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Ever Pretty lace top fit-and-flare dress with fancy boots

hDressing for winter weddings requires consideration of the location, schedule and weather, and some logistic to look your best at the event. Read what to wear at a winter wedding, and what not.



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What to Wear for a Winter Wedding as a Guest

While June is the wedding season in the US,  many Germans like to marry in May. Both months are chosen because of spring (a new beginning). Also many people believe that they have better chance for sunshine. Sunshine elevates the mood. Photos look great. Why do American and German couples favor different months? Well, it’s again weather. Greenup starts latter on the East Coast than in Germany. Despite NY State is at the latitudes of Italy, New York winters can get cold with a lot of snow meaning a later start of spring.


post banner for best winter wedding guest looks showing a couple in wedding attire


Now what if the couple decided to get married in winter, because – well snow is so romantic, cuddling in the cold in front of a fireplace is so romantic, it’s Christmas time, they could come to church in a sled pulled by reindeers with the aurora watching overhead (ok, very Alaskan), … . Now


Consider the Location

Read the invitation to find out where the couple will tie the knot. Lucky you, when it’s a beach wedding somewhere warm down south. Since you have to pay for the airfare, it’s your gift to them that you show up. Therefore, no stress on finding a gift. Best, what you wear you can wear again on your next vacation! Who doesn’t like that?

If the location is somewhere south where it is warm, and you come from a much colder climate region, you will be fine with what you would wear for such an event in your climate region in summer. Also check whether it’s an outdoor wedding for the right shoes. If it’s in the Southeast of the US, get a fancy hat if it’s outside. If the ceremony is on a ranch in the Southwest, go with the upscale clothing related to the theme.


church at the ice hotel
Sadly the service was a bit late to stay for. They have weddings here most weeks apparently and most brides wear ‘normal’ bridal gowns even though it can get down to around -45C this far north. “[Pew]” by mark.braith is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


The Time Gives Hints at the Dress Code

If the dress-code is not given on the invitation take the time as your best bet. After 3 pm dress for an afternoon wedding, after 7 pm, go for formal attire, especially, when the event is at an upscale hotel.


sleek black velvet gown with lace bodice and sleeves
Ever Pretty velvet dress with nude-black lace bodice. In the US, wearing black as a guest is ok, while in many European countries it’s a No-No.



What Dress Length is Best for a Winter Wedding?

In cold climate regions, unless the dress code is “White Tie” or “Black Tie“, midi or tea-length are best. These lengths wouldn’t sweep the floor or sidewalk that might be wet from snow splash or rain. Wear a coat covers your dress entirely to avoid spots from splash ruining your look.

Another reason to avoid floor length, tail or anything mermaid styles is that you would act as a snowplow fresh snow. Imagine how embarrassing such photos will be in the future at a family reunions.


Tip: If you have a gown in one of these styles and want to reuse it, sew a rubber band together to wear around the hip. Prior to going outside, pull a part of the skirt thru the rubber band until the hem has no ground contact.


When a religious ceremony is involved dress on the modest side.


stylist in velvet tea-length wrap dress
Shein green velvet V-neck wrap dress, Stephanie Professional dance shoes


Tip: When know how to shorten a hem, you can alter a velvet gown for everyday wear.


Which Fabrics Will Work?

Velvet looks festive and provides insulation (if not made from cotton). Brocade or thick lace work as well. Silk looks festive and helps you stay warm. When the couple gets married outdoors or in an ice church, faux fur looks great. Wool is great for a tuxedo suit.


Alaskan in ankle length velvet gown with bolero outfit as guest at cold season nuptial
Scott Mac Clintock velvet gown with cropped jacket, collier de chien belt. A cape, stole or jacket matching your gown creates thermal comfort in chilly churches or rooms.


Can You Wear Boots to a Winter Nuptial?

In the Southeast, it’s a No-No. In the Southwest on a ranch, it’s ok. When snow is on the ground, yes, for the times that require you to be outside to get there. But if the festivities are in (the ballroom of) a hotel, bring shoes that match with your dress to change or wear evening boots (see featured photos. Check winter boots with the coat clerk.

Wear pantyhose with sandals, pumps, Mary Janes or wedges with tights matching your dress. Tights with sandals would look too casual. Stylish ankle boots or ballerina flats work well with tights.


example of what people are wearing at winter outdoor nuptials
“The Knot Between Squalls” by MTSOfan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0



Go for Fancy Outerwear, If Needed

Cold climate regions require appropriate outerwear. Because everyone takes photos, your outerwear is part of your outfit. Therefore, wear an upscale fancy tailored coat. Furthermore, style your outerwear with a wool felt or other classic winter hat and leather gloves.


Alaskan blogger in festive winter outerwear with hat on commute to a nuptial
Silk scarf, Camel Sak bag to hold pumps and clutch for inside, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves, Vince Camuto tall boots and unbranded hat.



What Color to Wear as a Guest?

Avoid the color of the bridal party and any color that would clash with it. Gemstone colors like citrine, amethyst, ruby, garnet, emerald, jade, aquamarine, sapphire, or lapis as well classic winter neutrals like black, navy, chocolate brown, tan, green, gray or burgundy are great choices. Or dare wearing metallic.


Tip: Stay away from pastels because they add seemingly weight, and look inappropriate for the cold season.




Where to Find Great Quality Affordable Winter Wedding Guest Dresses

You can find awesome, affordable winter wedding guest dresses at Ever Pretty. I have five dresses from this brand. Their garments look much more expensive than they are, and show great craftsmanship. For more, and how to wear your (semi-)formal attire later check this review of Ever Pretty dresses.



Further Wedding Dos and Don’ts

When the nuptial is between 2pm and 4pm, you may also like to read create your best afternoon wedding guest outfit. When you are heading to a civil event, see also these outfits for a civil wedding.

When one of the couple is your kid, see also  Mother-of-the-bride/groom dos and don’ts before picking your dress.


Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2023 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I love the dress that you’re wearing in the first photo! It looks comfortable, yet elegant, and looks great with boots.

  2. thestylesplash

    You’ve featured some very stylish outfits here, I love the black velvet gown.

    Emma xxx

  3. Jodie

    I love how you found some great ways to stay warm and still look great for the occasion Nicole.

  4. So many fabulous styling ideas for what to wear to a wedding in winter. I’ll be attending one in February so this advice has been quite timely for me. Thanks for the inspirations.


  5. Jess

    Nicole, the first dress is so elegant, and I love the blue velvet on you, they look wonderful. I would love to see the ice church!
    These are great tips as I am sure it is a balance between staying warm and looking nice for a wedding.
    jess xx

  6. Nicole, these wedding guests tips are so helpful! While I don’t have any winter weddings to attend this year, we do have one this summer and I have no idea what the dress code will be yet! I am thinking based on the location, it is probably very formal…which is no issue for me. I have a pile of formal dresses in my closet. It’s my husband and kids who have nothing appropriate for a formal wedding that concerns me! Thanks so much for the feature this week! That was a lovely surprise. Wishing you all the best in the New Year, my friend!