Published: 16 November 2023

Winter weddings can be the most magical and memorable occasions. When the sky is blue, the air fresh, the ground crisp beneath your feet, and the trees and plants bedecked with frost, the world seems sparkling and new. But if you’re planning an outdoor celebration, you have to be prepared for the fact that the British weather doesn’t always play ball! So, what precautions can you take to weather-proof your outdoor winter wedding?

Six Tips for Planning a Garden Wedding in Winter

1. Think about what you’re going to wear

OK, it’s your wedding, of course you’ve thought about what you’re going to wear! You’ve thought of nothing else for months! But you also have to think of the practicalities. While you’ve probably already realised that the all parties will need thicker clothing to keep you warm, have you thought about the length of the dresses worn by the bridal party? The length of veils and trails? Whether from frost or rain, in winter, the ground is likely to be wet, so long, flowing fabric is going to get wet too. So, think about hemlines, consider closed shoes. And if the forecast looks suspect, make a theme of it – matching wellies will always be memorable!

2. Be ready for rain

Rain might not be forecast, but it’s always best to be prepared. So, as well as organising a canopy in the garden, think about placing an umbrella stand in the car park, with enough large umbrellas for all of your guests to share. Or asking your ushers to be on umbrella duty, escorting your guests from their cars to the closest point of shelter. And remember, rain isn’t the end of the world. As long as you’re ready for it, you’ll be just fine!

3. No one likes to be cold

Outdoor weddings can be incredibly romantic, but many of your guests may struggle, being outside for a prolonged period of time. So, take this into account when planning. Make sure that your venue can provide outdoor heaters. And if they can’t, hire some. But also take other precautions. Place blankets on chairs for anyone who needs them. As well as champagne, offer hot chocolate, tea, and coffee. And provide a warm gazebo for guests to retreat to, if they really need to.

4. Think about food

Wedding breakfasts are typically light and delicate affairs. But do you really want that, outdoors in winter? Sometimes, something a little more robust can work better when it’s cold. And most venues will be happy to oblige, as long as you make your request with the catering team far enough in advance. In some cases, it can even be fun to run with the winter theme – along with your hot chocolate, hire a roast chestnut stand! Work with your food and decorations to create your very own winter wonderland.

5. Check your venue has a PA system available

It can be harder to make yourself heard in outdoor venues, especially if the rain is pouring down onto your marquee. Having a PA system will ensure that no one is straining to hear the speeches. And if your venue doesn’t have a PA system, talk to them about the logistics of hiring one to set up in the garden.

6. Prepare for the worst

If you’re dreaming of an outdoor wedding, having to change things can be disappointing. But if you select a venue that is able to move your celebrations indoors, like Holker Hall, you are covered for all eventualities. It may not become necessary. But if it does, and the winds are too strong to erect a marquee, or it’s -8°C and snowing, then you have a back-up plan.  

Outdoor winter weddings are wonderful for so many reasons. And your photographer will have a field day. But if you don’t take precautions and plan for the worst, you may not be able to enjoy the best possible day.

Find out more about holding your winter wedding in Holker Hall and gardens.