What Should I Wear To A Wedding In Winter?
According to Sound Vision, the winter months are the least popular for weddings. It’s not overly surprising, really, as Christmas and New Year’s throw a wrench into plans. And frankly, it’s cold.
This doesn’t stop folks from getting married in the winter altogether, though. The season has beautiful backdrops and makes for great photos, and there’s certainly a cosiness to throwing a party in the dead of winter when it’s literally freezing outside.
Furthermore, it tends to be cheaper as it’s largely regarded as an off-season. Therefore, if you have a fondness for winter wonderland settings, it’s an economically sound choice.
We just hope that the weather is on your side!
Additionally, the clothes you get to wear make a winter wedding the opportunity of a lifetime to dress to the nines as a man.
Formal Vs Informal Winter Weddings
For the purposes of this discussion, we’re using the following definitions for formal and informal:
- Formal: Black-tie or equivalent; a tuxedo or morning dress
- Informal: A suit or tailored outfit comprised of “odd” items
Traditionally speaking, black tie is often regarded as a semi-formal dress code. However, it’s largely regarded as relatively formal by today’s standards. Therefore, we’ll be referring to it as formal going forward. For reference, a traditionally formal dress would be white tie.
If you are part of the wedding’s organisation, its level of formality is ultimately your decision, especially if you’re the bride or groom. There are indeed a number of benefits to each category but they can also have some drawbacks, too.
Winter Wedding Shoes For Men
Although it requires less thought for other seasons, it’s worth taking time to consider your footwear for the big event. Of course, the style of the shoes will be largely dictated by the dress codes listed below. However, the shoe’s construction is of vital importance at a winter wedding.
Firstly, you may encounter rain or snow. In both cases, the shoes need to be relatively weatherproof. Therefore, steer clear of blake stitch construction and instead wear Goodyear welted shoes at the very least. Their construction often ensures better protection from the rain.
Rather than leather soles, consider rubber, which will offer additional traction and water resistance. We’d recommend a brand like Allen Edmonds for this occasion thanks to its 360° Goodyear welt and Dainite rubber soles.
Additionally, it’ll likely be cold. Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to keep your feet warm aside from the obvious.
Rather than thick and bulk socks, opt for merino wool socks that are appropriate for dressing up. You can always add a shearling insert for additional insulation and there are thin ones on the market that won’t take too much space.
Finally, you can consider boots for additional insulation and weather protection. If preparing a formal wedding, they’ll need to be black and plain.
Blucher or brogue lace-up boots are made from a derby design, which unfortunately isn’t appropriate for formalwear. Consider Chelsea or cap-toe boots with closed Oxford laces instead.
For informal weddings, you’ll have a lot more freedom and can choose between colors like black, dark brown, and burgundy. Feel free to check out our guide to the best dress boots for some inspiration.
Formal Daytime Winter Wedding: Morning Dress
Formal weddings that begin before 6pm or before sunset, require morning dress regardless of the season. Although rare in the USA, it’s quite common in the UK and is rigorously observed if listed on invitations.
We’re particularly fond of morning dress in winter as it has a wonderfully Dickensian vibe to it (in a good way, of course)!
Morning dress consists of the following:
- Morning coat in black or grey
- Striped black or solid grey trousers
- White, ecru, or light blue French cuff shirt
- Waistcoat in buff, dove grey, of Robin’s egg blue
- Silk necktie
- Well-polished black shoes (not patent leather)
Being wintertime, keep your color palette a bit more muted. Opting for a white shirt and black coat will be more in sync with the season than robin’s egg blue, for example.
Traditionally, morning dress is regarded as a uniform so you can’t really play around with it that much. Nevertheless, if it’s your wedding, you can really do as you please. As we’ll expand on in the accessories section, there’s room for personal expression with a seasonally-designed boutonnière.
Morning Dress Further Reading
If you want to learn more about morning dress and formal wedding attire, we suggest the following guides:
Formal Evening Winter Weddings: Black Tie
For a formal evening wedding, your option is black tie. As we detail in our black tie guide, it is traditionally reserved for events that take place after sunset or 6 pm (whichever is earlier). However, the lines have blurred somewhat in the USA.
