Christmas weddings

Christmas weddings, in particular, can be wonderfully romantic. I don't know if it's the season, the snow (at least, here in the Midwest), the decorations, or the soft glow of all the candles. The season itself just seems filled with more love, hope, and peace, and those sentiments tend to shine through weddings held during this time. Most facilities and churches decorate for the holiday, which can add a special and lovely touch to your wedding festivities (and actually save you money on decorations).

Usually, the church is filled with wonderful Christmas decor, which can mean less work for you and a break for your budget. Candles are especially nice during the holidays, adding to the warmth and glow of the season. Lots of red ribbon and Christmas greens with pinecones are a natural touch, and poinsettias, the flower of Christmas, usually abound. One beautiful Christmas wedding I attended had the church filled with 500 white poinsettias. If you're thinking of being married at Christmas, you might want to shop for a decorated facility.

Here are some additional touches to consider for a Christmas wedding:

Think about having your musicians play Christmas carols as prelude music or having a children's choir caroling among your guests, either down the aisles before the service at church or between the tables at the reception. Print Christmas song sheets on parchment paper, tie them with a red velvet ribbon, and leave them at each place.

Give guests a program tied with a plaid Christmas ribbon. Leave a small wreath tied with Christmas ribbon at each place setting. Have ornaments printed with your names and wedding date, and hang them on a large Christmas tree at the reception. As your guests leave the reception, they can take an ornament to hang on their own trees.

Dress your bridesmaids in traditional black velvet tops and plaid Christmas skirts. Bouquets could contain silver bells or other ornaments among the flowers.

Use touches of gold with red accents in the bouquets or centerpieces. Use different-sized "presents" tied up with festive ribbons and stacked in the middle of the table for centerpieces. Or, small pine trees individually decorated with tiny Christmas ornaments could adorn each table at the reception.

Drape white lights and garland around posts or in front of the cake or the head table to give off a warm glow.

Carry a white muff instead of a bouquet; pin silk poinsettias onto the muff for color. Serve hot mulled cider as guests arrive at the reception, and add Christmas cookies to the dessert table.