Winter Wonderland, Sunshine Coast Weddings
Traditionally the warmer months have been the most sought after times to walk down the aisle, however with our very appealing all year round climate here on the Sunshine Coast there has been a recent surge in popularity for getting married in winter, with many couples escaping the winter blues and choosing the beautiful Sunshine Coast to say ‘I Do’.
While winter weddings conjure up thoughts of fur stoles, warm ports and crackling fireplaces, you will be surprised to hear that Sunshine Coast conditions generally offer ideal weather opportunities with lower than normal rainfall, clear days, blue skies and an astonishing amount of sunshine, and while we can’t look precisely into the weather crystal ball, a raining wedding day is far less likely to happen in winter!
Winter weddings ooze glamour and sophistication, providing rich and opulent styling possibilities. Luxurious colour palettes and lavish décor details can feature heavily at a winter inspired wedding. The fashion advantages are also noteworthy with long sleeve wedding gowns popular, and beautiful bolero and shrug options high on the accessory list, while your man will ‘rock’ his tux or tailored suit without a showering sweat gland in sight!
Choosing a date is often far more accessible during the winter months, with most wedding venues having a little more flexibility with availability. It seems as though each year the Sunshine Coast has seen an increase in weddings during winter, which can mainly be attributed to the attractive climate which remains on average 21C. However, our wedding professionals also offer invaluable insights into a variety of other reasons why there seems to be a trend for winter weddings. Stephanie Ross is the Functions and Wedding Co-ordinator at popular Noosa beachside restaurant, Sails. Creating beautiful weddings and events throughout the entire year, Stephanie suggests that the sunsets are the most memorable during winter, and the beach is often empty, offering great photo opportunities also. ‘Winter is quieter than typical peak periods, and you will also find that accommodation is priced a little lower, traffic isn’t too busy and you can actually find a parking spot!’ says Stephanie.
While there is a natural appeal to head to our sandy shores, the beautiful hinterland region of the Sunshine Coast is also experiencing an increase in winter weddings. Typically a little cooler than the coastal areas, it seems that there is most definitely an attraction to embrace the mid-year season to celebrate a wedding, and as Marlene Murray, manager of award winning venue Maleny Manor shares, many couples are embracing a wedding in winter. ‘We are actually doing more and more winter weddings than ever before, and many couples who choose our location from interstate do so as they find our temperature very appealing, says Marlene. Further to our suggestion about the world of styling possibilities, Marlene goes on to say that the grand fireplace and the autumn tones of the foliage and landscape on the venue’s private estate also add those special touches to the perfect winter wonderland. ‘The winter wedding is very on trend with a richness that can be brought to life in only 3 months of the year and there are many couples who can’t wait to bring that concept to life in the beautiful surrounds of Maleny and Montville,’ says Marlene.
Marina Kruger, Marketing Manager at popular hinterland venue Flaxton Gardens, agrees and mentions the appeal of clear days and ‘cuddle up’ cool nights just add to the romance of a wedding. ‘There is nothing more alluring than the smell of log fires burning, beautiful big jackets and comfort food!’
Not only does the climate modify as seasons change, but transformations in menus and local produce provide exciting opportunities for chefs to create their wedding cuisine. Stephanie says that Executive Chef Paul Leete from Sails Restaurant uses fruit and vegetables that complement and represent our climate regardless of the time of the year, ‘but the best part about a winter menu is those hearty tummy warming meals, and the change in seasons provide a new range of local produce to highlight.’
Marlene goes on to say that winter feasting and share fare is a very popular dining option during the cooler months, as she recalls one of the most popular current winter wedding menu choices. ‘Lamb shanks in a rich four-day reduction jus, with our homemade mushroom and truffle gnocchi, followed by gourmet Maleny Cheese boards with our own specialised port to finish.’ It definitely seems that a winter wedding provides a great opportunity to embrace those gastronomical delights as Marina also suggests that many couples select a banquet or buffet-style menu with warm hearty delights, accompanied by a hot chocolate and warmed dessert stations as winter menu options.
