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Winter wedding dress dos and don’ts

Posted by Danielle Harvey on 25 January 2023

wedding couple in snow with a reindeer Credit: Getty imageThe the decision to have a wedding in the middle of the winter does have its drawbacks as we know the weather can be predicable, crisp, and very cold. Other than that, there is absolutely no reason at all why you shouldn't focus on the possibilities and begin with planning your winter wedding day. Here, wedding dress couture designer Cynthia Grafton-Holt advises to keep two
things in mind.

If you plan for a rainy day and it turns out to be dry and sunny with crisp blue skies that is a definite win win situation...
1. If the sun comes out and the weather is dry you won't have to worry about mud stains and water marks ruining your dream dress and shoes.
2. If rain is forecast, don't panic, embrace it. In many faiths and cultures, rain is considered a blessing and mark of 'good luck'. And what is more magical, is the final photography and how the eye of the photographer has captured the dew and rain into magical droplets of confetti which will look breath-taking. Photographs taken with a misty background really have the edge over the standard wedding photography that you see elsewhere.

model in nude bodice with lace overlay, sleeved top with high neck and hair piece
ong sleeved bridal coat worn by model holding orange and red bouquet and wearing headdress

Winter wedding dress fabrics to explore
On fabrics, I'm going to suggest going all out for glam. Remembering that with less natural light, you need to stand out more.

And the colder weather will dictate that a heavier cloth will prove its weight in gold. Think velvets (which are making a comeback) brocades, Mikado, double crepes, cloque, sequins, faux fur, embellished and flocked fabrics with texture and anything else you love the look of.

model in jumpsuit
model in floral applique wedding dress slit to thigh on stairs

Choosing a wintry wedding dress colour
Whilst there are no rules about the use of specific colours for a winter wedding. The mere fact that the season is somewhat darker would suggest the use of more intense colours that will make an impact. However, whilst there is nothing wrong with sticking with whites and ivories (you make the rules remember), there is plenty of scope to explore off white shades like champagne, cappuccino, dusty rose, antique silver, antique gold, or deep and intense colours such as claret, deep reds, Forest greens and black. My attitude and advice towards the choice of colour for any bride is, "If you have the right skin tone and personality to carry it off, then go bold or go home".

model in black coloured wedding dress with sheer back

Whilst bold colours are not everyone's 'cup-of-tea', a splash of bold colour here and there does no harm either – so think coloured shoes, pops of colour within the bridal bouquet, accessories, jewellery, groom wear etc – it just brightens the occasion and colours, for the gown that is not to say that a white and green colour palette for your florals would not work equally as well and create an elegant statement. Consider including elements of the winter season within the décor such as plumes of branches sprayed white.

model in two piece sheer top and tulle skirt
model in dress with feather capped shoulders groom in background

model in high neck long sleeved dress holding giant bouquet Winter wedding dresses with long sleeves
With quite a few winter wedding dresses under my belt over the years, I can honestly say that the favourite winter wedding dress style tends to be a dress with long sleeves (whatever the style of the bride's gown might be). Adding long sleeves to any style of dress completely transforms the gown which becomes much more sophisticated by design and modest for certain religious ceremonies. Whether sleeves made from lace or cut entirely in the same cloth as the dress, it can certainly elevate the overall look of sophistication.

model in sleeveless jumpsuit with feather bolero Options for staying warm outside
Staying warm whilst outdoor on a really cold day will require you budget for accessories like gloves, snoods and capes or invest in a large pashmina, a chic cardigan or a biker jacket for brides etc. All are super cool ways to add a little personality to your wedding day look whilst shielding your body from the cold. Don't forget to extend the same look -albeit it in contrasting colours – to your bridesmaids; as if you are cold, then they will be too; too cold to notice that you have lipstick stains on the side of your face during the bridal portraits.

Extra tips for staying warm all day include

  • Wearing tights under your wedding dress – easy to remove particularly if you switch dresses for the wedding party.
  • Adding a detachable jacket made of lace or similar material over the top of a strapless gown.
  • Full bridal capes or cape sleeves, constructed out of woven fabrics or velvets, 3d laces and embellished materials can look amazing without the heaviness and weight of a traditional cape.
  • Opting for a stylish pair of boots instead of open toe shoes.
  • Consider venues with exclusive use so that the entire celebration for the day is under one roof. This will be considerate towards all the guests especially those who have had to travel long distances and who may have younger children to care for.
  • Think feather dress up pieces that can be easily added to your dress to keep you warm outside.
Cynthia Grafton-Holt | Founder and Bespoke Wedding Dress Designer at Cynthia Grafton-Holt Couture | www.CynthiaGraftonHolt.com

"I love working with brides who seize the opportunity to create a unique and exclusive once-in-a-lifetime chance to wear a gown that will never be seen on anyone else!"

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