Northumbrian Winter Weddings
The quintessential English Wedding brings to mind churches, gardens, roses, marquees, the chink of Champagne flutes, the tinkling of chatter and laughter and of course children running around in the sunshine.
We are, however, seeing the beginning of a Winter Wedding revolution. They are become quite the ‘thing’. There are so many reasons why a Winter wedding is becoming a more popular route to take.
First and foremost, your favourite venue is likely to be a lot cheaper in the Winter and you shouldn’t have to wait 2 years to get a date you like. You are also much more likely to secure the photographer, florist or accommodation that you prefer for your wedding when you book a Winter date, as they will be less busy and may also be offering special deals to boost their slower Winter sales. Finally, Winter is so long and dark in Northumberland that by February we have all had enough. If you go for a Winter wedding your friends will be thrilled and the impact you can make with a completely different feel to a Summer wedding will have guests reminiscing for years to come. You can either really push the boat out at your wedding or on you honeymoon with the money you will save.
We find that some brides will book their date according to when their ‘toggy’ is free. When you think that the photographs are what are going to be your lasting memories of your day it makes sense to put them at the top of your wedding supplier hit list. Some of our most striking photos have been Winter and Autumnal weddings as the Photographer needs to work harder to find that perfect backdrop. In Summer it will always be the countryside and trees as the contrast between wedding dress and the vivid green is a super stunning but in Winter, the table turns and the farm buildings become the contrast. Photographs against huge towers of straw or concrete panels and vintage tractors or the gigantic sliding wooden doors of a barn dwarfing the couple blow you away. The drama of a Winter wedding really comes through in the photos. If you are lucky enough to have snow then the down side of concern for access is more than compensated for by the incredible photos you will get! (we had 6 feet of snow in our car park the day before our snowiest wedding and the guests rocked even more than any Summer wedding we have hosted!).
You can’t talk florist without talking theme. In the Summer you see a lot of pastels, whites and greens and in the Winter it feels like the weddings take on a new lease of life. Red berries, deep coloured flowers, purple thistles and more luxurious foliage come into play and that them is echoed throughout the venue. Everything about the wedding becomes more sensory and the whole mood in our marquee becomes more dramatic.
Brides introduce more candles and the evening mood turns cosy with rugs on stand by for looking at the stars and fur wraps for bridesmaids. Team this with a whole new set of colour options for bridesmaids dresses like deep reds, purples and navies or sequins and sparkles and it feels like there is much more scope for creating an impact, not to mention the pitch black nights showing off all the festoons fairy lights and fire pits to their best advantage.
Chefs in general have to become more inventive in the Winter. It is not so bad up to Christmas as there is still quite a bit coming out of our garden but come January, February and into April the choice of locally grown crops decreases. Our team of chefs develop new ways with celeriac, beetroot and potato dishes, these roots really come into their own along with leeks, carrots and parsnips. The Wedding Breakfast menus become more hearty as we all instinctively want to eat more. When food is at the heart of your wedding, I think Winter is probably my favourite time of year. The chefs’ mashed potato is just out of this world as they simmer cream and butter before introducing it to the fluffy mash, and their gratin dauphinois is heaven, dishes always come back scraped clean. We even do a celeriac gratin with grainy mustard, served with roasted local meats and roasted potatoes there is nothing more delicious and if you are looking for a thrifty Wedding Breakfast we do great pies!
In Winter we see different ideas for welcome drinks too .. Mulled wine with kumquats, mulled cider with cinnamon sticks, Snowballs, Winter cocktails like Christmas Kiss … then there’s more red wine with the main course .. whiskies, whisky mac, fire pits .. it is all so romantic.
Because Vallum’s marquee is fully heated and triple insulated, guests party on without a care in the world, letting off steam from Northumbrian cabin fever. Even in the depths of snow you will find guests standing around the fire pit, they just love it. Think festoons over the deck, fairy lights woven through the willow fences .. its magical. And for those of us who like a chat, the Marquee’s snug with its brown tartan Chesterfield sofas becomes the hot spot to hang out.
Relaxed Winter Weddings
On a final note, an observation about Winter weddings is that we find couples marrying in the Winter are more relaxed. They are not juggling attending 4 other weddings, balancing child care with school holidays or stressing that half their guests are away and unable to make their date. The whole experience for them seems to be much more leisurely which is always a nice way to feel.
I suppose this knocks on to everyone. In Winter, wedding suppliers are generally less busy so they can afford you more of their time. Most of us Wedding Suppliers are creative sorts and when we have Winter Weddings it offers up a chance to spend the time we like to spend on getting things right and pushing the level of what we offer to the utmost limit. It’s a great time of year.
If the thought of scrambling for suppliers and a venue of a Summer wedding is giving you ‘the fear’, just take a minute. Does it really need to be Summer? Would you like to make the most of the darker nights? Would you like to go on your honeymoon in Winter, rather than in Summer? Are you really more of a Winter person? It is your day. Do it your way.
Please email our Wedding Co-ordinator Alice if you would like to see our venue this Winter. We will give you lots of support to realise your vision for your Winter Wedding and have some great suppliers who would love to work with you.