The latest wedding trend overseas? Winter weddings. Reports the UK’s Guardian newspaper, thousands of brides are shunning the summer months in favour of tying the knot in winter. Why? Money, mostly (more of that later!). But first…
Why Do People Marry in Summer?
Spoiler alert – it’s not for romantic reasons! The Ancient Romans thought it auspicious to marry during June to honour Juno, the goddess of marriage and, after a long, cold winter, it seemed only sensible to wed on a pleasant summer’s day. And then there was macro-economics. Being a pragmatic people, they calculated that June was the optimum time of year for women to conceive – a baby born the following spring had a better chance of survival and mom could be back in action by the time the next harvest was due in. And so, the tradition for summer weddings rolled over into modern times – with June becoming the most popular month of the year for European brides to marry. Although South African winters aren’t nearly as harsh as those in Europe – and infant mortality rates have improved year-round – summer weddings have just kind of stuck. In summary, there’s no real reason why you can’t get married during winter, too.
What’s the Best Thing About a Winter Wedding?
The cost – having a wedding during the winter could save you thousands of rands! Not only are many wedding venues considerably cheaper out of the ‘wedding season’, but many vendors and wedding service providers offer winter wedding specials to boost business during this quiet time, as well.
How Does the Weather Affect Winter Wedding Plans?
Planning your winter wedding will focus on how the cooler (or wet) weather will affect the comfort of you and your guests:
- Check the average minimum and maximum winter temperatures of the wedding destinations you’re considering before deciding on one
- In cooler areas of the country, or those affected by winter rainfall, look for a warm and cosy inside wedding venue, preferably with a large fireplace and/or artificial heating
- In milder areas, an outside venue is still possible but do make sure that there are plenty of patio heaters and blankets available (you may have to hire these)
- Think about having the service and reception in the warmer daylight hours, instead of in the evening
- Make sure there’s an area where guests can safely store their jackets and coats while they’re enjoying your hospitality
- Serve drinks which warm the blood, like sherry or port, hot cider, red wine and glühwein, and good old-fashioned comfort foods, like a huge spit-roast and hot desserts
- If you’re having your winter wedding in a remote, mountainous location, make sure there’s plenty of overnight accommodation so that guests don’t have to navigate winding roads late at night, in bad weather (or if you get rained, or even snowed, in!).
What Should I Wear to a Winter Wedding?
For some reason, brides think that they need to slink around in sleeveless or strapless wedding dresses – whatever the weather – to look suitably gorgeous on the big day. Not so! In fact, winter wedding attire can ooze glamourand sophistication. Think:
- Edwardian-style wedding dresses with lace sleeves
- Vintage Boleros and wraps
- Elegant opera, elbow-length or wrist gloves
- Victorian lace-up ankle boots
- Cheery, red velvet
Roses are red…not to mention overpriced out of season. You may have to rethink your wedding flowers to remain on budget, but there are plenty of options. Our very own King Protea makes for a glorious winter bridal bouquet.
See here for a list of sweet, sassy and South African wedding flowers by season
South Africa has been described as the world in one country – from beach to bushveld, metropolitans to mountains and everything in between! If it’s a winter destination wedding you’re after, consider:
- The Cedarberg (Western Cape) – winter rainfall, possible snowfalls, with cool to cold days and cold to freezing nights
- Hogsback (Eastern Cape) – possible snowfalls, cool to cold winter days and cold to freezing nights
- The Drakensberg (KwaZulu-Natal/Free State) – possible snowfalls, cool to cold winter days and cold to freezing nights
- The Lowveld (Mpumalanga) – warm winter days and cool nights
- Dolphin Coast (KwaZulu-Natal) – warm winter days and warm to coolish nights.