What to Wear to a Winter Wedding

When the weather is warm and the sun shining, deciding what to wear to a wedding is relatively easy. But what about when the wedding is in the Winter or early Spring? While these days there are no hard and fast rules (except not to wear white unless expressly requested), navigating an unspoken dress code can be a difficult balancing act between style and practicality.

Five very different women, with individual styles but sharing a love for clothes, reveal what they wore to recent weddings. All but one outfit was sourced from their own wardrobes. While black tie didn’t feature, and only one of the weddings stipulated a dress code (which was based on colour), the brief was varied, ranging from cosy and intimate to semi formal. Colour and layering were key.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Image credit: casildasecasa.com

Sharka in wedding guest print dress on sunny day in Tunbridge Wells.

Sharka says;

This AllSaints dress makes me feel good every time I wear it and was perfect for the first of two weddings I was invited to. It’s flattering, with pretty sleeves, a good cleavage and clever ruching which makes me feel confident regardless of how I am feeling about my body at the time. The day was sunny so even though the sleeves are short, the dress kept me warm.

Clothes reflect my personality, my mood, my emotions, everything. I express myself through clothes and those around me will know, pretty quickly, what kind of day I am having and how I am feeling based on what I have on. I often plan outfits in advance and change them at the last minute just because my mood has changed – or the weather.

I swear by good shapewear, which is vital for an occasion where food and photographers are involved. Go for a smooth all-in-one piece that’s easy to do up during bathroom visits.  I once witnessed someone needing help because the close poppers were too small and fiddly for her to manage alone. The situation wasn’t helped by her having had too many cocktails.  

My shoes are Kurt Geiger. The bag is an old Prada clutch that I was given for my big birthday a few years back and the faux stole is from Mint Velvet.

Close up of Sharka’s wedding guest outfit in sunshine
Sharka enjoying some winter sun.
Elegant woman wears bright green jacket seated in armchair
Ann at home in her wedding gear.

Ann says:

I love bright jewel colours, and this green jacket from Principles is an old favourite. With good old M&S thermals underneath, it was the perfect answer for a registry office wedding, especially for someone who feels the cold.  The slacks and pumps are also from M&S. The bag I picked up in a one of the excellent markets in Spain – where, I can’t remember. The broach, which I added to the bag for decoration, is Victorian and inherited from one of my aunts. 

Sadly, I no longer have many occasions to dress up for, but I do still have a black Balenciaga dress which I bought in a sale thirty years ago. The fact that it’s still going strong shows that quality and classic styles last forever. Pastels have never been my thing, but I do wear quite a bit of black and navy for elegance. 

I have lived in some wonderful places, but as an air hostess had to learn to manage a wardrobe that took me from the hot tropics to the depths of a New York winter, sometimes with a five day layover. 

Over the years, I had several famous passengers. Victor Borge, the concert pianist/comedian was the most fun. He chatted to us girls at the back of the aircraft and had everyone in stitches with an impromptu cabaret act. When we landed in Bermuda he asked to have his photograph taken with us. Sadly we never got copies from the Bermuda press.

picture of woman by shop window wearing peach trouser suit
Cathy wearing her Pantene’s colour of the year trouser suit.

Cathy says:

I knew I was going to get my money’s worth from this outfit. I got the suit for a friend’s wedding, but had factored in also being able to wear it casually with a graphic T-shirt and trainers. I like to get the most out of my clothes. Comfort is important to me. To be able to move freely in what I wear, whatever the occasion, and not have to fuss on the day; we all know what that can be like. It’s just a coincidence that peach is Pantene’s colour of the year.

For me, it’s all about accessories. An outfit can take on multiple ways just by changing the belt or adding a necklace. I’m really drawn to scarves at the moment. If not around the neck then as a bandana. Great if you’re having a bad hair day. And you can pick them up in an abundance in charity shops. They’re my go-to place.

My suit is from Vanessa Bruno and I’m wearing it with an Anine Bing shirt. My shoes, which I love, are also by Annie Bing and the leopard print bag by Jerome Dreyfuss. 

