I always imagined I would have a winter wedding, even before I was engaged! When my now husband popped the question in December of 2014, I was thrilled because I knew we could have a year long engagement and get married squarely in the winter.
When we began planning, we both immediately loved the idea of a New Year’s Eve wedding. Every year we always scramble to find plans — why not throw a huge party for all of our loved ones, and get married at the same time?
Well, settling on the date was just the beginning, actually planning a holiday wedding is a bit more complicated. In the spirit of the countdown to midnight, these are my 10 tips to throwing a New Year’s Eve wedding.
10. New Year’s Eve is a popular date not just for weddings, but other events as well. Vendors book up for other parties, so make sure you quickly secure your team. You are not just competing with other weddings but parties of all shapes and sizes. We hired a fantastic wedding planner — Melissa at Uncommon Events — who quickly secured all of our vendors. Without her we would not have been able to get get married at Front and Palmer, or hire most of our other vendors.
9. New Year’s Eve is a transportation challenge. Think of your most recent New Year’s Eve plans — was it hard to find a cab, or avoid Uber surge pricing? The same will be true if it is your wedding night, so make sure that you plan transportation for your guests.
8. New Year’s Eve is a holiday — so that means there will extra expenses. Typically labor is time and half on holidays, plus your wedding will likely go past midnight which could mean additional charges. Make sure you budget for additional labor costs so they don’t sneak up on you.
7. Vendors go home for the holidays too. Many vendors will take off, or be extremely busy right before your wedding. Take a deep breath, your vendors will get back to you, but to avoid pre-wedding panic — speak with each vendor beforehand to get comfortable with their holiday plan and adjust your timeline accordingly.
6. Timing is everything. We wanted to make sure the reception was full steam at midnight, so we adjusted our timeline so we could party all night. Our ceremony started at 7 p.m., and cocktails at 8 p.m.. As long as you feed your guests as early as possible, the rest of the night can be more relaxed. But don’t wait until 11 p.m. to serve dinner or your guests won’t have enough energy to dance all night! We also had late night cheesesteaks (we got married in Philadelphia after all) so that guests would be able to recharge into the wee hours of the New Year.
5. New Year’s Eve weather is unpredictable! I know this might seem like an obvious point, but just like summer weddings contend with being hot or rainy, winter weddings are cold and could be snowy (unless you are getting married in a warm weather destination). We were lucky because our wedding day turned out to be a balmy 50 degrees and so we took a few photos outside, but make sure you have full indoor plans for every moment of your wedding day. You don’t want to freeze yourself or your guests!
4. Winter is not wedding season. This can be good and bad — since so many weddings take place in warmer months your wedding will stand out. However, flowers and other wedding elements can be out of season or at a premium. We decided to forgo flowers altogether, and have a candlelit reception so that we could allocated our budget into other aspects of our wedding.
3. Wear comfortable shoes. If you are having a New Year’s Eve wedding, then you probably love to dance. I ordered custom high-top sneakers the same height as my wedding shoes, so I could change into them and dance all night. I also changed into a shorter dress after midnight so I could really cut loose. Priorities!
2. Make midnight memorable! We worked with our band leader to ensure that the countdown was a high point of the night. The dance floor was raging, a champagne toast was brought out, and everyone kissed at midnight! What could be more romantic?!
1. You’ll never forget your anniversary! Celebrating your wedding and ringing in the New Year with all your loved ones is such a rush. I am so happy we got married on New Year’s Eve, despite some of the challenges. All our friends and family asked us what we were doing this year, hoping for another party! Although we will be celebrating our first anniversary just the two of us, I hope in the future we will make hosting New Year’s Eve a tradition to celebrate our marriage and the people we love.
Jennifer Spector is the Director of Brand Strategy and Newlywed-At-Large at Zola, the wedding registry that will do anything for love. At Zola you’ll find all the gifts, experiences, and funds you want, all in one place. We help people get more of their registry. Sign up today and receive $25 towards your registry.