As well as menu changes, the winter season brings a whole new selection of wedding blooms to consider and as we chat to Terrianne Foale from Mondo Floral Designs she explains why getting married in winter certainly doesn’t compromise your ability to feature beautiful wedding flowers. ‘Winter brings a whole new variety of beautiful blooms, including gorgeous ranunculus and anemones, both very on trend wedding blooms that are part of many client’s inspirational wish list, and readily available during winter, and not really at any other time of the year.’ Terrianne goes on to say that if perfume is an important part of your floral winter blooms include some of the most scented flowers available. ‘Gorgeous hyacinth, freesias and jonquils are sweet scented winter blooms, but one of my favourite winter wonders is the double tulip, fluffy and full of petals.’
Julia Hails from Ginger Lily and Rose simply says, ‘We love winter weddings! My all-time favourite winter blooms would have to be sweet pea, amaryllis and parrot tulips. These flowers are show stopping, have a unique natural habit and are only around for a short while! Suggesting that local growers are able to supply tulips, hyacinth, daffodils, stock, blushing bride, sweet pea and cymbidium orchids in large abundance but Julia notes that the real bonus is the import lines that are available from overseas. ‘Our imported lines direct from Europe include peonies, amaryllis and astilbe, our winter is similar to a European season of spring,’ says Julia. With cooler temperatures through winter the longevity for flowers is a little more sustainable and Julia mentions that this presents fabulous conditions for floral designers. ‘Unless we are trying desperately to get blooms to open to their most beautiful state, and blooms last very well out of water in winter, so you really can be adventurous with floral styling! says Julia.
So what about capturing those special wedding moments, how does a winter wedding stack up from an image perspective? It seems that subtle lighting and stunning sunsets result in beautiful location shots, minus the squinting and sunburn! Professional wedding photographer Simon Coulson moved to Australia a few years ago, and has been enjoying capturing the changing wedding landscape in his new home of the Sunshine Coast. ‘The decreased chance of rain through the winter season is obviously a big bonus. It gets darker sooner so make sure you move your timeline a little forward so you don’t miss out on having shots in ‘golden hour’,’ says Simon.
Professional wedding photographer Calli Burnett has been capturing weddings on the Sunshine Coast for many years. ‘The skies in winter are obviously bluer, making photo opportunities so much more remarkable,’ says Calli. ‘Obviously it’s not too hot but it really isn’t that cold either, offering very attractive conditions for bridal parties and particularly for the guys in suits.’ Calli also mentioned that hair and make-up on a winters day isn’t as compromised by the often humid conditions that prevail in the warmer months.
While evening receptions are more popular wedding celebrations, hosting a lunch-time reception seems to be a far more popular way to dine, and as Stephanie notes lunch time receptions are amazing all year round, but especially in winter. ‘The celebrations start earlier which means you have all day to enjoy rather than just the evening time. Having a lunch time reception means having the warmth of the sun to relish in and less of the evening breezes and there are many more photo opportunities, and of course from our restaurant’s perspective, the unforgettable and endless seaside view of Laguna Bay for the entire celebration.’
Marlene mentions that with shorter days, lunch events are definitely becoming quite the popular choice for hosting wedding receptions. ‘A luncheon wedding takes advantage of our clear blue skies and picturesque vistas to the ocean looking out over the hinterland valley to the coast. You can have the quintessential English style garden party, pimms, lawn games, and musical strings wafting across the lawns.’
Whether you are in pursuit of that country crackling fire, or that deserted Noosa beach, it seems that a winter wedding on the Sunshine Coast not only offers attractive weather conditions but a diverse amount of wedding options also. So, whether feasting in the country or frolicking on the sandy shores, a winter wedding is certainly one to consider in our pretty little part of the world.