So the big day is finally here. Your best friend, sibling, distant cousin or old college friend is finally tying the knot, and they’ve asked you to be there for their big day. You couldn’t be more thrilled, and you’re excited to watch them finally say “I do” to the love of their life.
There’s just one small hiccup. The happy couple has decided to hold their wedding during the cold weather months, and you can’t find anything in your closet that’s both wedding-appropriate and warm enough for the chilly winter or fall season.
It’s a common enough problem, but there are plenty of solutions to go around. Winter weddings can be absolutely gorgeous, and your wardrobe as you attend these celebrations can be show-stopping as well. With a little creativity, you can easily put together a stunning winter wedding style that will have all your friends asking you for style tips. We’re here to give you the tips you need to do just that.
What to Wear to a Winter Wedding
Staying warm at a winter wedding is your top priority, next to looking fabulous and feeling confident, of course. It goes without saying that this is more of a challenge than it would be during the summer or spring. However, it’s nothing that a little forethought and planning can’t accomplish.
As you begin brainstorming some winter wedding outfit ideas, here are a few questions to ask yourself and keep in mind, as the way you answer them will help narrow down your options.
1. Indoors or Outdoors?
The odds of the wedding being held outdoors decrease exponentially during the winter months, but it’s best not to take the answer to this question for granted. After all, outdoor weddings during the winter can be beautiful, and some couples may want to take advantage of that for photographic value. Double check the invitation and if you’re not sure, try contacting the couple themselves to ask whether the wedding will be held inside or out.
If it’s held outside, you’ll need to bundle up quite a bit more, while if it’s held inside, you can largely rely on layers to keep you warm until you enter the building, and then remove a few of these layers once you're inside.
2. Black Tie? Semi-Formal? Casual?
This is an important question to ask for every wedding you attend, no matter the season. How formal is the dress code? Some weddings may be held in luxury hotels, ballrooms or other venues, and may request that you come in the most formal of attire. Other weddings may be more laid-back and encourage guests to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. While the majority of weddings will likely fall somewhere in between these two extremes, it’s always worth asking for clarification.
If the wedding is extremely formal, you’ll likely need to rely more on your outfit itself to keep you warm, as layering a jacket or wrap over the top may be less acceptable. If the wedding is extremely casual, it will be easy enough to layer a sweater, jacket or wrap over your outfit.
3. What Colors Has the Couple Picked?
Weddings will almost always have a color scheme, usually consisting of one or two colors that are carried throughout the entire event. The bridesmaids’ dresses, the groomsmen’s bow-ties, the flowers, tablecloths and any number of other things may all match by using and re-using this color scheme that has been carefully selected by the bride and groom.
As a guest at the wedding, the last thing you want is to accidentally show up wearing the exact same color as the bridesmaids. Check with someone in the know beforehand and educate yourself as to what the color scheme is. Then, your job is to avoid that color at all costs.
4. How Active Will You Be?
It’s no secret that partying and dancing raises your body temperature. If the wedding features a big dance floor and a great DJ, you’re probably going to want to party with your friends. This means that some of the cold-weather solutions you might be tempted to adopt will make you too warm as you dance and celebrate.
If the wedding does not feature dancing, then feel free to go a little more all-out on the warmth solutions. Otherwise, you may want to think about style options that won’t make you too hot as you dance under the lights.
Ways to Keep Warm at a Winter Wedding
It's time to ask the all-important question — how do you keep warm while also glamming it up at a winter wedding? Is it even possible?
We think that it is. Browse through these tips and try all of them or a few of them and piece together an outfit that works for you and keeps you warm at the same time.
1. Choose Long Sleeves
This one is simple. Long sleeves will do wonders to help keep you warmer, even if your legs are still bare. Long sleeves come in a wide variety of styles, as well, allowing you to pick the option that you like best. Choose from long, close-fitting sleeves to more flowing options, 3-quarter length to full length, and sheer to heavy.
2. Choose Long Skirts
Again, the logic here is simple. A longer skirt will cover more of your legs, which will help you stay warmer as you enjoy the wedding. Opt for something that’ll give you a long silhouette and remember that, as was the case with sleeves, long skirts come in all shapes and sizes.
Choose from long, flowing maxi dresses and skirts to more form-fitting options, or even skirts with tasteful side-slits. The goal here isn’t to prescribe a certain type of skirt, but just to find one that will help keep your legs a little warmer than they would be in a short dress.
