The 7 Best Places for a Winter Wedding

The time for winter weddings is now, before they start becoming the norm and venues start to become unavailable. So why not have a winter wonderland wedding on a budget? Why would anyone want to have a winter wedding, you may be asking yourself. Besides the beauty of the gently falling snow, twinkling lights, and gorgeous white shawls the bridesmaids can wear; consider the untapped, breathtaking venues. From Canada to Sweden all the way to Iceland; these are the seven best places for a winter wedding. Don’t blame us when you want to switch your wedding date from summer to winter!

7. Swedish Ice Hotel (Jukkasjarvi, Sweden)

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From December to April, couples can say ‘I do’ here at the Swedish Ice Hotel, the world’s largest hotel made of ice and snow. The choices for ceremonies here include the Ice Church, one of the most unique locations in the world. Every year it is hand-carved by designers, different than the year before, and can hold up to 40 guests. The walls and ceilings are made of snow while the altar details and benches are made of ice. If you are a civil ceremony, the majestic Main Hall or one of the hand-carved art suites are perfect. The extras here include hand-carved ice blocks with your names in them, plenty of champagne, and world-class food. Couples can spend the night huddled together in a luxury suite, snow room, or anything in between. Don’t worry about being cold; this hotel has you covered with specialty sleeping bags made for two.

6. Budir, Iceland

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If you are looking to be married in a beautiful yet desolate landscape, there is no better place for a winter wedding than Iceland. Hotel Budir is where you lovebirds will want to head as they offer an unforgettable wedding experience. Situated on the oceanfront, the hotel is surrounded by a lava field with the Snaefellsjokul glacier in the background. The small, yet breathtaking church is located right beside the hotel although many people choose to get married on the white sandy beach or on the moss in the midst of the lava field. After the ceremony guests and the couple will head to the hotel for dinner, the restaurant here is considered one of the most romantic restaurants in all of Iceland. The happy couple can book to stay in the one suite while all other guests can occupy the additional 27 rooms.

5. Yoho National Park (British Columbia, Canada)

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The secluded Emerald Lake Lodge in the heart of Yoho National Park is the perfect winter wedding destination. During the winter snow envelops the area and turns Emerald Lake into a true winter wonderland. There is a choice of three venues at this lodge, featuring seating from 24-88 people. Ceremonies can be held outside, with the mountains as the backdrop, or in the same room as your reception. Simple flowers, candlelight, and twinkling lights will set the stage for the utmost romantic experience. Snow-capped mountain peaks, crackling fireplaces, and snow gently falling make getting hitched in the Rocky Mountains, one of the best ideas for a winter wedding.

4. Dunton (Colorado, USA)

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Think rustic charm meets natural splendor of the hot springs meets cowboy boots and cocktails in the saloon, that is what wedding guests will expect at this winter wedding venue in Colorado. The Dunton Hot Springs Resort is set deep in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies and this restored ghost town turns into a winter wonderland with luxury cabins, an outdoor chapel, a saloon, and absolutely breathtaking landscapes. Enjoy sweeping views of 14,000-foot mountain peaks, alpine springs, and frozen rivers as you say, “I do” under gently falling snow. Enjoy a world-class dinner created by the finest chefs using organic ingredients to create the menu you have always dreamt about. Experience heli-skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling as a new married couple, as well as letting your guests experience a wide range of activities that await you in the winter months.

3. Quebec City (Quebec, Canada)

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This truly romantic destination is the perfect place to tie the knot any time of the year, but it gets even more magical in the winter months, alas a bit chilly, but definitely worth it. The European-inspired atmosphere, gourmet dining, stunning churches, chic hotels, and legendary hospitality make this a day you will never forget. Arrive at your ceremony in the legendary horse-drawn carriages, say ‘I do’ at a traditional sugar shack, or even get hitched at the Ice Hotel. Stay in a gorgeous hotel such as the Fairmont, customize your meal at one of many restaurants throughout the city and wander the historic streets of Old Quebec with the thousands of twinkling lights and beautiful decorations. There is truly no bad place to have your winter wedding in this iconic romantic destination.

2. Colorado, USA

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If you just can’t imagine having a wedding day without being blanketed by a covering of snow, Colorado is the perfect winter wedding destination for you. Colorado is blessed with a number of ski resorts, where you and your partner can get a few ski-runs in before or after the ceremony, as well as get married atop a mountain with stunning views and enjoy a luxury lodge experience. Or choose to exchange vows in one of many small chapels that are tucked into the Rocky Mountains. Whatever snowy experience you are after, it is easy to find in this state. From Aspen to Breckenridge to Telluride the choices are endless of winter weddings here.

