Last Updated on August 3, 2023 by Ruby
Planning a winter wedding can feel magical, with twinkling lights, falling snow, and cozy details.
But it can also strain your budget.
Here are 7 ways to have a beautiful winter wedding while sticking to your budget.
1. Look for an off-season venue
Many wedding venues offer discounts for events held in their off-peak season. Since winter weddings are less common, you may be able to find great deals on venues during the colder months. Ask about pricing for November through March to snag a winter wedding bargain.
One of the best ways to save on your winter wedding is to take advantage of an off-peak venue. Many popular wedding spots like banquet halls, wineries, and rustic barns consider winter to be their off-season. With fewer weddings booked between November and March, they’re often willing to offer deep discounts to fill up their calendar.
When venue shopping, be upfront about your ideal winter wedding date and ask what pricing is like for that time frame. You may be pleasantly surprised. For example, a winery that charges $5,000 to host a June wedding might only charge $3,000 for a February date. A 20% or even 30% discount is common.
Consider looking at non-traditional venues too. Restaurants, museums, and historic buildings sometimes rent out event space in the winter months. You may be able to get a great deal, especially if you book on a Friday or Sunday instead of peak Saturdays.
Wherever you choose, be sure to ask about any additional fees for heating, winter equipment rentals, or staffing. And make sure the venue will still achieve the romantic vibe you want during the off-season. A vineyard covered in snow can be gorgeous! With the right venue, you can take advantage of winter beauty while staying on budget.
2. Serve comforting winter foods
Skip expensive seafood and steak dinners, and opt for hearty comfort foods like soups, stews, and hot sandwiches. Not only will this fill your guests up on chilly days, but winter ingredients like root vegetables and beans tend to be more budget-friendly. Comfort foods also lend to a cozy vibe.
Warm up your winter wedding menu with hearty comfort foods that not only delight your guests’ tastebuds but also go easy on your wallet. Skip the expensive seafood towers and filet mignon and opt for filling dishes featuring seasonal winter ingredients.
Soups like potato leek, butternut squash, or rich tomato bisque are perfect for starting off a winter meal. For the main course, serve braised short ribs, beef stew, or baked mac and cheese. Round it out with sides like roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, or warm cornbread.
Desserts like apple crisp, gingerbread cake, or bread pudding are cozy winter treats. And don’t forget the hot chocolate bar! Take advantage of seasonal sales on hearty vegetables, beans, and warm spices to create budget-friendly dishes.
Comfort foods also lend themselves to casual, family-style serving, which saves on staffing costs. And don’t feel obligated to serve three courses – focus on delivering generous portions of your favorite hearty dishes. Thoughtful winter menus will satisfy your guests while staying within your budget.
3. Incorporate natural elements
Bring the beauty of winter inside by decorating with natural elements like pinecones, evergreen branches, and birch logs. These can make lovely centerpieces and altar arrangements. For outdoor weddings, embrace the snow and ice. Sprinkle silver glitter on paths for a sparkling effect.
Bring the natural beauty of winter inside by decorating with organic elements like pinecones, evergreen foliage, bare birch branches, and roses. Not only will this add a gorgeous wintry touch, but using what nature provides is also budget-friendly.
Pinecones, birch logs, and sprigs of cedar, pine, or fir can make beautiful rustic centerpieces at each table. Suspend bare birch branches from the ceiling, intertwined with fairy lights. Use pine boughs, red berries, and baby’s breath to line the aisles or altar.
For an outdoor winter wedding, embrace ice and snow as decor. Frosted pine boughs outline walkways beautifully. Suspend giant snowflakes made from birch logs and sprinkle pathways with silver glitter for sparkle. Surround fire pits with pinecones and fur throws.
Greenery from your own backyard is free for the taking. And you can find pinecones, birch logs, and affordable winter florals at most craft stores. Let nature lend its beauty to your decor while keeping costs low.
4. Rent items when possible
From chair covers to lighting, see what wedding rentals are available in your area. Renting can save a lot compared to purchasing items outright. But make sure to reserve well in advance, since winter weddings will compete for a limited inventory.
From chairs and lighting to dishware and drapes, look into what wedding rentals are available in your area and factor them into your plans. Renting can save you hundreds compared to purchasing items outright.
