Mother of the bride/groom winter wedding outfit inspiration

We’ve all been to a summer do, so we know exactly what to wear. But a wedding in the colder months is a chance to do things differently – not just for the couple, but for mothers of the bride and groom too, writes Claire Muir

You might be panicking about how you can stylishly match your attire to the season while protecting yourself from the elements. But actually, with so many couples these days opting to have their ceremony and celebration in the same venue, the bridal party and guests may not have to venture out into the great outdoors again once proceedings get underway. And for outfit-hunting mothers of the bride or groom who want to buy something they can wear again, this is good news.

And in even better news, to get you started, four boutiques share their advice for shopping for mother of the bride and mother of the groom outfits this winter.

“Given that many weddings are now held entirely in the same venue, there’s less need to focus on cover-ups or robust footwear,” says Louise Brown of Falkirk-based boutique Catwalk.

Together with her sister Pauline, Louise also runs The Dressing Rooms in Grangemouth, where designer-label-hungry mums can snap up an elite outfit without the kind of hefty price tag you might expect.

Mother of the bride dresses in green and champagne colours
Left: A-line dress with long drape sleeves in Shamrock by Veni Infantino, £575, Catwalk; Right: Fitted all-over lace dress with feathered sleeve detail by John Charles, £999, Catwalk

What length dress should mother of the bride wear?

“Long and short dresses are equally popular for both summer and winter weddings and the fabrics the designers use (mostly chiffons and satin-back crepes) are used in both seasons’ collections,” Louise tells us.

Gill Girdlestone of Bombshell London, a brand that’s all about designing transformational dresses that inspire confidence, recommends: “Consider a midi-length dress instead of a floor-length one. Styles like our Edge of the Shoulder dress or Grace dress are classic shapes, perfect for mums.”

That said, a winter wedding is definitely an excuse to be super-glamorous and accessorise a little more, if that’s your bag. “If you want to wear a long sequinned gown, go for it,” Gill continues. “Velvet is also a great choice for a winter wedding as it looks incredibly luxurious, but it’s comfortable enough to wear all day long.”

How to layer for a cold weather wedding

Before setting your heart on a specific look, though, Gill recommends considering the logistics of the day, and the weather. “There’s lots more to think about than with a summer wedding. It’s going to be warm inside and chilly outside, and the ground might be wet or muddy. Are you going somewhere else for the reception? Do the couple want everyone to be photographed in the grounds? If so, you’ll need another layer, such as a stole or coat, and this will need to match or complement your outfit.”

Should I wear a wrap, cover up or a coat to a wedding?

At Catherines of Partick, which has more than 2,000 outfit options on its rails, Candice Nicol agrees. “Our top tips are to be warm and to accessorise. For winter weddings, ladies are often looking for wraps or cover-ups to go with their dresses – not just for warmth, but because they feel it gives the outfit a more complete winter look.

“If you want to be cosy for outdoor photos but unrestricted for dancing later, we’d suggest something like a wrap, especially in faux fur. This looks good for pictures, is less restrictive than a coat, and is easily removed.”

Extra accessories do mean extra spend, of course, but Gill encourages budget-conscious shoppers to go for something they know they’ll wear again after the wedding. She suggests investing in a quality fabric like fine wool or tweed, a versatile colour (black, navy or neutral) and a style that’s both warm and glamorous.

Mother of the bride outfits in light blue and black/nude with matching fascinators
Left: Ruched sequinned dress in Arctic Blue by Condici, £699, Bentleys; Right: Pleat and bead-detail dress in navy and pink by Veni Infantino, £699, Bentleys

What colours should I wear to a winter wedding?

At Catherines of Partick, Candice says clients who want to dress for the season often feel clueless about which colours are appropriate. The solution? Go for what suits you! “Outfit colours don’t tend to change throughout the year – we have neutral, jewel and bold colours all year round. We always advise customers to try what suits them,” she explains.

“Jewel colours, such as magenta, emerald and so on, are very vibrant and tend to work well with a winter wedding theme. Alternatively, you could opt for icy tones like silver, platinum or shades of pale blue (below).”

A pale blue and a burgandy mother of the bride/mother of the groom dress
Left: Dip-hem dress with sleeves and collar, £POA, Catherines of Partick; Right: Grace dress in wine silk dupion, £559, Bombshell London

Catwalk’s Louise echoes this: “Colour palettes and headpieces really don’t change, with the exception of prints, which tend to reflect the hues of the season. Most styles really are as suitable for January as they are for July.”

At Aberdeenshire-based Bentleys in Banchory, which has a special-occasion department with sizes ranging from eight to 24, Irene Mackie agrees: “Wear what suits your shape and skin tone. And remember you will more than likely be dancing at some point during the evening, so an outfit that’s comfortable and beautiful is what to aim for.”

Mother Nature aside, many mums are keen to tie in with the bridal party who, often, will be kitted out in seasonal attire. In this case, talk to the style advisors at the boutiques you visit about the overall colour scheme and they’ll recommend something with a similar palette or from the same tonal range. “We find this can complement the bridal party and elevate the look,” Candice explains.

Trending mother of the groom outfit styles

“Jumpsuits are a super alternative, and they’re huge this season for guests at winter weddings,” Gill Girdlestone shares.

Referencing a few specific Bombshell London pieces, she says: “We have so many different styles, such as super-flattering 1930s palazzo pant jumpsuits and showstopping sequin jumpsuits.

“Our luxe jersey jumpsuit (below) has 3/4-length sleeves, so you’re warm for outdoor photos, but it’s also comfortable and stretchy. The ideal outfit to dance the night away in!”

Mother of the groom outfits, one plaid pink dress and a dark green jumpsuit
Left: Confident dress in Lochcarron of Scotland pink plaid, £389, Bombshell London; Right: Luxe jersey jumpsuit in dark green, £199, Bombshell London

Bentley’s Irene Mackie, adds, “Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your outfit has to be made from a heavy fabric in a dull colour. Silk, satin, crepe de chine and lace are all available in bright or soft muted tones, and they’re manufactured in different weights. Our designers know exactly how to put together wonderful ranges to suit every season.”

When is the best time to shop for my winter wedding outfit?

If you’ve looked at more inspo than you can shake a stick at and have ticked off all the practical considerations, it’s time to step into Scotland’s top occasionwear boutiques. And if you want to be first to see the new collections, you’re going to want to pay attention to timing.

“Designer MOB and MOG occasionwear has two delivery windows each year,” explains Catwalk’s Louise. “The main arrival is in December or January and comprises about 70% of the collection. But most styles are transitional and will be equally fabulous for a summer or winter wedding – you’ll find beautiful pastels, bold jewel colours, fit-and-flare and straight styles in both collections.

Mother of the bride dresses in a pale pink and a fuchsia
Left: Full-length dress with statement sleeves by Invitations by Veni, £POA, Catherines of Partick; Right: Mid-length dress by Veni Infantino, £POA, Catherines of Partick

“The summer styles often include shorter sleeves, one-shoulder designs, chiffon sleeves and feminine summer prints, whereas the autumn collection, which arrives around July or August, will include autumn prints, longer sleeves and glamorous touches like sparkle beading and fur or feather trims.”

Happy shopping!

Not attending a winter wedding? Let yourself be inspired by our year-round guide on what to wear to the wedding as the mother of the bride or groom

And, if you’re looking for the full rundown, our A-Z guide for mums looking for the perfect big day outfit is your ideal next read