Winter Weddings in the UK

A uk wedding in the rain

Winter weddings here in the UK can be a tricky affair, as our weather is wildly unpredictable. I thought it would be useful to put together a few things I’ve learned over the years. This article will be for engaged couples thinking of a winter wedding, and wedding photographers who are booked for one.

Issues for Couples to Consider

1.Lets get the obvious one out of the way, it will most likely be colder, and potentially a lot wetter, than a summer wedding. Consider your outfits carefully. A winter wedding may not be the ideal time for a dress with a long train.

Raining on the bride and groom in the UK
You definitely need an umbrella in the UK, at any time of year to be honest

2.It will be cheaper. This is the good news, getting married is considerably cheaper in the winter and most vendors may offer some kind of discount on their services. This could well include your wedding photographer, although the really popular ones are likely still very busy.

3.It gets dark a lot earlier. We’re talking 4pm in the depths of winter. This will affect your wedding timeline and you may need to adjust accordingly. Group shots in the dark rarely work out well, though it is possible ( see below! ).

Group shot in the dark - uk wedding
The grooms party – after dark and after a few drinks!

4.It gets dark earlier, this can be a good thing! You can tailor your evening entertainments to take advantage of this. Sparkler runs, fireworks, all these are very doable and more suited to a winter wedding. Just be sure to warn your photographer, as to correctly capture this moments requires some preparation and in some cases specific pieces of gear.

Winter Weddings – Issues for Photographers

1.Weather sealed gear is a must for wedding photographers taking on UK winter weddings. Not just your camera either, your lenses as well. But you knew you needed good gear to shoot UK weddings didn’t you? This isn’t a country known for wall to wall sunshine…

2.You need fast lenses for dark venues. Many English wedding venues are pubs. Pubs are cosy and lovely in the winter. Pubs are also horribly lit and dark. You will need fast lenses, preferably 1.4 but 1.8 will help..unless….

3.You need to be really competent with flash. This should be a given anyway, but many people these days are seduced by the “natural light photographer” idea. Natural light is awesome and I much prefer it to flash, but once it isn’t there, what are you going to do?

Natural light receding rapidly - March wedding in the UK
Natural light receding rapidly – March wedding in the UK

4.Don’t assume you will be able to bounce the flash easily. Lots of UK pubs don’t have lovely white ceilings to bounce light off of. So take some stands and be prepared for full off camera flash scenarios.

Karl and Alice – portrait in the snow on their wedding

5.Be prepared for literally any weather. I’ve shot weddings in the snow, and in glorious sunshine, at the same time of year. The UK is the most unpredictable place I’ve ever shot weddings, apart from Iceland, which is even worse! Prepare and plan for indoor group shots, indoor couple shots and yes, indoor confetti shots ( see below ).

Indoor confetti shot -Northampton
Indoor confetti shot -Northampto

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