Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings


Later this week, we thought we’d dive into the how-to-pick-a-date wedding dilemma. But to get started, we thought we’d talk about the ways that an off-season wedding can be rad. One of the most fantastic ways to not sell the family farm to have a wedding is, of course, to pick a slightly less popular time for your wedding. It turns out that those times can have unexpected gifts. I’ve written about the wonderful things about having a morning wedding, and today Cindy is here to write about the joys of the winter wedding. Both David and I have parents with anniversaries in December, and our families are huge fans of the winter wedding (my mom will tell you, “The church was still decorated for Christmas. Amazing decorations for free! Do it!”) So I’m thrilled that Cindy is here to share her winter-wedding-empowerment. You’ll remember her from her post about how you WILL remember your wedding, her inspiring Reclaiming Wife, and her post about choosing to stay mostly at home. And now she’s here, doing winter weddings. Here we go:

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

I always pictured myself an autumn bride, but, because of the nature of Matt’s work (he owns a lighting production company), we had two months to choose from: August or January. I chose January because I did not want to be a sweaty bride, and it turned out to be so wildly awesome, I’m glad it ended up happening this way!

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

We figured this timing would work great because January is typically a slow season in the industry but little did we know the political event of the century and the Ravens/Steelers championship game would be happening that very same weekend. Oh, and we’d have a cold snap with temperatures down in the single digits.

Oh well, the show must go on!

Matt spent the entire week before our wedding working 16-hour days getting shows ready for inaugural events. Then, we found out the NFL Eastern conference championship game (whatever you call it) was on our wedding day and our hometown was in it! Oh, and then Matt got sick the day of our rehearsal dinner because he was overworked and was sick on the day of our wedding! Did he care? Nope. He put on his tux and met me at the altar sucking on a Ricola.

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

Lesson learned? Plan all you want, right down to the tiniest detail thinking you’ve got it in the clear but something will always go a little awry. Does it matter? H*ll no, because your friends and family love you and they will BE THERE.

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

Your overworked, sick fiance? He will BE THERE, and you’ll get married and it will be awesome.

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

So, with that little bit of background, here are some major bonuses for winter weddings:

    1. Honeymoon deals, especially if you love the snow! We went to Winter Park, Colorado, and our timing worked out so that we got buy-two-get-one at the ski-in-ski-out lodge. We had so much fun cuddling by the fire and chasing each other all over the mountain and being active. Hot tubs, beer, and truckloads of snow!
    2. BIG savings on reception venues. We saved thousands of dollars because we got married on a Sunday in January. We didn’t even have to ask, we just did. We were so stoked that we were able to afford the location we really wanted because we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

    1. You get to wear fun tights, or knee highs, or even leg warmers (one of my bridesmaids wore leg warmers and it was awesome)! I think these things should totally become the next fashion statements for weddings!

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

    1. You can wear fur or a fun wrap! I wore my great grandmother’s fur, which was warm and cozy and just so perfectly me, and it was my way of paying tribute to those that had past without calling too much attention to it.
    2. People will come, even from Southern California, they will come. They will come when it is 8 degrees outside with a wind chill of -5 and they will not care. They will come in the ice and snow and they will party like rock stars and they won’t care that they can’t feel their toes and that their noses are running all over the place.

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

    1. You get to have a big, warm breakfast the morning of your wedding! I got up at 6:00 and cooked breakfast for a bunch of my friends and it was the highlight of my day having everyone there with me, hanging out in their pajamas chowing down on eggs and bacon and coffee cake like it was just another day but deep down we were all so effin’ excited!
    2. Winter ales! Glorious, wondrous, winter ales!
    3. Spiced cider! Coffee!
    4. Warm, toasty artisan breads and piping hot meats and vegetables!
    5. When picking a dress, I opted for one without a train, which was so light and free and I didn’t have to worry about it dragging it through any possible snow slush and muck. Bonus? Matt picked the dress out of three that I liked. It was nice to let him be a part of “how he would see me” on that day.
    6. Since it’s winter, flowers are limited without importing and costing a fortune, so I got creative with our centerpieces. I also wore a corsage so that I could keep my flowers with me all night and when the night was over I zinged it into the crowd for anyone to catch. Go figure the only single girl in the crowd would. Fate?

