It’s been snowing quite heavily here at Clare Beckwith Weddings HQ for a quite few days, but last Saturday we did venture out to a wedding at the 5 * Hanbury Manor where we have been invited to help out as Wedding Concierge.
With the forecasters predicting snow, we packed the car full of sensible essentials (spade, food, water, high vis. jacket etc) plus lots of warm clothing, and set out early.
It started to snow heavily after we arrived and the snowy backdrop of the Garden Court was picture perfect. It was everything you could ever dream of for a white wedding.
But white weddings can cause havoc with your plans too, as we were about to witness when the live 5 piece band call in to say they couldn’t make it, and the photographer turned up red faced and hassled, half way through the ceremony.
It wasn’t a wedding that we had designed and organised ourselves, so all we could do was watch and learn.
As a wedding planning business, we always think ahead and put contingency plans in place, and if you are organising your wedding yourself you should too. It’s essential, even on a normal weather day!
We’ve spoken to a few of our wonderful suppliers to help compile these 10 top tips to help you think of everything if you are facing a snowy, crisp weather wedding.
1) In the planning process, make sure you get good wedding insurance and have a written contract with all your suppliers containing a cancellation clause.
2) A few days before your big day, watch the weather. Yes, boring we know and much like watching paint dry, but very necessary if you want to avoid nasty surprises. Try http://www.accuweather.com/
3) As soon as you hear of weather warnings, contact your suppliers to alert them, and to see what their travel/contingency plans are.
4) If snow is forecasted, encourage suppliers to drive up the day before and stay in a B&B.
5) Make sure all suppliers know where they are going and what time they need to be there for. Provide maps and rough estimates of drive times between venues. It might seem like spoon feeding, but some people aren’t as sensible as you!
6) If you are planning a winter wedding, try to hold it all in one place, or within a very short distance from ceremony to reception venues. Make sure staff are prepared for the winter conditions and that guests are kept happy and not standing around in the cold.
7) If you are booking a live band, try to do so through a reputable agent. Try http://www.vivalivemusic.co.uk/
They only have musicians and bands that have been interviewed and auditioned. The musicians are trustworthy and won’t let down clients. In the unlikely event that someone is ill in the band, they will organise other musicians – giving you additional peace of mind.
8) If you are let down by any of your suppliers, check with your venue. They should have a list of local suppliers that could be contacted in an emergency. Alternatively, they might have other musicians on-site for residencies or other events that might be able to provide some entertainment – even if it wasn’t what was originally planned.
9) Contact suppliers via local business websites that might be able to assist. Even if they can’t, they might know someone that can. You would be surprised how everyone helps in a crisis!
10) If you find yourselves without a photographer, ask one of your guests with a decent camera to stand in for a bit until they arrive. You might even discover a hidden talent!
And to keep everyone comfortable and warm...
1) Make guests aware of the conditions so that they can dress appropriately, wearing suitable footwear, coats etc. Read my last blog post by Isobel Kershaw for some stylish ideas!
2) Prime your ushers to help push cars in the snow and also make them aware they may have to remove snow in places for guests to get to the church. Give them spades to do the job!
3) Serve warm mulled cider in the church to keep guests warm and happy!
4) If you are having a church ceremony, give out hand and foot warmers to guests with their order of service. Churches often have no heating and are cold at the best of times.
5) At the reception venue, ask your photographer to set up lights in an allocated room to do all the formal family shots which will keep guests in the warm.
6) Lay out a red carpet laid for the bride to walk on in places where it is particularly snowy or icy.
Winter weddings are wonderful. Don’t let the snow put you off. Just be prepared!
Our sincere thanks go to the amazing Lord and Leverett http://www.lordandleverett.com/ and to Viva Live music http://www.vivalivemusic.co.uk/ for their contributions to this blog post.
Photo credit: http://www.marriott.co.uk/