This is your sign to start planning that winter wedding you've always dreamed of.
Everyone thinks summer is the best time to have a wedding. It's not. It's hot and sticky and bugs are all over the place. Don't get me wrong, summer has its perks, but have you thought of having your wedding in the winter?
I'm here to tell you the best places to have a winter wedding in Rochester, New York and why having a winter wedding is not just a good idea, but a better idea than a summer wedding.
First, let's explore what makes a venue a good choice for a winter wedding.
Everything takes place at a single location. Less travel for you and your guests on the wedding day is a win for everyone. A good venue will be able to accommodate the ceremony and reception. Bonus points for if there's a space for getting ready at the venue too.
The venue can hold everything indoors. As much as everyone loves an outdoor ceremony, not many couples want to have their guests sitting in the cold during the vows. A good winter venue will have space for the ceremony to be held indoors.
The venue isn't far from other locations you might want to hit up for bridal portraits. I'm talking walking distance here, peeps. Let's not have to pile into a bunch of cars to go someplace when we all know street parking can be a pain in the rear especially in the winter.
Without further ado, let's get into the best venues for your winter wedding!
Winter Garden by Monroe's
You love winter but you don’t want to have your guests cold and in the snow, but you want the magic of the winter all around? This is the place for you. It’s like a giant snow globe but all the snow is on the outside and all your favorite people are on the inside. Best of both worlds, right?!
Winter Garden by Monroe’s is the biggest venue we have on this list. With the ability to accommodate up to 450 guests, you can throw the winter wedding you’ve always dreamed of surrounded by everyone you know and love.
This venue is a true spectacle. You’ll have two stories of the Bausch and Lomb building all for your celebrations. The first floor is the ballroom / ceremony / reception area while upstairs is the balcony lounge where your cocktail hour will take place. If you have a large guest list and want an elegant yet modern wedding, this is your venue!
The Historic German House
Located in the heart of Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood, The Historic German House is the perfect venue for intimate weddings as well as weddings of 150+ guests.
The large windows let lots of light into the main ballroom in the afternoon, breathing beautiful lines of light and shadow into the space filling the room with warmth. We love windows and natural light and the German House has an abundance of both!
They have a large bridal lounge located in the back of the building that far exceeds any hotel room.
Nestled in the east-end, The Arbor Loft is a modern wedding venue that is perfect for weddings up to 200 guests (seated). The space is great for large and small gatherings alike. With the ability to section off parts of the venue to compliment the flow of your wedding day, the folks behind Arbor Loft know how to up the ante when it comes to elevating a room. Bring your vision to your hosts at the Loft and they’ll make it happen. They recently added an additional two rooms that can be used for getting ready spaces.
Jackrabbit Club is owned and operated by the visionaries of Restaurant Good Luck. I know what you’re thinking … and yes, the food and drinks are fantastic. The 7,000-square-foot space has room for up to 200 guests. Like Arbor Loft, this space is rather customizable. Next time you’re in the neighborhood check it out!
We took the outdoor photos at the Memorial Art Gallery which is a short walk from the Jackrabbit Club.
Memorial Art Gallery
Have you ever thought about having your wedding at an art museum? You should consider it if you haven’t already. The Memorial Art Gallery is located in the Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA) in downtown Rochester. I’ve been there countless times throughout college and every time I visited I found something new to admire about this place. When photographing a wedding here, it’s no different. You’ll have access to the museum for photo ops in spaces curated for world renowned artists like Monet and Rembrandt. Not to mention the grounds outside are also spectacular, even in the winter months.
Still need additional reasons to celebrate your wedding in the winter?
After Christmas and New Years, the winter blues sinks in. Having your wedding in January or February will give you a reason to celebrate during the coldest and snowiest months of the year. Give yourselves and everyone you love a reason to stay joyful after the holidays.
Leave for your honeymoon in Cancun and say “sayonara” to the cold after you wrap up partying. Don’t leave for your honeymoon directly after your wedding though. Give yourself at least 24 hours to recover before you start traveling. Trust me, you will be exhausted the next day and you won’t want to move. You can thank me later.
Some venues and vendors have better deals during the “off-season”. Don’t hesitate to ask if they offer discounts. It won’t hurt their feelings and it will help your wallet if they do.
Most weddings in Western New York take place between June and October. Celebrating your wedding between December and March will give you lots of options for dates to choose from. Chances are all your favorite vendors will be available if you book a winter wedding.
Before we say our goodbyes, let's make a quick note about scheduling during the winter.
Historically, Rochester gets the most snow in January and February for all you lovebirds that want the best chance of getting snow on your wedding day.
The sun sets early in the winter. Plan things to happen early since the sun goes down around 4:30 in January and 5:30 in February.
If you envisioned having your ceremony outside but the thought of your guests becoming ice sculptures is giving you second thoughts, consider doing a private vow reading where it's just you and your soon-to-be-spouse in a pretty yet snowy location near your venue. You'll get the intimate experience of an outdoor ceremony and photos to cherish from the experience. Afterwards, you can do a full ceremony inside with the rest of your guests where they will be comfortable and warm. Win win!
We got married in the winter and wouldn't have it any other way. If you're looking for a couple of photographers to help document your winter wedding, get in touch! We’ve been there and we’re here to help. We’ll walk you through the whole process and make sure you get the dreamy photos you love and deserve.