I am so excited about this blog series. Wedding planning can vary greatly depending on when and where you’re getting married. Of course, personal styles will influence your wedding inspiration too. However, it’s easy to have a beautiful wedding that is indicative of who you are as a couple and relevant for the time of year.
Depending on where you live, you could have a MAJESTIC January wedding. I’ve seen wedding inspiration for winter weddings with the entire bridal party in black. When there’s snow in the background and a hint of color in bouquets…it’s just stunning.
Think warm for all of the things that you do. If you’re going to do something outside, provide ample heaters, blankets, and hand warmers. If you’re doing something inside, be cognizant of the temperature at your venue. Adding 100+ bodies to any room will really heat it up.
For colors, the best advice I can give is to “think sharp”. These are going to be colors that are designed to stand out. There’s nothing subtle about a wedding in January. Royal blue, deep cranberry, hunter green.
February is a tough month, let me tell you. I have wracked my brains for a real life example, and I can’t think of anyone who has actually gotten married in February. Lots of engagements (Thanks, V-Day), but very few weddings.
Winter weddings are all about creating a warm environment. Yes, there are “Winter Wonderland” weddings covered in white and silver sparkles. However, what do they always include? Some sort of warm, soft jacket. Some people choose to bring warmth in through their colors, favors, or by adding special stations at their reception. A lot of times, the “go to” color to warm up an event is red…in all sorts of variations. Cranberry, burgundy, fire engine red, etc. A color that is super underutilized, but incredibly gorgeous, is copper.
I think a lot of people tend to equate rose gold with copper. While they are similar, there are also some tremendous differences. Using copper in your wedding opens up a whole family of possibilities. Generally, you see it paired with more natural greens, whites and creams. Copper can be dressed up or made more casual and rustic.
Something fun that I saw was a soup bar! We’ve seen mac and cheese bars or even mashed potato bars, but I have not seen a soup bar. Have a couple of options, paired with mini grilled cheese sandwiches and different toppings. What a cozy thing!
Chances are that a February wedding will be cold. If you’re somewhere like Georgia, you may have a 75 degree day, or a 25 degree day. A nice favor, should your event be outside or transitional at all, would be blankets. It can get expensive, so beware of that. Getting them personalized can run you $10-$15/blanket at a minimum! A less expensive alternative would be to have hand warmers available as well. You can also do coffee mugs as favors. For someone who obsesses over mugs like I do, I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it as a favor!
There’s also the opportunity to have a “hot bar”. Offer hot apple cider or hot chocolate with shots of a cinnamon whiskey or peppermint schnapps (respectively). Of course, these don’t need to be alcoholic. If you are going to have a bunch of children (or youthful adults), you may want to add a s’mores station. I’ve been told that using a peanut butter cup instead of a chocolate bar will change how you eat s’mores forever.
Another thing I love is an “alternative bouquet”. If you don’t love winter flowers (carnations, roses, amaryllis), opt for a bouquet of succulents or perhaps a wreath! Break the mold with your cake too. Opt for a naked cake covered with seasonal berries or colorful flowers.
March is the start of wedding season. It’s one of the touchier months when it comes to the weather though. Will it rain? Snow? What about the temperature? Brides need to be prepared for a lot of possibilities for a spring wedding.
Completely unrelated to St. Patrick’s Day, March is all about greens! It’s such a fresh month. You can easily pair these greens with whites, creams, and pastels. A lot of spring florals are quite petal-y…hydrangeas, irises, gerberas (one of my favorites). This leaves a lot of opportunity for soft fabrics. Incorporate lace, tulle, and lots of ribbon!
Coming back to the weather, it can either be a blessing or a curse. I love the opportunity for an outdoor wedding or reception. You can bring games like cornhole or ladder jacks (my personal favorite that no one ever seems to have). Be sure to remember things like bug spray just in case! March might be a bit early for mosquitoes, but, if you’re like me, mosquitoes will find you at all times of the year.
A great way to save some money would be to do your own alcohol. Skip the bartender, and aim for galvanized tubs full of ice and “grab your own” beer. Chances are, you can sweet talk your caterer into setting it up for you. Buy your alcohol wholesale at Costco. They even have a pretty nice wine selection too!
