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What to Wear to Officiate a Winter Wedding

Published Saturday, Nov. 26th, 2022

AMM Minister Erin Lynn Kosisky officiates a cozy February wedding in an emerald green dress, at Chippy White Table in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania

What to wear as a wedding officiant this winter wedding season


When you’ve been asked to officiate something as important as a wedding ceremony, you want to look good, feel good, and be comfortable – no matter what season it is. 


Depending on where you live, winter weddings can include snow, ice, and significant temperature changes as you move from outdoors to indoors and back again. Not to mention holiday themes and unusual color combinations. This means that you’ll need to choose what to wear carefully, while keeping a few different factors in mind. 


As you read the suggestions below, remember that a ceremony is an “event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion.” That means there are prescribed ways of doing things, like certain clothes to wear, words to say, and ways to act. And few ceremonies carry as much ritual significance as wedding ceremonies, where couples publicly declare a legally binding commitment to each other. But that doesn’t mean you can’t let your personal style shine through. 


Heck, your personal style is probably why the couple asked you to officiate in the first place. Wedding officiants – that’s you – are rockstars! So don’t try to dress like someone else, just find an appropriate, well-fitted style that works for you.


So let’s dive into what to wear as a wedding officiant during those romantic (and chilly) winter wedding ceremonies!



Close up of a winter bride and groom, the bride is holding a colorful flower bouquet and wearing a fur coat




What to Wear to Officiate a Winter Wedding


4 tips for success with real-life examples 




1. Dress at the same level of formality as the couple


No matter what season it is, or what the weather’s like, our first recommendation is to dress at the same level as the couple.


What we mean by the “same level” is that if the couple’s wearing formal wedding dresses, tuxedos, or suits, then the officiant should also be in a nice dress or suit. On the other hand, if the wedding couple is wearing casual clothing, like a sundress, jeans, or khakis, then the officiant should dress casually to match that same style and tone of attire.


Summary: Choose clothing that’s the same level of formality as the couple. 


The idea is that everyone feels comfortable. Have you ever been the most overdressed or underdressed person in a room? If so, you probably felt a little out of place. And although it is probably okay to be overdressed, being underdressed as an officiant could throw off the ceremony. You want to be calm and relaxed, not worrying about what you are wearing.


This goes for theme weddings, too. For example, if the couple’s chosen a holiday theme (such as a Christmas wedding or New Year’s theme), ask them what style and level of formality they have in mind. 



A winter wedding outdoors, shows a bride and groom exchanging vows in casual clothing while an AMM officiant reads from the wedding ceremony script, behind them are blue skies and a mountain

Cute and casual: AMM Minister Kelly Ann Brown performs a casual outdoor elopement ceremony in snowy West Virginia. Officiant Kelly said, "When two long term friends asked me to officiate for them, I was beyond honored. The setting and casual attire suited them both perfectly. In joining these two brides, I was a part of creating a family... The air was crisp and full of laughter." 




2. Choose neutral or dark colors and solids 


Dark colors are a natural choice for winter weddings! We recommend that wedding officiants dress in solid neutral or dark colors to avoid taking the focus off the couple: Bright colors and busy prints stand out in wedding photos, look less formal than dark colors, and distract from the couple. 
Summary: Stick with solid neutral and dark colored clothing unless instructed otherwise by the couple. Avoid bright colors and busy prints that take the focus off the couple.  
Color options: Choose navy and dark blues, black, dark grays, or deep jewel-toned purples and dark greens. Keep any accent colors limited and muted, too. This goes for ties, pocket squares, undershirts, headscarves, and shoes. These colors will look stunning in outdoor photos, and keep guests focused on the nearlyweds during the ceremony. 


A stylish indoor wedding ceremony, and AMM officiant wears an emerald green dress and a black cloth face mask, while the newlyweds pose happily for the photo, arms outstretched while they smile

AMM Minister Erin Lynn Kosisky officiates a cozy February wedding in a jewel-toned dark emerald green dress and officiant's stole. Officiant Erin said, "It is always such a pleasure getting to officiate for friends. I've known Joe and Melanie for quite some time now, so it was hard to gold back tears myself when Melanie began to walk down the aisle... I will forever be grateful for having been a part of this perfect day."


