Don't dismiss the cooler months for your wedding — Old Man Winter brings deep discounts and less competition for dates, as well as stunning scenery for photos and fun winter activities for you and your guests. How about exchanging vows in an ice chapel under the Northern Lights? Or taking a helicopter and saying "I do" on the side of a snowy mountain? Here are our picks for five of the coolest winter wedding destinations around the world.
The Swedish Ice Hotel (Jukkasjärvi, Sweden)
How about planning an intimate and unforgettable Arctic wedding at the Swedish Ice Hotel? Wrapped in furs, exchange vows in the Ice Church surrounded by walls and a ceiling made of snow and an altar and benches made of ice. At the Ice Hotel's restaurant, sup on traditional Arctic cuisine (think: reindeer and Arctic char!) prepared by a Michelin-trained chef at tables adorned with ice centerpieces engraved with your names. If you're lucky, you might be able to get your photographs taken under the dancing Northern Lights.
After a night of celebrating, cozy up with your spouse under reindeer skins in a suite sculpted from ice, or if you prefer, inside a warm Nordic chalet.
The Lodge at Glendorn (Bradford, Pennsylvania)
For a winter wonderland, book out The Lodge at Glendorn — a luxurious Relais and Chateaux nature resort set on 1,500 acres near the Allegheny National Forest. It's a dream in any season, but a winter wedding means a ton of activities for you and your guests to enjoy including snowshoeing, snowmobiling and rink-side bonfires with s'mores or a foamy pint of craft beer. Indoors, the suites and cabins radiate a warm glow from crackling fireplaces, which are best enjoyed with hearty comfort cuisine, winter cocktails, and steaming mugs of famed Glendorn hot chocolate.
Next to the lodge is The Forest Spa, a beautifully intimate spot to relax before the big day.
But the really special feature? The lodge can be completely transformed to fulfill your wildest wedding dreams, incorporating anything on the property. Imagine a snowy ceremony down by the old stables or overlooking the ice rink! Indoors, the dining room of tall redwood beams offers another lovely spot for ceremonies and receptions, and the billiards room is great for pre-reception cocktails.
Rogner Bad Blumau (Styria, Austria)
How about planning a winter wedding with built-in relaxation time? Situated in the idyllic Austrian countryside, Rogner Bad Blumau Resort and Spa offers a playground for you and your guests, gourmet fare for your reception, and a backdrop of snowy hills and whimsical, colorful buildings that are fabulous for photos. Before or after the wedding, soak in the warm outdoor pool fed by a volcanic spring, book a couples massage, snuggle by the roaring fireplaces, or lounge in the indoor and outdoor Finnish saunas with family and friends.
Talk about a stress-free event!
Llao Llao Hotel & Resort (Bariloche, Argentina)
This historic 1940s Patagonian lodge offers the perfect setting for dreamy winter weddings. Llao Llao Hotel and Resort is nestled in the foothills of the Andes and resembles a grand mountain lodge, complete with exposed cypress walls and oversized stone fireplaces. Aside from the breathtaking views of Lake Moreno and Mount Tronador, it's also a skier's paradise — Mount Catedral's world-famous ski hills are just 40 minutes away. After holding your ceremony and reception in one of the resort's stunning ballrooms, you and the gang can hit the snowy slopes!
Just remember: in the Southern Hemisphere, the winter season runs from June to August.
The Fairmont Banff Springs
Dubbed the "Castle in the Rockies," this historic Canadian hotel is surrounded by majestic mountains, turquoise lakes and plenty of wildlife in Banff National Park. Imagine sweeping glacier views in the backdrop while saying "I Do" in the spectacular Mt. Stephen Hall, renowned for its high ceiling, grand oak beams, stone floors and cathedral windows. Splurge and spend your wedding night in the Fairmont Banff Spring's Presidential Suite — the castle's stunning penthouse quarters are nestled in the highest tower and accessed only by a private glass elevator.
Looking for a little ceremony drama? Some couples opt for a scenic helicopter ride and exchange vows on the top of a nearby mountain, and then return to the hotel for an epic celebration.