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

    1. People will dance because they want to warm up. I mean it. Even my DAD danced. If you knew my dad, you know that this would be considered a miracle.
    2. Legitimate reason to wear a tuxedo. I’m such a sucker for a sharp-dressed man and a winter wedding simply screams, “Go formal!” Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

    1. The possibility of snow! We had a one-day break between our wedding and honeymoon and it snowed that day. We were out and about and smiling and holding hands and throwing snowballs at each other and were just so f*cking happy! I even made a snow angel and Matt drew horns on it. It was such a perfectly wonderful thing to wake up to and to spend out day moseying about in and barreling through the snow in our ancient Subaru. We still have that car and can’t bear to part with it!
    2. And the best thing for me, every year, during what could be considered the dreary, long, cold winter, I get to snuggle up to my love and say, “Happy anniversary. Do you remember how sick you were? And when Meg walked into the bathroom and my aunt was standing in there with her ass exposed for anyone to see? And all of the champagne in the limo and taking those pictures outside at night with my brother holding the flash umbrella and we are all so hysterical with laughter none of the pictures turned out?”

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

But best of all, it just ended up being so perfectly and wonderfully us. It was a great cure for the winter blues and every year when the weather starts getting cold, I think about our wedding day and it fills my heart with joy. It’s a reminder that through the long, dark days, Matt will stay by my side and me by his. I’m a lucky girl.

Cindy & Matt & The Joy of Winter Weddings | A Practical Wedding

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  • http://strawberriesinparis.com Elizabeth

    That looks like a sweet wedding to me!! So where in Baltimore was it held?

    • http://www.unrelatedsidenote.com Cindy

      Elkridge Furnace Inn

      • http://strawberriesinparis.com Elizabeth

        Ah ha! I thought so! My cousin is getting married there on July 3rd this summer and I’m the maid of honor! So excited!

  • http://akc09.livejournal.com Annie in LA

    Love this!!

    We’re still technically trying to pick a date, and I feel like a big wimp for thinking “Ohhh, but what if October in southern California is too *cold?*…”

    HA.

    Seeing the rockin’, full-of-fun wedding you guys pulled off in single-digit weather, I’m officially throwing any temperature-related worries out the window. Right. Now.

    • TheArchaeologist

      We picked October in socal because that is *normally* one of the warmest months of the year here! Turns out that October 2010 was the first time in YEARS that it was overcast and drizzly for the whole month and set all kinds of records. We were planning for fires and the Santa Anas…go figure!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    This is what I needed this week – more winter weddings to remind me of mine when so many other things in my life are not going the way I wanted them to. Yea winter!!

    I also loved that I wasn’t a sweaty bride. I can’t imagine wearing the 20 pound wedding dresses in the summer with all those layers and the heat. That is not my style.

    And I love that the fur you wore wasn’t white. My coat was black and I think the photos looks better for it.

    And of course the wonder that is tights. And long underwear. Nothing says sexy like taking off your wedding dress and having long undies on underneath. ;)

  • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

    i frickin love the spirit of this post.

    my parents have an anniversary in january, and planning an anniversary party was so much fun, i almost wished we had a winter wedding.

    (i kinda wanna know the story about your butt-nekkid aunt in the ladies room…)

    • http://www.unrelatedsidenote.com Cindy

      Apparently the stall was out of toilet paper and she walked out, into the next stall, pants around her ankles, bent over, got some paper, and walked back. Classic.

      • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

        i was sure only people in MY family did that stuff.

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

    This is such a killer argument for a winter wedding, even I’m convinced and my fingers and toes turn blue in anything under 40°F! (Yes, I’m currently being slowly murdered by NYC’s temps in the teens today.) And reading about you thinking about your anniversary has officially made my winter a little bit warmer! :-D

    (Can’t wait to hear about the picking-a-date-dilemma later on as we just settled on one last week. We were of the find-a-venue-before-picking-a-date mindset, and it baffled people.)

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

    awww I did not expect to get choked up over this but that last paragraph really got me. this was an amazing post, thanks so much for coming back Cindy! always great to hear from you. :) I do love a winter wedding, it’s so true that it’s a bright spot in a dreary time of year.

    Incidentally, you don’t even have to have a “winter” wedding to get off-season rates. We got married in March and still got a great discount on everything (although it may have been even cheaper had we had it in January). We thought it was likely to be cold that weekend (March in the DC area is unpredictable but often rainy and cold), but it turned out to be a gloriously sunny and warm day.

    • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

      Also, “off-season” can mean different months in different places. We had an August wedding in Atlanta and it was considered “off-season” by some of our vendors because it’s hot as hell then.

