As we approach the holiday season -– and all of the exciting wintery weddings to come -– it’s important to be especially mindful of inclusivity. It goes without saying that guest comfort is a priority, but this time of year can be isolating for those with differing religious beliefs or cultures. With Christmas often being the “default” advertised holiday, we want to ensure that we’re being sensitive to those celebrating holidays all over the spectrum.
We enlisted the help of some wonderful industry experts to share their insight on how to maximize inclusivity for your upcoming big day.
Choose your date wisely
First and foremost, the wedding date is going to be the leading factor for many of your friends and family. Although it may be too late to change your 2021 winter date, the way that you approach and respect each holiday will be key here. For instance, it shouldn’t necessarily be assumed that December 25th is the only date that would be a conflict for guests.
According to Bri Marbais of The Bridal Finery, “With so many important holidays taking place in the month of December, it’s important for couples to pick their date accordingly. Informing guests as early as possible of the wedding date will help with attendance, but the busy season is something to keep in mind. When choosing to have a wedding during the holiday season, couples must understand that many guests will make plans that unfortunately cannot be adjusted.”
Tips for achieving the balance
Having a seasonal wedding doesn’t mean that you have to forgo celebrating your favorite holiday. However, there are plenty of ways to incorporate elements while still keeping your loved ones in mind.
Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events suggests, “First, know your audience! You know your guests because they’re your guests, so take the time to think about the people you’re inviting and see if you have multiple religions or cultures present. If you do, it’s always nice to show a little bit of love to your guests, so bring in the elements that you particularly love — and connect with — about another culture into your wedding. Another way to create a nice balance is by just not overly theming your wedding. For example, don’t go full-blown Christmas with red, green, trees, and Santa. Instead, pick and choose elements so that there’s a nod to the holiday without it being over-the-top. And lastly, there are always elements that cross multiple religions and cultures, like the sharing of food, lights, and candles, giving thanks and gifts.”
For Robyn Bruns of Red Letter Event Planning, it’s all about embracing the season. “Incorporate winter into your wedding, not necessarily Christmas. Winter can be represented in a classic color palette of white, blue, and silver. Don’t forget the sparkle; use glitter embellishments on your napkins or other decor that brings winter magic to your wedding. Snow is also magical, and your DJ or event producer can bring snowfall inside on your dance floor through a snow machine or creative lighting. Winter can be more magical than just a holiday; it is a celebration of nature.”
Creative ways to incorporate a variety of holidays
Your guests will appreciate you taking the time to go the extra mile by including them in your décor and/or other wedding day elements. Consider some creative ways to pay homage to their traditions.
Kathryn Cooper of Kathryn Cooper Weddings adds, “Have the holiday-themed wedding you’ve always wanted but be mindful that not every guest will celebrate how, or even what, you do. When you think of attending a wedding in another country or a wedding of a different culture, what could they put into place that would make you feel comfortable? With that in mind, do your winter theme, but have options.
If you have a Christmas wedding, try having more versatile colors such as silver, gold, white, or even winter blue as your evening colors. You can even hang up decorations that are inclusive of other cultures and religions.”
Jennifer Sulak of Weirdo Weddings advises, “In some weddings past, themes were added into table decor. Every table had a symbol or remnant of that theme. If you want to get super creative, and educational, you can incorporate symbols and have something that tells a deeper meaning and why it means something to you specifically. For color schemes, you could easily mesh neutrals with bright seasonal colors of holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, or Yule.”
However you choose to celebrate your big day, just remember that the holidays are always meaningful for everyone. Prioritize comfort and make your guests feel at home while they celebrate your love!
Written by: Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.