The Closet

Dressing for Weddings in Every Season

When we talk about wedding season, we often mean summer, but spring, fall and winter weddings each have their own unique set of charms. As temperatures change, up your fashion game with our wedding guest style guide for this season and the next.

Summer wedding

Warm weather allows for more diverse wedding venues—be it a garden party, a seaside celebration or a traditional church ceremony—making it particularly important to adhere to the appropriate dress code. Cocktail dresses and suits in light hues are popular choices, but you can dress your outfit up with accessories—like a chic summer hat—for an elevated look. Just be sure to keep it simple to avoid stealing the show.

For more casual weddings, experiment with different textures. Jersey, rayon and modal are great options for warm weather weddings if you want to avoid high-maintenance silk. Ladies can opt for sandals with flat heels or wedges to avoid sinking into sand or grass at outdoor venues. For gents, a linen shirt and sport coat with slacks is an easy way to dress summer-appropriate—and you'll absorb less heat through your clothes, which means fewer sweat stains. Complete the laidback look with a pair of boat shoes or loafers.

Care tip: While rayon is easier to care for than silk, this delicate summer fabric still deserves some TLC. Preserve the fabric by following the instructions on the clothing's label. Hand wash with a gentle laundry soap and air dry, or leave it in the care of a cleaning professional to avoid any changes to the fabric.

Fall wedding

There's nothing quite like an October wedding framed by the fall foliage. The crisp weather calls for a layered look in autumnal hues such as camel, olive or burgundy to suit the season. For female guests, full-length gowns are a classic choice for an evening reception, paired with a matching shawl, minaudière or tasseled clutch and satin heels. Men can consider cashmere suits, wool coats and traditional leather shoes. You may want to visit a tailor for a custom suit fitting, or purchase your suit separates from a store that offers alterations.

Care tip: To preserve the rich tones of your dress or suit, be sure to visit a professional dry cleaning service before the wedding. Wool, which will start to make an appearance in autumn, is a particularly tricky fabric to store. Make sure to pack woolens in an airtight plastic bag to keep the moths away. For more clothing storage tips, see our in-depth closet guide.

Winter wedding

While it might seem difficult to stay chic in the cold, winter weddings are glamorous when done right. Women can layer fur—be it faux or the real thing—or a cashmere coat over a satin dress for added warmth. For something more casual, consider a heavy-knit cardigan over silk for a practical yet complementary look. Male guests can elevate their two-piece suit with a vest or sweater. Pairing cashmere ties with a wool suit can help you stay put together as the temperature drops.

Not sure of what shoes to wear in the snow? Go with a pair of stylish snow boots when you're outside, and then swap them out with your planned formal footwear once you're indoors. If there's no snow, stick to your go-to pumps—which will look seasonally appropriate when paired with opaque wool tights—or Oxfords.

Care tip: The winter season means more chances of rain and snow, so weatherproof your shoes with a protective spray. If you've opted for fur or faux fur details, be sure to follow proper washing instructions after the event. Faux fur can be cleaned at home with cool water and a gentle detergent for no more than 10 to 15 minutes, while the authentic alternative needs professional care.

Spring wedding

Spring calls for floral fabrics that channel the season's jouissance. When choosing a dress, look for one with a minimalist design and geometric cuts—a subtle side slit gives your dress movement without revealing too much—and choose a light layering option, like a shawl or an oversized blazer, for an easy transition into cooler evenings. Top it off with a pair of heels or sandals, depending on the venue. For the discerning gentleman, suiting up in lighter hues such as charcoal or cream works well for the breezy season, and a pair of brogues with colorful socks will add a nice finishing touch.

Care tip: An umbrella can help keep your clothes mostly dry from an unexpected spring shower, but your shoes might come in contact with wet grass or mud at an outdoor wedding. A cloth (or paper towel) dipped in cold water can take care of most stains, but if your formal footwear is made of a sensitive fabric like suede, be sure to visit a professional cleaner afterward.

Dressing for weddings in every season doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, it's a good excuse to show that your creativity and unique sense of style persist, rain or shine.

Invited to a destination wedding? Our guide will help you choose and care for the right guest attire so you can show up in style.


Photos: Popovartem, Ivan, Clem Onojeghuo, V_Lisovoy, Shardayyy