Here’s a brief overview of what goes into a tuxedo:
- Black or midnight blue dinner jacket with matching trousers
- White French cuff shirt
- Black self-tie bow tie
- Black patent oxfords or opera pumps
- Single-breasted waistcoat (optional)
- Black cummerbund (optional, not worn with waistcoat)
- White braces
With the dip in temperature, one way to stand out a bit in a formal evening wedding is to opt for a velvet smoking jacket. While this garment used to be worn exclusively in the home while enjoying a pipe or cigar, they’ve become an acceptable variation on black tie.
The material is cozy and handsome, pairing perfectly with the chilly weather outside. Acceptable colors are black, midnight blue, bottle green, and burgundy, and they pair beautifully with velvet slippers.
Needless to say, you don’t have to be a smoker to own or wear a smoking jacket. Whether or not your date will be happy with you for partaking in a cigar, however, is beyond the scope of this article!
A smoking jacket is a great way to get the groom to stand out from his groomsmen.
Alternatively, you could also consider a midnight blue tuxedo, which is a very elegant and perfectly acceptable black tie option. Otherwise, why not consider a white dinner jacket?
You will also want a formal overcoat. The one that’s appropriate with a tuxedo is a Chesterfield. This is a classic knee-length overcoat that’s single-breasted and often has a velvet-lined collar. For formal applications such as this, it can be black, dark grey, or navy.
Finally, if you want to dress up with the groomsmen but you’re concerned about imposing it on others, consider proposing the black tie optional dress code in the invitation.
Black Tie Further Reading
Want to learn more about wearing a tuxedo or a smoking jacket? Check out some of our related resources below:
Alternatively, feel free to leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.
Informal Daytime Winter Wedding: Wear A Suit
For a daytime winter wedding that’s informal, your best bet is a suit. You standard colors are:
- Medium grey
- Dark charcoal
Not to overstate the obvious, but it’s going to be cold outside in most parts of the world in the winter. With that said, your standard all-season weight wool (about nine ounces per square meter) will likely leave you a bit chilly if you will spend some time outdoors.
Even if the ceremony and festivities take place inside, you may be out in the open for photos and other activities so bear this in mind.
Our suggestions for getting around this are:
- Purchase a flannel suit: Flannel insulates the body against cold much better than other materials used for tailored clothing, so you’ll be warm and well-dressed. You’ll likely want to remove your jacket before dancing, but this is typically the case for guys regardless of season.
- Wools in heavier-than-average weights (10-12 ounces) are also excellent choices. These happen to also be easier to tailor, but that’s another topic.
- Wear a three-piece and/or double-breasted suit: True, both of these garments are relatively rare nowadays, at least in the average workplace. However, both of them offer additional layers, which has a clear benefit in the winter months. Should you opt for a vest, you’ll be able to take your jacket off indoors and look a bit more “dressed” than if you were just wearing a shirt and tie.
Meanwhile, there are other heavy fabrics instead of flannel. However, they tend to be pricier. For instance, you could consider mohair or cashmere. In most cases, these are blended with other fabrics so be sure to talk about this with a tailor.
Finally, you could also consider the creative black tie dress code as a fun and easy way for guests to dress up without feeling too formal.
Informal Evening Winter Wedding: Wear A Suit
In any season, evening events are often defined by darker colors. For a winter wedding that starts at 6pm or later, the big suit colors are:
- Charcoal Grey
- Navy Blue
Again, a three-piece and double-breasted suit will do wonders do keep you simultaneously natty and warm. A smart overcoat will be a welcome addition to your outfit for outdoor photographs and going in between buildings.
Given that it can be equally as dark in winter during both the day and evening, there isn’t always a huge discrepancy in terms of potential colour schemes.
Nevertheless, you can seek to incorporate the feeling of Danish “Hygge” in the evening. For instance, opt for sombre but warm colors with rich patterns like paisley.
