Winter weddings can be incredibly gorgeous, especially in the Rocky Mountains. With such epic glacial scenery so incredibly close to us, many couples opt for a wintery wedding. But before you jump on the bandwagon, be sure you know what you're getting in to.
1. Shorter days
Once the weather starts turning colder, inevitably the days get noticeably shorter as well. While you think this may not matter for your wedding, keep in mind that it does affect your wedding photos. If you are wanting to have a sunset ceremony overlooking the mountains, you might want to consider a first look. Because after dark the only photographs you'll be getting will involve dramatic artificial lighting either indoors or against a black night sky. If that's the look you're dreaming of, be sure to choose the right type of photographer - specifically one that specializes in dramatic lighting as a style. Then you can see samples of their lighting style and know exactly what you'll be getting on your wedding day.
For those of us that specialize in natural light photography, the best option is to either have an earlier ceremony to allow for a few hours of photographs before sunset or opt to have a first look, which allows you to get the photographs out of the way before the ceremony so you and your guests can go straight into the party after your I do's.
2. It's cold outside
No seriously. If you've never experienced a winter here or in the mountains, you really won't understand how incredibly cold it can get without warning. While this can be invigorating and make for some amazingly cozy indoor moments, it also means that special consideration needs to be made for the outdoor moments. When I mentioned allowing for a few hours of photographs, that is because on extremely cold winter days there is a lot of extra time spent dashing in and out of doors to warm up every few minutes. Not only does the wedding party need to stay un-frozen ;) but the camera gear needs a chance to warm up as well (not to mention our poor fingers!) This means we need to work fast and strategically to make the most of our time outdoors!
That leads into my next point, when planning your wedding party's attire, please please please take pity on the poor girls and get them some warm wraps (faux fur stoles or cozy blankets can be incredibly cute) and warm footwear. Cute fuzzy boots and long dresses can be perfect compliments to the snowy mountains and help keep the smiles on the faces of your bridesmaids!
One little tip I would suggest is getting a box of those little handwarming packets that heat up when you crack them. Give them to the girls to stick in their dresses, boots, and wrap around their bouquets. The guys can keep them in their pockets unless they're tough enough to rough it on their own. Either way, the girls will be so thankful!
Another idea is to pack thermoses of hot coffee, cocoa, or cider for everyone to sip on in between photos. All the extra caffeine and sugar is sure to keep the party going.
3. Driving & Accommodations
The last thing to keep in mind when planning a winter wedding, especially in the mountains is that driving conditions are subject to change. I would suggest planning for the wedding party and immediate family (not to mention the photographers!) to arrive at or near the venue the day before the wedding just in case a snowstorm comes in and travel is slowed down on the day of the wedding. Also, make sure there are backup accommodations for guests the night of the wedding in the event of a snowstorm so no one has to share a room!
While this isn't an exhaustive list, it should give you a few ideas of what to prepare for when you plan your winter wedding. If you aren't from this area, I would recommend consulting with an experienced planner who can advise you of any additional considerations specific to your chosen venue and area!