Also, for the love of all that is good, stop with the sparklers. Yes, it photographs well, but I have seen far too many sparkler exits and almost burned down a venue in the process. Skip the hazard. If the venue will allow it, go for metallic confetti! Or, go natural and do some birdseed or lavender. I’m terrified of birds, so please don’t throw birdseed at me.
Favors are a hit or miss at weddings now. Some people do them while others don’t. Yes, it’s nice to say “thank you” to your guests who have come to support you and your new life with your spouse, but someone can only have so many jordan almonds or “match made in heaven” match boxes. For a spring wedding, you could do seeds of some sort since spring is planting season.
One of the advantages of a spring wedding, especially April, is getting to use the beauty of what’s around you. The weather is generally nice enough that festivities can take place outside among the fresh green grass and flowers. This opens up a lot of opportunities for a more casual wedding. You can serve BBQ with a fun self-service sauce station, or have a “fresh bar” full of fresh, local goods.
Having a spring wedding also offers the chance for more festive and practical favors. Do seed packets for your guests’ gardens or mini-succulents for everyone to take home. If you have guests with younger children, let them decorate a terracotta pot or make their own flower crown.
Go with wildflowers for bouquets and decoration. Don’t pick “colors” for your wedding, but go for a spectrum. Really tap into the surroundings wherever you are. There is a beautiful venue here in Athens called The Hill. Lee Epting owns the property. If you have a wedding there, you get the whole property that includes houses for your family during the festivities. Right at the end of April, beginning of May, The Hill really comes alive. The need for extraneous decoration becomes null because the surroundings are so beautiful.
Remember to dress for your season. If you’ve always dreamt of a stark white satin gown with pickups that comes with crinolines or a hoop skirt…don’t get married in the summer. You will sweat. Aim for lighter fabrics that don’t block out airflow.
Think of your bridesmaids too. Make sure the dresses are comfortable for movement, body types, and heat. Again…satin is not a summer fabric. I love the burgeoning trend of floral dresses! Though maxi dresses seem counter-intuitive, they’re a great option for a summer wedding.
In the summer, colors are all over the place. Storefronts get brighter, food becomes more colorful, and so on. You can actually get away with more muted colors in the summer in conjunction with a distinct color can do great things for a summer wedding. Use grey, beige, cream…added with a bright pink or cerulean, and THAT is a great pairing. If you’re not one to do straight up muted, add it in the form of glitter! Simple color in a distinctive way.
A lot of my wedding recommendations are inspired by the climate where I live. We’re in early May and have had more 90 degree days than I can remember this early on. Be prepared for it to be hot. If you’re outside, have a cooler with waters available. You can have a signature water available too. If you have a bar, the line can get long, and you don’t want people getting dehydrated.
If you’re looking to do a favor, how about a reusable cup or DIY bug spray. That’s not only handy at your wedding and reception, but also handy for future use of your guests.
If you are doing a bar, remember fresh options. Lemonade is great, mojitos are light…You don’t want to offer heavy food and heavy beverages when it’s hot out. That’s just miserable.
For the most part, you can see that I’m a huge fan of incorporating the outside into your wedding when looking for inspiration. Whether it’s a reception or just the ceremony itself, I think it’s just lovely to be outside (weather permitting). Let me tell you though, unless you’re in the Arctic or Denver this year (seriously, snow in May?), take it inside. June is hot. It’s just hot. I’ll tell you a similar story for July & August too. If you don’t do it for your guests, at least do it for your face in pictures. No one wants their face and makeup sweating off when they’re trying to be all beautiful and lovely and in love.
Berries are beautifully in season in the summer. Opt for a simple naked cake covered in berries or chocolate covered strawberries at your reception. If you’re feeling extra fancy, there are a ton of popsicle vendors that will come to your event! King of Pops is a common one I’ve seen in the Athens/Atlanta area. You can do popsicles yourself, but no one wants to worry about keeping them frozen on their wedding day.
Summer gives you a lot of opportunities to play with color. It’s an easy excuse to pair hot pink with green (Hello, watermelon theme.). I’ve seen a lot of larger bridal parties divvy up the rainbow among themselves. You can also do a bright pattern as well! One of my favorites looks is brightly colored bridesmaids with simple bouquets, while the bride (in a blush/white/ivory) opts for a more colorful bouquet.