The exception to this rule (of course) is when a couple asks you to wear a specific color or costume, or encourages you to wear something unusual. For example, couples planning a New Year’s themed wedding might ask you to wear cocktail attire, sequins, or bold patterns. But only choose a bold look at the couple’s request – otherwise stick with neutrals! 
Consider this example: A bride in a traditional white dress is standing next to a groom in a black tux. They look great, but the officiant is wearing a lime-green jumpsuit. She might look incredible, but her outfit distracts too much from the purpose of the day, and from the couple. That’s why it’s best to choose neutral colored clothing.



An AMM Minister Faizah Mawusi poses with newlyweds after a joyful ceremony, the brides are wearing white and pink with sequins, the officiant is in stylish solid black

AMM Minister Faizah Mawusi's sleek all-black outfit keeps all eyes on these stylish newlyweds. Officiant Faizah said, "What a beautiful couple! When they shared their personally written vows, there wasn't a dry eye in the house! So sweet they both expressed their love as more than they ever imagined."




3. Layers, layers, layers


Winter weddings are unique because you might be warm and cozy indoors one minute, and standing on a snowbank in front of a photographer the next. Moving between indoor and outdoor temperatures requires a little planning – and a few layers – if you want to stay comfortable. 

Summary: Wear stylish layers that you can put on or take off easily as the temperature changes.

Bring extra layers with you, and make sure every layer of your outfit looks good on its own. That means choosing a photo-ready dress or suit, and a stylish winter coat to slip on when it’s time to head outside. Tasteful shawls and wraps, woolen tights, cashmere-lined gloves, and thermal underwear hidden under a long sleeved dress or suit can make all the difference while officiating a chilly outdoor elopement. 



AMM Minister Charlie Quinones performs an outdoor elopement in sunny New York in the winter, he's wearing a light jacket and blue button up shirt and tie, the couple is wearing a suit, a white dress with shoulder wrap, and exchanging rings

AMM Minister Charlie Quinones wears a light jacket, button-up shirt, and tie to officiate this sunny upstate New York ceremony. Officiant Charlie said, "It was a wonderful feeling to bring two together forever. I was truly excited and emotional... I loved the location of the ceremony and it was very traditional."




4. Consider the terrain to choose the right shoes


Those heels might look great while you’re helping a couple exchange their vows indoors, but they won’t do you much good while you’re crossing an icy parking lot to get to the venue. And what if the ceremony gets moved outside at the last minute? That’s why it’s so important to always consider the weather, temperature, and terrain at the wedding venue while choosing which shoes to wear.
And no matter what, always bring a backup pair of boots or similar footwear when officiating winter weddings. Keep these in your car until you need them, or wear them until you're safely inside the venue. You’ll have time to change into your dress shoes, heels, or flats before the ceremony starts. 
Summary: Consider the weather, temperature, and terrain when choosing which shoes to wear. Always bring a backup pair of boots when officiating winter weddings: traction is essential for walking safely across snow, ice, or wet, soggy grass. 


An officiant stands in the snow next to a happy couple after their wedding ceremony

AMM Minister Cherise poses with the newlyweds after performing a stunning, snowy elopement ceremony that started with a hike and picnic lunch. Officiant Cherise told us, "They packed along their beloved kitty and tied the knot in the snow with tons of strangers watching. It was perfect."





Need more advice on what to wear to officiate a wedding? 


Read: What Does a Wedding Officiant Wear?!

AMM Minister Lisa Vanderpump poses with the newlyweds

Lisa Vanderpump channels a very ministerial look with this stylish ensemble. She’s already performed several marriages as an AMM Minister and always looks the part.


This article offers details on how to match belts and shoes, choosing appropriate accessories, jewelry, and more. See the full article here.

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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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