Weddings are often associated with the summer months when the sun shines and the party can run into the outdoors. However, winter can be great for weddings, especially elopements! Just imagine running away to marry your partner in a cosy or dramatic setting followed by a stay in a cottage with a roaring fire. Sounds pretty blissful to me. Also eloping in winter can give you lots of unexpected benefits including the cheaper price and stunning light for your photos. So all in all eloping in winter might be a great idea for your wedding plans especially if you are in the UK.
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What to plan when you are eloping in winter
There is always a lot to consider when you are planning a wedding or an elopement. But with slightly iffy weather there is a bit more to consider in the winter!
When will you elope?
So the clue is in the title but if you are wanting to elope in winter when should you do it? Well winter in the UK is officially December to February so if you are planning a European or American winter elopement you are looking at these months. Of course if you are in the southern hemisphere winter means June to August.
From a more practical standpoint eloping in winter can be beautiful in any of these months. However, if you are choosing Scotland as your destination be weary of snow and road closures especially in January and February. Also if you choose a Christmas elopement know that your anniversary will always be overshadowed by Christmas. You might also get into trouble with your family for disappearing at Christmas.
Will you invite anyone to your winter elopement?
Eloping is often associated with two people running away together. However, eloping can involve a small number of guests and even a bridal party if you want it to. If you are thinking of inviting some guests to your winter elopement make sure you have an adequate indoor venue with heating in case the weather is bad.
Another thing to consider with your guest list is that traditionally eloping was not exactly approved of. As such, some people might get upset at not being invited to your wedding. For these people its good to consider how you will tell them about your plans and how you might try to make them feel included. Maybe consider announcement cards or the promise of a party when large groups are allowed to gather again. However, with the world the way it is at the moment I think most people will understand if you choose to elope and don’t invite them.
What to wear for your winter elopement
Choosing your wedding outfits can be really exciting and a little bit daunting. Not to add to the overwhelm but eloping in winter does make your outfits a little more complicated. Depending on you destination you will need to prepare for wind, rain, snow and extra cold weather. This isn’t so bad for the groom but for the bride it will require some extra layers and planning.
Coats and jackets for your winter elopement
Leather jackets for the bride
Depending on the look you are going for there is a real trend for bridal embellished leather (or faux leather) jackets. These look really cute over a full wedding dress skirt and can be made with your own personalised text. If you are interested in these jackets there are heaps on Etsy including some diy options for the budget bride.
Boleros for the bride
Another good bridal options is a wool bolero style jacket. These will probably not be warmest option but they will help a bit and they are beautiful. You can often find some jackets like this in your bridal boutique or online wedding dress shop like BHLDN. But also as always there are some great options on Etsy.
Vintage and faux fur jackets
If you are looking at a super cold winter wedding, or maybe an outdoor ceremony, a vintage fur or faux fur coat might be a good idea. These are super warm but will also look really dramatic and beautiful in your photos. To find your fur coat as always Etsy will have a good range of coats to suit most budgets. But also check out Revival Vintage for retro coats and John Lewis for faux fur. These shops will not have bridal looks but often your coat does not need to be bridal to look awesome on your wedding day. Also the less bridal it looks the more you can wear it after your wedding!
Wool winter coats
The other great warm option for a super wintry elopement is a wool coat. You could go for the full length dramatic coat or a three quarter length one. To find your perfect winter elopement coat you could try House of Fraser which has some good cheaper options as well as the more expensive designers. Another option is Etsy which also has budget and luxury designs. But also they have lots of designers that will custom make your coat to your size! This will make you feel extra special whenever you wear it and it will make your wintry photos look even better.
Do you need a raincoat for your elopement? Well if you are eloping in winter, in the UK you probably will want to have one just in case. However, you cam decide whether you want your raincoat to be a part of your bridal look or just something you wear between photos to try and stay dry. Again your winter elopement (which will be way cheaper than a traditional wedding by the way) might be a great excuse to buy a cool rain coat?! If you are into this way of thinking maybe check out the Rosalie coat by the Rain Sisters or the coral rain coat by Aakasha. These coats are both beautiful so they will look great in your photos!
