For event planners located outside winter destinations, snow, snowflakes, snowmen, icicles, polar bears, and white easily come to mind when thinking of decor for winter themes.
Event planners in winter destinations are aware of the richer color palette and subtle design elements that can be incorporated into winter event decor.
- In winter climates, select greenhouses, glasshouses or event venues with large picture windows or skylights.
The right outdoor lighting will make the snow visible and free you up to use less white and more color accents indoors (i.e. vivid pops of 1 color and a second, more subdued color, like gray, as in the first photo.)
- In cold climates, create a mesmerizing ambiance as guests arrive at the venue.
Use outdoor ice and snow sculptures with dramatic accent lighting and a couple of icebars where guests can grab beverages after they enter and shed their coats and boots.
- Glasses carved out of ice are always fun for receptions.
- In warm climates, transform a tent into a winter wonderland.
Preserve ice sculptures and icebars with the right cooling effects in strategic areas.
- In the sun belt, create a snowy canvas with crisp, white tablecloths, chair covers, and draping.
Sprinkle artificial snow and white and silver snow flake confetti on tables and bars.
- Use video footage, photos of winter scenery, or projections of snowflakes on walls and draping to convey the essence of winter in warm climates.
A venue with mirrors will reflect the decor and projections with bold impact.
- Find inspiration in nature and select only one vivid accent color if you are in a warm climate and need to emphasize white to create the effect of snow. (The green will come in through the foliage and plants.)
The next time you are at a winter destination, take a stroll in the country or the woods on a bright, sunny day and look closely. With a bit of luck, if you time it just right, you'll notice:
- hues of green, blue, gray, silver, and brown
- yellow or gold reflections of sunlight on frozen ponds and snow, and icicles
- pops of red and orange (provided by holly, cranberries, and orange wild berries)
Pick up this season's shades of these colors from our summary of the Pantone 2015 winter color report in our trends feature.
- Use the selected accent color(s) for some draping, balloons, lighting, napkins, candles, centerpieces, placemats, runners, ribbons for chair backs, name cards, menus, chiffon, mesh or tissue paper for buffet tables, and even flowers or flowering plants.
As demonstrated in the photo to the right, a silver glitter tablecloth gives the effect of glistening snow at night.
Pre-set dessert and salad in the selected accent colors to convey a wintry color palette.
- For centerpieces, arrange snowglobes, wintergreens, bright berries or miniature fruit, and pine cones on small mirrors.
Foliage like small branches from evergreen trees, ivy, and wreaths as well as potted evergreens (large or small), twigs, and bark will go a long way towards creating a winter ambiance, even when used sparingly.
Against white tablecloths, add pops of color to guest, reception or buffet tables with:
- small clusters of clementines with leaves attached
- miniature orange, tangerine or lemon trees
- poinsettias or Christmas cacti
- cranberries or raspberries
Bonus: Music is part of any ambiance. Experiment with harp and flute music playing a selection of winter themed music by Debussy, Vivaldi, and Tchaikovsky to reflect your theme and compliment your decor.
Here is where you can pick up truly unique winter event decor.
Here is how the decor can come together with the right lighting:
For more inspiration for winter themed events, consult Event Design: 12 Key Ingredients for Bringing Event Themes to Life, 12 Touches to Add Punch and Pizzazz to Corporate Events, 10 Tips for Designing Gala Events That Sparkle, Corporate Meeting Venues: 7 Cool Winter Event Venues and adapt some of the ideas from 7 Inspiring Ideas for Christmas Event Decor Classy Christmas Centerpieces.