3. Try Some Tights
For any winter outing where you find yourself in a dress, tights are going to be a major ally for you. Especially if you’re wearing a shorter dress, you’ll want to throw a pair of tights on under it. Your average pair of stockings might not look like they’ll do much to keep you warm, but you could be surprised. They’ll likely be more helpful than you think. And if it’s a choice between bare legs and even the thinnest pair of stockings, always opt for the extra layer.
Tights come in a world of different textures and colors as well, and they can truly act as an accessory to your dress. The most traditional options are a nude color that matches your skin tone or a black. But you don’t have to stop there. Some tights come in fun patterns, or even — if you’re daring — bold colors. So experiment and see what looks you love while also keeping your legs just a bit toastier.
4. Go for the Heavier Fabrics
One great way to beat the cold and insulate your body heat is to simply choose fabrics that are a bit heavier than summer cottons. Think of beautiful velvets and elegant wools. These are the types of fabrics that don’t breathe extremely easily, helping to keep your body heat in and the chill winds out. Materials like these are fantastic choices for outdoor weddings, but you’ll want to be careful if it’s an indoor wedding where you plan on doing a lot of dancing. In situations like these, you may find that heavy wool causes you to overheat.
5. What About Pants?
In many cases, pants are warmer than dresses, simply because they insulate your legs more and allow less breezy air-flow to find its way around your legs. Unfortunately, pants just aren’t dressy enough for most weddings, right?
Not anymore. We think that with a little imagination, you can make pants work for even the dressiest of occasions. Try a classic, well-tailored jumpsuit, and you’ll find that it can look every bit as elegant as a dress. If you're really daring, try a traditional suit. We think that plenty of women look fabulous in suits. If you’re comfortable with it, an elegant and sophisticated suit might be just the thing to keep you warm while also looking fantastic.
6. Skip the Strappy Heels
It’s hard for the rest of your body to be warm if your feet are cold, and it’s hard for your feet to be warm if they’re exposed in a pair of stylish, strappy sandals. If you’re headed to a cold-weather wedding, skip the summer sandals and instead try out a pair of heeled booties. In addition to making a serious style statement, booties are a wonderful accessory and will keep your feet warm as well. When paired with a dress, they can also help extend the line of your legs, making you look just a little bit taller.
7. Accessorize With a Statement Coat
For those winter weddings that actually take place out-of-doors, the best way to beat the cold and stay nice and cozy is to pair your dress with a striking statement coat. Rather than just grabbing whatever your go-to winter jacket from the closet and throwing it over your dress, knowing you can take it off the minute you get inside, take the time to put some real thought into your coat. After all, if the wedding is outside, it won’t be something you can just take off. It’ll truly have to be part of the outfit itself.
If you’re wearing black, opt for a bold color that contrasts with the black of the dress and the white of the snow. If you’re in color, take the opposite approach and search for a neutral.
8. Let Your Hair Down
Ultimately, a hairstyle is something that should be chosen on a case-by-case basis. For example, a dress with a collar often looks extra chic with the hair up in a bun or a sleek ponytail, while something with a scoopneck is often complemented by long, loose hair.
However, it cannot be denied that a hairstyle that allows you to let your hair down and leave it flowing freely around your shoulders will keep you warmer. It covers your neck and provides just a little extra bit of insulation to help keep the cold from creeping too far in. There’s still plenty of room to play with different styles here, though. Try a half-up-half-down look, pin some of it up while letting the rest down or leave it all loose and curl it.
Winter Wedding Style Tips
Of course, staying warm isn’t the only thing on your mind as you get ready to style your wedding outfit. You’re also thinking of how to dress appropriately for the season. There are rules to dressing for every season, both written and unwritten. For example, we’ve all heard the old adage of not wearing white after Labor Day. And we all seem to realize that earth tones like orange, olive green and burgundy are great for fall.
The important thing to remember about rules like this is that they’re more guidelines than actual hard-and-fast rules. With the right styling, anyone can pull off just about anything. It’s all about the confidence with which you wear it. This means that at the end of the day, it’s truly about what you want to wear and what you feel confident, comfortable and happy wearing.
If you’re looking for some tips and guidelines to help narrow your decision-making process, however, then we’ve got the information you’re looking for. Try following these winter wedding dress ideas and see what fabulous outfits you can come up with.
