“Happy is the bride whom the sun shines on,” goes the old adage. But really, who cares what the weather is like when two people are united forever? And thanks to our guide to the perfect autumnal nuptials, you can have a great wedding even if the heavens rain on your special day.
Before throwing a goose down parka over your Cynthia Rowley, consider these dress tips from the pros. In cold weather, fabric is fundamental.
“A much heavier silk should be used for winter wedding gowns, like beautiful drapes. And it should be lined,” said custom wedding dress designer Sam Walls Beasely.
A manager at the wedding retailer Sposabella Couture agreed that heavy silk satin or French taffeta are good for the frosty season, but, she added, it doesn’t matter what the fabric is as long as there are wraps to warm white shoulders.
“You can do them in the same fabric as the dress or in a fur, like fox or mink,” said the manager, Alice Sena.
Beasely likes cashmere shawls as well as stoles, capes and bolero jackets, but to minimize cake-throwing accidents, hers are made of faux fur.
Unless you want to give your guests crinkly marathon blanket as party favors, prolonged revelry outdoors in Prospect Park or in Brooklyn Bridge Park is more or less out of the question. But Brooklyn’s many inviting indoor venues are just waiting to meet your wintry wedding needs.
“In the winter, we have more couples having their ceremonies and parties indoors,” said Rachel Sussman, managing director of the watery, club-like Galapagos in DUMBO. “Candles on the walls and floating in the water can be festive to go along with the holiday season.”
Loren Michelle of Naturally Delicious says that no matter what kind of wedding you want, there’s a venue in Brooklyn for you. One of them is the Brooklyn Historical Society, where your wedding can be lovely and literate thanks to the institution’s ornate, book-lined library.
“It’s gorgeous with vaulted ceilings and stacks of books,” Michelle said. “It’s a cozy space that’s seasonally appropriate.”
In Brooklyn, local and seasonal foods reign supreme, and on your wedding day that’s no different. But how do you pull that off in winter?
“My favorite ingredients for winter weddings are squash, duck, blueberries, apples and smoked sable fish — and you can source them locally,” said Marco Morillo of Crave, who serves up dishes like seared frog legs with sunchoke puree.
A more traditional, but still seasonal, dinner of comfort food can be provided by Movable Feast.
“One thing we’re doing this year is a beef brisket. We also do garlic mashed potatoes, beets, fennel and other seasonal root vegetables,” said Ellen Berson, the catering company’s co-owner.
Of course, the ultimate warm-up is a cocktail like a chai toddie or an Amaretto sour, which Naturally Delicious makes for its weddings. The Movable Feast serves hot mulled cider, which can be spiked to the hosts’ liking (and never fails at toast time).
Traditional wedding bakers will tell you a cake is a cake, regardless of the season. However, embellishments can evoke the wintry environs.
“One holiday season we had a wedding cake decorated with Christmas baubles,” said Ellen Berson of Movable Feast.
If you don’t want your cake to be mistaken for a conifer, Ruth Shin of Brooklyn Cakes says you can go take cake decoration down a different snow-paved path.
“You can go for snowflakes or a cake that is glistening or sparkly like fresh snow. Red and silver accents are festive. Cupcakes are very trendy right now, and are also an economical choice,” said Shin.
Crave Catering skips the frills and tiers, to make cakes that focus on winter flavors. Last year, a flourless chocolate chili cake with spiced strawberry filling and spiced heavy whipped cream became a winter wedding classic.
And it’s hard to beat Sweet Melissa Patisserie for cakes that are simply stunning.
Beauteous bouquets and corsages are essential to any wedding, you need April showers, not November gloom, for that. No worries, said our friends at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
“Explore native plants that aren’t part of the traditional autumn palette, like the bright purple of liatris or the cherry red of gomphrena, and get to know some natives that are exceptionally beautiful in their color and texture during the colder months,” said Kate Blumm, a spokeswoman for the old greenery.
Some other native and readily available flowers include asters, cosmos, Black-Eyed Susans and roses.
As for other winter accents, Naturally Delicious sets name tags in pine cones to create the perfect place markers.
A venue with a fireplace suits the winter mood, but if that’s not possible, wedding planners agree that candles should be used in abundance — and with care.
“We use hurricane lamps and votive candles to reduce the risk of fire,” said Movable Feast’s Ellen Berson.
Samuelle Couture [304 Clinton Avenue in Fort Greene, (347) 607-0086], www.samuellecouture.com; Sposabella Couture [8207 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 680-9665], www.sposabellacouture.com.
Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (212) 227-7755]; Brooklyn Historical Society [128 Pierrepont St. at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 222-4111]; Naturally Delicious [487 Court St. at Nelson Street in Carroll Gardens, (718) 237-3727].
Movable Feast [284 Prospect Park West at 18th Street in Park Slope, (212) 227-7755]; Crave Catering [570 Henry St. at Summitt Street in Carroll Gardens, (718) 643-0361].
Brooklyn Cake [275 Park Ave. at Washington Avenue in Fort Greene, (646) 209-9177]; Sweet Melissa Patisserie [175 Seventh Ave. between First and Second streets in Park Slope, (718) 788-2700 or 276 Court St. between Butler and Douglass streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 855-3410].Brooklyn Botanic Garden [900 Washington Ave. at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights, (718) 623-7200].