Planning a Winter Wedding in New Zealand

If you’re the sort of couple who likes to do things a little differently, a winter wedding could be the flash of brilliance you’re looking for. Imagine the freshness of an alpine location and venue in Queenstown or Wanaka, or the artistic possibilities of a lush native rainforest setting. Winter is also a time when you can go all-out with theming, because you don’t have to worry about getting overheated.

What to consider?

Planning a winter wedding comes with all the usual considerations, like location and catering, but it opens the door to extra creativity with styling. Here are seven top tips for designing and running an unforgettable winter wedding:

1. Explore imaginative themes & decor

A winter wedding is an excuse for a Game of Thrones wedding (winter is coming…). Imagine medieval-style dresses, knightly kits and attendant German shepherds as dire wolves! Another angle is a Narnia wedding in the snow. Or if you have Scottish ancestry, how about a Highland wedding with kilts and white dresses trimmed with tartan?

2. Embrace velvet and fun fur

Even if you don’t choose a specific theme, winter invites the use of luscious velvet, leather and fur. These fabrics aren’t compatible with summer events, so they will give your wedding a special point of difference. To put the finishing touch on character-filled winter wedding costumes, look for accessories at second-hand and vintage stores.

3. Twinkle in the twilight

Late afternoon in winter is a magical time for twinkly, glittery fabrics that look stunning in low-light conditions. You can extend this idea beyond the bridal party and ask the guests to wear something shiny or sparkly. When it’s time for dancing, your event will be dazzling in winter’s soft darkness.

4. Choose single venue simplicity

With a winter wedding, the weather will be whatever it’s going to be. So to avoid driving around in wet conditions, keep things simple by having your ceremony and reception at one place. Many catering venues can offer a picturesque spot for the nuptials, as well as plenty of space for the after-party.

5. Keep your guests warm and dry

It’s possible your guests will be exposed to lower temperatures and wet weather, so consider the need for brollies, rain ponchos and knee rugs. Maybe even gumboots…

6. Find and save visual ideas on Pinterest

The winter wedding theme has been thoroughly explored by brides around the world. You can see some of their ideas for dresses, theming, colour palettes, flowers, venue decorations and locations on Pinterest. Start your own Pinterest board, so that you can save the ideas that appeal to you.

7. Look for low-season discounts

A winter wedding could cost you less, because you can hunt for low-season discounts for venue, catering, accommodation and entertainment. There’s also a good chance you can negotiate a great deal on a wedding dress and suit hire, because demand is slower in the cooler months.

Is a winter wedding a good idea?

For a memorable wedding that stands out from the crowd, winter timing is inspired. Late summer and autumn have always been the most popular seasons for weddings, because many couples want outdoor photography and a party under the stars. However, the weather is never guaranteed. Many a Kiwi summer wedding has been rained out by the tail end of a tropical cyclone.

Choosing an indoor wedding in winter will reduce stress and give you a greater choice of venues. And if you’re craving a tropical honeymoon, the Pacific Islands are fantastic during NZ’s winter months.

How do you have a winter outdoor wedding?

While outdoor weddings are more common in the warmer months, an outdoor winter wedding is entirely possible if everyone’s dressed appropriately and armed with umbrellas. As they say in Scandinavia, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’. Give your guests instructions about how to dress and what to bring, so that they’ll avoid hypothermia and look good in the photographs.