Baby, it’s cold outside: my (awesome) Winter wedding

While Spring and Summer are, traditionally, the world’s favourite times to wed, Winter is becoming increasingly popular, especially since marrying off-peak can be more affordable than holding your wedding during the warmer months.

But, is it a good idea to plan a wedding when the weather is almost guaranteed to be, well, terrible?

Melbourne make-up artist Ashleigh Gaitz Ben-Danan, 27, chose to walk down the aisle in the gloomy depths of Winter, but she didn’t let the dark and dreary skies dampen her spirit – and, she says, there are plenty of great reasons to hold a Winter wedding.

Why did you choose to hold a Winter wedding?

“I don’t do well at all in the heat,” says Ashleigh who married Yossi Ben-Danan, 29, in a traditional Jewish ceremony, which was held outdoors. “I melt and, basically, become a pool of jelly.

“In fact, I actually fainted during my sister’s wedding ceremony in Thailand thanks to the extreme Summer heat, so, when it came to my own wedding, I definitely preferred to be a little bit colder than risk it being 40 degrees and having a horrible day.”

“Looking back at the photos,” she adds, “it was definitely the right decision to hold a Winter wedding, especially because the overcast weather made for the best lighting for our wedding photos.”

How did holding a Winter wedding influence your wedding dress?

“I would have chosen the same wedding dress regardless of the weather,” says Ashleigh who wore a highly-beaded, cap-sleeve Maggie Sottero gown.

“However, I did have to find a bolero to keep me warm throughout the day.”

So, did the weather impact your day at all?

“I’m not going to lie,” says Ashleigh  “but the wind was incredibly cold, which made it a bit uncomfortable taking photos after the ceremony.

“During the day, my feet became numb from the cold, but it all worked out because the photos and the video are absolutely beautiful.”

Was it easier to book photographers and venues because your wedding was not held in the peak seasons?

“We booked our wedding venue a year in advance, so we were able to secure the date easily,” says Ashleigh whose wedding was shot by CK Photography. “We didn’t have any competition around those dates for either the photographer or venue, because we booked so far in advance.

“I think if we had left booking a venue and the photographer until the last minute, however, we would have had some pretty heavy competition.”

You held an outdoor wedding ceremony, despite it being Winter? Was that a good idea?

“Yes it was,” insists Ashleigh who has always preferred the cold to the heat. “Joyce Park, where we held the actual wedding ceremony, is a special place for us because we spend so much time there during our regular walks,” says Ashleigh. “So, it was really nice that it didn’t rain and we could still hold the ceremony outside because of how beautiful it is there.

“We wanted a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, but we didn’t feel enough of a connection to our local Synagogue because I didn’t grow up in Australia (Ashleigh was born in South Africa), so we still had had the traditional ceremony, but we did it outdoors.”

Ashleigh ensured her bridesmaids wore full-length dresses to cover their legs and keep them warm, and she added shawls to their outfits to cover their shoulders.

As it was quite cold, Asheligh says she and Yossi didn’t spend a lot of time shooting photos with their bridal party, largely because they tried to get the photos done as quickly as possible.

So, the weather actually helped make your wedding photos better?

“Yes!” says Ashleigh who was married in Joyce Park in Melbourne’s South-East. “The photos were definitely enhanced by the surrounds of the park in which we held our ceremony, largely thanks to the gorgeous Autumn leaves and bare trees that contrasted with the sky and added to the romantic feel in our photos.

“I think that the overcast sky does always make for better photos than sunny days, and the architecture of the trees was more dramatic in Winter,” she adds. “Oh, and it was also great that it wasn’t a Summer wedding where our make-up would melt off our faces!”

Did the season dictate the food you served guests?

“Our venue, Showtime Events on South Wharf, gave us a variety of food options that would be warm and comforting – but were still special enough to be a part of our first wedding meal together,” she said. “We enjoyed a scrumptious three-course meal that included pasta and fish courses as well as dessert.

“It was definitely a Winter menu.” Also, says Ashleigh, the venue was well heated “so I think it wouldn’t have mattered if it was cold outside.”

Would you do anything differently?

“As much as I loved the outdoor ceremony, if I had to do it again, I would have arranged an indoor location for our photos,” says Ashleigh. “And, of course, we had to rush the wedding photos a little because of the cold weather.

“However, it was great to have our wedding so far apart from when all our friends’ weddings were held as most of them were in Summer, so it felt like an extra special time of the year for us to marry.”

The rest of the wedding was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Do you have any advice for brides considering a Winter wedding?

“I would say to just to keep your options open and ensure that you choose your wedding photography locations wisely, because, though Winter offers fantastic lighting you don’t want to be stuck somewhere there is no shelter whatsoever – just in case it rains or becomes too cold,” she says.

“Also take an extra coat with you for when you are off shooting your photos but don’t worry if it doesn’t match perfectly because it won’t need to be in photographs, but you’ll still be able to keep warm!”

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