What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

1712 Shares
What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now
54 Start slideshow

We’re not sure about you, but when we open our mailboxes and find an invitation to a summer wedding, our thoughts immediately turn to easy-breezy dresses, cute sandals and maybe even ways to refresh a seasonal tan. On the other hand, winter wedding invites, while glamorous, typically present a bit of a challenge on the wardrobe front. Tights or no tights? Will I look silly in sandals? Can I wear a cocktail dress to a black-tie affair?

MORE: What to Wear to a Wedding: A Complete Guide

To answers those questions and more, we enlisted Jennie Ma, fashion editor at TheKnot.com, who gave us the 411 on what to wear to a winter wedding, as well as the answers some general “should I or shouldn’t I”-style questions.

Black-Tie Attire
Apart from white-tie weddings—which aren’t common—black tie is the most formal dress code you’ll probably face. Here, it’s customary to wear floor-length gowns, which some might consider staid. According to Ma, though, there are lots of ways to chic up a black-tie look, such as choosing a dress in a saturated hue or going for peplum detail. “Structured peplum gives a formal dress an edge, and makes it cooler,” she says.

Don’t own a gown and don’t particularly want to buy one for a one-off occasion? Ma says it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a dress you already have. “Not everyone has a gown, so in that case it’s okay to wear a cocktail dress,” she said, adding that if you do go this route, just make sure to keep the colors dark and seasonal (black, jewel tones, brown) so as not to look too casual. Conversely, Ma says it’s fine to wear a gown in a lighter shade, since the silhouette is inherently dressy. “If you’re wearing something floor-length, you can choose a lighter color—maybe light pink, blue, or purple,” Ma says. 

Cocktail Attire
If a wedding calls for cocktail attire, there’s no need to reach for that gown—knee-length or slightly above is fine, but steer clear of anything too tight, flashy or pouffy. Think of it this way: Fun is fine, but consider the type of dresses you’d want worn at your own wedding (a skin-tight sequin backless minidress? Probably not). “You definitely want to look chic,” Ma said, adding that stylish patterns and great colors aren’t verboten if the silhouette is appropriate. Also, adding some statement jewelry, such as an eye-catching necklace is a great way to add a bit of pizazz to a fairly restrained cocktail dress, she said.

Day weddings
While afternoon weddings aren’t as common in the winter as they are in the summer, they do occur. Here, Ma points out that they likely won’t ever be formal, so she suggests opting for festive cocktail or tea-length dresses in lighter fabrics, such as chiffon or jersey, as opposed to evening-ready silk or satin.

MORE: 26 Dresses To Wear to Any Winter Wedding

If all else fails …
If you’re not sure what to wear, Ma suggests going for—you guessed it—an always-chic black dress. Even the most basic versions can be made festive with the right accessories, she says.

Covering up
Since it is the winter, you’ll need something to keep you warm. Ma suggests leaving those cardigans, denim jackets and everyday puffers at home and investing in a fur (or faux-fur) jacket or classic overcoat, and a chic shawl or cashmere wrap in case you get chilly inside.

 Tights or no tights?
“Tights are definitely fine … why not?!” says Ma, who adds that if you’re in a chilly location, it’s better to stay warm than be uncomfortable. “There are also lots of really cool tight options out there now, so you can get a nice fashionable pair. Just don’t get anything too flashy,” she adds.

Footwear
One thing’s for sure: In the dead of winter, a pair of strappy sandals aren’t the most desirable option in which to traipse around. Ma suggests seeking out alternatives such as pumps, peep-toe heels, or even dressy ankle boots (really!). “There are so many fashionable shoe options right now, like metallic pumps or black booties, which would look really cute paired with black tights,” she says.

After-party etiquette
Occasionally, the festivities won’t stop when the clock strikes midnight, as many couples organize after-parties—especially when it’s a hotel wedding. Is it acceptable to change into jeans, or is keeping your dress on a must?

“This really depends on the location of the wedding, says Ma. “If your hotel room is easily accessible, a lot of people do change. But if it’s another venue, most people won’t.” She suggests feeling out the situation to see what others are doing.”You don’t want to be the only one in jeans when others are still wearing their dresses,” she said.

0 Thoughts?
  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Going to a wedding this winter? You'll need a dress! Click through the gallery to shop 50 of our favorites, from black-tie looks to chic cocktail styles.

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    If the invite says "black tie," a gown's the way to go. We're loving this season's selection of anything-but-stuffy versions!