1. Lake Tahoe, USA

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You will have to bundle up when you get married in Lake Tahoe in the wintertime as the temperature drops, but it will be well worth it when you are standing atop a mountain saying “I do” while looking out into the beautiful views. Stunning snow-capped mountains, fine dining, and elegant venues are located all around the lake, along with dramatic sunsets that seem to be even better in the wintertime. Think s’more stations, outdoor fire pits, mulled wine, and crackling fireplace indoors. The choice of where you choose to say your vows, well that’s up to you. The possibilities here are endless and whether you are looking for an intimate gathering or a full-blown winter wedding party; you will be sure to find it at Lake Tahoe.

10 Day Trips from San Francisco

With the overwhelming number of things to do and see in San Francisco, you could very easily spend your vacation without leaving the city, but these day trips are totally worth prying yourself away for.  Beautiful beach towns, wine country, mountains, and forests are all just a drive away.  As a bonus, the chilly fog that frequently bogs down San Francisco is generally localized; chances are that it’s beautiful inland or down the coast!

1. Sausalito

A mere 20 minute drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito is a great way to quickly escape from the city.  If you don’t feel like planning, go to the visitor center and they’ll take you for a tour of the area for $25.  If you’re doing it alone, make sure you check out the Marine Mammal Center, go for a walk on the beach, or take a yoga paddle boarding lesson.  Ice cream, burgers, sushi, and cafés, Sausalito has everything you need to feel like a beach escape.

Sausalito

2. Half Moon Bay

Just down the coast from San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is a quiet getaway from the city.  Local produce, fresh seafood, beautiful beaches, and surfing are just a few of the local attractions.  On a clear day, you can see the crescent shaped inlet and bluffs in the distance that give this local gem its name.  Bring a sweater; it can get windy and foggy.

Half Moon Bay

3. Point Reyes

Across the Golden Gate Bridge and up the coast, you’ll find the cape of Point Reyes.  Home to a beautiful light house that guides boats away from the rocky shore in the fog, this is a part of the world you will want to see.  Check out the visitor centre, the light house, the beach, and the wildlife sanctuaries.  If you have extra time, you could rent a bike or a kayak to further explore this beautiful area.

Point Reyes

4. Muir Woods

Want to see some redwoods?  Pass over the Golden Gate Bridge and through some dizzyingly beautiful landscapes (and windy roads!) to arrive at Muir Woods.  Start early to get a good parking spot, then check out a wooden boardwalk area that showcases some of the history of the forest.  Have more time?  Bring your hiking shoes and venture away from the busy flat area and up into (or over) the hills.  Hike to the top of the mountain for some breathtaking views of the coastline, or all the way down to Stinson Beach for some well deserved ice cream.  Run out of time?  Follow signs for Stinson Beach on a side trip on your way home, you still deserve that ice cream on the beach.

Muir Woods

5. Sonoma

A short hour drive from San Francisco, Sonoma is wine country at its finest.  The smaller, less expensive version of Napa, Sonoma boasts excellent wine, rolling hills, and lots of things to do.  If it’s a beautiful day, rent a bike downtown and bike your way around the local wineries.  The town square in Sonoma is licensed, so grab a bottle from your new favorite winery, grab some local cheese and charcuterie from the square deli, and enjoy a sophisticated, impromptu picnic in Sonoma square.

Sonoma

6. Monterey

Check out this beach town that lies about a 2 hour drive south of San Francisco.  Watch out for whales or even go on a whale watching boat adventure.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a state of the art, family-friendly destination that is a hit no matter the weather.  Long walks on the beach and great seafood round out this town.

Monterey

7. Carmel

Like a quiet beach town?  Just south of Monterey, this sleepy town boasts huge expanses of beach without the crowds.  Pack a picnic or hit the local deli and eat lunch on the beach.  Keep your eyes open for whales, dolphins, and sea lions!  If you are a golf fanatic, check out Pebble Beach – one of the world’s most famous golf courses.

Carmel

8. Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has something for everyone.  This big beach town, located less than an hour and a half from San Francisco, offers surf lessons, an arcade, an amusement park right on the beach, an Arboretum for all the plant lovers out there, and a boardwalk full of fresh seafood and delicious ice cream.  Make sure you look and listen for the sea lions when you’re walking the boardwalk!  Have extra time?  Check out the ‘mystery spot’ near Santa Cruz.  What is the ‘mystery spot’?  You’ll have to find out…

Santa Cruz

9. Big Sur

A 2 and a half hour drive from San Francisco, Big Sur is hands down one of the most phenomenal stretches of beach in California.  This beautiful expanse of rocky outcrops, steep cliffs, waterfalls, and ocean views must be visited.  Check out the beach at Pfeiffer Beach, and bring your hiking boots to visit McWay or Salmon Creek Falls, two local waterfalls.

Big Sur California

10. Lake Tahoe

As long as you don’t mind waking up early and coming home late, you can explore Lake Tahoe as a day Trip.  A 3 and a half hour drive from San Francisco, Lake Tahoe is definitely worth the trip.  Mountains and water mean that no matter the season, there is something to do.  Hit the slopes in the winter, or mountain bike, zip line, golf, and swim in the summer – it doesn’t get any better than this.

Lake Tahoe California