I know, I know. We Canadians tend to think of wedding season as May - September, with the occasional fall wedding thrown in there because the colours are pretty. I get it, weather here is not at all guaranteed, and you're taking a risk if you go for an April or even a May wedding. Rain plans will be KEY, and you may find yourself sourcing a tent or moving the ceremony indoors if the forecast isn't cooperating.
One solution for Torontonians in love is to embrace our mostly dark, mostly cold climate by planning a winter wedding. I've always had a soft spot for winter weddings, and I get excited every time a client tells me that they're thinking of a date between December and March. Firstly because, odds are I have it available, and also because it's a little different.
If you aren't in the wedding industry, it might surprise you to learn that there are a few distinct reasons to consider a low-season celebration... Here's my top five reasons to consider a winter wedding date.
1) Availability of Venues and Vendors
If you are looking at a popular venue and are set on a June - August weekend date, you may find yourself booking 18 months to two years out. This can be a real downer if you want to tie the knot within a year or so of your engagement date. Most venues will have far more availability between December and April, so your odds of getting a Saturday or Sunday wedding date are much higher. Consider this option if you have a specific venue in mind! In addition, the vendors that you hire will likely have more flexibility to take you on as a client within a shorter timeline. It's more likely you'll be able to get your first choice team if you pick a low-season date.
As a wedding planner I'm ALWAYS focused on cost and getting the best possible deal for a client. Even if you don't have a specific budget in mind, it's always beneficial to be economical and make decisions that get you the most bang for your buck. Many venues offer great pricing on winter wedding packages since the dates are less popular. Your venue might waive the room rental fee or offer some other promotional inclusion when you book in the winter. It's most definitely worth considering a winter date for this reason alone.
3) Consider your Guests
Let's face it, when you are a certain age, a LOT of your friends are getting married all at the same time. There will be some summers that you're going to a wedding every couple of weekends for family and friends. I personally love weddings and (so far) haven't gotten enough, but they are tiring and expensive, both for wedding party and guests. It doesn't help that we tend to squish all weddings into one season. I would recommend considering a winter wedding because not too many other people in your circle will be having them. Your guests will probably be a little less wedding-worn, and the whole idea will be a little more novel. Think about early February - it's a drab time of year by any standard, and I for one would be THRILLED to be invited to a kick-ass party to liven up the season a little.
4) The Anniversary
This is snowballing (see what I did there?) off of point number 3, but having your anniversary at a cold, dark and holiday-less time of year definitely gives you an excuse to do something special to break up the long winter. An annual beach vacay in January or February is MORE than welcome, and I think an anniversary is a great excuse.
5) Hot Chocolate, Snow, Apple Cider, Cozy Sweaters...
Winter has it's downsides, but it's really beautiful in it's own way (especially if you get out of the city!) A retreat wedding in winter is SWOON worthy and can include so many unique experiences for your guests. Why not offer a winter-y excursion for the out-of-towners a couple of days before your wedding? Snow shoeing, skiing, ice wine tasting - the sky's the limit! For the wedding itself, there's no shortage of food and beverage upgrades like a hot chocolate bar (PRO TIP: make sure to offer Bailey's), apple cider, mulled wine, Beavertails, you name it! PLUS obviously make sure to incorporate gorgeous bridal accessories like a shrug or a wrap into your photos. If there's snow, grab some pics outside of your venue as well - it's cold for a minute, but they last forever.
I love winter weddings because they are thematic without being corny. There's an inherent coziness when all of your nearest and dearest have come inside from the cold to celebrate your love. To enhance, pick a venue with a fireplace and make sure to include LOTS of romantic candlelight, deep wintery hues and some hot bevvies to tie the whole thing together.
If you need a little help, we're currently booking month-of wedding planning clients for Winter 2020, and all wedding planning packages for Winter 2021.