      • Morgan

        In Calgary, March is winter. Hell, May is often Winter up here…

        • Brenda H

          Haha, yes! I’m from Edmonton and busy hoping our snow will melt by the end of April…

  • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

    1. These posts are making me want to get married again in the middle of a snowstorm. (Somehow, though, I don’t think my husband is going to be up for that…)

    2. “People will come, even from Southern California, they will come. They will come when it is 8 degrees outside with a wind chill of -5 and they will not care.” THIS. The WIC sells us so much nonsense about how if we get married a) over a holiday, b) when it’s too cold, c) when it’s too hot, d) during the Super Bowl, e) without the planets aligning just so, we will be DOOMED and NO ONE WILL SHOW UP. Eff that. People who love you will move heaven and earth to show up. (And they will not resent doing so.)

  • KateW

    We just got married on January 15th of this year — which was in the middle of a cold snap (we’re in Florida, and our reception was outdoors) and also the day the Steelers played the Ravens for the right to play in the AFC Championship. My husband’s family has been notorious in the past for leaving wedding receptions and other family events to watch Notre Dame or the Steelers, and I’ll admit, I was worried about the same thing happening to us.

    But you know what? We rented heaters at the last minute, and the weather ended up being so gorgeous we hardly needed them. We had the DJ keep everyone updated with the score. The groomsmen all grabbed their Terrible Towels and waved them at every opportunity. People went in and out between our venue and a bar across the street showing the game, and I didn’t even know about it until the next day. We changed our last dance from “The Best is Yet to Come” to “Renegade,” which got literally every person there out on the dance floor, and now I can’t hear that song without grinning like a fool.

    It. Was. Awesome.

    • http://www.unrelatedsidenote.com Cindy

      I love this! We had several people dressed in team colors and bickering over the cake but it was perfect.

      Congrats on your recent marriage. January weddings rule!

    • Alexandra

      Ahh, sports at weddings. Rad story. Ours will be in October, during baseball playoffs, and we’re in San Francisco–and a lot of the team that won the World Series last year, will be back this year.
      So there may be a playoff game the night we wed.
      There’s a bar upstairs…or if too many people might be prone to sneaking off, we may think of having something available…we’ll see!
      ;D

  • SarahM

    I sang at a wedding in December 2009 at my church. Besides the gorgeous red poinsettias that made for more than enough decorations, we got to sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” for a wedding. And that was awesome. And had me begging my then fiance to let us have Christmas music at our September 2010 wedding.

  • Carbon Girl

    Having a January anniversary is a great way to beat the winter blues. I have to say the guests loved ours. We live in Florida now, so winter was such a treat to all of our Florida friends.

    Also, BIG advantage here: January is a slow time for traveling, so you can often get really good deals on plane tickets, which is a huge help to all out of town guests! I know many of my friends were able to come precisely because the airfare was so cheap.

  • http://www.easilyunclose.blogspot.com lmba

    We had an early-Spring wedding in a part of Canada that is notorious for very rapid, unexpected weather changes and 70 km/h winds. Our wedding was 100% outdoors, and no, there was no back-up plan. It snowed (as in, blizzard-strength storms) up to two days before the wedding. People kept calling to find out if we were changing plans… we had friends offer to look for a “Plan B” a few days before. We just kept saying, “There’s no Plan B. We’re getting married here and people can wear their snow suits if they want to!” In the end, the snow stopped, and everything went ahead as we had hoped. Yes, people were cold at times. I shivered through the ceremony! And it was still awesome.

    • Morgan

      I’m guessing we’re in the same part of Canada? I’m from Calgary and got married in March. We were prepared for anything from -25 up. And what happened? +18! Yay chinook. (That’s -13 to +64 in American.) We did our photos outside – something we sure hadn’t planned on.

    • Brenda H

      I admire both of you ladies! It’s definitely a different ball game when you’re talking about a winter wedding in Canada, glad it worked out for both of you!

  • Extragrunty

    This is an awesome post! Most of our family lives in Ohio, and we don’t (and most likely won’t for the foreseeable future). This post brings up great reasons for a winter wedding that I’ve never thought about. So even if we miss spending the holidays with our immediate families (for whatever reason), we could have a huge after xmas wedding and get to see the whole extended family at one time. How great would that be?! I’ll be mentioning this to Mr. EG.

  • Sara

    I woke up and looked at the thermometer outside this morning: 23 BELOW. Yet this whole post makes me smile and nod thinking, heck yes a winter wedding on a day like today would have been pretty dang sweet. Already married – and it was super in the summer, but we do still love ourselves some winter! Thanks for the great list Cindy!

