Planning Your New England Wedding: Tips for planning in any season
Updated: May 20
Growing up in rural Maine I was gifted a childhood filled with New England seasons - and the ability to embrace the beauty of my home under winter snow or summer sun. Now that I have moved from NYC to Massachusetts I'm realizing that I am not alone in my love for the Northeast. Couples from all over the country travel to New England for their big day making for the most picturesque destination wedding photos - fall foliage, ocean views, boundless forests. But the beauty of the outdoors comes with a series of planning and execution challenges - it's a planners dream! So, I thought it might be fun to break down the year and help you plan your New England wedding accordingly no matter what time of year it falls!
Weather:While you might luck out with a 70-degrees-and-sunny day, spring can still be chilly. Check the forecast a few days before and set up a backup plan of indoor locations (or attire) with your photographer if it's going to be cold or rainy. Best time of day to take photos:Plan on heading outside around 5 p.m. (or even later; say, around 6 p.m. in late spring). Your best bet: Check WeatherChannel.com to find out when the sun will set, and schedule your photos for a half hour before. Look out for: Graduation weekend. In May, college towns like Providence and Amherst become overrun with proud parents and celebrating grads. Traffic picks up, hotels also tend to book up early, and guests from out of town could have trouble getting dinner reservations at local hot spots. Must-have:Cute rain photos. Okay, we don't want it to rain on your wedding day. Really, we don't. But photo shoots during a light shower can be really sweet with the right gear (and a good photographer). Think reflection shots in the puddles. If the forecast calls for a wet day, pick out some cute umbrellas for your bridal party -- and some brightly colored rain boots for you.
Weather:When summer rolls around you can finally skip the coat check. Tented weddings, beach ceremonies and clambakes are all the rage. Best time of day to take photos:It starts to get dark anywhere from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. depending on the month and your exact location -- not to mention weather conditions (a summer thunderstorm can suck all the light out of midday). Ideally, shoot while the sun is still above the horizon, because once it starts to set, it moves quickly. Look out for:Beach traffic. If you're getting married near Newport or Cape Cod, be prepared for inbound jams on Friday nights and all day on Saturdays. Also check for events that might attract big crowds, like Waterfire in Providence or Newport's annual jazz festival. Now, things might be different in the future with Coronavirus - but what I do know is that everyone loves to summer in New England, it's just the way it goes!
Must-have:Lobster prints -- whether they're on the groomsmen's ties or your cocktail napkins. Nothing says summertime in New England like some pretty crustacean swag. If you're not feeling nautical, get down on that woodsy
Weather:One word: foliage. New England is gorgeous in the fall. Just be prepared with a light sweater or shawl in early October and a just-in-case coat for any time after. Best time of day to take photos:In the fall, it's important to pay attention to when it starts to get dark. Late afternoon and early evening is still ideal for photos, so think around 6 p.m. in September and more like 4 p.m. in November. Look out for:Even though hurricanes don't rip through New England that often, the area does get hit with tropical storms. If you're getting married in September or October, keep an eye on the forecast and make sure you have indoor locations scouted in case of torrential downpours -- and you might need extra permits for certain photo locations. Must-have:Photos with beautiful leaves in the background and also ones in front of brick, ivy-covered buildings. Another favorite: If you're having a fall beach wedding, have your bridal party wear shawls in autumn hues and pose on the sand at sunset.
Weather:Cold, cold, snow, ice and more cold. You'll definitely need a coat -- and hat and gloves -- check. Best time of day to take photos:It gets dark super-early in the winter, so if you want outdoor photos make sure to get them in before 4 p.m. -- and even earlier in December and early January. And don't get discouraged by the snow. It's almost like a giant reflector because all the white bounces off and reflects light, making for some very cool photo effects. Look out for:Icy roads. Some historic venues can be hard to get to, and parking can be a problem if the roads have recently been plowed. Snow storms could cause problems for your vendors or guests.... it's a risk!
Must-have:Photos playing in the snow (whether it's for your engagement photo shoot or on your wedding day). Add some classic New England elegance by wearing a fur muff, and keep your wedding party warm with matching scarves. Not to mention I love velvet, and winter is a great excuse to pull it out ;)