When most people picture their dream wedding, it usually involves a beautiful, sunny day, with guests dressed in their best summer outfits. We’re betting, in your mind, there isn’t a coat or jacket in sight; and no umbrellas, scarves or boots on snowy paths either. But summer is peak wedding season.
That usually means higher prices for venues and wedding suppliers, as well as competing for prime wedding dates. You might even have to settle for your second or third choices because the first one isn’t available. Well, there’s a way to bypass all that.
Because winter weddings can be beautiful and the perfect wedding you’ve always dreamed of, even if you have to make a few allowances for the season. Here’s what you need to know to plan a winter wedding in NYC.
We’re sure it comes as no surprise to you that there’s less light to go around in winter. The days are much shorter, meaning the mornings are darker and sunset comes a lot earlier, in the late afternoon. And we know you know that light is a photographer’s best friend, right?
Sure, we can use artificial light to good effect. We’re well trained in that. But there’s something about natural light that you just can’t emulate in any other way. So, it’s a shame to waste whatever you have of it at your winter wedding, right?
When it comes to your New York winter wedding, we need to get smart about when to plan some aspects of your day, to get the best light for your photographs.
We recommend including a first look for your winter wedding and planning it in before sundown. That way, we can make sure you get some beautiful couple shots of the two of you in all your finery before it gets too dark.
There’s something about winter light that has this beautiful softness to it. It would be a shame to miss out on that for your couple photos, which generally happen after the ceremony and other formal group shots. In the winter, that means after dark.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we stop shooting as soon as it gets dark. Like we said, we’re well trained in creating our own light using flashes and so on or working with the ambient light to create a mood. In fact, that’s worth pointing out. Winter weddings are great for creating a mood with candlelight or using lots of fairy lights to light up tables and scenes. So, go to town on the good lighting when you’re decorating your winter wedding!
There’s no getting away from it. Winter in New York City is cold. So, planning an outdoor wedding in the city in winter might not be the wisest move. Unless, of course, you want photographs of your frozen, blue friends and family trying to keep warm!
When it comes to a winter wedding, we’d recommend picking a warm indoor wedding venue where your guests can get comfortable. There are so many hidden gems in Brooklyn and Manhattan that can help you host your intimate New York winter wedding.
Of course, you shouldn’t let a thing like the cold stop you from having an outdoor ceremony if that’s what you want. Even wintery days in New York can be glorious with blue skies and sunshine. But having an indoor space where people can retire afterwards to warm up and thaw out will be very much appreciated by you and your guests.
If you decide to get wed indoors, there are so many beautiful options for you to choose from around NYC. And there are also plenty of venues that offer an outside option with the added bonus of heaters, which might be the best of both worlds if you ask us!
If you’re looking at a venue with an outside space, do ask them about heaters. If the venue doesn’t provide them, they may be able to give you some recommendations for where you can hire your own heaters. Believe us when we say those heaters would be really appreciated on your wintery wedding day!
On the subject of indoors and outdoors, and staying warm in icy temperatures, we should mention clothing for your New York winter wedding too.
Yes, we do recommend coats and jackets. But that doesn’t mean you can’t choose something amazing to compliment your wedding outfit too. We’ve got visions of gorgeous floor-length velvet coats or faux fur shawls to cover your shoulders. Embrace the winter and what that means for your wedding outfit!
And don’t forget shoe practicalities. We can’t imagine the horror of stepping into an icy puddle or ankle-deep snow in a pair of strappy sandals. So, save the skimpy shoes for indoors and get yourself something warmer and more protective for moving around outside.
When it comes to your wedding day, anything goes. The only actual limit is your imagination. So, if a morning wedding is something you can get on board with, that’s an excellent option for a winter wedding. It guarantees you’ll have plenty of daylight left after your ceremony for the family group shots and your couple photos. And then you can have an earlier evening party as the sun sets and incorporate fun things into it like fireworks or wedding sparkler shots.
Not everyone likes a late-night party. Maybe you’re the kind of couple who’d rather curl up under blankets in your bed rather than dancing until the early hours. In which case, this is the perfect option for you.
It’s worth mentioning that we might have a whole ton of inside knowledge when it comes to winter brunch weddings because that’s exactly what we did!
At the end of the day, it’s your day, and anything goes. Don’t feel you have to stick to the norm or what’s expected to have the kind of wedding you want.
We love the idea of winter-themed refreshments for your guests, too, to help warm them up. Hot apple cider, cocoa and warm eggnog are great alternatives to the usual champagne, and it’ll keep everyone feeling toasty and happy.
Okay, we’ve only made a brief mention of the weather so far, in respect of your clothes. But let’s be clear, winter weather isn’t the most predictable, and things can change pretty quickly. There’s always the chance that it could rain or snow. So, if you have any plans that involve the outdoors for your winter wedding, do make sure you’ve got a sound backup plan, just in case!
On the other side of things, if your heart is set on a beautiful snow-white wedding but, on the day, there’s no hint of a snowflake, don’t be disheartened. Go with it and enjoy the day for what it is… the day the two of you exchange your vows and start your married life together! It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t end up quite like you pictured. It’ll still be an incredible day, regardless.
We often have couples lamenting over the gray skies on their winter wedding in NYC. But our advice is this: Don’t worry, it’s totally okay! Yes, bright blue skies do look beautiful. But that often means there are no clouds, and the light can be a lot harsher, causing some serious issues with shadows on faces. In all honesty, a bit of a photographer’s nightmare at times! That’s not to say we don’t like blue skies, but we’re bigging up the gray ones right now. Go with us.
Gray skies usually create a much softer, more flattering light. And in our experience, that makes beautiful, flawless photographs. What can we say? We love a gray sky as much as a bright blue one, maybe even more so! Remember, the focus of your day is not going to be on the sky anyway. It’ll be the two of you and the love that surrounds you. And there’s no gray sky in all the world that’ll stop that from shining out in your photographs, we promise!
So, if a winter wedding sounds like it might be the right choice for the two of you and you’re looking for NYC winter wedding photographers who know their stuff, let’s chat! We’d love to hear all about your plans and share any winter wedding hints and tips with you that we can.
Hudson Valley wedding photographers capturing candid, authentic moments. Documenting elopements and wedding days in Westchester, the Catskills, and beyond. Available in Ulster County, Orange County, Dutchess County, and beyond. Wedding photographers based in Beacon, NY serving all throughout the Greater New York Area including Tarrytown, Hudson, Kingston, and more. Proudly serving LGBTQ+ couples.
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