8 Ways to Throw a Holiday-Themed Wedding—Without Being Cheesy
Keep your wedding classy but festive with these simple tips.
It's so tempting to go all out for a holiday wedding. But the truth is that too many festive details can leave your wedding feeling a bit cheesy. Fight the temptation to put a holiday touch on every aspect of your wedding and instead stick with small, thoughtful touches. The result will be a classy, elegant affair that's warm, homey, and seasonal without feeling like an explosion of knick-knacks. Use the ideas below to get started.
1. Flavor the Favors
The winter holidays are synonymous with sweet treats. Create a special dessert or favor by using a family recipe like your grandmother's fudge or your dad's "famous" caramel corn, says Alicia Caldecott, owner of A Day in May Events. No family favorites? No problem. She recommends serving up orange scones or pistachio biscotti.
2. Get Wordy
"Bring in playful holiday details in areas with a specific focus or impact like a bar menu titled "Baby It's Cold Outside," says Caldecott. You can also work messaging into bar napkins or coasters with phrases like "Eat, drink, and be married," start your invitations with "Join us in this season of joy," or show the real spirit of the season with "Friends and family are the real gifts" embossed on thank-you notes.
3. Escort Guests with Ornaments
"Consider ornaments as fun escort cards," says Jacin Fitzgerald, owner of Jacin Fitzgerald Events and Creative Consulting. It's actually pretty simple to do. Fill small, clear glass ornaments with kosher salt and a sprig of pine. Write each guest's name and table number on a pretty strip of paper or burlap and tie it to the top of the ornament. Voila: a great escort card that can also double as a cute favor.
4. Create a Seasonally Inspired Bar Menu
A simple, effective way to play up the holiday fun is with wintery drinks. Fitzgerald recommends serving up seasonal favorites that will immediately make everyone feel warm and cozy. Hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows, cider garnished with cinnamon sticks, spiced brandy wine, hot buttered rum, or a signature martini (work with your caterer to create something fresh) are all good options.
5. Bring in Elements of Home
"People want to be home for the holidays," says Caldecott. "Find ways to bring the comforts of home to your décor." For a homey feeling, opt for lounge areas with oversized couches and fluffy floor pillows. You can also place baskets of cable knit or faux fur throws throughout the ceremony or reception space for guests to snuggle up with.
6. Use Garlands and Branches
The cooler months have their own aesthetic. "Move beyond the expected eucalyptus garlands and instead consider bay leaves paired with kumquats or bittersweet berry branches to add interesting texture to a mantle or table runner," says Fitzgerald. For a simple, cost-effective centerpiece that adds height, she recommends tall, fragrant pine branches.
7. Light It Up
Winter means fewer daylight hours. It also means you can have more fun with lighting. Caldecott loves candlelight because it's inexpensive and impactful. "Because evening sets so quickly, you can see the flickering flames and warm glow cast from the candlelight in time for the cocktail hour," says Caldecott.
8. Think Sparkle, Not Holiday Colors
"You don't need to go all red and green or blue and silver," says Fitzgerald. Instead, think about small, impactful touches from a pop of sparkle for the cake table, a touch of bling in the centerpieces, or an embellishment on napkins, menus, or escort cards. The goal is a clean, festive feel.