If you’re a bride-to-be planning a holiday wedding, beware: The line between cute and tacky is a fine one. But if done right, the crisp, wintry elements of Christmas can make for an enchanting affair. Marcy Blum, one of New York City’s top wedding and event planners, says it’s all about playing up the fine details.
“I think when you do a themed wedding of any sort, the key word is subtlety so that you don’t hit people over the head with the theme,” says Blum. “You want the Christmas theme to be picked up in different ways that are more clever, instead of an entire red and green wedding.”
Read on for some of Blum’s best secrets for pulling off an exquisite Christmas-themed wedding that won’t make your guests feel like they’re at Santa’s workshop.
Lighting and décor
The holiday season is a dazzly, sparkly time of year – so be sure to play that up. This directly relates to lighting. For a winter wedding, lighting should be warm, soft and dreamy. This can be achieved with hanging light fixtures like mini chandeliers, which have the added bonus of creating an icicle feel.
“You want lighting elements that are reminiscent of what the city looks like at Christmas,” says Blum, who uses Midtown Manhattan’s radiant holiday street decorations as a source of inspiration.
If you don’t want your nuptials to be too twinkly, candles throughout your venue can also have a warming, romantic effect.
When it comes to general wedding décor, Blum says to play up the little details. For example, seating cards can be hung on a small Christmas tree. Another subtle idea is to wrap the party favors like holiday presents and leave them under a larger tree positioned by the exit.
An abundance of white flowers and white décor will also remind guests of fresh snowfall – perfect for a winter wonderland-themed after-party.
“Things like that are much more interesting and much more elegant than having the band dressed like Santa Claus,” says Blum.
Food and cocktails
These days, weddings are typically broken down into three parts: Cocktail reception, dinner and dancing, and the after-party. The cocktail hour is a perfect opportunity to play up the Christmas theme.
“A sweet drink in a martini glass rimmed in sugar with a peppermint stick hanging off of it is certainly an idea,” says Blum.
With the weather being so crisp, mulled cranberry cider garnished with a cinnamon stick is another seasonal cocktail that reinforces the holiday feel.
Desserts represent one more way to work in some signature winter elements. For example, instead of a traditional cake, opt for a Buche de Noel. This tasty French treat is the signature Christmas cake in Paris. Rich with chocolate ganache icing and meringue mushrooms, a Buche de Noel is a creative way to put a Christmassy twist on desserts (especially if you serve it with an amaretto-spiked eggnog latte).
Dress and accessories
Bridal attire is another opportunity to accentuate the holiday theme. Instead of vamping up a white wedding dress with a red satin bow (which has been done to death), turn instead to the accessories.
“A great wedding dress with red glitter shoes or green glitter shoes represent touches that are more of a homage to the season, especially since you won’t see them unless the bride is dancing, which is very sweet,” says Blum.
Grooms can also get in on the idea by subtly sprucing up their lapels. Ditch the expected red and green boutonniere, instead opting for a frosty mix of pinecone and sage. A tweed suit is another fresh departure from a traditional tuxedo that works well for winter.
In the end, Blum says it’s really about finding nuanced ways to bring winter whimsy to life, which will make your wedding stand out from other holiday events.
“Everybody, for the most part, is celebrating Christmas with office parties, family parties, and parties of their own,” says Blum. “The idea is to do things that are atypical for the other events they’re going to.”