floral tablescape to emphasize the time of year.”
Because weddings have become unconventional in terms of personal style, brides can be more creative if they need to tweak their wedding dress for a cooler season. “Add a bolero or sequin jacket, caplet, or shawl to keep you warm,” says Susan Moses, a celebrity stylist and author of "The Art of Dressing Curves." “Switch out a strappy shoe or sandal for a beautiful pair of white boots or booties. And consider gloves—fingerless, embroidered fabric or leather—which can be an elegant and effortless addition that’s both fashionable and functional.”
“My fiancé and I, along with our wedding party, have already paid in full for our attire. Depending on what the weather is going to be like, I’ll likely add some type of shawl so my bridesmaids don’t freeze,” says Johnson.
The groom can also opt for more seasonal colors when it comes to his shirt, tie, boutonniere, and cummerbund. “If it’s an outdoor affair, he should have a nice tailored coat on hand,” adds Moses. Simple adjustments, including tapping into more formal accessories like bow ties and scarves (in muted colors like deep burgundy, green, and blue), and unexpected fabrics (like suede and velvet), are easy ways to modify the groom and groomsmen’s look.
As for the rehearsal or after-party attire, check out wardrobe rental services like Rent the Runway, T.F. Finnigan, or Nova Octo, especially if you’re only going to wear the dress or suit once. “These companies have large selections of cocktail and gala pieces, plus many have extended their sizes along with their options for men,” shares Moses.
“Seasons in the flower industry have disappeared so couples can find pretty much any flower, at any time of the year, from across the world. For example, you can get peonies from New Zealand in November,” shares Jenya Tsybulskyi, owner of Jenya Flowers in New York City. “Plus, now is the time when many classic florals come into season, like ranunculuses, anemones, roses, dahlias, marigolds, amaryllis, and chrysanthemums.”
If you’re in love with your palette and don’t want to change it to match your new season, look to texture to provide seasonal cues, says Megan Gray, owner, Honey & Poppies. “For example, an earthy taupe and mauve palette can feel richer and a bit more rustic if executed with autumnal leaves and grasses.”
“For my spring wedding date, I wanted bouquets with blues, pinks, greens, and yellows. I’ll still use the same flowers I love, including peonies, just in softer hues. I originally did not want any white or ivory florals, but now I’ll be incorporating white roses or ranunculuses for a more neutral color scheme. I also plan to add some eucalyptus for a bit of greenery,” says Johnson.
Typically, cold weather blooms cost more than warm weather blooms. “If you aren’t able to increase your budget, ask your florist to add in less expensive blooms, such as standard roses, or simply reduce the size of your arrangements,” suggests Gray.
Consider adding ingredients like spiced apples, pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan pralines, bourbon, and spiced salted caramel to your cake profile along with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. “Buttercream remains stable longer in cooler temperatures, so why not accent one with intricate detailing, like Swiss dots, brushed embroidery, or bouquets of dark florals?” asks Randi Smith, owner, Sugar Euphoria in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
Moody hues are the perfect complement to winter weddings and these romantic tones can be carried over to your cake. “Consider a burgundy, emerald, or grey fondant overlay for your cake,” adds Smith. “I also love adding sweater-like textures to the cake design for an unexpected look and incorporate sugar paste berries and pine cones.” Cooler weather brings homemade, traditional desserts to mind. “Treats like apple pie shooters and mini pumpkin pies are crowd favorites and the perfect addition to a winter wedding’s dessert table,” suggests Smith.
Experts suggest embracing elevated comfort foods at this time of the year. “The tomato and basil bruschetta that was a great option in July can be replaced with a warm truffled goat cheese tart in November, along with passed mini mugs of soup or tiny grilled cheese sandwiches,” says Rachel Razowsky, senior sales consultant for Blue Plate Catering in Chicago. “One of our clients wanted a chicken pot pie station where we filled vol au vent shells with a creamy chicken pot pie filling, curried vegetables, along with lentil and autumn beef stews.”
Some simple side tweaks: Switch out rice for risotto, roasted fingerling potatoes for potato pave, quinoa salad for spiced sweet potatoes, asparagus for roasted brussels sprouts, and pattypan squash for roasted winter squash.