Jackets and coats for the groom
Not to leave the groom till last but the options for men are not quite as complicated. Although eloping in winter is as a good an excuse to buy a new coat for the groom as it is for the bride. So for the smart look check out Hawes and Curtis. They have a lot of classic blazer and wool coat options. For more quirky coats check out Etsy.
Eloping in winter suits
The grooms suit may be similar in summer or winter but there are couple of things that can make the suit extra appropriate for winter. So one thing to consider is the material. A winter elopement definitely calls for a wool suit. It may also call for a coat and extra layers by adding a waistcoat.
A bonus of eloping in winter is that you can wear whatever you want! So if you need a nice suit why not use this as an excuse to purchase your own three piece suit and forego the top hat and tails look. Although you can also go for hiring a suit too if you want a more cost effective option. Also for the rustic look check out The Vintage Suit Hire Company for beautiful wool suits.
Your eloping in winter dress
Although wedding dresses can be quite bulky they are often designed with the summer months in mind. For this reason they are often made of light weight material with lots of lace and short sleeves. To get the wedding dress you want for your winter elopement you will need to do some thorough research into the dresses materials and design before committing.
Try to find designs with the winter months in mind. These wedding dresses will have longer sleeves and thicker material on the top. Often your local bridal boutique will have a couple of warmer wedding dress options but don’t be scared of also checking out wedding dresses online. You will find lots more designs and ideas this way even if you then decide to go back to your local shop. Our favourites for winter wedding dresses are Katya Katya’s Petal dress and Ghost’s Laurel dress.
One tricky thing about winter weddings is that you will need the layers and warmth when you are outside but in your venue you might find yourself getting too hot. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to be uncomfortable! So one way to tackle this issue is with adding layers to your outfit when you are outside like the coats and jackets mentioned above. But another way is to make your outfit up with bridal separates. This way you could have a long sleeve top and full skirt for any outdoors activities and a short sleeved top for indoors.
To make up your bridal outfit with separates is super exciting and often fairly affordable. You could have a long skirt and sleeveless top as your outfit to which you add a topper or long sleeved top when you are outdoors. Or you could get a long skirt for your ceremony and a short one for your evening. This way you can still wear your wedding outfit to a restaurant after your ceremony without looking too formal. To find the bridal separates you need for your wedding check out Wardrobe by Dulcinea on Etsy. They have so many beautiful designs for tops, skirts, capes and toppers, veils and over skirts you should be able to make up your dream outfit. Plus they have a few dresses and tops that are specifically designed for winter!
Your winter elopement shoes
If you are going to get married outdoors or at least have some photos taken in the natural environment you are going to need sensible shoes. This could mean having your photos taken in pretty heels and then switching to walking boots for the logistics. Or it could mean getting some cool boots. The great thing about boots is they are extra rustic and can look really cool with a wedding dress. Also if you have a long skirt your shoes can remain hidden if you would rather not show them at all.
Its all about the layers when you are eloping in winter
It doesn’t sound sexy but depending on your location and your plans, layers might be an important part of your eloping wardrobe. This is especially true if you are planning some outdoor photography in Scotland. So for the groom this might not be a concern but you could look into merino undershirts, scarves and maybe a woolly hat.
For the bride it can be a bit more complicated. Firstly consider some wool tights that are either white or flesh coloured to wear under your skirt. If your skirt is long these will be barely noticeable. However, if your skirt is short you might consider making your wool tights a feature of your outfit with bright colours or patterns.
The top half of your outfit is a bit trickier as there are not many wedding dresses that accommodate thermals. But there are a few ways you can add some warmer layers. Firstly, you could add a wool shawl to your look which will look great in your photos and keep you cosy. Secondly, a wool cardigan could also add an extra level of warmth to your outfit. Also what a great excuse to buy an expensive cardigan. Lastly, depending on your dress you might be able to add a merino top underneath that will be hidden by your dress. This option is a bit of a long shot but you never know what type of dress you will wear when you are eloping in winter.
Where do you want to elope to?
2020 was not the year of international travel and it looks like 2021 might be similar. So if you are thinking of a destination wedding maybe stick to the UK with your plans. But this does not need to be a bad thing! The UK is stunning and has lots of amazing winter elopement options.
Eloping in Scotland
Scotland is renowned for its cold weather but if you are after dramatic landscapes for your elopement, Scotland could be your ideal location. Even in winter! The best thing about eloping in Scotland is you can get married wherever you want! So you could get married up a mountain, in a small glen or in the center of Edinburgh. We even have a guide to eloping in Scotland to help you!
