Saying ‘I do’: Braving the cold for a winter wedding

Faux furs for the bridesmaids for a winter wedding

We’re having unseasonably mild temperatures currently in Toronto (and I am loving it!), but unfortunately we weren’t so lucky back on December 31st when we braved the frigid temps for our ‘first look’ and wedding party portraits. Brrr!

staying warm in a winter wedding

Once all the details were planned for our wedding day, the only thing stressing me out was the weather. Was it going to be unbearably cold? Was slush and salt going to ruin my dress? Was a snowstorm going to prevent guests from making it?

I was watching the forecast obsessively. While a snow storm hit earlier in the week, a couple days of rain washed away the snow and our wedding day was clear, but bitterly cold. We were just thankful that the roads were good for all our guests making the trip.

When we decided to have a winter wedding, I had absolutely no intention of taking any outdoor photos. I’m a huge wimp when it comes to the cold, and was sure that we could take perfectly lovely photos inside. Our photographers, however, insisted that we take wedding party photos outside for the natural light. I was easily persuaded, since we were meeting in the summer and I’d temporarily forgotten how much I hate the cold.

People kept saying how some snow would look so nice in pictures, and I was like, “NO THANKS!” Since we took our photos before the ceremony, I just imagined trudging down the aisle afterwards in a soggy, dirty gown. When the sidewalks were clear that morning, I definitely sighed with relief.

staying warm in a winter wedding

A friend gave me the white shawl that I wore, and my sister and I found the other (faux) furs at thrift stores over the span of a few months. We kept our eyes out for little fur jackets that were shorter in length which gave a more modern look than the many longer coats that were on the racks and didn’t worry about matching colours. We ended up with a nice mix though, I think. At $20-30 each, they were so much less expensive than the shawls I was seeing in stores, and they kept us all a bit warmer, too.

winter wedding fur jackets

I felt awful for my girls in their short dresses (which they wanted, btw, so I didn’t feel entirely responsible), but I didn’t hear a whimper of complaint from any of them. The boys were a bit better off in their tuxes, but fingers didn’t stay out of pockets for long and because us girls ran a bit late, they were already freezing by the time we arrived. Thermoses of hot chocolate and coffee were a big help.

staying warm in a winter wedding

To be perfectly honest, in hindsight, I do wish I’d gone with my initial instinct and just found a good indoor photo site instead. It was cold, and a little bit miserable, and I feel that because of that, we didn’t even really get the variety of shots we would have liked. While we did get some lovely photos, there are many with strained smiles and pink noses that betray just how cold we were.

Were you a winter bride? How did you keep warm?

Photography: Joseph and Jaime Weddings // Location: University of Toronto // Hair: Monica Le // Makeup: Fiona Man

6 Comments

    • Thanks! Eventually the memories of the bitter cold will fade and all we’ll have is the nice pictures, so that’s alright 🙂

  1. I’m a wimp too for cold weather! My wedding was opposite ha! I was worried about the makeup melting off cause it was a hot day in TX, but we all survived for those pretty outdoor photos lol!!

    • That would have been my concern in the summer, too! It’s hard to look chic when sweating buckets. I always feel especially badly for the boys in suits and tuxes.

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