10 Tips for the Perfect Winter Elopement

Tali      January 23, 2022

Winter can be an absolutely magical time to get married. While some people write off the idea of a winter wedding without much thought, there are so many reasons to consider it! To start, a winter elopement can be absolutely stunning and it is hard to beat the romantic cozy vibes of a winter wedding! Blankets, fires, cozy cabins, and cuddling… sign me up! Plus, since winter is typically a less busy season for the wedding and tourism industries, it’s easier to get the vendors you want and you are far less likely to have to deal with crowds at popular spots than you are in the summer. There are plenty of reasons to consider a winter elopement, but if you are already reading this blog, we probably don’t need to convince you! So here are 10 tips for the perfect winter elopement to make sure that your once-in-a-lifetime adventure is truly one for the books!


Sunset skies over a Lake Superior island during a cold winter evening.

 1. Accessorize for the cold

Winter gives you the perfect excuse to add some extra details to your look. Consider adding options like a cute shawl, cloak, or cape for some added warmth. Mittens, ear muffs, and warm boots are also great options if you plan on venturing outside. We recommend finding these items ahead of time so that you can make sure you have accessories that add to the overall vibe or your winter wedding or elopement and that you will love having in your photos. These items are always extra exciting because they are often things that you will be able to wear again in the future… so they are basically a wedding present to yourself! Super cute new winter boots… yes, please!

 2. Make sure your photographer knows how to work with snow

Like many conditions and situations, shooting in the snow (and the cold) is its own adventure. It’s important that your photographer is experienced keeping their gear safe and working in the cold and snow (and is ready to account for things like lenses fogging up with temperature changes) so that they don’t miss documenting critical moments of your big day. It’s also important that they know how to shoot with a snowy background and active snowfall. If you are wearing a white dress, make sure that they are able to make it stand out from the snow.  You want to look like an ice queen… not a snowbank with arms and a head.

A family snuggles close to stay warm during a winter elopement

 3. Pick a wedding dress that you like against a snowy backdrop

Depending on where you are planning on getting married (and when) there might not be a guarantee of snow, but if there is it’s important to make sure you like the way your dress looks against a snowy white backdrop, especially if you are planning on a white or off white wedding dress.

 4. Plan some extra time for photos

If you are planning on taking photos outside, be sure to plan in some extra time for photos. If it is really cold outside, you will want to be able to take frequent breaks to warm up if you need to, without being stressed about using up all the time you had budgeted for photos. It’s also good to consider a little extra time for bundling up to go outside and a little buffer time for any driving that you are doing in case the roads are less than stellar. One of our biggest secrets to avoiding stress on your wedding day is making sure there is plenty of extra time in the schedule… And that’s doubly true when you are playing with Mother Nature.

 5. Be prepared for snow… and not for snow.

While there are some places that can basically guarantee snow (and likewise some that can basically guarantee no snow), most destinations can be hit or miss. It’s always a good idea to have a plan for when the weather doesn’t cooperate, whether that means no snow or too much snow. Make sure to think of backups for photo spots, ceremony plans, and transportation. If you are having guests, make sure to have a plan for communicating any last minute change of plans so that you don’t have to deal with the stress of figuring things out last minute. If you are prepared, you can have a magical and stress-free wedding no matter what the weather throws at you.

A couple dances among the tall pines during their winter elopement

 6. Cute inside and out

When the weather outside is frightful, a fire inside can be absolutely delightful! For the perfect day no matter what Mother Nature throws your way, consider planning for a cute place where you can hang out and take photos inside. A cute cabin in the woods, a cozy chalet fireplace, or a classic lodge are all great options. We recommending picking a couple of features that are important to you… a warm fireplace to cuddle up to, a private hot tub to warm up in after your winter adventure, large picture windows perfect for enjoying the beauty of the outside world from the comfort of the inside… so that you find a place that you are excited about spending some time at if the weather decides to switch up your plans.

A wedding flower bouquet sits on the snow among tall pines on a chilly winter day.

 7. Hand warmers, toe warmers, and body warmers (Oh my!)

No one wants cold feet (or hands, fingers, and toes) on their wedding day and that is extra true for a winter elopement! When it’s cold outside, there are few things cozier than toe warmers in your boots and hand warmers in your mittens (and maybe a few body warmers shoved in your coat for good measure). Dom and I have adventured outside in -26F conditions comfortably with hand warmers shoved everywhere we could get them. Seriously, for a winter wedding, or any wedding with a chilly weather forecast, these are a must! Disposable hand warmers are available at most outdoor stores and even places like Target and Walmart during the winter. Or, if you are looking for something you can use over and over again, there are lots of rechargeable hand warmers like these Zippo warmers from REI.

A couple snuggles close along the icy shores of lake superior during the winter

 8. Plan events that will help you warm-up

Playing in the snow and in the cold is great, but for a perfectly balanced day, we recommend planning some events that will help you warm-up in between or after your adventures. That could be something cozy like a picnic by a fire, a slay ride cuddled up in a blanket, playing games inside by a roaring fire, a dip in a hot tub, or something more athletic to warm you up from the inside out like snow shoeing, skiing, or ice skating.

 9. Layer up!

The key to every successful cold-weather adventure is layering up …and your winter wedding is no different! Base layers such as warm leggings and socks are easy to hide under your wedding attire and will do wonders for keeping you nice and toasty. Depending on the weather, a warm jacket (maybe in your wedding colors?!) may be a valuable accessory and can add some fun variety to your photos.

 10. Warm drinks (and food!)

A great way to stay cozy during your winter elopement is to warm-up from the inside out. Packing your favorite warm beverage or soup for the adventure is a perfect plan to add a little warmth to the day. Plus, taking a break for a sip of something sweet is a great way to slow the day down and savor the moment. Not to mention, it can make for some adorable photos!

Whether you are planning a winter adventure elopement in the woods, an intimate wedding in the snowy mountains, or a quaint celebration down the street, these 10 tips for your winter wedding will help everything go off without a hitch… well, maybe just one hitch. 😉

If you are dreaming up the perfect winter elopement or wedding and are still looking for the perfect photographers to capture your adventure, we would love to help you plan a crafted-to-you day (and tag along to capture the biggest day of your love story). Get in touch and let’s get rolling!

9 thoughts on “10 Tips for the Perfect Winter Elopement”

  1. Pingback: 101 Things To Do During Your Elopement - Forever and Evergreens

  2. Ok, I genuinely laughed at the “snowbank with arms and a head” part. Shooting in the snow can definitely be a challenge, but you make it sound easy and so rewarding!

  3. This is such an awesome resource, and just in time for the cooling temperatures coming soon! I absolutely agree with making sure your photographer knows how to work in the snow and freezing temperatures. It is incredibly hard, but your photos are so beautiful and perfectly shot – you’re obviously an expert! Thank you for putting this together!

  4. Awesome guide to help couples get the most from their winter celebration! Definitely key to get a photographer that knows how to work outside and is comfortable in all conditions. Thanks for sharing!

  5. These are amazing tips for planning a winter elopement! I remember photographing snow for the first time and I had to completely rework my presets. Such an important tip!

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