Two well dressed women outside church in Limpsfield.
Best Friends Carron and Alison at a recent winter wedding show off their distinctive styles

Carron says: 

Our wedding brief was to adhere to a specific colour code; orange and/or green. Being polar opposites on the colour spectrum, Alison and I worked our outfits accordingly. As a redhead, warm is my dominant tone so I chose orange as my colour base. I quadrupled the double velvet rule and went for velvety everything. The only exceptions were my cream shirt and sequinned bag – oh, and undies!

From the feet up, I’m wearing velvet Hudson boots, Brunello Cucinelli golden velvet trousers, a cream silk shirt from Cos, velvet Jigsaw dress and a Wonderland believer velvet coat. I completed the outfit with a sequinned green bag from Cos. 

I have a really precious collection of curated clothes which I have built up over the last twenty years. As a hair stylist, offering a bespoke service, I work with incredibly stylish people every day. Fashion is real a passion of mine along with beautiful pre-loved clothes.

Alison wears purple and green wedding guest outfit outside Limpsfield Church
Church service over, Alison and Carron head for the reception.

Alison says:

This was a wedding where the dress theme (and the beautifully-styled marquee) was autumnal, with a predominate nod to orange and green hues. There isn’t an orange that looks good with my skin and hair colouring (unlike Carron with her glorious red hair). And while there is a green out there for everyone, it’s not a colour I choose to very often wear. However, I did have a fabulous green and purple quilted jacket which I used to inspire the rest of my outfit.

The ensemble consists of a pre-owned quilted jacket by Hayley Menzies, a soft olive velvet jacket by Cos. Shell coloured blouse by Olsen and Louisa Cerano purple trousers. The silver boots are Jimmy Choo and the pink handbag by Bottega Venetia.

As a stylist working in a pre-loved designer shop (Fusspotts in Oxted), I see on a daily basis how transformative it can be to wear the right colours, and how the right styles of clothing can alter one’s appearance. My wardrobe has been cultivated over many years with this in mind. There is great satisfaction in seeing clothes that have outlived their time with one person but bring instant joy when regifted to someone else. When I get up in the morning it is a wonderful feeling to be able to draw outfits from my wardrobe that always make me feel positive.

Sharka in blue Jigsaw winter dress.
Sharka in her new Jigsaw dress

Sharka says:

The moment I saw this Jigsaw dress, I knew it was coming home with me. Having a second wedding to go to was just an excuse to buy it. I loved the colour and it’s super flattering, especially for my current curvy, menopausal shape. The wedding reception was held in an orangery so I anticipated it being cold. I went with thin high heel boots and a matching bag to keep the look modern and youthful.

I think I decided I wanted to be a stylist, or at least be involved with fashion, when I was around eight or nine years old. I used to dress up in my great auntie’s ball gowns and dresses. They dated from the early 1930’s and 1940’s along with all her jewellery, head pieces, shoes and handbags. I was in heaven. Sadly, it all got sold to an antiques shop before I had a chance to rescue any of it.  To this day I still remember how much fun my cousins and I used to have organising a ball and making the whole family dress up in it all.

Dress from Jigsaw, boots and bag from Reiss.

2 thoughts on “What to Wear to a Winter Wedding”

  1. Thank you for another great newsletter!

    I can attest to the wonderful effect a good wardrobe edit can bring. However, it wouldn’t have had had the same impact without your help. It was too overwhelming. Now I somehow have more to wear than before. I really appreciate your guidance on how to care for and hang the clothes, which now all look beautiful in my wardrobe, along with suggestions for making up outfits, which I struggled with before. I would highly recommend you to anyone needing a clear out in their wardrobe or even just a pick me up before Spring. It has given me such a wonderful boost!!! X


  2. Great blog, Emma, and well said regarding stylist instagrammers. Quality (Emma post) is better than quantity!
    Love the ‘what to wear to a winter wedding.’
    Although I agree a wardrobe clear out can certainly be emotional, and some can feel it’s a mark of failure, for me it has always been very therapeutic once I’m over the shock of seeing everything piled up on the bed. It’s so satisfying to look into a tidy, orderly, Emmaesque wardrobe!


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