Some things to consider renting:
- Chair covers and sashes
- China, flatware, glassware
- Linens, napkins, tablecloths
- Lighting like chandeliers and string lights
- Heating equipment like portable heat lamps
- Draping and backdrops for the altar or head table
Create a rental budget and reserve early – at least 6 months out – since winter weddings all compete for a limited inventory. Ask about discounts for off-peak months or simpler décor packages. And don’t forget to budget for rental delivery/pickup fees too.
If your venue doesn’t include tables and standard chairs, renting these basic items can still be cheaper than other options. Get creative about what’s worth renting vs. what you could borrow or buy affordably. With smart rentals, you can elevate your wedding decor.
5. Warm-up guests with hot beverages
Offering coffee, hot chocolate, or mulled cider is an inexpensive way to delight guests. Set up a self-serve drink station so you don’t have to hire servers. You can also give away hot chocolate packets or mug cookies as affordable favors.
Offering warm beverages is an inexpensive way to delight your guests while combatting winter chills. Set up a self-serve hot cocoa or cider bar, along with disposable cups, so you don’t have to hire servers to man it.
Make it a do-it-yourself station with a crockpot or two of hot chocolate, cider, or wassail. Provide toppings like marshmallows, whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and chocolate shavings for customizing their drinks.
You can also give away hot chocolate packets or mug cookies as affordable wedding favors. Just attach a cute tag with your names and wedding date. Your guests will appreciate being able to warm up with a hot treat.
6. Use wintry colors
Rich hues like burgundy, emerald, and navy blue Capture the mood of winter at a lower cost than elaborate florals. Accent with metallic touches like gold, silver, or copper for glam. Candles also add warmth and ambiance on a budget.
The rich, saturated hues of winter are perfect for adding seasonal ambiance on a budget. Stick to a color palette featuring deep plums, burgundies, emerald greens, and sapphire blues. Accent with metallic touches of gold, silver, or copper for glamour.
Deep red and purple flowers like roses, calla lilies, dahlias, and ranunculus look stunning yet cost less than delicate blossoms out of season. Evergreen foliage paired with wintry blooms creates arrangements with impact.
Drape fabric in your color scheme behind the head table or altar. Use deep colored tablecloths with metallic charger plates. Wrap empathy votive candles or vases with ribbon matching your palette. Even your invitations can feature wintry hues.
Candles also add warmth and a beautiful glow for little cost. Cluster pillar candles in mercury glass votives of varying heights for drama. Float candles in vases filled with cranberries or pine sprigs. The options are endless!
7. Get crafty with paper
The handmade paper decor looks expensive but is budget-friendly. Make glittery snowflakes, paper pom poms, or origami cranes. Simple white paper decorated with ribbon makes an elegant runner for tables. Paper is perfect for capturing a romantic winter vibe.
With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can have a gorgeous winter wedding without freezing your budget. Focus on simple touches that highlight natural beauty while keeping guests warm and cozy. What matters most is celebrating your love, not extravagance. Embrace these chilly months for a truly magical and intimate event.
Crepe paper, specialty printer paper, origami—get crafty with paper products to make budget-friendly winter wedding decor. Simple yet eye-catching handmade details go a long way.
Folded paper cranes garlanded across the head table add texture and height. Hang giant paper snowflakes from the rafters. Cut out icy silhouettes from blue printer paper and scatter them down tables.
Making your own glittery snowflakes is also easy with just paper, scissors, and glitter glue. DIY paper cones filled with greenery make cheap centerpieces. Drape inexpensive tulle in your wedding colors over simple white paper table runners.
Paper is perfect for capturing a romantic, wintry aesthetic while allowing you to customize pieces exactly how you’d like. Tap into your creative side and let it shine!
Planning a winter wedding doesn’t have to put your budget on ice.
Take advantage of off-peak venue discounts and lean into seasonal decor using natural elements.
Warm up guests with hot beverages and comfort foods featuring affordable winter ingredients.
Rent items when possible, and decorate with deep hues, candles, and handmade paper accents.
Most importantly, focus on intimately celebrating your love, not extravagance.
Use these tips to have a cozy and elegant winter wedding without breaking the bank.