For many engaged couples, weather is a major factor when deciding on a wedding date. While summer and fall still hold some of the most coveted dates, more and more brides and grooms are eyeing the winter season for their nuptials. And for good reason: since winter is off-season for many vendors, prices tend to be lower and more budget-friendly.
The thought of getting glammed up in a blizzard might be daunting (especially when most wedding outfit inspo pics don’t include boots and a coat!) but this type of weather can actually lead to some absolutely stunning wedding photography.
We recently chatted with Alberta-based pro wedding photographer Brittany Staddon of Brittany Esther Photography, who’s attended more than her fair share of cold-weather vows to capture some of the best winter wedding photos we’ve ever seen. She shared her tips and insight on what makes winter weddings so special, and how to take amazing winter wedding photos.
1. Use the winter to create an experience for your guests.
Staddon suggests organizing activities you can only do in winter for your guests, such as an outdoor skating party, dog sledding or roasting s’mores over an outdoor fire pit. “For weddings that are further up north, keep an eye on the northern lights forecasts for a memorable night,” she says. “If you have a smaller guest list, don’t completely write off having an outdoor ceremony. With a little care package consisting of scarves, hand warmers, and a hot drink—and perhaps some Bailey’s—a standing ceremony in the outdoors with a snowglobe backdrop is doable and quite an experience.”
2. Make sure you wear the appropriate attire.
First, layers are key. “It’s practically a Canadian motto,” Staddon says with a laugh. “Throw some long johns underneath your dress—they can be taken off before the reception—and make sure you wear woolly socks with your boots.” Staddon also recommends that brides opt for shawls, cloaks or capes rather than coats or jackets. “Particularly if showing off the top of your dress is important and you are brave enough,” she explains. “Outerwear without sleeves comes off and on quickly and therefore makes the most of your time,” she advises. “Your photographer will also be taking photos as you move to and from locations, because sometimes just holding hands and walking makes some of the best images, so you’ll want whatever you’re wearing to be something you want to see in your final wedding photos.”
3. That includes wearing the right footwear, too.
“You’d think high heels would be the biggest issue, but men, listen up: your dress shoes are actually skiis,” Staddon says. “I have seen brides and bridesmaids a plenty navigate slippery slopes by digging their heels in, as grooms and groomsmen go flying by at the mercy of friction and gravity. So check out your treads, take them for a test run, and consider bringing some stylish boots to change in to.”
4. The winter light makes for incredible wedding photos.
“Regardless of bluebird clear days or snowstorms that hang in the valley, winter light is a photographer’s dream throughout the entirety of the day,” Staddon shares. “Most photographers will dread midday sun in the summer, yet in winter even at high noon the sun sits low in the sky. This means you can pretty much have your portraits whenever and receive amazing results.” Staddon also recommends that couples embrace the neutral colours of winter and incorporate pops of colour in their attire . “Whether it means louder lipstick, florals, a patterned cloak,” she suggests. “Dresses with colour, shimmer or texture photograph marvellously against the snow, and oh man, a suit with some colour in it—perfection.”
5. Winter weddings have a different ambiance and aesthetic than summer weddings.
For Staddon, shots that incorporate the landscape make for gorgeous photos. “There is this vastness and simplicity in winter wedding images where the couple command the viewers’ attention even when they are a smaller part of the frame,” she explains. “There is an extra level of coziness when couples cuddle in, and here is to the novelty of frolicking across frozen lakes or empty downtown streets.” Winter also evokes a cozy feeling with your guests. “I have always found winter weddings to evoke a feeling of togetherness,” she continues. “There is an ambiance that contrasts coolness and warmth that photographs beautifully. The silence of the surroundings when the snow is falling during portraits is only what I can describe as calming and romantic.”