A handy guide created by Anna Rose to help you plan your 'Winter Wedding' and make the most of your wedding photography & chosen venue.
Getting ready shots
If you're not getting ready at home or a relatives, then see if you can find a location that has plenty of natural daylight. Windows are your friend! Airbnb's with neutral vibes make really good backdrops for getting ready shots - clean & simple.
If you are getting ready at home or someone's house, then have a bit of a tidy up and clear space around the windows, so you can get close to them easily for the natural daylight portraits. Have your makeup done by the window too and your makeup artist & photography will absolutely love you!
The images below are all photographed using natural window daylight in winter. No flash gun, lights, lamps or lightbulbs were switched on in the making.
Step outside - be brave!
Of course this does depend on the weather in Winter, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. So long as it's not absolutely chucking it down, then you won't regret nipping outside & feeling chilly for a brief spell. However, I can guarantee you will regret not getting beautiful photos of you looking & feeling incredible.
If you really feel the cold then why not incorporate a cosy shawl or bridal coat into your wedding look - feel chic without getting too frozen. Also invest in some nice umbrellas, funky wellies or Doc Martens so you have some weather appropriate pieces for your day (especially for farmyard or countryside weddings).
Most wedding photographers prefer working with natural daylight wherever possible, especially if they're a documentary style wedding photographer. So embrace the elements. At the end of the day, if you don't, then you won't be making the most of having a professional photographer with you.
picking your ceremony time - daylight hours
This for me is the BIGGY when it comes to planning your winter wedding timeline. Any wedding photographer will say the same when it comes to photographing a winter ceremony, 'THE EARLIER THE BETTER' if you want photos in the daylight.....which you will!
Although cameras & technology have come a long way in the last 10 years, and cope well in low light, the word photography translates to 'painting with light' therefore LIGHT really is the key component. Without light, things will be dark & grainy which is fine, but you won't want all your wedding photos looking like that. While I can use a flash gun, they do take the natural edge of how photographers shoot & what the final image will ultimately look like.
It's always best to Google what time the sunsets on your wedding day to get an accurate idea. If you aim to get married between 12pm - 1:30pm (or earlier) this will give the photographer a good couple of hours of quality daylight after the ceremony (so long as it's not overcast or raining) for beautiful couple portraits outside & plenty of candid guest shots & a few group shots before the sunset sets.
Remember if you are going to do group shots indoors due poor weather, then smaller groups work best inside. There might not be enough space to get a huge group shot of your entire wedding party so be realistic. Finally, for outdoors group shots with young baby guests & elderly guests, they might struggle to be outside for too long. Group photos always take longer than you anticipate, so please keep this in mind when herding everyone outside.
Below are some winter ceremony shots. I used continuous soft box lighting at the front of the barn, as there wasn't much available light at the front where the ceremony took place. I personally never use a flash gun during a ceremony as it can be very distracting for the couple & everyone else.
choosing your perfect winter wedding venue
As I mentioned earlier, the weather can really impact & dictate your day. With this in mind, do think carefully when choosing your winter wedding venue. If realistically you're going to be spending the majority of the day inside and you have a large guest list, then you will need to consider venues with enough space and capacity so guests aren't too squished together. Barn wedding venues like Cripps & Co Barns work really well as they have high ceilings and plenty of room. Urban and industrial style venues like The West Mill can work well too, as again they tend to be spacious buildings.
Hygge Vibes - embracing the darkness with lots of candles and fairy lights for when it's dark is a great way of getting atmospheric & cosy winter photos. A roaring log fire is a perfect addition, especially if you want to warm up after your portraits & group photos.
When getting married in winter it's best to accept that it will look like winter - there's no getting away from that fact. But it doesn't mean you can't have beautiful couple portraits. You might not get an epic summertime golden hour but if you're willing wrap up to nip outside and snuggle up you can still create something beautiful. Listening to your photographer's professional opinion and being on board with their ideas will always help you to get the most out of the portrait session & get it done as quickly as possible so you can go inside, warm up and enjoy the rest of your day with your loved ones.
If the weather permits, then it's always best to try and get your couple portraits done straight after the ceremony while there's still daylight. The group shots can always wait until a bit later, especially if these are happening indoors anyway. I would always prioritise the creative portraits first on a winter's day, as this is where the light is really key.
The weather might not be perfect but dramatic overcast skies can look really epic and bring some depth to your images. Equally if you've got a fab indoor venue, finding pools of natural daylight can look really cool and arty.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you found this helpful!
Here's the full list of wedding suppliers from the photos above....
Venue - Hazel Gap Barn
Flowers - A Little Flower Shop Newark
Hair - Mon Amie Hair
Make Up - Josephine Way
Nails & Spray Tan - Studio Alice Lily
Dress - Lovely Bride London
Suit - Paul Smith
Happy Wedding Planning!