5 style rules for dressing for a winter wedding - plus the pieces to try now

Alexa Chung proves a long-sleeved dress can look glamorous
Alexa Chung proves a long-sleeved dress can look glamorous Credit: Getty

As if it isn't tricky enough working out what to wear to the foray of seasonal events headed our way (from office Christmas 'dos to friendsmas dinners) many of us have the additional complication of dressing for winter weddings. The warmer months are no doubt the most popular to tie the knot (and thankfully so: it's much easier to throw on a floral maxi than it is to compile a chic, cold weather look), but winter has its own charm making it a magical time for weddings.

But such an occasion also throws up a multitude of dilemmas: can you wear the same thing to a winter wedding as a Christmas party? (Yes, but you might need to tweak certain aspects to lean on the formal side). How much make-up is too much make-up? (Opt for an eye or a lip). Is colour permissible? (Most definitely). 

To make dressing for the occasion a little easier, we've narrowed it down to a palatable five points to keep you on an elegant straight and narrow.

1. Don't shy away from colour

Amber Le Bon wears a striking blue shirt dress to the Serpentine Gallery annual party. Credit: WireImage

Though sunnier climes have us wanting to crack out the pastels, winter brings it with it an arguably chicer palette. Think burgundy, forest green, rust and navy, all of which look stunning alongside metallic accessories. 

If, however, you've been waiting months for an excuse to dress head-to-toe in black, then do so, and add pops of colour to your look with punchy accessories and interesting footwear. There might be rules around wearing black to a summer wedding, but those guidelines are relaxed this time of year. If you're wary, opt for a print with a black base instead. 

2. A cover-up is key

Katie Holmes opted for a wool coat that nicely toned down her glamorous satin maxi dress. Credit: GC Images 

So often stylish outfits are ruined come evening by throwing on a so-so grey wool coat that's seen better years, so it's worth investing in a cover-up that you love that will add to your outfit. The chances are that you'll be wearing it a lot on the day as weddings often involve quite prolonged periods of hovering, so for winter, we suggest opting for a chic coat (a trench or pea coat are good options) or cape that you'll feel comfortable in both indoors and outside.

To ensure that you won't want to whip off your only source of warmth the first chance you get, try accessorizing it with a brooch, or opting for a coat in a tonal shade which forms part of your look. 

3. Rethink footwear 

Angela Scanlon opts for platforms for the Fashion Awards Credit: WireImage 

While you might be keen on plumping for your silk organza pumps or a pale jewelled mule, a winter wedding requires a little more thought than throwing on your go-to fancy heels. 

Steer clear of suede if you can (unless the wedding is based entirely indoors, and even then consider the consequences they'd suffer if a drink were spilt on them) and try to avoid light colours (it only takes one rainy day to ruin a pair of pale heels). Avoid spindly heels and opt for a chunky or platform shoe that you can walk comfortably in all day and night. 

There's also nothing more miserable than cold feet, so to ensure your tootsies stay toasty, wear shoes that don't leave the majority of your foot bare. If you've got your heart set on that pair of jeweled sandals, wear some sparkly socks (see & Other Stories) or 20 denier tights underneath for a modern look a la Alexa Chung. 

4. Not keen on dresses? Tailoring is a chic option  

Erin O'Connor pairs an embroidered tulle skirt with a blazer at the V&S annual party Credit: Getty 

A suit or tailored separates are an ideal option for winter weddings. It's suitably (sorry) seasonal and will keep you warm while looking considered and smart. For evening nuptials, try a slinky top or silk T-shirt underneath a velvet suit, and for day-time try a printed blouse or even a shirt (but tuck it in loosely and opt for a colour other than white to avoid corporate connotations). 

Depending on the trouser shape, you can wear flats or heels (cropped trousers lend themselves well to flats, as flares do to heels). And if you're clever you will opt for a velvet or metallic co-ord that you can recycle for New Year's Eve for maximum cost-per-wear. 

5. Don't be afraid of being dramatic

Rochelle Humes wears a brocade dress and metallic accessories to The Fashion Awards Credit: FilmMagic 

I'm not suggesting you try to steal the bride's thunder, nor go overboard with the glitter and sequins, but winter weddings do offer an opportunity to be a little more daring and make a statement. This can be in the form of print (pair a brocade midi skirt with tights and a silk blouse), fabric (silk, suede, velvet and even shimmery iridescent fabrics are all good options and look lovely when worn together), or shape (experiment with voluminous sleeves or a cascading cape).  

You can also afford to go a little heavier on the make-up. Where spring and summer nuptials call for dewy skin and a peachy lip, winter allows you to err on the gothic side. A swipe of a liquid eyeliner and a matte red lip will suffice for day-time, but if the wedding goes on into the night, experiment with shades of purple and gold.

3 outfits that are perfect for a winter wedding

Velvet jacket, £350, LK Bennett; Velvet trousers, £175, LK Bennett; Silver flats, £325, The Fold; Pearl earrings, £49, Uterque; Beaded tote, £245, Loeffler Randall 

Foil print top, £39, Warehouse; Satin skirt, £135, Reiss; By Far metallic mules, £183, Net-a-Porter; Gold pouch, £239, Sandro; Hairslides, £8 for three, Accessorize; Wool coat, £269, Hobbs

Ganni floral dress, £230, Net-a-Porter; Platforms, £49.99, Mango; Polka dot tights, £11, Calzedonia; Faux fur jacket, £79.99, Zara; Pearlescent bag, £55, & Other Stories; Drop earrings, £30, Jigsaw