The Knot reports that only 10% of couples marry in December, January and February. Think winter isn’t ideal for a wedding? Think again.
Photos by Rebekah Westover.
Winter destination weddings are on the rise and industry leaders—Michelle Leo Events and photographer Rebekah Westover—know why. Think hearty cuisine, show-stopping florals, velvety color palettes and soothing candlelight. These in-the-know dynamos showcase the keys to winter-wedding success.
Pick a soft palette
One way to escape the kitschy holiday stereotype is to coat your party design with alternative tones.
“For this design, I wanted to create a romantic, winter setting that felt both cozy and sophisticated for the beautiful mountains of Utah,” planner and designer Michelle Leo explains. “Muted tones in burgundy and cranberry replaced the traditional holiday reds while blue-hued greens took the place of a more traditional evergreen color palette.”
Go wild with big blooms
“Mood” oftentimes gets overused in wedding design, but the fact of the matter is come mid-winter, everyone needs a mood boost. Big blooms and evergreens are just what the doctor ordered. “It might be winter here, but on the other side of the world, it’s spring and we can source flowers from around the globe,” florist Erin Keller of Urban Chateau explains. “Despite popular belief, winter brides have plentiful options like peonies, tulips, hydrangea and garden roses.” Here, ranunculas, hellabores, dahlias, anemones, pine and cedar decorate the table tops and ceiling—even chair backs.
Create good flow
Have you ever felt stuck at a party? It’s the worst. Avoid the bottleneck and lines by adding variety to the room’s layout. “My rule of thumb is ‘different table, different design,’” says Leo. Round tables break up the long farmhouse tables, meanwhile each table flaunts a different design. Lounge seating—by Eclectic Hive—adds one more element. “I am a huge fan of mixing up table styles for a design in order to break up the monotony of a room filled with only rounds or only banquet tables—a common mistake made by most designers. This alternate arrangement provides a visually-stylish ambiance while offering varied levels of height for the eyes to enjoy.”
Reinvent an overused theme
Every year, destination couples are lured to Utah for its casual-yet-refined outdoor lifestyle. “We are repeatedly asked to design a ‘rustic chic’ reception with a ‘mountain elegance’ vibe for our destination weddings,” says Leo. One way to shake up the theme is to vary the decor. “I designed the tabletop pieces to complement one another while not looking exactly alike. Both table styles mirror the overall theme of the event design, while each table captures individuality at the same time.” Using this method, partygoers never tire of one scene.
Create sensory overload
Cue the music and let the feast begin. Luxe Catering begins this fine dining experience with a blood orange and roasted beet salad topped with yogurt, tarragon and hazelnuts. A Snake River Farms braised wagyu Zabuton beef—topped with pistachio and pine nut crust—pairs with seasonal winter harvest veggies and a butternut squash puree. A rose and pomegranate pot de creme finishes off the meal.
Planning/Design: Michelle Leo Events, SLC | @michelleleoevents
Photos: Rebekah Westover, Provo | @rebekahwestover
Venue: Ember, SLC | @emberslc
Floral: Urban Chateau Floral, SLC | @urbanchateaufloral
China, glassware, flatware, tables and chairs: Diamond Rental, Murray
Copper chargers, menu backers and table numbers: Michelle Leo Events, SLC | @michelleleoevents
Lounge seating rentals: Eclectic Hive, SLC | @eclectichive
Cake: Flour & Flourish, Orem | @flourandflourish
Makeup: Kristen Packard Artistry, SLC | @kristenpackardartistry
Hair: Kali Chris Hair, American Fork | @kalichris
Gowns: Bitsy Bridal, SLC | @bitsybridal
Paper Suite: Lynn & Lou Paper Co., | @lynnandlou
Jewelry: Diamonds Direct, Murray
Food: Lux Catering, SLC | @luxcateringandevents
Model: Kara Jones