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Q: My fiance and I are trying to set a date for our wedding. We'd like to get married sooner rather than later, but I don't know whether I want a winter wedding. What are the pros and cons?

A: In Duluth, it's hard to escape cold weather for most of the year, so why not avoid the crush of summer weddings and have a cool celebration?

If you do a little research, you'll find Web sites with plenty of ideas for winter weddings, which can be very elegant yet less expensive than summer marriage celebrations.

Here are some advantages to tying the knot when it's cold outside:

• You might be able to save money because winter is considered off-season for weddings.

• You probably won't have to book your location a year or more in advance - like summer brides may have to - since fewer people get married in the winter.

• There's less competition with other events and vacation trips, so

more of your friends and relatives may be able to attend.

Because winter weddings are different, they are often more memorable. Of course, a blizzard on your wedding day might disrupt travel, but most days - even in the Northland in January, February and March - are blizzard-free.

Another advantage to a winter wedding is the opportunity for brides to wear elegant satins, velvets and even furs, if so inclined.

And you can choose rich colors in timeless styles for your attendants

in those fabrics, too. Some winter brides are now wearing red wedding dresses, which is said to be the height of fashion in Europe and other countries.

And imagine having your reception, or even the ceremony, in a room with a fire in the fireplace at a bed-and-breakfast, an historic mansion or a club. That's the stuff memories are made of.