As we’ll later mention, you can also get creative with accessories. Rather than have a typical floral boutonnière, you can instead use things like mistletoe or holy to decorate it. Just be mindful of the holly’s spikes when leaning it to kiss the bride!
Finally, a typical dress code for evening weddings is cocktail attire. This dress code is quite lavish and incorporates black tie and informal elements in a laid-back way.
Winter Wedding Colors
Winter wedding colors tend to be deep and saturated, the opposite of light and bright summer colors. As you may expect, they often emulate the festive atmosphere of the season without being too focused on Christmas.
As is often the case, it’s common to work these colors into wedding outfit’s accessories to make a nod to the day. A few examples are below:
So, how do we make these colors work with a wedding outfit?
Let’s assume that the wedding colors are black, plum, silver, and forest green. Try this combination:
- Black suit
- White shirt
- Plum / silver paisley bow tie
- Silver pocket square with green trim
- Green & plum argyle socks with black raker pattern
Guests aren’t always expected to wear the wedding colors themselves. Sometimes, it’s just reserved for the wedding couple and their close entourage. However, the invitation may specifically request that you do so. If it’s the case, try to incorporate it in a subtle way.
Typical Winter Wedding Venues
Unlike weddings take place during the warmer months, winter ceremonies tend to have a greater focus on indoors. After all, it’s usually quite nippy outside! Therefore, typical venues tend to consist of the following:
- Private Clubs
- Museums & Galleries
Occasionally, there may be an outdoor area. In some cases, it may even be a heated gazebo. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that even if the snowy winter wonderland concept looks great at first, the ground can quickly get trodden in as people crowd near the doorways.
If it’s been raining or snowing beforehand, things can get dirty and waterproof shoes will be the least of your problems! Indeed, the dress may not be quite as white as the celebrations draw to a close.
Consequently, we suggest checking with the venues on ways that outdoor areas can be arranged to prevent mud and water mingling with the guests.
Conversely, if most of the time will be spent indoors, it’s worth notifying the guests beforehand. If they dress for cold weather, they might quickly get too hot in a crowded indoor space.
Party & Guests Winter Wedding Suits
If you’re not a groom, what follows are some more targeted tips on what to wear to a winter wedding.
Generally, the best man should complement the groom. Wear an ensemble of similar formality and color, but not exactly the same thing that the groom is wearing. An exception to this would be if you’re all wearing tuxedos, or morning coats, in which case it’s perfectly appropriate to dress identically.
You should not overshadow the groom. If he’s wearing solids, avoid patterns. If he’s wearing a patterned suit, wear a solid or less-boldly-patterned suit. The colors of accessories like socks and cufflinks will likely be dictated by the wedding colors.
It’s not uncommon for you to play a role in organising some aspects of what you’ll be wearing. As the groom may be terribly busy figuring out logistics and caterers, he may need to rely on you for taking care of outfitting.
Of course, he’s the one who makes the big decisions, but your insight will be invaluable and can take a lot of pressure off him. Once you have an idea of the dress code and color scheme, try to find something that would suit his personality.
If you need help on accessories of where to buy suits for the wedding party, check out the section below.
As groomsmen, the task is relatively simple. Indeed, you simply follow the groom and best man’s guidance by following their instructions on what you mean. After all, you’re there to support your friend, look good in photos, and potentially get lucky in the reception.
Therefore, it’ll be up to the groom and his best man that you look the part. Typically, you’ll be wearing the same thing as them or something very similar.
Overall, it can go in one of two directions depending on whether it’s a formal or informal event:
- Grooms, best man, and groomsmen wear identical outfits: Most formal weddings will follow this guideline and they’ll wear either tuxedos or morning coats.
- Groomsmen and best man wear identical ensembles, groom wears something slightly different: This option is arguably more popular and usually the case of informal weddings. It can be as simple simple as the groom having a suit that’s the same but a lighter color or that he simply wears a waistcoat.
Similarly, you may be distributed accessories like socks, ties, pocket square or cufflinks. However, since this comes at an additional expense, you may be ask to choose something that fits the wedding’s color scheme.
