28 Festive Winter Wedding Ideas to Inspire Your Own Cold-Weather Celebration

affordable winter wedding ideas

James x Schulze

Summer and fall might be considered peak wedding season, but if you ask us, there's nothing quite as romantic as saying "I do" in the winter. From rich color palettes and cozy materials to seasonal florals and festive food and drink, winter weddings are brimming with opportunities to infuse the day with warmth and charm. And don't forget that a winter wedding does not need to also be a holiday-themed event—while red-and-green celebrations or glitzy metallic parties are certainly fun, they're far from your only options. You can absolutely throw a showstopping winter wedding without a single holiday motif.

Whether you choose to wear warm weather attire (nothing says chic like adding a faux fur coat to your bridal style!), serve signature cocktails that capture the spirit of the season, or go all-out with a snowy white color palette, there are so many wonderful ways to plan a winter wedding. Ahead, we're sharing our favorite ideas to consider for your own cold-weather celebration.

01 of 28

Dress in Warm Attire

Groom in Green Velvet Tuxedo and Bride in White Gown with Fur Wrap at Winter Wedding

Photo by Reem Photography

At this rustic winter wedding in Brooklyn, New York, the bride and groom dressed the part in warm, seasonally-appropriate attire. The groom chose a green velvet tuxedo while the bride paired her Pnina Tornai wedding dress with gloves and a cozy fur.

02 of 28

Don't Be Afraid to Get Outside

Becca Tobin and Husband Opening Champagne in the Snow During Winter Wedding

Photo by Carrie Patterson

When Glee star Becca Tobin married Zach Martin in Jackson Hole, the elated bride and groom made sure to embrace the season and the weather. If snow blankets your wedding venue on the big day, don't be scared to get outside—as evidenced by this couple's stunning photos, the backdrop will be absolutely epic.

03 of 28

Select a Fitting Venue

Red barn venue with seasonal greenery

Photo by Tec Petaja Photography

When choosing a venue for your winter nuptials, consider your preferred theme. Can you think of a space that will provide guests shelter from the cold? While a barn venue is perfect for a rustic aesthetic, a cozy ski lodge is just about as picturesque as it gets for a destination wedding in the mountains. If you want an enchanting backdrop for a December ceremony, a botanical garden—complete with a holiday light display—would be a magical choice.

04 of 28

Embrace the Weather

Floral backdrop for a winter wedding

Photo by Eric Kelley

Skip the humidity and sweltering heat by opting for a winter wonderland wedding. Trust us: Your hair and makeup will thank you. This ceremony took place at the top of Aspen Mountain—at an elevation of 1,212 feet amongst a picture-perfect snowy landscape. There, the happy couple stood before an arbor wrapped in greenery and copper-toned blooms.

05 of 28

Embrace Birch

Handmade paper escort cards placed in moss

Photo by Natalie Watson Photography

Natural details can help to create the feeling of a winter woodland forest. Handmade paper escort cards were finished with soft calligraphy and displayed on split birch logs, tucked among moss, grass, and branches.

06 of 28

Play Up Greenery

wreath plate charger

Photo by Abby Jiu Photography

Evergreen wreaths are winter mainstays, but using them in creative, unexpected ways will make them much more interesting elements of your winter wedding. Here, they serve as chargers on the reception tables and surround dinner plates.

07 of 28

Create a Cozy Backdrop

Bride and Groom Ceremony First Kiss With Fireplace Behind Them

Photo by James + Schulze

Flower-filled backdrops are ever-popular, but there's something undeniably cozy about saying "I do" in front of a roaring fire. At this winter wedding in Colorado, a fireplace flanked by lit Christmas trees was the perfect spot for the bride and groom to swap vows.

08 of 28

Decorate With Twinkle Lights

George Peabody Library wedding venue with fairy lights

Photo by Rachel May Photography

There's no doubt about it: Fairy lights make everything appear more magical, and that's especially true during the winter. Indoor or outdoor, a string of glistening twinkle lights can help set the tone for your nuptials. Consider dangling them from the ceiling, incorporating them into the tablescape décor, or stringing them into a majestic canopy at the reception.

