So you feel that you’re well organised in your wedding planning. Venue sorted. Wedding dress – tick. Invitations ordered. Reception styling in hand. But have you considered the weather?  The different seasons bring their own challenges and possibly none more than winter.

To keep your guests happy and comfortable you need to plan ahead for bad weather and in winter it may well be cold, wet and chilly (and even snowy).

Keeping the chill away

If you’re having a ceremony in church, remember that some large churches (and small country ones too) can have heating that’s a bit sparse. Talk to the vicar beforehand and check out the heating arrangements. If necessary you might need to offer to pay a bit more upfront to ensure that the space is toasty warm when your guests arrive. Ask for the heating to be put on well in advance of your wedding, not just half an hour beforehand.

If that’s not possible, put some rugs and blankets out for people to wrap over their knees (this will be particularly appreciated by the elderly). Walking into a warm church will instantly create a welcoming atmosphere – it’s hard to relax and enjoy yourself when you’re freezing cold.

Icy weather

Think about the paths leading up to your wedding venue and have an inspection beforehand. If there’s a thick frost about, put somebody in charge of spreading gravel or road salt on the path leading up to the doorway so that guests – particularly women in heels – don’t slip and slide en route.

And if your wedding is in the middle of the countryside, perhaps give people maps on the best way to get there. Sat Navs can be unreliable and send people up farm tracks instead of the right way – and farm tracks are a good place to get stuck in mud and snow!

Older guests may appreciate having a lift to and from the ceremony to avoid driving – particularly at night. This is something the best man and his team can organise so ensure that they know who are the oldies amongst the invited so they can lend a hand.

Drinks on arrival

When your guests arrive at the wedding reception remember that you don’t just have to offer cold champagne, wine or soft drinks. Why not serve spicy mulled wine to warm chilled fingers or hot chocolate? It adds a special, thoughtful touch to the start of festivities and people will appreciate it.

Remember if you’re having a receiving line to start it within the front door. You don’t want guests queuing outside getting chilled (and possibly wet). Again, ask the ushers to escort any old people to the door – offering a steadying arm if necessary and maybe an umbrella to shelter under if it’s raining or snowing.

The path to your reception should be well lit so that any slippery obstacles or large puddles can be avoided. Lanterns work well for this – one of our Ambience Venue Stylists would be able to source them.

The trick is to imagine that you are one of your guests and know how you would want to be treated. In the days and weeks leading up to your wedding day, visit your venue to see if there are any cold spots. Talk to the venue co-ordinators about heating. Can curtains be drawn? Female guests at weddings – particularly evening events – tend to wear strapless or short sleeved dresses – so they’re more likely to feel the cold.

Don’t have lengthy photograph sessions outside with guests either – try and get the bulk of your photography done inside the venue to keep everyone warm and comfortable (including you and the bridegroom).

What to eat

Food in winter needs to be comfortable, sustaining and satisfying. It’s best to forget about salads, cold buffets and ice cream based puddings. Instead embrace all that the season has to offer. Serve hot soups, stews and you could have a hot dessert table with crumbles and custard, warm donuts, pop corn and maybe a chocolate fountain.

Time to go home

The best man should be in charge of organising taxis to get people safely home – and if you’re marrying at a weekend when taxis are busy, it’s best to book these in advance. He and the ushers should offer to see guests to their cars if required, armed with a torch to show the way.

Again, paths should be checked – particularly if a frost has settled or it’s snowed again.

It’s all about comfort

Winter is a wonderful time of year in which to marry and if you follow the advice above you’ll have happy and relaxed guests who are all set to have a great time. Spend a bit of time thinking through what you should be doing to make that happen and you will have the wedding you want.

And remember, our stylists can create a perfect winter venue for you – using colours, accessories and lighting – so ask their advice and see what they have to say about marrying in cold weather.