Alexandra Macon, founder of the wedding website Over the Moon, knows just about everything there is to know about getting married in style. More and more, it feels like wedding season bleeds into holiday party season—in fact, she noted, fall has surpassed spring as the most popular time to tie the knot. But how do you get all of the details right when the weather outside might be downright frightful? We got her winter wedding tips and some of her favorite moments from Over the Moon’s cold-weather brides.
So, why do a winter wedding?
The period of time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day is very celebratory—there’s a reason why it’s also become known as “engagement season.” The cold weather and holiday parties all make it a romantic time of year. Logistically, you’re also a bit more likely to snag that hard to book venue, and potentially even get a price break when it comes to certain vendors. And last but not least, snowy weather can make for a beautiful backdrop in photos.
If you plan too close to the holidays, you may get more regrets than you bargained for. Try not to take this personally.
What’s the etiquette on planning a wedding on or near a holiday? Is a Thanksgiving weekend wedding ok?
It’s dicey. I think Thanksgiving weekend is fine if you’re having it in your hometown and inviting mostly local guests. Things get tricky when you start asking people from all over the country to drop everything and fly to some far-flung locale the weekend after Turkey Day.
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Any winter weddings that you look to for style inspiration? What did they really get right?
Lots! A few of my favorites:
The bride wore Valentino in the snow—enough said!
The bride wore a stunning long-sleeved lace dress by Danielle Frankel —I’m a big fan of her work. The couple was married by a close family friend in a traditional outdoor Jewish ceremony with a Chuppah covered in the bride’s grandfather’s tallit (the Jewish prayer shawl).
This was in 2010, pre-Instagram, so there was very little coverage, but Devon’s high-necked, open-backed dress is one that’s etched in my memory.
The flower girl looked so angelic carrying a basket covered in mountain moss. She wore a vintage dress that the bride’s aunt actually wore to a wedding when she was a flower girl 50 years prior and threw rose petals as she walked down the aisle.
After dinner and dancing at the Museum of Natural History, the bride changed into a fun, festive after-party dress that would also make for the perfect New Year’s Eve look.
They went for a forest theme, with green ribbon on the Christmas cracker, green edging on the Smythson invitations, and boutonnières made from berries and thistle .
They had a dream wedding dessert with carrot cake layers buttercream icing and berries bursting out of it.
Their wedding took place in May, but it was unexpectedly freezing due to a Nor’easter. She wore a long-sleeved lace dress by Pronovias that was very reminiscent of Grace Kelly, and I love the windswept photos outside of Rosecliff Mansion.
What types of flowers work for a winter wedding?
I love anemones and white ranunculus for a more wild feeling. For a formal vibe, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a simple baby’s breath bouquet. It’s just so classic and looks beautiful in winter.
How about cocktails?
I’ve always liked a Moscow Mule. It’s a vodka drink made with fizzy ginger beer, tangy line juice, and served in cold copper mugs. Nothing fussy—just a completely classic American cocktail. It’s fun, refreshing, and very festive!
What are some extra touches that can make a cold-weather wedding feel special for guests?
For Valerie Boster and Michael Macaulay’s wedding, Valerie created custom shawls in Michael’s family’s Scottish tartan as a nod to her new “clan.” They were embroidered with the family motto, “Dulce Periculum,” which translates to “Danger Is Sweet.” Perhaps it’s my love of all things Scottish, but I still think about them.
How do you nail a cold-weather bridal look without looking like you’ve piled on a million layers?
Channel Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn then—and Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle now. Sleeves can be incredibly chic. I also think The Nutcracker has lots of untapped winter wedding inspo!
What about for a bridesmaids look?
Any winter wedding mistakes that a bride-to-be should know to avoid?
Forgetting to take their guests comfort into account. Thinking about the day from the guest’s point of view is really the golden rule when it comes to wedding planning. Nothing has to be over the top, but they should never be forced to walk too far, be subjected to inclement weather, or go for too long without a drink in hand.
Velvet or silk: Both, but if I had to choose, silk.
Horse drawn carriage—cheesy or romantic? I think it can be romantic a la Carrie and Alexander Petrovsky in Central Park or Meghan Markle and Prince Harry riding through the streets of Windsor. It all depends on the setting and the styling.
Thank you notes should be sent within… Technically, you have a year, but I’m a big believe in crossing things off the ole to do list, so I say 6 months max.
Most iconic winter wedding of all time: Annie Banks in Father of the Bride. She got married on January 6th. It snowed, and they had swans waddling around the tulip border—remember?!