Your best friend is getting married and you’re so excited for them—or your colleague from work is getting married and you’re slightly less excited because how well do you really know Pete from accounting? Either way, you’ve received your invitation and learned that the happy couple is planning on getting married during the winter season. Instantly a sense of panic sets in because you have only ever purchased clothes for spring, summer, and fall weddings. You know the anguish of wearing short sleeves in cold temperatures and a linen suit in January is never a good time. To avoid these winter destination wedding pitfalls, follow a few simple rules before planning your outfit for that big day.
It’s All About the Details
Before you worry about prints and fabrics, determine the location and dress code for the wedding. Are you taking a long flight to get there? Is it just a short drive away? If the couple is planning on getting married outside, you’ll need to consider what jacket you want to wear in addition to your outfit. Steer clear of puffy winter jackets and instead choose more sophisticated options, such as a pea coat or a trench coat. If it’s in faraway destination, opt for a coat that you can comfortably wear/bring on the flight, so you don’t have to worry about taking up space in your luggage (especially if you have some budget airline tickets and only have a carry-on!). If they’re planning a black-tie wedding, the packing situation becomes even trickier (think: floor-length gowns for women and a tuxedo for men) while casual weddings leave more room for interpretation (and your suitcase). Near or far, if you’re headed to a winter wedding, learning the exact location and dress code before you purchase an outfit, will ensure you’re selecting the most suitable and easiest-to-pack option.
Choose Your Fabrics Wisely
Packing for a trip is hard; all you have to worry about is staying comfortable and optimizing luggage space. Packing for a business trip is a bit harder; you have to dress to impress and packing those fancy suits and high heels are never easy. Packing for a winter destination wedding is the hardest; dress code, accessories, dress shoes, spare outfits in case of a wardrobe malfunction, plus a gift…yikes! The fabric you choose is important – no one wants to walk into a wedding looking wrinkled and unkempt! For men, sticking with thicker, heartier suit fabrics like tweed or wool doesn’t easily crease or wrinkle, and these will also prevent you from feeling cold and uncomfortable during the ceremony (especially if it’s outdoors). While wool or tweed might not be an option for women’s wedding attire, opting for something with a bit of warmth and weight will do the trick. If you’re worried about overheating on the dance floor, layering is the key. Leave enough room in your bags for a shawl, sweater or vest to wear over a lighter blouse, dress, or shirt. And you’ll be ready to bust a move!
Slacks or Dresses?
Getting dressed for a winter wedding poses a unique set of problems; you don’t want to overpack, but you also want to look good without sacrificing your body heat in the process. For women, the ultimate battle in picking what to wear to a destination winter wedding is choosing between slacks or a dress. While slacks a polished, comfortable look that prevents you from getting cold as you’re walking to the venue, that chic, the flirty and flowy look can really only come with a dress. But that’s why you have us to help you decide.
Opt for dress slacks and a blouse if you have limited luggage space and get cold easily. Formal dresses can be quite delicate (a.k.a hard to smooth out the inevitable wrinkles) and will also require an additional cover for the cold, such as a shawl, wrap or sweater. Pants and a blouse allow you the flexibility to iron your clothes our stress-free, mix and match patterns and pieces depending on the weather and venue while keeping nice and toasty throughout the entire event.
Opt for a dress if you’re only traveling a short distance or have ample luggage space (i.e. checked-in baggage or coat check options if you’re traveling in first/ business class). Dresses usually come in hard-to-iron fabrics so be sure to invest in and pack a mini-steamer so you don’t risk any snags, burns or tears (before the wedding, that is). When choosing your dress, select an option with long sleeves and a long hemline. You don’t need to look like you live in the Victorian Era, but a mid-length or a maxi dress will keep you covered and cozy for the rest of the evening.
Don’t Forget About Your Feet!
Getting dressed for a wedding isn’t just about what you wear for clothes, it’s about what you wear on your feet, too! While easy-to-pack sandals and open-toed shoes are a staple item for spring and summer weddings, they don’t bode as well when there is snow on the ground. Close-toed shoes are a necessity if you want to prevent frostbite. Ladies, while you really want to dawn those high heels, think twice before you throw them into your suitcase. Not only do they take up a ton of space, but chances are you’re going to need a pair of flats to change into anyways when you’re ready to hit the dancefloor. If heels are a must, alternatively consider some nice heeled boots that are both comfortable and warm. As for our gentleman, you have a similar predicament. Not all dress shoes are winter-weather friendly, not to mention that they’re usually heavy and bulky to carry. Try and choose a middle ground option, like a pair of functional Oxfords or loafers that you can wear on the flight or the road that is still elegant enough to go with your suit. And for those low-key winter weddings held in a barn or at a town hall, it’s comfy footwear for all, with the option of a dressy sneaker or a less formal flat.
Have any outfit tips for a winter destination wedding of your own? Share them in the comments below!