Amenities feel like a very odd thing to discuss for a wedding, but you want to be sure your guests are happy! If you do opt for anything outside and it’s hot, do some double duty and have your programs double as fans. Have plenty of beverages available for your guests, especially water. Opt for a self-serve station to avoid anyone having to wait in line to get water at the bar. Depending on where you are, have bug spray or torches/citronella available for the “sweeter” guests as well.
When I was thinking about what would make a perfect July wedding, BBQ just kept coming to mind. Have a wonderful, casual wedding, especially if you’re going to do anything outdoors. Light cotton, gingham…super southern and super fun.
The colors that come to mind for a July wedding are generally red, white, and blue. #America That can be a great color scheme, don’t get me wrong. However, don’t pigeon-hole yourself there. It’s easy to toss in burlap with those colors to break it up a bit. Or, go completely different, and choose your own colors.
Turn your programs into fans for your guests. They’ll appreciate you for it. If the weather is kind, have them preset on chairs, so that you don’t have to worry about a table for them or finding a little cousin who wants to help.
Sunflowers are another lovely addition to a July wedding. If you’re a fan of yellow (I’m not), this is a warm addition to your color scheme. You can do a ton of other colors with sunflowers as well: navy, green, brown, orange, etc.
Something I hadn’t really seen before was the “guest book” in the form of cornhole boards. How fun is that? If you and your S.O. are big tailgate or outdoor game fans, this is way more practical than a picture book or fingerprint tree.
Be cognizant of your guests and your wedding party. Don’t ask the groom and groomsmen to wear tuxedos when it’s ninety degrees outside. Don’t say that it’s a formal wedding. No one wants to get all dolled up for any sort of July wedding. For me, my makeup practically melts off my face in the walk from my apartment to my car.
Recently, my sister went to a wedding where there were an absurd amount of mosquitoes. The poor bride was covered in bites herself. Provide some bug spray! Not just one or two bottles. Put one on every table if you need to. Let guests take them home at the end of the night. They’ll thank you. Along these lines, have some sunscreen available too. This may be less commonly used, but the sun goes down a lot later now.
August is a weird month. For some, it’s the start of fall when the weather seems to cool off a bit. For us southerners, it’s generally one of the hotter months. Some areas aren’t yet going back to school, while others start on the 1st of the month. It can be difficult to find wedding inspiration.
An August wedding can be absolutely lovely. For one, sunflowers are seasonal. That yields a very natural color scheme: yellow, brown, green, etc. Gerber daisies and peonies are seasonal too, so you can definitely do brighter colors. Tap into some wildflowers too. Somehow, when there are a ton of colors in wildflower form, they just make sense.
Be playful with your reception, both in the food you serve as well as in the environment. Try an ice cream sundae bar. Maybe you and your spouse are drinkers and you want to do a variety of jello shots with fruit. If you’re super healthy, try trays of fruits and veggies. Should you go down that road, I would recommend going to a local farmer’s market a few months in advance to see if there’s something you can work out with some local farming talent.
I would strongly advocate for a naked cake or buttercream. I have seen many a fondant cake melt because it was too hot. It’s very stressful for your caterers to try and put the cake back together. If you want to add variety into your cake/desserts, I would recommend cupcakes. Having multiple one-tier cakes is the devil.
Remember to provide plenty of options for (non-alcoholic) hydration. If you have an outdoor ceremony, place out some (non-alcoholic) beverages for the ceremony. You can attach a program to a bottle of water, or even get labels printed with the evening’s agenda.
Ahh…the official start of fall. You can do so much with fall weddings. Plus, it’s the start of football season, so you can always tie that in to your event if you or your spouse happens to be a big football fan.
For colors in a September wedding, I always think of more muted colors. Go for a blush pink instead of baby pink. Sage instead of a kelly green. Pull in the colors of nature as they change around you. It’s one of the more versatile months when it comes to coloring (and decor and food), so you can play with it a bit too.
As for food, find a happy medium between seasons. You could do something fun like a hot apple cider or hot chocolate bar, and add a little something extra at the bar if people want to “spice it up” a bit. Try a grab-and-go dessert bar (but please avoid a variety of cakes that your caterers or staff have to cut) with different flavors of items that are reflective of you and your spouse.
