Zakopane is a small town in the extreme south of Poland – only a stone’s throw from Slovakia. It is a very popular and well-known destination not only in Polska but in the Eastern part of Europe. It is also expected to become one of the top winter destinations from the majority of the western European countries. Why?
Its sights, cuisine and attractions engage tourists at every season of the year, but we decided to head there at the beginning of December. To feel the vibe and to enjoy the snow, as it seems to become a rare atmospheric phenomenon at the beginning of December in Poland.
Zakopane is a centre of ‘Góral’ culture and is also informally named as the ‘winter capital of Poland’. I think it is a must-see on the map of Polska, especially if you are after getting to know the culture, as ‘Górale’ ( this is how we call the citizens of Zakopane as well as everyone from this part of Lesser Poland, Podhale) are known for having their own habits, music, costumes, cuisine and even the speech. Their language is Polish, but with a slightly different pronunciation. Zakopane is visited by over 2,500,000 tourists a year – must be for a good reason, huh? The town is especially popular during Christmas holidays, which are celebrated in traditional style, with decorated horse-pulled sleighs called ‘kuligs’ and delicious food. As for the food – don’t forget to get the famous smoked sheep cheese called Oscypek.
Zakopane could also make a perfect base for a magical winter wedding.
Don’t be afraid of the cold. Getting married in winter has apparently more pros than cons.
Winter weddings are so ‘IN’ lately. Winter ceremony can not only be utterly romantic and beautiful but also… a lot more affordable (or so-to-say hell loads cheaper). Some wedding planners and venues offer great discounts and the venues and caterers are less in-demand as they might seem in the ‘high season’, which is usually….anytime April- September (see my latest blog posts for reference).
Organising a wedding in winter is not easy – I admit. It might be, however, less demanding than you think. The couple has to bare some things in mind and be respectful… of the weather.
There are some tips of the international wedding planners I found very useful, too.
First of all – travel:
Bad weather means bad traffic, so give extra time for travel to your ceremony – no matter how near or far you are going.
If possible have your ceremony & reception in the one venue, or venues very near to each other. This will make transport easier in case of bad weather. If, for instance, you decide on a religious ceremony, make sure to organize some cosy transfers.
It will be dark quite early. Embrace it with lots of beautiful candles. It will add the feel of ‘romance’ to your event.
Decorate in rich, warm tones of berry red, burgundy, black and gold. Make it even more magical! Discuss it with your wedding planner in order to achieve a real fairytale-like effect. Check if your venue has Christmas decorations in the room where your wedding will be. Have they photographs of them from last year? Is it ok for them to take these down if they’re not to your taste?
Keep Guests Warm!
Consider making an effort to ensure your guests are kept warm and cheery once they arrive. A hot drink on arrival is a nice and simple idea. Perhaps some mulled wine instead of a glass of champagne?
I would advise choosing winter wedding flavours. Traditional Christmas foodies, sparklers, cookies, mulled wine spices, candy canes or little bottles of eggnog liqueur are all cute and doable winter wedding flavour options.
It will probably be a bit chilly so accessories will be important to keep warm. A faux fur stole, a lovely white cape or a chic cardie are all good options. Alternatively, opt for a long sleeve wedding dress. I like the ones with the hoodies as well!
We all know winter beauty routine is… different to the summery makeup. Keep your lips moisturized in the run-up to the wedding and use the winter foundation, such as Double Wear by ESTÉE LAUDER or Vichy Dermablend. You could also allow yourself a dark manicure and perhaps a little bit heavier make-up. What about burgundy nails and lips? Super festive and magical!
It gets dark much earlier in the winter so adjust your photo schedule visely. Taking portraits before your ceremony is often a good idea. If you’re not sure how to go about this, just chat with your photographer. They should have a good idea of what will work. Some night photos are great too but believe me – you will love your snowy pictures!
I have found a perfect venue for a wedding in Zakopane. It is Aries Hotel & SPA, a luxury hotel located in the heart of the city, which is just off Krupówki Street. I had a pleasure to visit Aries a year ago and I have fallen in love with the place!
Aries Hotel & SPA, was previously used as the so-called ‘tourist house’ back in the communism period. Its interior and exterior still correspond to this particular timespan – with the left-over walls covered in fresco and the colours of the building. The interior draws upon Alpine, the ’20s, the ’50s as well as the Polish highland-style, which makes it quite of a mixture.
The SPA in Aries Hotel & SPA, contains 9 professional Dr Irena Eris cabinets, including the VIP rooms for couples where they are able to get the real Thai massage experience. Apart from that, you can get your hair, nails and make-up done ( New Year’s Eve option?), all performed by the well-trained Dr Irena Eris beauticians.
To me, the real ‘bull’s eye’ is the wellness zone – with the swimming pool, wooden saunas to the hot tub overlooking the Tatra Mountains, you can be sure you will get the best possible experience of your wedding. It addition to that, Aries Hotel & SPA has won a very prestigious ‘WORLD LUXURY HOTEL AWARDS‘ for both ‘Luxury Mountain Hotel’ and ‘Luxury Hotel’ in 2017.
As for the weddings at Aries Hotel & SPA I would really recommend visiting their dedicated Instagram account: Aries Hotel Spa Wedding. You will be able to find loads of inspirational photos, see how they work, what to expect. I have fallen in love with the rustic aesthetics keeping the ‘Góral’ culture on the highest level. Ecological products, such as napkins and decorations. Romantic atmosphere thanks to candles, wooden furniture and the interior. It is all kept in a very luxurious manner, with attention to details.
As for the prices and packages – I promise to update as soon as possible.