As guests enter your venue, welcome them with a tiered warm drink display. “There’s nothing like a hot toddy, warm apple cider, or even hot chocolate to make them feel at home,” notes Benyair. And be sure to adjust your wines, says Butler. “Cooler temps typically change people’s drinking patterns, so your wines should be swapped out accordingly. That fun rosé you planned for your summer soiree probably won’t be as popular for your winter wedding, as you’ll have more people drinking red wine.”
The light during the winter months, when the sun arcs lower in the sky, offers beautiful opportunities for photos all day,” says Amy Bunton, co-owner, Amy and Stuart Photography, in Studio City, California. Keep in mind though the sun sets early, between 4 p.m.and 5 p.m., so you’ll need to plan your pictures accordingly. Don’t be afraid to go outside and play in the snow, adds Vanessa Hicks, owner, Vanessa Hicks Photography in San Diego, California. “Capture the time of year with your pictures so you’ll always have those memories.”
Tents and heaters are a must when hosting outdoor weddings in cooler months, along with additional details like providing guests with blankets, mittens, hand warmers, or pashminas to add to their comfort level. “This doesn’t have to break the bank as Amazon has pashminas for under $3 each and Ikea is an amazing blanket source,” says Jacin Fitzgerald of Jacin Fitzgerald Events in Atlanta.
When temperatures drop, take advantage of clear tents—which can create a greenhouse effect during the summer months—to allow guests to dine under the stars. “Embrace the season with confetti poppers to mimic snow for the couple’s entrance or for amusement on the dance floor,” suggests Rea Owens-Byerly, owner of Rea Danielle Designs in Dallas. “And nothing says cool weather fun like a warm and cozy bonfire with marshmallows, chocolates, and mix-ins like candies or fresh fruit.”
What to Consider If You're Going from Cool Weather to Warm Weather
Postponing your wedding from fall or winter into spring or summer? Check out these easy ways to tweak your details.
“Many times, cool weather weddings have richer, moodier palettes, which can be easily updated by adjusting the color scale. Your fundamental colors are still there, just at a different value,” says Szmkiw. “If your autumn wedding had deep tones of rust, merlot, and navy, take your palette and desaturate the tones to a softer color story. Rust becomes peach, merlot becomes mauve, and navy becomes cornflower.” Agrees Price, “Warm weather weddings offer a broad choice of color palettes from soft pastels to bold and bright combinations, but transitioning from cold to warm doesn’t mean you have to change your look entirely—many colors, including navy or grey, cross seasons effortlessly.”
You can easily deconstruct your tablescape to visually lighten and brighten your wedding design, notes Szymkiw. “Remove the heaviness of linens and opt for a gauzy, sheer runner, thrown tousled and mussed across a raw wood or acrylic table. A peach table runner, matte mauve taper candles, and cornflower glass stemware immediately transport a cool-weather wedding into June. Break from the density of winter floral and foliage by leaning into colorful, garden-inspired bursts of flowers—such as ranunculuses, scabiosa, and anemones—to create an airy movement of dancing blooms within your centerpieces.
Most bridal gowns are made of seasonless fabrics—like lace, taffeta, silk, jersey, and tulle—so the material most likely won’t weigh you down if you suddenly have to shift to a warmer month. “The problem may be more about style, for example, a dress with long sleeves or a closed-up neck,” says Moses. “If this is the case, consult with a seamstress to make any adjustments or alterations.”
The key to modifying a winter gown to withstand a warm-weather ceremony sometimes involves removing a layer of tulle, adds Blaire Walsh, style director at Rent the Runway. Speaking of tulle, warmer weather brides might opt to shorten their veil length to keep things light.
The groom may have a more difficult adjustment, especially if his suit is made of heavier fabric like wool, notes Moses. “Most likely, he’ll need to rent or purchase a suit in a lighter fabric.” Adopt a lighter hue, such as beige, soft gray, or ivory, when it comes to the groom’s tie, cummerbund, and shoes. “If the groom is open to a more casual look, consider pants and a linen shirt and vest,” says Moses. The wedding party needs to follow the direction of the bride and the groom, whether that be a palette change or the addition of a coordinating accessory, so everyone is stylistically in unison. “Accessory trends for warmer weather ceremonies are more accepting of bright pops of color, which is an easy way to coordinate your wedding party,” notes Walsh.
