Planning: Cold Hands, Warm Hearts

Winter celebrations require a little extra thought, so we assembled a team of experts to help you think yours through

1. Whether the storm

Wedding planner Wendy Wojcik of Weddings with Wendy says it’s imperative that you become familiar with your venue’s winter weather policies. If the city is blanketed by snow, will they reschedule your event for free?

Most venues offer lower rates during winter. For example:

Kiana Lodge Full-service Saturday evenings from May through October start at $3,995; the rest of the year the figure is $1,995.

Pravda Studios Venue fees from November through March are 20 percent less than high-season rates.

Sanctuary at Admiral Friday-evening venue fees from May to December start at $2,000; from January through April they begin at $1,200.

Pan Pacific Hotel Food, beverage, and venue bookings on Sundays between May and September can run between $5,000 and $7,000; they’re $4,000 to $6,000 the rest of the year.


0112-planning-hot-tody2. Toast to this

How would you feel if someone handed you an amaretto and Tia Maria hot toddy (almost equal parts of each over hot water in a mug with a twist of lemon) as soon as you walked into the room? Special, right? Michele Brummett, catering manager for Kaspars Special Events and Catering, says this signature cocktail presentation sets a welcoming tone and helps alleviate long lines at bar stations.


3. Get glowing

Occasional winter tanning-bed visits can work wonders on your mood. It’s the vitamin D boost; Seattle Sun Tan CEO Scott Swerland says his beds deliver more in 10 minutes than your daily supplement does. Prepping for a bikini-clad honeymoon? Start sessions six weeks before the wedding and build slowly.


4. Light a fire0112-planning-toasted-marshmellows

Shop for a reception venue with a fireplace. The romantic two-sided indoor-outdoor stone hearth at Cedarbrook Lodge, for example, provides a warm hangout space for s’mores roasting, long-lost cousins, or couples in need of a few minutes alone.


5. Be picture-perfect

“I love the dramatic and romantic lighting of winter weddings,” says photographer Carol Harrold, who snapped this image at the Edgewater. “Professional shooters know how to work with the most interesting light, and we’ll balance our portable strobes with the ambient or available light so that we can catch action and emotions. Ask event managers about using colorful strung holiday lights or lots of candles to create warm and cozy environments that will show up really beautifully in low-light, nighttime photos.”


6. First-class first course

Soups are a totally on-trend appetizer. Your guests won’t care so much about that, though; they’ll just be happy to have a warm-up. City Catering chef de cuisine Russell Burton offers these seasonal slurps to be served in teardrop-shaped bowls, fluted cordial glasses, and other inventive vessels.

  • Roasted parsnip and gala apple with cranberry gastrique and crisp sage
  • Roasted golden-beet bisque with red-beet mousse and apple slaw
  • Thumbelina carrot ginger with pomegranate arils and apple “air”
  • Northwest minestrone with carrots, parsnips, celery, cranberry beans,  leeks, delicata squash, chanterelle mushrooms, Bluebird Grain Farms’ farro, and goat cheese quenelle


7. Go to great lengths

Want your bridesmaids in short dresses for your New Year’s Eve nuptials? Erin Green at Moms, Maids, and More suggests picking a heavier fabric in a darker color. If you prefer them in light, flowy fabrics like chiffon, make the look season-appropriate by choosing floor- length styles in darker tones.


8. Deck the halls

Mason jars and wildflowers don’t work in January, sorry. Aleah and Nick Valley of Valley and Co Events suggest these décor themes:

Glam White
Use a mix of whites, creams, gray, and sequins; embellish chandeliers and birch branches with crystals.

Après Ski
Choose a lodge-like venue and set the tone with Scandinavian sweater patterns on your stationery. Leather furniture, tree-trunk cake pedestals, and pinecone place card holders complete the mood.

Royal Winter
Mix and match patinaed bronze with gold-toned candlesticks, have a whiskey tasting, and draw on emerald green, sapphire, and ruby red.