When you think of your dream wedding, do you envision a winter wonderland? While summer and fall are the most popular seasons for nuptials, winter has its charms, like snowy white backdrops and cost-saving discounts. However, it also has its own pitfalls.

“With proper planning and flexibility, winter weddings can be unique and potentially less expensive, the couple just needs to go into the planning of one with the right frame of mind,” says Kayla McAnally, owner of Rustique, an event design and planning company.

If you’re planning to tie the knot between December and February, here six key guidelines according to professional planners.

1. DO Have Backup Plans

Weather is always unpredictable, but Mother Nature is especially fierce in the winter. Snow, ice and bitter cold can all wreck even the best laid plans, so be prepared for all contingencies.

“Be flexible,” advises McAnally. “You should most certainly have an indoor and outdoor plan when it comes to winter weddings. This is true for any time of year, but absolutely true for winter.”

McAnally also recommends preparing for travel delays by ensuring key guests, like bridesmaids, groomsmen and officiant, arrive two or three days before the event.

2. DON’T Forget Cold Weather Gear

Fancy shoes and snow don’t mix. Remember to pack boots at least to help you get from the car to the venue. Also, if you’re taking photos in the natural winter landscape, utilize weather-appropriate accessories like a cashmere wrap to stay warm and stylish.

3. DO Take Pictures Earlier

Winter doesn’t just come with low temperatures; it also has shorter days. Less daylight can present unique challenges for photography, so be sure to consult with your photographer on how best to schedule photos.

“For ceremonies, winter is a good time to take advantage of that early sunset and be able to incorporate candle light for the ceremony,” recommends Kelli Corn, owner of Kelli Corn Weddings and Events.

4. DON’T Overlook Wedding Insurance

If the worst does happen – like a blizzard or polar vortex – and your guests or vendors can’t make it, you want to make sure all of your bases are covered. An insurance policy will help with covering costs in case you need to cancel or reschedule.

5. DO Consider Guests’ Comfort

If you’re holding an outdoor event, go the extra mile to ensure guests’ stay warm and toasty. Tents should be equipped with sides and heaters, says Corn. Be sure to have plenty of extra blankets, gloves and scarves on hand, just in case. Also, consider serving warm drinks, such as hot cocoa or cider, for guests to sip during the ceremony.

6. DON’T Panic if Plans Go Awry

“If you do have to go use a backup plan, remember, you are there to get married, and everyone is there to celebrate you getting married, that is truly what it is about,” says Corn. “Rain or snow – just take advantage of the beauty that it creates. If you let go and enjoy the moment, your memories will be priceless.”

©CTW Features