Father Of The Bride Or Groom
Being the father of a bride or groom is a lovely experience. You’re beaming with pride and you get to sit back and enjoy watching one of your children take a huge life step. As far as what you wear is concerned, there are a couple of ways to go.
If it has been decided that the wedding will be a formal wedding, simply follow suit by wearing a tuxedo or morning coat, depending on the time of day. If it’s an informal wedding, wear a suit. However, we suggest refraining from simply using something that you have for the office. It’s a party, after all!
As you’ve probably invested in the event, the rules don’t quite apply to you in the same way. Therefore, you can improvise on the theme if it’s okay with the groom and bride. Above all, try to be festive!
Indeed, it’s a great opportunity to don a suit that you don’t get wear at the office or throw on a bow tie for a change. Don’t hesitate to sport an outgoing pocket square or other accessories!
You probably paid for a lot of what you’re about to enjoy, so you can dress however you like.
Wedding guests have more freedom with regards to their attire. However, we’d just like to offer a few guidelines:
- Does the invitation indicate a dress code? If it does, adhere to that dress code. If it doesn’t, wear a suit.
- Consider time of day and season. Generally speaking, daytime weddings require lighter colors, whereas nighttime weddings require darker ones. Winter lends itself to darker colors in and you may want to consider heavy wool or flannel to stay warm.
- You don’t have to adhere to a color scheme. Color schemes are chosen by the wedding couple early into the organisation to help decide how everything is arranged. You’re welcome to follow them or choose something different. Simply bear in mind what the couple would like since you’re their guest.
Needless to say, avoid copying the groom’s outfit entirely as you’re a guest rather than a groomsman. It may give the wrong impression even with the best intentions.
Where To Buy Winter Wedding Suits
If you’re the groom, best man, or involved in planning the wedding, the suits aren’t necessarily an afterthought but certainly additional stress.
Since you’ll likely be buying several at a time, many suit brands offer discounts and deals for weddings. Sometimes it can be something symbolic like free ties or pocket squares or it can be a generous discount.
Made-to-measure brands like Indochino and Black Lapel have dedicated services for weddings. You can enjoy a 10% discount from Indochino with our exclusive code “BESPOKEUNIT“, which works in-store or online.
Meanwhile, you can benefit from $25 off your order from Black Lapel with “FTOBESPOKEUNIT“.
Both offer great value and are as cheap as ready-to-wear designer suits. Sometimes, they can be far cheaper! Since Indochino has physical stores in North America, we recommend booking an appointment that’s convenient for the whole party to get measured.
Just be mindful that made-to-measure suits are made for you so be sure to sort them out in advance. Similarly, add some buffer time for alterations for which both brands offer refunds.
Alternatively, check out our guide to the best online suit brands, which also includes fantastic ready-to-wear options.
With regards to shirts, you don’t necessarily have to opt for made-to-measure. Brands like Hawes & Curtis offer a wide range of sizing options as well as attractive multi-buy deals throughout the year. See more options with our dress shirt guide.
Winter Wedding Suit Accessories
The quintessential wedding accessory is a floral bouquet worn on the lapel, which is known as a boutonnière. It’s usually sported by the groom and his entourage. Occasionally, a few are distributed to guests, too.
Furthermore, you can seize the opportunity by incorporating elements of the festive season. For instance, it could feature decorations like hellebore, holly berries and leaves, mistletoe, eastern hemlock pine cones, and fern.
As a result, it’s a great way to add some color to the outfit while also contributing to the event’s atmosphere. Otherwise, you can also buy synthetic lapel flowers in bulk. However, it would be a shame that the groom and best man don’t wear natural boutonnières at the very least.
If you’re a guest, you can probably wear a synthetic lapel flower, especially if it aligns with the events colors. However, boutonnières should be reserved for the participants and you should only wear one if it was given to you.
Finally, feel free to experiment with cufflinks and pocket squares are all fair game. If you’re wearing a waistcoat, why not also add an Albert chain and pocket watch? Nevertheless, if it’s a formal wedding, try to follow the dress code as much as possible, especially if you’re a guest.
Now that you have learned about winter weddings, check out some of our related guides: