One of the first things you notice when shopping for your winter wedding is that some designers seem never to have heard of the North at all. But if you happen to fall in love with a summery design despite the fact that average temps for your wedding day hover around 20 below, don’t worry — you still have lots of options.
One is to wear whatever strapless gown took your fancy, but top it with a faux-fur cloak. Throw back the hood, wear your hair in a sleek, tiara-topped chignon, then warm your hands with a luxuriant fur muff. Voila: high fashion without the frozen toes.
Of course, this combo might not suffice if you’re dressed in chiffon, so to be sure to look for a gown made from a substantial cut of fabric, like duchess satin or silk brocade. (Most brides find when they do, they’re toasty … so much so, it’s a snap to take pictures out in the snow!)
Another popular option: an asymmetrical faux fur wrap that rests on one shoulder, or the fur or marabou shrug that covers both. These styles make the perfect finalé for a strapless gown with a bit of beading.
Capelets and stoles are more substantial faux-fur accessories with dramatic flair, but they also hide more of your dress.
Wintertime isn’t just the perfect season to break out the “ice,” it’s also ideal for wearing strong colors under that snow-white cloak or shrug. A bold red gown will take your guests’ breath away, especially for a Christmas or Valentine wedding. Other brides might find that a pale blue sash fulfills their winter wonderland fantasies, while this season’s trend toward bold black beading complements almost any cold-weather affair.
Winter’s also a terrific time to go all-out with ballgown or princess silhouettes, cathedral-length veils and trains, sleek formal updos and plenty of bling. The Classics line by St. Pucchi has some wonderfully lacy, lined, trumpet-sleeved gowns that fit the bill. Also, Monique Lhuillier offers a few offbeat gowns with a vintage touch that suit the winter months, with their long sleeves and illusion lace bodices.
If you go to a major couture clearinghouse and search for long-sleeved dresses, you might find terrific winter options from Reem Acra, Paloma Couture and Carolina Herrera. But if your budget’s not up to the multi-K price tag, see if a local seamstress can’t recreate the gist of the dress you crave for a easier to digest price.
And while we’re talking tailors, remember those gorgeous winter wedding gowns you saw in the magazines — the ones with dramatic faux-fur trim sewn right into the sleeves and neckline? The ones that, alas, are impossible to find? See if your seamstress couldn’t pull that off herself.
As for the shoes — well, you could wear something practical and change right before you enter the chapel. But winter brides have the perfect excuse to wear those beautiful Victorian-style wedding boots … a chance many brides won’t want to miss.