  • Shotgun Shirley

    Love it – as a winter bride (3 days ago!), and just in general.

    I was secretly wishing Friday would be cold just so that I could wear the mink stole we have at my parents’ house from my HS prom. I really can’t complain about the balmy SoCal day we got though!

    • meg

      Shouldn’t you be off honeymooning Ms. Shotgun Shirley????

    • http://www.unrelatedsidenote.com Cindy

      Congratulations!

  • Veronica

    Agreed that January weddings are a great way to beat the post-holiday blues!

    Although, in Austin there wasn’t much of a possibility for snow – hell, it was almost 60 degrees and sunny on our wedding day. Unfortunately, it also meant that there was little to no discount for any of our vendors. But, I wouldn’t change our wedding date for the world. If anything, having our wedding in the winter meant our guests weren’t “wedding-ed out,” as I’m afraid can sometimes happen if you attend 5 or 6 weddings between May and October.

    • Veronica

      Also, if I can rant a bit, a wedding is a wedding, no matter what time of year it is! In the beginnings of our engagement, before we had chosen a date, I was told by a potential vendor that a May wedding is completely different to a January one. I kept thinking, how? We’re still going to go to the same church and get married. We’re still going to have a party for our family and friends where we’ll dance like crazy people. I’m still going to wear a dress and he’ll wear a suit – all of those things will be the same no matter the month. (Note: these were the non-negotiables my husband and I decided on. I still think that more peoples’ wedding fundamentals are the same all year round.)

      Hell, I even kept the same color scheme, because bright colors are nice in the middle of winter. I was frustrated when every bridal “inspiration” place would only suggest “Winter Wonderland”, with silvers, whites and blues. That’s very pretty, but we don’t get snow in this part of the country!

      Clearly, this is a source of frustration for me.

      • http://www.unrelatedsidenote.com Cindy

        I hear you on that! A florist we met with kept trying to convince us to go with silver spraypainted sticks. Like we need to be reminded that it’s dead outside!

        We went with books and chocolate, and my mom picked the brightly-colored flowers for my corsage. We did what the hell we wanted to do, you know?

        And I agree, a wedding is a wedding no matter when or where it is. I’ve yet to go to one that hasn’t been awesome!

  • http://www.ohdeerio.com smallwonder

    I’ve always dreamed of a winter wedding. Unfortunately school and the timing of our engagement made that impossible so we’re getting married in June. I hope I’m able to make the most of the different season like you did! All these winter weddings are gorgeous!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    a) you are super-de-duper cute. I love your voice/heart. And the picture of the rocking out with the eyelash curler–awesome!
    b) your wedding is adorable!

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  • m

    Yay old Subaru! They are sooooo great in the winter.

    • http://www.unrelatedsidenote.com Cindy

      Heck yes, they are! We did end up buying a new Subaru but we still have the old one. We just love them that much!

      • m

        I may have to sell mine soon (and if someone buys that $$ will definitely help with paying for my wedding) but my fiance and I have already agreed that the next car we buy will be a Subaru.. and the next one… and the next.

  • http://linseykitchens.wordpress.com Linsey

    Leg warmers and winter ales. Damn it. Can I have two weddings?

  • http://moreofthisandlessofthat.blogspot.com Ms. Loaf

    This is amazing and definitely makes me want a winter wedding if I ever get married again.

  • Cody

    I just got married on January 1st this year, and I can attest! Meg’s mom is right! Free ferns and poinsettas! Yeah, I do love me the winter wedding.

  • suzanna

    Cindy, you are SO stinking adorable! Love it, love it, love it. Keep writing for us, will ya?

  • A Teacher

    Wow, more from the couple in which “He believes that everything in life that people have they should, ‘Work for it and stop waiting for a god damn handout. Life isn’t going to happen for you.’”I’d love to invite them to the inner-city Chicago school where I teach and introduce them to a few amazing teenagers who were born and raised in neighborhoods in which young people most certainly don’t have ‘everything they should.’ I’m sure that my kids would love to have their biggest concerns revolve around which season is the best for planning a wedding.

  • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

    I’m envious! I wanted to follow in my parents’ footsteps and have a January wedding, but like you, my husband elect and my work schedules gave us only two months — June and July — as an option.

  • http://koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate

    This is the first post I’m reading since getting married on January 15th & I agree with each & every thing stated!! For us, the timing worked out perfectly & we enjoyed the off-season rates which is why we chose our date many moons ago. It was our biggest & best decision! I can stare at our photos with snow as our backdrop for days :-)

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