BY TABATHA RENEGAR
Congratulations! You’re engaged and ready to get started on plans for a celebration that lets the world know you’ve found your perfect match and two lives will become one! Picking your wedding date is decision number one, and boy, it can be much more challenging than you might expect. And, because you and your fiancé met at a Christmas party, you’ve thought that a December wedding might be for you. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons to a holiday wedding.
Since I am a big fan of holiday weddings, let’s talk about the cons first, so we can move on to more inspiring thoughts!
Cons to Holiday Wedding Planning
- Weather — Unless you live in San Diego where I hear it’s perfect every single day of the year, this is a major factor to consider. July 4th? It could be a perfectly comfortable 76 degrees as the sun sets and the fireworks begin. Or, it could be sweltering with the added charm of a late afternoon thunderstorm. For a summer holiday wedding, the venue’s ability to provide comfortable spaces is key! Along with personalized bottled water and programs in the shape of fans.
Christmas time, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day — will Mother Nature gift you with a light dusting of snow that creates the perfect backdrop for your photos or will La Nina send 6” of the white stuff making travel difficult for you and your guests? What are your vendor’s policies on winter weather? Sure, the venue might be able to get one guy in to shovel the sidewalk and turn the heat up, but can your baker deliver a cake if the roads are questionable? These might not be deal breakers but planning a winter wedding means that you must have conversations about weather plans well in advance so that everyone is on the same page and comfortable with “Plan B.”
- Cost — You’re not the only one thinking about having what is essentially a big party during the holidays. You’re competing with family reunions, company holiday parties and the actual holiday itself. Don’t be surprised to find that some vendors may impose, with good reason, holiday surcharges. After all, you’re asking people to work for you on a holiday, so there may be a cost associated with that.
- Availability — For the same reasons listed above about the other events you’re competing with, do not delay on getting your arrangements firmed up well in advance of your wedding date. While some perfectly fabulous wedding celebrations can be planned in three to six months, a holiday wedding is typically going to work out much better with a full 12 months of coordination. And, if you are considering a venue with multiple ballrooms or event areas, be sure to ask what other events might be taking place while you are there. The last thing you need is some wild office Christmas party next door to your charming, peaceful, winter wonderland wedding reception!
- Plan It, Will They Come? — Let’s face it, we all know how quickly holiday calendars fill up and that traveling around just about any holiday, from Easter to Labor Day, can pose a challenge. So, before you have your heart set on that special date, take a short poll of your nearest and dearest to gauge their willingness to plan in advance and to add your celebration to a season that, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, creates stress.
Pros to Holiday Wedding Planning
- Décor — Half the work is done for you! Christmas? The wreaths are already on the windows, and there’s a stunning 12-foot tree in the lobby! Easter? Some of the most spectacular flowers are now in season, making them available and more affordable! Holidays offer a natural jumping off point for your décor and make it easier to incorporate charming details that can make your event design extra special. Just don’t over-do it! It is your wedding after all, and you don’t want it to feel like just another July 4th BBQ or New Year’s Eve party.
- Plan It, They Will Come! — In complete contrast to the con above, with plenty of notice and an adorable save-the-date card, your most beloved friends and family will be delighted to have an extra special reason to celebrate with you during the holidays! Maybe this will give them a chance to see you when they normally wouldn’t at the holidays? And, many of us have a few extra days off around a holiday, so that helps, too! As is the case with any wedding date you choose — holiday or otherwise — those that truly want to be there will find a way!
- Bon Appetit! — Almost all of the holidays celebrated in America have an expected culinary angle giving you a head start on the menu planning for your reception! I have even seen a very elegant summer reception featuring Chicago-style hot dogs because the groom was from the windy city, paired with Maryland crab cakes representing the bride! Who doesn’t love a hot dog in the summer? And what could be more enticing than a turkey dinner with all the fixin’s and a pie buffet when you don’t have to do any of the work? Similar to the décor, you might choose not to take the holiday tie-in to your menu to extremes, but it adds a warm touch.
- Suitable for Framing — The final pro to having a holiday wedding is your wedding album! Your professional photographer knows how to make the most of the holiday elements surrounding your big day and will capture images of the two of you that will bring joy to you and your family for years to come! After all, who isn’t a sucker for a happy couple in a horse-drawn carriage with candlelit windows and twinkly lights in the background? (And, don’t even get me started on faux-fur wraps and winter wedding gowns!)