I’m a huge fan of flannel, especially the “lumberjack flannel” (red and black). If you’re looking to do gifts for your guests, blankets are a great option in the fall. If you’re looking for something for your bridesmaids, button down flannels are great AND dual purpose. Most hair/makeup artists will tell you and your bridesmaids to wear a button down or jacket that doesn’t need to go over your head. How cute would it be for all of you to be in flannel?!
Fall also yields a lot of “live” centerpieces and general decor that aren’t just flowers. Pull in pumpkins or apples. You can also do a lot with acorns or pinecones! There are even ideas to use decorative hole punches and leaves for confetti. Birdseed is also a nice color combination if you’re looking to fill the bottom of vases.
Don’t feel locked in to the standard fall colors either. Yes, you can have a beautiful wedding using reds and oranges and yellows. However, it’s simple to add in a deeper blue (like teal) or plum/eggplant. Play with metallics too! Rose gold or regular gold can add a nice sparkle without dousing everything in glitter (though I will almost always encourage glitter).
There are a lot of fun food opportunities with an October wedding. You could do a hot apple cider bar or hot chocolate bar. Offer people the opportunity to add a shot of Fireball or peppermint schnapps if they’d like. If you’re a big fan of bonfires, offer s’mores! There are other things you can cook over a fire, but I probably wouldn’t recommend having hot dogs.
If it’s exceptionally cool outside, think of things you might be comfortable eating with one hand, especially for dessert. Offer warm hand pies! If you do go for a traditional cake, make it a naked cake, or look like trees/wood outside.
Stations are nice in the fall. I’ve seen mac and cheese or mashed potato stations. There are even options for passed hors d’oeuvres where you can have a little “shooter” of soup with a grilled cheese piece. How cute is that?!
November is a great wedding month to go with jewel tones: gold, burgundy, emerald, mustard… You can also pull in more standard colors: white, ivory, orange, navy… Pull your colors in through your flowers or your bridesmaids dresses. Chances are that your surroundings will be abundant with color, so you can stay more neutral with your base (tablecloths, decor, etc.). Mimic the surroundings with your decor. Incorporate trees or leaves somewhere. It’s a cost saver too!
I love weddings that offer blankets. I think it’s absolutely adorable. However, I’ve also priced it, and it is definitely expensive to do. It is a lovely touch if you have guests who run on the colder side. Offer other things to warm up your guests. I mentioned a hot apple cider or hot chocolate bar for the October wedding. It’s applicable to all fall (or winter) weddings. Also, offer a signature sangria. Alcohol can also provide a nice “blanket” for guests. Hire a killer band or DJ! When people are dancing, they’re not cold!
Desserts are also important in the fall. Cake is delicious, but is it overdone? What about a donut wall? You could even do a pie bar! Or offer mini pies as favors! You can also have koozies as favors. If you’re serving chilled beverages, it’s nice to not have to hold a cold glass.
A lot of brides won’t do it because it’s too cold. Unless you’re pretty far south, chances are that a wedding in December will be chilly for your guests. For me, I can do just about anything, so long as I’m prepared for it. Your guests know about the wedding in advance, so they have plenty of time to purchase thermal underwear to hide under their long dresses or suits.
There are also these super cool inventions called heaters. Most venues who offer outdoor events in the winter where it’s cold will have these. Also, firepits.
Now, depending on where you get married, you can play with a lot of colors. I’d try and stay away from the more “fall colors” (orange, rust, golden yellow, etc.) Pull in some greens, and not necessarily the standard Christmas green. Use sage or hunter/forest green. You can use red too, without making it feel like Christmas colors. Burgundy or maroon are lovely this time of year.
Having a “Winter Wonderland” type of wedding also gives you a super easy excuse to use glitter almost everywhere! Really, that’s my calling in life.
However, I think the reason I would be drawn to a December wedding is for the allowance of excessive amounts of lumberjack plaid (though I believe it’s officially called “buffalo plaid”).
So, I actually found a few “exits” that I LOVED for a December wedding. As you’re leaving, have everyone ringing jingle bells! How sweet is that?! Or, you can do some fake (or real, depending on where you live) snow or sparkles! Just make sure that whatever you’re throwing is environmentally friendly.
Go plan your wedding!
I hope this helps! I really love weddings. When it comes down to it, design a wedding you and your future spouse will love and always remember, regardless of the season or expectations. This is your day, not theirs. Take wedding inspiration from the seasons and your surroundings. Then, turn it into your own event that’s uniquely you.