09 of 28

Wear Long Sleeves

Bride and groom hold hands

Photo by Esther S Yi; Dress by Hayley Paige 

If you're getting married over the winter, don't skip a the long-sleeve wedding dress. From illusion sleeves to high-collared lace necklines, there's a dress silhouette for every bridal style.

10 of 28

Encourage Everyone to Dress the Part

Flower Girl Wearing Knitted Beanie Holding a Bouquet

Photo by James + Schulze

To stay warm at this winter wedding, everyone made sure to dress for the weather. The flower girls topped their delicate white dresses with jackets and knitted hats and gloves.

11 of 28

Decorate Your Cake With Seasonal Details

winter wedding cake with pine cones and cedar

Photo by James + Schulze

Winter wedding cakes don't need to be over the top to make a statement. This petite two-tiered, multi-flavored fondant cake, which was accented with aspen leaves and pine cones, drove the wintry theme home.

12 of 28

Make Your Space Cozy

winter wedding ceremony space

Photo by Carrie Patterson

Skip standard ceremony chairs and encourage guests to get cozy on blanket-covered benches. The simple décor allows the view to shine while also keeping loved ones comfortable.

13 of 28

Serve Festive Sips

Winter wedding cocktail with "Jingle Juice" tag

Photo by Abby Jiu Photography; Planning and Design by Lauryn Prattes

We're going to let you in on a little secret: Any signature cocktail feels festive when you give it a great name. Whether you choose to serve something seasonally-inspired or your go-to cocktail, naming your signature sips something cleve will make your celebration that much more fun.

14 of 28

Experiment with Dried Blooms

Dried flower boutonniere

Photo by Heather Payne Photography; Calligraphy by Brown Linen Design

The everlasting nature of dried flowers makes them fitting for a wintry celebration. While dried blooms are often used in the place setting, ceremony arch, and hanging installations, they also make great boutonnières. If you're looking for an alternative to flowers, try dried berries.

15 of 28

Showcase Seasonal Blooms

Ceremony reception escort cards and flowers

Photo by Carrie Patterson Photography

Flowers absolutely have a place at your winter wedding. Use them to adorn your reception space or to greet guests as they walk in. Who could say no to a stunning bouquet of blooms? The key here is selecting an arrangement of winters blooms (think: amaryllis, pomegranates, carnations, garden roses, and seasonal greenery) that match the aesthetic of your ceremony.

16 of 28

Consider a Muted Color Palette

Bridesmaids in mismatched grey dresses

Photo by Corrina Walker Photography

While winter weddings are often synonymous with rich jewel tones like emerald green and ruby red, don't be so quick to rule out a muted color palette. Imagine a lineup of slate gray bridesmaids' dresses against a snowy backdrop or an array of mismatched gowns in the color of your choosing (think along the lines of dusty blue and icy periwinkle).

17 of 28

Serve Up Hot Chocolate

Pour some sugar on me hot cocoa bar for outdoor winter wedding

Photo by Dawn Charles

Can you count the ways to serve up hot cocoa at your winter wedding? Think outside the box with a hot chocolate station bar stocked with homemade marshmallows, peppermint sticks, and whipped cream. Come cocktail hour, a signature frozen hot cocoa-inspired specialty drink is guaranteed to hit the spot.

18 of 28

Line the Aisle

Wedding aisle lined with greenery

Photo by Pat Furey Photography

Want to make a swanky entrance? This candle-lit aisle led to a stunning floral chuppah made up of roses, hydrangeas, garden roses, and white cherry blossoms. And that's not all. Ivory curtains parted to reveal an aisle edged in sprawling seasonal greenery.

19 of 28

Add Festive Touches

Festive cocktail napkins

Photo by Kate Headley; Planning and Design by Pineapple Productions

'Tis the season to add festive touches à la your wedding favors, décor, and even signature drinks. Something as simple as a plaid tablecloth, pine cone place cards, or customized napkins featuring fun wordplay can help to spread the holiday cheer. Set the tone for your reception with a celebratory drink such as a cranberry champagne cocktail or pink peppermint cocktail.

