What to wear to a winter wedding: The best winter wedding guest dresses for every budget

Alexandra Lapp is seen wearing Dior Cruise 2020 collection dress an example of what to wear to a winter wedding
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Shopping for any occasion can be a stressful task.

Not sure what to wear to a winter wedding? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you avoid a wardrobe misstep or fashion faux pas.

Shopping for any occasion can be a stressful task. Add the outfit etiquette usually associated with weddings into the mix, and it becomes an even trickier sartorial dilemma to tackle.

So, with the aim of helping you avoid a wardrobe misstep or fashionable faux pas, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to what to wear to a winter wedding.

What to wear to a winter wedding

The all-in-one

Blending the versatility of a dress with the freedom of trousers, the jumpsuit is the perfect styling solution for a winter wedding. Choose one with long-sleeves and you won’t even have to worry about a jacket.

Petite? No problem. Wide-leg jumpsuits will flatter all figures, but a neat, nipped-in waist will stop the extra fabric from overwhelming your frame. If your jumpsuit doesn’t come with a belt - add one. It’s an easy way to create a unique look you can guarantee no one else will be wearing. Cropped styles will negate the need for alterations too.

Trendy tailoring

To leave the tailoring to the boys is to miss out on an opportunity. Not just offering a chic alternative to cocktail dresses, a trendy two-piece will keep you far warmer too.

Buy yours in classic black, or a deep blue, red or green and layer over a silky camisole for a ready-made outfit.

Unlike occasionwear dresses that can end up taking up space in your wardrobe, you can mix and match your suit with other pieces to max out your cost-per-wear.

Faux fur

We love an opportunity to get really dressed up, and a winter wedding is definitely one of them. Go for full-on glamour by topping your outfit with fluffy faux fur. A boxy, oversized jacket worn like a robe over your shoulders guarantees maximum impact, or, simply nod to the trend with a stylish stole or scarf.

What colour do you wear to a winter wedding?

Pastels and ditsy florals are perfect for summer weddings, but winter ones require a slightly different approach. Think rich, jewel toned colours, like ruby red, emerald green or even a bronze or gold. Moody florals and luxe, tactile fabrics like velvet, silk and faux fur are all great for a winter wedding too.

The trick is to look formal and dressed up, but not so much so that you’re at risk of stealing the limelight from the wedding party. As with any wedding, it's worth checking what colour the bridal party are wearing before the big day. Some people like to avoid wearing the same colour (or the accidentally the same dress) as the bridesmaids.

Alexandra Lapp is seen wearing Dior Cruise 2020 collection dress

Can you wear white to a winter wedding?

An age-old debate that crops up time and time again, it is considered bad manners to wear white to someone else's wedding. And, as not all brides wear bright white, it’s fair to assume that ivory and cream are off the cards too.

As with all rules, there are exceptions though. If your dress is patterned or printed with a white base, then you might be able to get away with it - especially if the bride is less traditional or not wearing white, cream or ivory herself.

It’s a far less common problem during the colder months, when shops are brimming with darker hues, but if you’re in any doubt as to whether your outfit is appropriate, it pays to get a second opinion from a trusted friend - or even the bride herself.

Can you wear black to a winter wedding?

A colour associated with mourning, it was traditionally frowned upon to wear black to a wedding.

But, as more and more couples plump for a less traditional celebration, the rules around whether black is wedding appropriate have started to blur - especially when it comes to winter weddings.

Summer weddings might call for vibrant, colourful outfits but a winter one (like those held in opulent stately homes) feels well suited to black tie - which of course, includes the colour black.

While we still wouldn’t recommend a full head-to-toe black outfit (unless the dress code specifically states so of course!) wearing black to a wedding can be done.

Instead of a plain black dress or jumpsuit, look to sequins, velvet or prints - anything that will lift your look firmly out of funeral territory. Having a little fun with colour-pop shoes, embellished bags and bold jewellery will help too.

What shoes do you wear to a winter wedding?

Plummeting temperatures mean open-toed shoes are firmly off the table for a winter wedding - unless you want to succumb to frostbitten feet by the end of the photos, that is.

Courts are a classic choice, and you’ve only got to enjoy a quick scroll of the Duchess of Cambridge’s most popular outfits to see how versatile they are. Invest in a neutral pair from LK Bennett or Russell & Bromley and wear for years to come.

If you’re developing blisters just thinking about wearing heels all day long, then a pointed pump is the perfect alternative. They offer all of the leg-lengthening benefits of heels, with none of the discomfort.

