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9 Wedding Planning Tips From A December Bride!

My fiancé (now husband) and I chose a December wedding after much consideration, and we are so glad we did. At the end of it all, we received wonderful compliments from our wedding guests. I look back on our wedding as a cross between our celebration and an elegant holiday party.

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Our Wedding Toast

During our wedding planning, we followed the typical fall-and-winter wedding considerations, such as opting for one venue to keep travel easier in case of poor weather conditions, an earlier schedule for photos, bringing in extra heaters, etc.

Nonetheless, this post is December-specific. I believe this wedding month has its own set of rules!

I write this post on the chance that even one of these tips or lessons learned could help a December Bride-to-Be or couple that might be considering a December wedding.

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We married at a historic mansion and vineyard

1.  Sending Save-the-Dates in the Summer Helped with the RSVP’s

December meant being OK with the possibility of increased wedding invitation regrets. But, as surprised as some people were with our date, we had a 73% acceptance rate.

Still, none of my east coast relatives attended the wedding. I completely understood as the holidays are hectic, and travel can be rough. Not to mention for those with children, Christmastime takes on a whole new level of busy!

For those who could attend, we had a somewhat rustic, garden-like wedding with holiday touches. 

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Our centerpieces and wedding favors

2.   We Had to be OK with A Wedding Anniversary That’s One Week Before Christmas! 

We now have birthday celebrations, holiday guests, our wedding anniversary, Christmas, and New Years all in December. 

3.    December is the Darkest Month of the Year, So Evening Wedding Photos Start Early 

Photography helped us determine our wedding start time. With an earlier sunset, we set our ceremony for 4:00 pm. Photos began at 2:00 pm.

One great thing about the pre-ceremony photo session was getting to enjoy part of the cocktail hour after saying our I-do’s! The slight downside was seeing each other before I walked down the aisle. Our photographer did a beautiful, private “first look” photo for us.

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Our December Wedding Day

6.    Beautiful In-Season Flowers

December’s floral selection was perfect.

I selected a variety of red roses, white spray roses, burgundy and white dahlias, seeded eucalyptus, ivory and red hypericum berry, holly, white stock, green hanging Amaranthus, branches, sprayed gold leaves and pinecones. 

However, there was a catch.

Our wedding colors were reds, ivory and winter white. All shades of red and white are in high demand in the holiday season, so these flowers cost a bit more.

But as mentioned, we used a lot of winter foliage that helped keep the florals well within budget and matched the December mood.

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Our Bridal and Bridesmaid Bouquets

6.  December is Fun for Wedding Favors, but Pinterest Got Overwhelming!

I spent a lot of time on Pinterest. I noticed some December weddings fully embraced a holiday theme, while others had nothing to do with the holidays – it all looked beautiful.

From the start, I was set on cozy throws as wedding favors.

To give it a December feel, I made blankets by measuring, cutting, rolling up, and tying quality fleece material, using three complementary patterns – one solid burgundy and two different red plaid designs – one was Christmassy, the other was wintery.

 

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Our Cozy Wedding Favors

Friends and family tell us they still use the blankets!

All of the wedding favors turned out well. Yet in retrospect, I wish I had been clear on our wedding colors and theme before looking at Pinterest! With so many inspirational photos, it was easy to get side tracked.

6.   The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree at our reception gets its own mention because it turned out to be a fun photo opportunity for everyone. Some weddings have photo booths, we had a gorgeous Christmas tree photo prop!

Our photographer suggested we also do the cake cutting in front of the tree.

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Our Wedding Cake with Winter Florals

7.    Researching Each Venue’s December Holiday Décor was Important

The Christmas décor was so crucial that it ended up being the tiebreaker between our Top-2 venue choices. After all, it would be a part of our wedding theme.

All the venues we were considering informed us they set-up holiday decorations, which we loved. Photos and social media searches helped us understand their vision and style.

I was so pleased with our ultimate wedding venue’s elegant holiday décor of white string lights and red poinsettias (this also saved on flowers!) that we booked the place.

8.    Holiday Parties Meant We Still Had to Book Our Rehearsal Dinner & Lodging ASAP

It may have been the off-season for weddings, but it was the ON-season for Christmas parties!

Our favorite restaurants were booked entirely with holiday celebrations, so we changed our Friday rehearsal dinner to the late afternoon to get a good reservation. Hotels were taking early bookings for big company holiday parties, so we reserved our room block eight months in advance.

9.    We Kept it Simple with Nay-Sayers

When asked about our wedding date, a couple people actually corrected me with “You mean September? My reply was simply “No, December!” Smile.

My fiancé and I decided December was fortuitous as the holidays had significance in our relationship. Not to mention it is a beautiful time of year and weddings are a special occasion.

We loved having a December wedding.

PHOTOS: Lori Rittinger Photography