20 of 28

Add Layers of Velvet

Reception table setting clothed in velvet

Photo by Les Amis Photo

Velvet is not just for attire. This sumptuous fabric is beckoning for a prime spot in your reception table décor. At this wedding, simple wooden tables were topped with velvet runners, antique candlesticks with blue candles, and cups with figs and pomegranates.

21 of 28

Have a Champagne Tower

Winter wedding with a champagne tower

Photo by Logan Cole

Keep the bubbly flowing with none other than a champagne tower. Perhaps you're hosting a New Year's Eve wedding or maybe you're channeling a black-tie Gatsby-inspired affair. Either way, such a grandiose display at your reception is guaranteed to elicit a wow-worthy response from guests.

22 of 28

Set Up a DIY S'mores Station

DIY s'mores station at winter wedding

Photo by Dawn Charles

Variety is the spice of life... especially when it comes to the dessert table spread! For an outdoor reception, guests can gather around a fire pit and roast marshmallows on skewers. Escape freezing temperatures altogether by setting up a DIY s'mores bar stocked with graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows, and custom fillings.

23 of 28

Provide Blankets for Guests

Fluffy blankets provided for guests as a wedding favor

Photo by Simply Sarah Photography

Once the temperatures drop below 60 degrees, an extra layer (or two) may be in order to knock down the chill. Keep everyone in good spirits by offering fleece blankets as they arrive at the venue. Attendees will be able to snuggle up throughout the ceremony and then take the blankets home as a wedding favor.

24 of 28

Have the Bridesmaids Carry Greenery Wreaths

Bridesmaids dresses in red hold greenery wreaths

Photo by Dearheart Photos

For a classy Christmas wedding, have your bridesmaids coordinate their red dresses with greenery wreaths. Doing so will make for an unexpected touch that's seasonal but not overly fa-la-la-la. The bride shown here holds a bouquet of red flowers against a woodsy backdrop.

25 of 28

Embrace a Winter Color Palette

An all-white ceremony space transformed into a winter wonderland

Photo by This Modern Romance

There's nothing quite more magical than a winter wonderland theme inspired by a seasonal palette (and we're not just talking red and green). Give your venue an icy aesthetic by bringing in white-flowered trees, artificial snow, and modern lucite chairs. For a hint of color, weave in evergreen accents in the tablescape and escort cards.

26 of 28

Make a Fitting Escape

A gondola exit with bride and groom

Photo by James x Schulze; Planning by Soirée Telluride

Whether by a scenic gondola ride, a horse-drawn carriage, or a sleigh decked out in holiday cheer, be prepared to make a memorable exit. Your wedding send-off can be as epic as you want it to be. Ultimately, your venue will influence the method of transportation that you choose. While a gondola ride makes perfect sense for a ski resort wedding, a sleigh equipped with fleece blankets is fitting for a wedding set in the idyllic countryside (bonus points if it's snowing).

27 of 28

Choose a Seasonal Wedding Cake Flavor

Gingerbread with Pear Compote and Vanilla Buttercream Cake

Photo by Lindsay Skeans Photography 

Just as pumpkin spice is synonymous with fall, there's no shortage of seasonal cake flavors to take into consideration for your winter nuptials. This festive gingerbread with pear compote and vanilla buttercream cake from The Cake & The Giraffe not only looks exquisite, but its rich in flavor. Other flavor combos to consider include gingerbread and eggnog creme, chocolate peppermint, and chai spice.

28 of 28

Add Pine Cones and White Pine to Your Tables

Table decor featuring greenery, candles, and pine cones

 Photo by Kathrin Krok 

You can bring the outdoors in at a winter wedding. When incorporated into the tablescape, decorations, and even escort cards, pine cones and white pine—two ultra-classic winter decorations—can serve as chic accents. You can DIY glistening snow-covered pine cones or opt for a more natural look by incorporating them into a garland runner.

more in

The Ultimate Guide to Winter Weddings

Related Stories