Go-to brands when shopping for a winter wedding outfit

Ted Baker

If it’s romantic florals and bold blooms you’re after, Ted Baker have you covered. Expect statement shapes, luxe fabrics and flattering cuts. Their clutch bag collection is worth exploring too, helping add the finishing flourish to your outfit.

Shop Ted Baker new in now

LK Bennett

Ask anyone where to shop for a winter wedding, and we guarantee ‘LK Bennett’ will be suggested. Luxury designs at affordable prices, visit LK Bennett for elegant, feminine frocks and fancy jackets. Heels are the jewel in their crown, with every colour of heeled court imaginable.

Shop LK Bennett new in now


If Rixo isn't already on your radar, allow us to introduce you. Dreamt up by friends Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey (you can see where the brand gets its name from) Rixo’s speciality is are beautiful yet unusual prints you won’t find anywhere else. Designed with all ages in mind, these are statement frocks sure to get you noticed for all the right reasons.

Shop Rixo new in now

Winter wedding buys to shop now

Siddal Velvet Blazer in Jewel Purple, £160, Boden

Siddal Velvet Blazer in Jewel Purple, £160, Boden

Crafted from touchably soft velvet in a rich jewel toned purple, this is suiting at its most special. Wear the blazer over a classic LBD or complete the set with the matching trousers.

VIEW NOW: Siddal Velvet Blazer in Jewel Purple, £160, Boden

Sequins Long Jumpsuit, £69.99, Mango

Sequins Long Jumpsuit, £69.99, Mango

Nothing says ‘party’ quite like head-to-toe sequins, and this sparkly number is ticking all our boxes.

VIEW NOW: Sequins Long Jumpsuit, £69.99, Mango

Cassia Crystal Mesh Court Shoes, £120, Dune

Cassia Crystal Mesh Court Shoes, £120, Dune

Giving the classic court a fashion-forward update with lashings of embellishment, these shoes are the perfect addition to a plain dress.

VIEW NOW: Cassia Crystal Mesh Court Shoes, £120, Dune

Celeste Satin Blouse, £89, Hobbs

Celeste Satin Blouse, £89, Hobbs

Effortlessly elegant, the high neck will keep you warm in plummeting temperatures, while the key-hole cut out shows just a hint of skin. Just add wide leg velvet trousers and you’re good to go.

VIEW NOW: Celeste Satin Blouse, £89, Hobbs

Sequin Angel Sleeve Maxi Dress, £179, Coast

Sequin Angel Sleeve Maxi Dress, £179, Coast

Make the most of a black tie dress code with floor-length sequins. The delicate angel sleeves are really flattering.

VIEW NOW: Sequin Angel Sleeve Maxi Dress, £179, Coast

Olive Flats, £139, Kurt Geiger

Olive Flats, £139, Kurt Geiger

Combining the cosiness of slippers with glamorous beading, these party-ready shoes will take you from day to night in comfort and style.

VIEW NOW: Olive Flats, £139, Kurt Geiger

Short Faux Fur Coat, £179, Whistles

Short Faux Fur Coat, £179, Whistles

Super soft and super snuggly, this velvety faux fur is the perfect layering piece. Wear for a winter wedding over a tailored jumpsuit, and with jeans and t-shirt for laid back weekends.

VIEW NOW: Short Faux Fur Coat, £179, Whistles

Melanie Romantic Floral Midi Dress, £315, Rixo

Melanie Romantic Floral Midi Dress, £315, Rixo

Torn between velvet and florals? Embrace two trends in one with this stand-out midi.

VIEW NOW: Melanie Romantic Floral Midi Dress, £315, Rixo

Metallic Elasticated Belt, £15.99, Zara

Metallic Elasticated Belt, £15.99, Zara

Nip-in your waist in style with this vintage-inspired belt. The beauty of metallics is they go with everything.

VIEW NOW: Metallic Elasticated Belt, £15.99, Zara

Vita Green Floral Print Silk Midi Dress, £495, LK Bennett

Vita Green Floral Print Silk Midi Dress, £495, LK Bennett

The weighty yet slinky satin more than justifies the high-end price tag, with a bold bloom print to boot.

VIEW NOW: Vita Green Floral Print Silk Midi Dress, £495, LK Bennett

Metallic Crinkle Frame Evening Bag, £69, Ted Baker

Metallic Crinkle Frame Evening Bag, £69, Ted Baker

Roomy enough to store all your essentials, carry this high-shine bag by the chain shoulder strap or use as a clutch.

VIEW NOW: Metallic Crinkle Frame Evening Bag, £69, Ted Baker

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. 

She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!

Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress. 

The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.