Eloping in Wales
Or you could escape to Wales and enjoy the beautiful farmland and delicious food. The North of Wales offers rugged coastlines as well as The North Wales Way if you after a hike with your elopement. Of course Wales offers lots of hiking opportunities if that is what you are after in your winter elopement. So maybe check out the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia. If you would like a ready made elopement in Wales there are a few places that offer elopement packages. One of the best is Nantwen in Pembrokeshire which has a beautiful venue with a great accomodation. Their elopement packages range from £860 to £1210.
Eloping in England
If England is your destination of choice you are in luck because Devon and Cornwall seem to be the elopement capital of the UK. There are so many elopement venues in the south west you won’t be able to pick. One great venue for rustic elopements is Millbrook Estate which has winter elopement packages for around £799. This includes a stay in a cute cabin as well as your ceremony and some champagne.
As well as the South West you might also consider the Isle of Wight as your destination. What could be cooler than saying you got married on an island? If you are after more of a northern location you could go with a castle elopement, a rustic woodland wedding or a city experience. There are really heaps of options in England.
Eloping in Northern Ireland and Ireland
For some stunning castles and rugged scenery you should consider Ireland and Northern Ireland for your elopement. If you choose Northern Ireland you can get married anywhere you like as long as you have a registered celebrant. However, in the Republic of Ireland you will need to marry near a landmark that has a postal address. Either way there are stunning places that you can elope to. Maybe the ruins of Menlo Castle in County Galway would make your ideal backdrop. Or maybe the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare are more your cup of tea. If you like Game of Thrones or just dramatic beaches you could also go with Ballintoy. Whatever you choose just remember the climate in both these countries is mild and wet so prepare for rain at any time of year!
The logistics of eloping in winter
Eloping in winter does mean that you need to consider a few logistical issues. So firstly winter is when lots of hotels, restaurants and even shops take a break whilst there are fewer tourists. So if you are hoping for a special restaurant for your wedding meal or a hotel for your stay you might need a plan B. This is especially true in the more remote areas of Scotland. Secondly, the weather can sometimes cause road closures in remote areas so keep this in mind when making your plans. Lastly, if you are going for destination wedding mid-week and want your family there, keep in mind that this might annoy your guests. This is more of a general elopement issue than a winter elopement problem but its an important consideration.
What will your winter elopement involve
Unlike a traditional wedding your elopement can be as quick as 10 miniute ceremony or as long as a holiday. So when you are planning your winter elopement you need to think about what you want to do. Are you going to use your wedding as an excuse for a holiday or to visit an expensive restaurant? There are so many things that you can do as part of your elopement! Even in winter when some things may be shut or harder to get to.
Indulge in some pampering on your winter elopement
Do you fancy some pampering before or after your elopement? Eloping is definitely a good reason to indulge in a massage, facial or general spa day. If you and your partner want to plan this into your elopement maybe consider booking a luxury hotel or resort for your stay. These places will have all the spa facilities you will need.
Turn you winter elopement into a holiday
Do you want to use your elopement as an excuse for a holiday? This can be a great way to make your elopement more special. So instead of dropping into a registry office and going back to work you can make your wedding an event. One thing to consider with this is do you want to elope where your holiday will be or get married and then pick a destination for your holiday? As I said before holidays are tricky right now but depending on when you are planning your winter elopement you might be ok by sticking to the UK.
Eloping in winter could involve a hike
Do you want to stay in a remote cabin and do some hiking. If you elope in Scotland you could even hike to your wedding venue! If hiking sounds like a great plan to you make sure to pick your elopement destination near a national park.
Celebrate your winter elopement with a meal
A special way to mark your ceremony is with a special meal or afternoon tea. This can be at your wedding venue, your hotel or just your living room! Whatever you decide sharing a meal together when all the excitement is over is a really great way to enjoy the calm after the wedding. If you are eloping locally you could pick your favourite restaurant or a expensive place you have always wanted to try. If you are travelling for your winter elopement you could get your venue to arrange somethings or buy a picnic for your hotel room.
What else could you do when eloping in winter? Let us know if we missed anything out below.
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