Winter is almost here. Holiday and post New Year weddings can be incredibly festive and magical. Yes, the back drop of snow and raw climate can be challenging; working it you can create a haute chic look all your own.

Sassi Holford

A few weeks back I caught an episode of Bridezilla where the featured bride, marrying in the dead of winter, wore a baseball jacket over her gown to get to the ceremony. I thought about all those brides in sub zero climates like upstate New York and Minnesota. If you're one of these ladies you’re going to have to cover your arms, and, I hope not with a baseball jacket. The point is to stay warm and cozy as well as ultra-chic getting to and from the ceremony. And God knows, you might be caught having to stand around in the cold. Be prepared.

Carolina Herrera/

Ritva Westenius

There’s a reason for structured, heavy fabrics like brocade, velvet and heavier peau de soie: warmth and insulation from the cold. If expertly lined, thicker fabrics will keep the chill off especially if you’re going sleeveless. Sleeveless brides in winter climates can add a shrug or bolero in the same fiber. A matching cape is ideal—they’re roomy and unlike close fitting coats they won’t squish your dress. Don’t want to match the dress exactly? Velvet, cashmere, wool, heavy brocades all make lovely capes. If your gown is heavyweight fabric or has lots of volume (volume translates into warmth) you can even go for a shorter caplet.

Stewart Parvin
Wraps and stoles are great for bare-armed brides. They may look skimpy and I thought so myself till my mother made me one to go out one New Year’s Eve. It was white velvet, lined inside with batting (stuff you put in quilts). I was incredibly warm all night.
Add opera length gloves if you’re going sleeveless with a wrap. Long gloves can be great substitutes for sleeves due to the insulation factor they provide. As for fur, for stoles, jackets and capes, faux is chic now. It’s also surprisingly warm too. Add a muff (maybe instead of a bouquet) and your hands stay toasty.

Shoes or Boots?

Forget sandals. I won’t even get into why. If you can manage trudging through the snow in shoes, I’d recommend closed toe pumps with white or ivory tights or lace stockings. Boots are best but you want something chic. Check out Henry Kaye’s boots above. The website has a few more selections in the spirit of these boots.

Your Headpiece

Consider something with a touch of marabou or feathers or an actual hat like the one in the header photo. Remember, it’s important to keep your head and ears warm.

The Gown

How about finding a gown with a matching coat or long sleeves? Even fur on it? Haven’t seen any lately, you say? Well check these out.

Ritva Westenius

Alan Hannah

Amanda Wakeley

Amanda Wakeley

If you still can’t find that special winter gown anywhere, consider custom design. A dressmaker or tailor can fabricate something exactly to your specifications for about the same price you’d pay for one in a finer salon.

Note: The bustled mauve gown is Vivienne Westwood. Link problems . . .