Everything YSK About Planning a New Year’s Eve Wedding
Weddings and New Year’s Eve are so closely related it’s unbelievable… both signify a new beginning emerging from what quickly becomes the past. A dazzling spectacle unfolds as change awaits — and in the case of a wedding, the union between two people. In a way, it’s almost poetic. So it’s only natural that December 31st is a popular wedding date every year. But there’s a lot to consider when deciding to plan a NYE wedding, besides just how glitzy and glamorous you want it to be, of course. For the all the advice you’ll need, we connected with Ashley Holzscherer of Bridal Bliss Wedding Planning, who is something of a holiday wedding planning expert. And she was so full of rapid fire advice on each point we asked about, we’re going to share with you exactly what she said.
The New Year’s Eve Wedding Planning Timeline
Booking a Venue
Wedding Day Match (“WDM”): Let’s talk timing and planning. How far in advance should couples plan a New Year’s Eve wedding?
Holzscherer: Venues start booking 1 to 1.5 years in advance outside of holidays, so for a holiday I tell couples to start searching for their venue 2 years out, as not only are they competing with other parties wishing to book the venue for their event or celebration, some venues may not take on a wedding during holidays such as New Year’s Eve. It is important to know which facilities will book a wedding on New Year’s Eve and which do not.
WDM: How far in advance should invitations go out to family and friends?
Holzscherer: “For a New Year’s Eve wedding, couples need to send out their Save the Dates as soon as possible, preferably as soon as the venue is booked. This ensures guests are aware of a holiday wedding, prior to parties getting planned. Proper invitations that include the wedding location, time, etc. should be mailed out 8 months to a year prior.
The Wedding Start Time
WDM: It’s typical for weddings to take place in the afternoon, but for a NYE wedding should that timeline be followed?
Holzscherer: “If the couple wishes to incorporate the midnight countdown in their wedding, I recommend a later ceremony, perhaps around 7 PM.”
Guest Dress Code
WDM: Everyone likes to get dressed up, especially for a holiday, so should the dress code be noted, and if so what should the invite specify?
Holzscherer: “New Year’s Eve is already seen as a formal dress celebration, so a wedding on New Year’s Eve should be formal or ultra-formal attire. Black tie and white tie are both acceptable, with a live band to accompany the evening celebration.”
Hotel Room Blocks
WDM: What about timing for booking hotel room blocks for out of town guests?
Holzscherer: Like with mailing the invitations, “the couple should look into reserving room blocks approximately 8 months to a year in advance. The best advice: have the hotel information printed on a separate card from the invitation, but included with the invitation package, to let the guest know they have a room available to book at the preferred hotel location for the wedding.”
WDM: With hotel room blocks determined, what about guest transportation?
Holzscherer: “Many hotels have shuttle buses available for rent for an event. Most guests should respond by 4 months prior, so the couple will be able to know approximately the number of guests that will be needing transportation. A reservation of a shuttle bus can be done at this time.”
The Fun Part: The Details
Indoor vs. Outdoor Ceremony
WDM: Taking into account weather (in most locations), what do you think about an outdoor wedding, perhaps under the stars on NYE?
Holzscherer: “Most venues that have an outdoor ceremony option have electric heaters and fireplaces available for chillier weather, some included in the contract, some for an extra fee. Also, a unique wedding favour idea is to have blankets for the guests, monogrammed with the initials of the couple and the wedding date, to lay over their laps during the ceremony for warmth as the couple say their vows.”
WDM: What decor ideas can you share that you’ve seen or suggest for a NYE wedding?
Holzscherer: “We have the traditional champagne tower, sparklers, glitz and glamour, of course. A fun idea for wedding favours are mini bottles of champagne with the couples names and wedding date labelled. Even with a formal or ultra-formal wedding, a photo booth with props is unexpected fun! Imagine everyone dressed to the nines with silly hats and glasses, showcased in wedding photos for life.”
WDM: How about menu ideas?
Holzscherer: “For a formal event, bite-size hors d’oeurves and glasses of champagne should get passed throughout cocktail hour, with a plated, multi-course meal served. A fun but classy snack idea that is making great headway is the macaron tower. You can order a simplified version with just a few rows and little decoration, all the way to elaborate creations, almost too beautiful to eat. And they’re usually gluten-free!!!
For dessert, “the chocolate fountain is loved by most, and adored by children; it’s always an elegant addition to a black tie affair.”
Counting Down to Midnight
WDM: The countdown is as notorious as things get, but what are ways to use it to “wow” guests?
Holzscherer: “The traditional balloon drop or confetti rain are well-loved and traditionally associated with the midnight countdown, but what if the couple wanted to do something different? A couple may choose to make the countdown more special by holding off their first kiss until the midnight countdown, with the guests counting down to the special moment.”
WDM: Fireworks are magical year round, but on NYE they’re just perfect, so what should couples know if they want that perfect firework spectacle?
Holzscherer: “To have fireworks for your own event, you must first confirm that the venue you have hired allows the use of fireworks. The venue will need to be either beside a body of water, such as a lake, or near a large empty piece of land, such as a golf course, providing a safe location to launch the fireworks from. The venue would also need insurance for such display, or you would need to provide proof of purchased insurance.
“The couple would need to review the fireworks bylaw for their region, to ensure if a permit is required and what time they must have the fireworks completed by. Some bylaws dictate no loud noise after 10pm without a permit.”
The After Party
WDM: Let’s talk after parties.
Holzscherer: “If the couple wishes to continue their reception after midnight, I guide the couple into finding a venue that will accommodate this wish. It is very difficult to move a partying crew to a new location to continue the celebration. To ensure the guests are comfortable, the same location should be retained for the duration of the wedding celebration, with drinks and food provided until an agreed upon end time. A great way to feed the guest during the less formal part of the evening is a food truck or food station. Many people opt for more relaxed, informal food at this time, pizza and tacos being the main choices.”
WDM: Let’s be real, weddings are expensive, how does having a wedding on NYE affect the overall cost and budget?
Holzscherer: “During the rest of the year, many venues have an event end time of midnight to 1am. New Year’s Eve weddings traditionally run later than the usual wedding, even until the first rays of light, which means staff and resources are staying until the last guest leaves. This prolonged event time, can double, sometimes triple the usual cost of renting a venue.”
WDM: How expensive are those fireworks, really?
Holzscherer: “The average cost of fireworks is $500.00 to $1000.00 per minute.”
Related: New Year’s Eve Wedding Inspiration
Photo courtesy of Bridal Bliss Wedding Planning