NEW YORK — From red marzipan bows on the cake to holiday wreaths on tables, December brides and grooms have found many ways to incorporate Christmas into their weddings.
December nuptials remain a small minority — 2 per cent of couples surveyed last year by the bridal site TheKnot.com — and not all are looking to take on the holiday in a big way, but embracing readily available festive decor makes it easy to incorporate the spirit of the season. And it saves money in the process.
"But couples should keep in mind that there may be competition for venues thanks to holiday parties," said Lauren Kay, senior style editor for TheKnot.
Brighid Molway and David Burns plan to take photos in front of a huge Christmas tree inside the 900 North Michigan Shops when they tie the knot the evening of Dec. 19 at a downtown Chicago hotel. Their DJ has a play list of holiday songs, including Elvis singing "Blue Christmas" and two versions of "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby and The Drifters.
Molway and Burns will take to the floor at their reception for their first dance as a married couple to Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Clips from "It's a Wonderful Life" will roll on a screen as they dance, Molway said.
"That was my mom's favourite Christmas movie and she is no longer with us, so we're going to dedicate the dance to her," Molway said. "We decided to get married around this time because it's my favourite time of year. It's also a time that screams family to me."
The two will hand out ornaments at their rehearsal dinner and also plan outside photos taking advantage of the plentiful holiday decorations around town.
For Suzanne McCullough's Dec. 4 wedding five years ago, it started with her dress. She wanted velvet.
"We needed a time of the year when velvet would be appropriate so we decided on Christmas, which I think is the most romantic time of the year anyway," said McCullough, of Burlington, New Jersey.
"We were married in a 300-year-old bed-and-breakfast that was beautifully decorated for Christmas. We served a hot wine punch with hors d'oeuvres and a croquembouche for dessert," she said.
Their centerpieces were wreaths with frosted red berries tucked in and a mirror and a votive candle at the centre. McCullough's bouquet featured red and white flowers, and a flower girl wore a sparkly, Christmas red dress.
"The town's Christmas parade was going on while we were being married," she recalled.
Kellee Khalil, founder and chief executive of the wedding site Lover.ly, said incorporating holiday touches can span the wedding experience, Khalil said.
Try serving up some seasonal favourites, for instance, such as roast turkey or ham. Embrace modern mixology with cocktails like a peppermint bark martini or a bourbon-cranberry blizzard.
"If you're not about those flavours, opt for more festive accoutrements like red and white or metallic-stripe straws and swizzle sticks with candy cane stirrers," Khalil suggests.
Couples can orchestrate holiday decor without falling prey to a played-out colour palette, she said.
"I love mixing metallics like gold, silver, bronze, rose gold, platinum and pearl into tablescapes.
"Or get a little bit more literal with mistletoe. Hang it at the altar or use it as the muse for your photo booth," Khalil said.
For couples willing to go over the top, treat guests to a performance by carolers, she said. Maybe have Santa make an appearance for little guests. Set up a hot cocoa and cookie station with frosting to keep them occupied.
Susan Colby was married Dec. 14, 2013, at a Chicago hotel that was beautifully decorated for the season. Her white, four-tier cake had an edible bow at the top, with ribbons cascading down to the red tablecloth at the cake station. Her groom wore a red bow tie and vest with his tuxedo and Colby's bouquet was red roses.
For photos, they draped themselves in a string of twinkling snowflake lights that matched a snowflake bauble in her hair.
"I love Christmas," she said, "and couldn't imagine getting married any other time of the year."