Are you planning a winter wedding? Fortunately, here in Texas, our winters are rather mild. That said, Texas is also known for having pretty unpredictable weather that can range from warm and sunny, to freezing or rainy. Whether you plan to get married in December, January, February or even early March, here are 10 tips to help you prepare for a winter wedding:

#1: Consider an Indoor/Outdoor Venue

Winter is a magical time for a wedding, but frigid or rainy weather can have your guests running for the indoors. Before you book your venue, consider both outdoor and indoor ceremony options. If you are planning to have an outdoor ceremony, make sure to also plan a back-up ceremony inside. Most venues can show you optional indoor ceremony layouts.

#2: Account for Longer Travel Times

During inclement weather, it may take you and your guests longer to arrive at the venue. Account for the longer travel times by requesting that your guests arrive an hour before the ceremony. You could always entice them by offering our next tip:

#3: Serve Hot Drinks During Cocktail Hour

Warm your wind-chilled guests by offering hot drinks during a pre-ceremony cocktail hour. Drinks such as warm spiced wine and hot apple cider are sure to be a welcomed treat. You could also opt for a DIY coffee and hot chocolate bar. Don’t forget the mini marshmallows!

#4: Have an Earlier Ceremony

Remember, it gets darker sooner in the winter months. Natural lighting is always best for wedding photos, so consider having an earlier ceremony. Additionally, it tends to get colder as it gets later into the night. Having your reception end an hour or so before midnight could also mean a safer commute home for your guests.

#5: Dress for the Occasion and the Season

It’s possible to keep warm without compromising your wedding photos. In fact, winter is the best time to add character to your photos by investing in a few winter accessories. Faux fur coats or cloaks, scarves or shawls in one of your wedding colors and even hand muffs are all great options. For a rustic flair, consider wearing boots under your wedding dress! Or, keep a second pair of shoes on hand just in case your original pair get muddy.

#6: Feature Cozy Decor

During the winter, nothing is more inviting than a cozy reception. Fabrics such as velvet or chenille, rich winter colors and elements of light, such as lit candles, can all create a warm ambience. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it! Consider adding a few seasonal pieces to your decor such as pine cones, bare tree branches, wood slabs or tree slices.

#7: Choose a Seasonal Dinner Menu

Most caterers will offer seasonal dinner menus with produce that is in season. Seasonal produce will be more abundant which makes it a more cost efficient option. Not to mention, seasonal produce tends to be fresher which yields the best flavor.

#8: Stay Ahead of Time

The winter months are some of the busiest of the year. Remember that your guests have a lot of commitments from Christmas and the New Year to Valentine’s Day! Consider sending your save the dates and wedding invitations a bit earlier to give your guests enough notice. Winter months are also some of the busiest for vendors. Book your venue, caterers, bartenders, photographer and entertainment well in advance.

#9: Give Dual Purpose Favors

Cross preparing for inclement weather and wedding favors off your list at the same time by providing dual purpose favors for your wedding party or guests. Umbrellas, ponchos, throws and mittens are all great gifts that can be used time and time again!

#10: Arrange Lodging for Your Guests

Help ensure your guests stay safe during inclement weather by arranging lodging ahead of time. Most hotels will allow you to place a closed or open (complimentary) block on hotel rooms, ensuring your guests have somewhere close to stay. Or better yet, consider a venue such as Blissful Hill which provides on-site lodging! Though on-site lodging can add to the cost of your venue rental, many guests will happily pay their stay, especially if they planned to stay at a hotel anyway!