1. Experiment With Jewel Tones…
In the winter, plenty of people stick to neutrals like black or gray. If you’re looking to make a statement with your appearance, why not show up in a bold burgundy dress or a beautiful dark green jumpsuit? These bright colors will absolutely stand out from the crowd and look amazing. To accessorize with these bright colors, stick to the neutrals so as not to overpower the dress itself. Think black shoes, gold jewelry and a neutral-colored coat.
2. …Or Stick With Classic Black
There’s a reason black is so heavily favored at winter weddings and also at weddings all year round. It evokes class, sophistication and an air of effortless elegance. While jewel tones might spice things up, it’s almost impossible to go wrong with a classic black. Choose a black dress, nude tights and some statement jewelry, and you’ll look right at home even in the fanciest of settings.
3. Go Metallic
Winter is a great season to get a little experimental and try some more daring styles like metallics. Go for something with a bit of a sparkle or sheen. Golds, silvers and bronzes all look beautiful during the winter season, and a wedding is the perfect place to show them off. If you're feeling bold, try an entire dress of shiny silver. Or maybe be subtler than that, and stick with a traditional black dress but opt for some flashy gold heels or bronze jewelry.
4. Add a Pop of Color
If you’re going the route of the traditional black dress, one of the best things you can do is to dress it up with a pop of color somewhere in your outfit. This might be your statement coat — think of a bright red coat over a black dress. It might be your jewelry — such as a brilliant green necklace or bright blue earrings. It might even be your shoes — picture hot pink heels with an otherwise all-black ensemble. This is your time to experiment and accessorize, truly making the outfit into something unique to you.
5. Choose a Bold Lip
Nothing pairs better with a black dress than a bold lip shade. Classic red is a great option, but there’s nothing wrong with going more daring. Pinks, purples, browns and more can all look amazing when set off against a little black dress and a cold snowy day. Make sure to coordinate your lip color with any colored accessories in your outfit, and you can’t go wrong.
Some Sample Pieces for Your Winter Wedding Fashion
Based on all these great tips, you may well be able to open your closet and piece together a perfect cold-weather wedding outfit from pieces you already own. Maybe you can re-purpose your black dress from this past fall, add a stylish coat, some tights and those booties you haven’t worn yet. Just like that, you have the perfect wedding outfit.
But sometimes it isn’t that easy. Sometimes, you might need to grab your purse and a friend for a second opinion and shop for some new pieces to complete your dream wedding guest look.
You’ll need some winter wedding inspiration to get you started. Check out some of these great looks and see if they spark any ideas with you.
1. Little Black Dress — In Velvet
For an elegant cold-weather wedding, this Marci Velvet Dress has it all. The velvet fabric is slightly heavier, keeping you more insulated, and the long sleeves will help your arms stay a little bit warmer. Opt for a bare-legs look if you’re going to be dancing up a storm at an indoor wedding, or add tights if you’ll be outside. Pair this little black dress with either silver jewelry or a colored statement piece, and you’ll be sure to dazzle at your next winter wedding.
2. Flowy and Fun Black Maxi Dress
Stick with the classic black theme, but this time try a fun and flirty maxi dress. This Alexis Black Bell Sleeve Maxi Dress features shorter sleeves with a striking bell design, but you should still be able to stay warm with this long, flowing skirt. The smaller, rounded neckline will also help keep the cold air out. Add a pair of elegant pumps, a statement lip color and perhaps a beautiful bracelet to finish off this ensemble.
3. Dusty Pink and Detailed Dress
Looking to branch out and add some color to your winter wardrobe? We think this Maisie Dusty Rose Dress is the perfect way to do it. The muted pink color brings a pop of brightness while still managing to look wintry and classic. We also think you’ll love all the details this dress brings to the table, from the lace detailing to the decorative sash. Best of all? These long sleeves will help keep you from getting chilly. Grab a pair of statement earrings and your favorite pair of booties, and you’ll be ready to go.
Shop Winter Wedding Fashions Today
Wondering where you can find gorgeous dresses like these and so many more? Check out My Sister’s Closet Boutique. We’re a fashionable boutique store offering the great styles you love at low, everyday prices you can afford. From wedding styles to casual dresses, shirts, sweaters, pants, accessories and more, we’re proud to sell you fun, comfortable and happy clothes that you’ll love to wear and feel great in.
If you love trendy clothing, but don’t want to break the budget every time you go shopping, then you’ll love what we have to offer. Browse our full catalog of styles today and start hunting for the pieces you’ll adore. And if you aren’t satisfied with your product? We also accept returns within 30 days of purchase.