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Lucienne One-Shoulder Silk-Chiffon Dress, $365; at J. Crew

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    BCBG Ruella Strapless Peplum Gown, $119; at Neiman Marcus Last Call

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Adriana Papell Tiered Chiffon Gown, $198; at Nordstrom

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Warehouse Chiffon Hem Maxi Dress, $67; at ASOS

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Double Slits Navy Dress, $169.99; at Mango

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    La Femme Ombre SweetHeart Chiffon gown, $328; at Nordstrom

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Carlos Miele Knock 'Em Dead Gown, $350 rental cost; at Rent the Runway

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Steven Alan Cynthia Velvet Dress, $135; at The Outnet

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Chiffon Gown, $125; at Modcloth

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Silk Georgette One-Shoulder Gown, $365; at Ann Taylor

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Rachel Zoe Silk Scarf-Collar Gown, $417; at Piperlime

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Clean T-Shirt Maxi Dress, $116; at Topshop

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    BCBGMAXAZRIA Maryanne Gown, $140; at 6PM

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Oasis Lace Gown, $211; at ASOS

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Carmen Marc Valvo Silk-Chiffon Drape Evening Gown, $469; at Bluefly

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Kimono Dress, $88; at Victoria's Secret

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Zimmermann Ruched Strapless Gown, $475 at Shopbop

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Alice by Temperley Opal Polka-Dot Tulle Gown, $243; at The Outnet

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Lauren Ralph Lauren Low-Back Jersey Gown, $190; at Nordstrom

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Whether a wedding calls for black tie or cocktail attire, a fabulous black dress does the trick. 

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Tadashi Shoji V-Neck Tulle Fit & Flare Dress, $298; at Nordstrom

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    DKNY Black Metallic Floral Lace Peplum Dress, $480; at Stylebop

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Pins and Needles High-Neck Chiffon Dress, $49.99; at Urban Outfitters

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    One-Shoulder Ruffled Dress, $170; at White House Black Market

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    ASOS Curve Exclusive Peplum Lace Dress, $79.16; at ASOS

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Notte by Marchesa Ruffled Silk-Organza Dress, $337; at The Outnet

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Vera Wang Lavender Ruffle Bead and Mesh Party Dress, $299; at Bluefly

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Sentimental NY One-Shoulder Dress, $98; at E dressme

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Lace Dress, $34.95; at H&M Stores

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Sabine Metallic Lace Dress, $89; Piperlime

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Alice + Olivia Harris Peplum Dress, $396; at Shopbop

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Hybrid Dress With Frill Sleeves, $104.66; at ASOS

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Thakoon Edition One-Shouldered Dress, $220; at The Outnet

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Helmut Lang Lyra Drape Dress, $495; at La Garconne

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Since cocktail attire is open to a little interpretation, have some fun with your dress. We're loving these colored, pattered and textured numbers. 

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Ophelia Lace Dress, $495; at Shopbop

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Tibi Epstein Strapless Dress, $450; at Tibi

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Viktor & Rolf Mustard Yellow Ruffle Dress, $252; at SSense

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Corded Lace Fluted Dress, $49; at Dorothy Perkins

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Tinley Road Brocade Dress, $79; Piperlime

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Xhilaration Strapless Pleated Chiffon Dress, $56; at Target

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Day Birger Et Mikkelsen Embellished Silk-Habotai Dress, $359; at Net-a-Porter

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Demestiks NYC by Reuben Diamond Print Bow Party Dress, $150; at e dressme

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Apricot Paillettes Shift Dress, $59.99; at Romwe

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Applique Floral Dress, $190; at Topshop

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Fitted Dress With Frill Shoulder, $89.90; at  Zara

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Lace Peplum Dress, $79.99; at Mango

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Sleeveless Lace Sheath, $49; at Avenue

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Magenta Embroidery Scalloped Dress, $77; at  Pixie Marrket

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Milly Peau De Sole Cascade Party Dress, $275; at Saks Fifth Avenue

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Black Printed Lace Deconstructed Frock, $298; at Tracy Reese

  • What to Wear to a Winter Wedding, Plus 50 Festive Dresses To Buy Now

    Ted Baker London Marinka Fit And Flare Dress, $198; at Nordstrom

1 of 54

Going to a wedding this winter? You'll need a dress! Click through the gallery to shop 50 of our favorites, from black-tie looks to chic cocktail styles.

Promoted Stories

0 COMMENTS
share