Winter white weddings in the desert don’t include a blanket of snow — which is a key reason everyone welcomes their arrival.
Weddings atop the Palm Springs Aerial Tram won’t start up again until spring. So a dusting of powder on the mountaintops is the only indication that while other parts of the country are shoveling and salting the church steps, Coachella Valley weddings are predictably near perfect weather-wise.
“Palm Springs is a wonderful year-round destination for weddings, but in the winter, this can even be more special when family and friends are arriving from colder climates,” says Ellyn Caprara, senior catering manager at the Viceroy Palm Springs. “It’s a terrific way to show off Palm Springs and the warmer weather we have most months of the year. You really couldn't be planning an outdoor wedding in Michigan in December, for example!”
Viceroy brides and grooms have two courtyards to choose from for their winter outdoor wedding, and each accommodates up to 150 guests. “Outdoor weddings give everyone an ‘in the woods,’ feel with that winter comfort and cheer feeling,” Caprara says.
Though summer weddings in the valley often showcase citrus shades like yellow and orange, or even a pool-inspired aqua blue, the winter season is a great excuse to pump up the drama.
“Over the years, we've seen brides and grooms in different shades of red and black,” Caprara says. “Velvet is popular, and we have seen the occasional white fur trim now and then, too."
Tips for Hosting a Winter Wedding:
• Because the days are shorter in winter, more lighting is generally required, Caprara says. Consider more candles in centerpieces, or beautiful lighting for the garden or backyard for an evening reception.
• After an outdoor ceremony, “We tend to encourage smaller wedding parties to have the dinner indoors as opposed to outdoors,” she says. “If they do decide to have it outside, we set up heaters and some couples will provide blankets for the guests.”
• Since you will be hosting in “high season,” hotel rates tend to be higher. Book your wedding venue, vendors, and guest rooms well in advance. A weekday wedding may help cut costs and give you a bit more privacy at your resort.
Where to Host a Winter Wedding in the Palm Springs Area:
Viceroy Palm Springs
The crisp, black-and-white, Hollywood Regency décor makes a formal backdrop for dramatic winter schemes, from romantic scarlet red to metallic platinum or shimmering gold.
415 South Belardo Road, Palm Springs, (760) 320-4117; www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/palmsprings
This restored 1950s roadside retreat (pictured above) lends a rustic ski lodge or mountaintop cabin vibe to celebrations, thanks to heavy use of redwood and stone, wooly Swiss Army blankets, horse trough bathtubs, and a big outdoor firepit outside the bar in the barn (Watch our video).
1330 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, (760) 327-2300; www.sparrowslodge.com
The Chateau at Lake La Quinta
For the traditional charms of a European country manor — yet with plenty of pooltime, too — this 13-room resort combines a sunny ceremony on the lake and an outdoor wood-burning pizza oven with cozy Old World-style rooms complete with fireplaces and, in some cases, a steam shower or spa tub.
78-120 Caleo Bay, La Quinta, (760) 564-7332; www.thechateaulakelaquinta.com
Sun-drenched and secluded, this colorful hacienda hideaway from the 1930s provides a warm welcome for a winter weekend wedding with two party-sized hot tubs (that pair with two pools), twinkling lights on the towering trees, and a bridal suite with a wood-burning fireplace.
67698 Carey Road, Cathedral City, (760) 772-8313; www.creeestate.com
Lisa Marie Hart has been writing about weddings since serving as an editor at Bridal Guide magazine in New York City in 1999. Since 2006, she has been editor of the annual Palm Springs Life Weddings & Honeymoon Planner. Away from the laptop, she creates tiered cupcake stands for weddings and celebrations at www.highteaforalice.com