There’s not much to not love about the holidays. But if anything could add to the joy and magic of the season, it’s saying “I do.” (For traveling family and friends, it’s also a convenient way to combine two occasions into one visit. Win-win!) We’ve noticed more holiday weddings than ever before, so we’re sharing our favorite ideas for throwing a fabulous and festive wedding to remember. —Sery Kim
Deck The Halls
Flowers and decor is the easiest way to create the magical feel that likely inspired you to have a holiday wedding in the first place. Turns out, wedding designers enjoy decorating for the season just as much as the rest of us. “I love having an excuse to use white twinkle lights everywhere,” says Branching Out Events’ Debby Jewesson. When it comes to florals, seasonal greens engage all the senses: “The delicious scents add a unique, intangible layer to the decor,” Debby says.
You can also incorporate pine cones, poinsettias, bare branches, and holly berries into your arrangement, or use Christmas trees to create Instagram-worthy backdrops in empty corners. And getting creative at place settings—emblazoning guests’ names on ornaments or jingle bells for place cards, accenting paper goods with ribbon, and gift-wrapping favor boxes— will go a long way toward creating a holiday feel.
TIP: When booking a venue, consider that it may already be dressed for the season. Advises Debby Jewesson of Branching Out Events: “Ask for pictures of what the event space will look like during the holidays.” This can help avoid any clashing styles or redundant decoration expenses.
Let’s face it: In Texas, you’re probably more likely to see a 70-degree day in December than snow. But you can still dress the part of a winter bride with rich fabrics and seasonal accessories, says My Wedding Wardrobe’s Katie Thompson, who loves suede or velvet shoes for cold-weather brides. For grooms? “I love playing with some color in his tux or suit: dark greens, maroons, and navys with fun velvet loafers.” Then top your gown with a fur coat or wrap—and for him, a handsome coat—to make a stylish exit.
To All a Good Night
While a sparkler sendoff lends an undeniably gorgeous holiday glow to your exit photos, some venues don’t allow the firework favorites. Instead, end the night with an especially festive grand finale. “We love using ‘eco snow’ for exits,” says planner Crystal Frasier of Crystal Frasier Events, referring to faux snowflakes that are fully bio-degradable and therefore environmentally friendly. “Your photos will be magical with the look of snow falling as you and your partner exit to the departure car.”
TIP: Want the holiday spirit to really ring true at your event? In lieu of registering for gifts, do as Ashley and Jen (pictured at right) did, and consider asking guests to bring unwrapped toys for children in local hospitals, in partnership with Hope’s Kids.
If the fashion doesn’t keep guests toasty, a selection of holiday-inspired beverages ought to do the trick. Mobile mixologist and cocktail menu consultant Kim Hunter of Potent Pours says, “Holidays are for bubbly and dark-hued spirits, so why not mix the two?” Her recipe for “Holiday Cheer!” is sure to elicit just that when served as your specialty cocktail, featuring a blend of cognac, fruit liqueurs, and Prosecco.
1.75 oz Cognac
1 oz Blackberry Liqueur (Chambord preferred)
0.5 oz Orange Liqueur (Cointreau or Triple Sec)
0.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
0.5 oz Liquid Gold, optional (see recipe below)
Top with Prosecco
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup hot water
In a shaker, add cognac, blackberry liqueur, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and liquid gold (if you want to add a sweetening agent). Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds, or until the shaker is cold to touch. Strain cocktail into a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and a couple of blackberries. Cheers!
Liquid Gold: Combine honey and hot water in a bowl. Stir until honey is completely dissolved.