Some people always imagine they'll have a winter wedding, even before they're engaged. If your partner happens to pop the question during the December holidays, you'll be conveniently set up for a year-long engagement that allows you to get married squarely in the winter. And, when you're deciding on a winter wedding date, there's always the prospect of throwing an awesome New Year's Eve wedding!
If year after year you and your friends scramble to find plans, why not throw a huge party for all of your loved ones and get married at the same time? But settling on the date is just the beginning—actually planning a holiday wedding is a bit more complicated. You'll have to keep in mind other plans your guests may have, greater travel expenses, unavailable vendors, and additional costs for holiday accommodations. Planning early and securing your spot at the venue is key, as is the timing of the event to ensure the party is at its peak when midnight rolls around.
In the spirit of the countdown to midnight, here are 10 tips for throwing a memorable New Year’s Eve wedding.
Book Your Vendors ASAP
It's no secret that New Year's Eve is a popular date for events. You aren't just competing with other weddings, but with NYE parties of all shapes and sizes. Vendors book up quickly for these events, so make sure you secure your team early. One way to make sure you book the venue and vendors you want is to hire a full-service wedding planner who can take care of everything for you.
Provide Transportation for Guests
Transportation on New Year's Eve is always a 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 on your wedding night, so make sure you plan transportation for your guests ahead of time.
Budget for Extra Holiday Costs
New Year’s Eve is a holiday—so that means there will be extra expenses. Typically, labor is time-and-a-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.
Talk to Vendors About Their Holiday Plans
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.
Pay Attention to Timing
You'll want to make sure the reception is full steam at midnight, so you should adjust your timeline so you and your guests can party all night. One possible timeline is a ceremony that starts at 7 p.m. followed by 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. Don’t wait until 11 p.m. to serve dinner, or your guests won’t have enough energy to dance all night! You should also provide a late-night snack so that guests can recharge and celebrate into the wee hours of the New Year.
Plan for Unpredictable Weather
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). If you're lucky enough that your wedding day turns out to be a balmy 50 degrees, take advantage and snap 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!
Expect a Few Off-Season Setbacks
Having a wedding in the off-season can be good and bad—since so many weddings take place in the warmer months, your wedding will stand out. However, flowers and other wedding elements can be out of season or at a premium. You should budget for the upcharges or plan for alternative décor.
Forgo flowers altogether and opt for something unique, like a candlelit reception, so that you can allocate your budget to other aspects of your wedding.
Turn Your Anniversary Into a New Year's Eve Tradition
Celebrating your wedding and ringing in the New Year with all your loved ones is such a rush, despite some of the challenges. Although you'll probably want to celebrate your first anniversary just the two of you, in the future, you can make hosting New Year’s Eve a tradition to celebrate your marriage and the people you love.