“There are many local flowers in bloom at this time of year—including daffodils, tulips, orchids, poppies, and sweet peas—so there’s no need to look far for your florals,” notes Tsybulskyi. If you’re in love with your palette and don’t want to change it to match your new season, add spring textures to provide your seasonal cues, including wildflower blooms.
With so many flowers in bloom this time of year, you can also utilize in-season blooms to surprise guests. “Create a unique guest experience by having your florist host a flower bar during your cocktail hour or reception so guests can create miniature bouquets to take home with them when the night is over,” suggests Owens-Byerly.
“Seasonal fruits are readily available at this time, including berries and citrus, making it easier to source local produce for your cake,” says Smith. “Try a lemon cake with strawberry buttercream filling or a coconut cake with tart passion fruit filling.” Fondant is ideal for warmer weather because it acts as an insulator, preventing a cake’s interior from warming up too quickly. Use edible dust and paints to create vibrant motifs, including fun watercolor-like designs and ombré shading.
You can also decorate with fruit—think slices of oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. “I like to recreate spring flowers, like tulips and daffodils, out of gum paste when decorating cakes in the warmer months,” says Cassidy Budge Harrison, owner, Flour & Flourish in Orem, Utah.
Now’s the time to lighten up on most everything. “Instead of a heavy red wine on your beef, try a chimichurri sauce or a tomato relish,” says Razowsky. “One of our brides had her heart set on comfort food for her winter wedding. We reminded her summer also provides an opportunity for comfort meals, and included a grilled steak served with cornmeal-crusted leeks (fancy onion rings), served with green beans and charred cherry tomatoes, along with a barbecued chicken with a peach barbecue sauce and farmer's market corn.”
Vegetarian meals shine in warmer weather like quinoa stuffed piquillo pepper with legumes and tomato jam, and sushi is always refreshing in the heat. Some simple side tweaks: Switch out mashed potatoes for sweet corn succotash, braised kale for broccolini, squash or turnips for white asparagus. “We replace hot soups and bisques with lighter dishes like grilled watermelon salad with baby arugula and local feta cheese and grill the tips of asparagus and place them on a whipped goat cheese crostini,” adds Keith Sarasin, owner of New Hampshire-based The Farmers Dinner and author of "Farmers Dinner Cookbook: A Story in Every Bite."
Having your wedding in the summer means you can also bring out some playful desserts for your guests like popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, and key lime tarts, adds Smith.
You’ll need to reconsider your warm specialty cocktails and adapt them accordingly. Switch out your hot chocolate for a lemonade or iced tea stand, and your warm apple cider for popsicles made of champagne.
"Work with your venue to transform winter cocktails into summery delights," suggests Owens-Byerly. "If bourbon was featured in your specialty cocktail, opt for an icy bourbon rickey or bourbon strawberry iced tea instead of a hot toddy or a classic old fashioned. If you can’t let go of the idea of a boozy coffee station, swap it out for a boozy iced coffee cart.”
Also, take advantage of all of the fresh berries that are at your disposal during warmer months and include them at a mimosa or champagne bar, she suggests.
Heat and the quality of light all come into play during warmer months. “For comfort, we recommend couples schedule their photography twenty minutes before and ten minutes after sunset because summer light in the middle of the day can not only be quite harsh and unforgiving, but hot and uncomfortable as well,” notes Bunton. “During the warmer months, you’ll have more daylight to work with but the downside is you’ll have to wait longer for a sunset shot, which can shorten the length of your reception.”
Providing guests with hand fans, sun parasols, chilled hand towels or iced beverages upon arrival is always a good idea.“At a really hot July wedding, we put ice cold water in spray bottles and cheerily welcomed all the guests by spritzing them upon arrival with the refreshing water,” says Williams. “The guests laughed and loved the joyfulness as they were sprayed, and were grateful for a quick cool down.”
Take this idea to the next level by honoring your original date. “Just because your date changed from cold weather to warm doesn’t mean you can’t still rock the cold in a creative way,” says Fitzgerald, who suggests ice cones or a snow machine for an unexpected nod to colder weather.
But don't forget to embrace your new season, too. At warm weather weddings, flip flops are one way to ensure your guests will continue dancing throughout the night, adds Price. “Hopefully, by the time warm weather rolls around, we will all be dancing again!”