It’s that time again – wedding season; where you spend every weekend celebrating the happiest day of someone else’s life. Whether you love the excuse to go out and splurge on something fun to wear, or you dread getting the dress code wrong, here’s our guide, tips, and hacks to dressing for a wedding.
Do I Really Need to Cover My Shoulders?
Absolutely. If there’s a religious element to the ceremony, then it’s only polite to respect the associated dress codes. You may have to cover your head or wrap a shawl around your shoulders for the ceremony. Do it with a good grace – you can always discard it and show off your spaghetti straps at the reception.
Do I Have to Wear a Dress?
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Nope, not at all. If the invite specifies black or white tie then it might well be your safest option, but even then there are alternatives: a formal jumpsuit, for example. In the social media age, separates have seen a resurgence because you can mix and match them – so you’re not wearing the same dress all over Facebook for every single wedding. Printed co-ords (a matching top and skirt or pants) have become popular for this very reason, or you could try a pleated midi skirt (the trend that refuses to die) with a silk camisole.
But if I do Wear a Dress…
Then you’ll want a floral print midi dress. Preferably a wrap dress with a deep V-neckline and flutter sleeves – this is most definitely a thing this season. And if it’s green, so much the better. You’ll find them at every price level, but see Rixo London for inspiration.
If that doesn’t float your boat, however, the all over lace thing popularized by London-based brand Self Portrait is still going strong.
Can I Wear White?
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Not all over white or ivory, it goes without saying. But a dress with a multi-coloured print on a white base? Take the squint test. If you look at the garment in question while squinting and the overall effect is not white – if, for example, the print gives it a grey, blue or pink cast – then you’re good to go.
Can I Wear Sunglasses?
Well, they might come in handy if you come over all weepy at weddings and you’re worried that your mascara will run. And if your wedding is out of doors then yes, absolutely – although please don’t push them back onto your head for the serious bits, particularly if you are the groom (I have seen this happen). Take them off, though, when you get inside – who are you, Anna Wintour?
How Do I Dance in Heels?
So there are two schools of thought here. One: don’t even think about it. Wear your heels for the ceremony and the first half of the reception, and then slip them off for the dancing. You’ll need to be organized enough to bring your flats, and it helps if you’re bringing a plus one to the wedding to carry your flats for you in a bag (yes, really).
It’s increasingly common to see a pile of heels growing in a corner of the dance floor as the band gets going and everyone slips into something comfier. However, there is another school of thought, which is: dance in your heels! Adrenalin is often enough to see you through, and champagne also helps. And if you’re looking to justify a designer splurge to yourself, then consider the possibility that some high-heeled shoes might be comfier than others. At a recent wedding, I attended, every woman wearing heels ended up tossing them into the pile – except for those who were wearing Valentino Rockstuds. These ladies kept on dancing until the bitter end. Just saying.
I am Out of Conversation… Help!
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Those official wedding photographs can take a long time – and it feels like even longer when you’re trapped at a wedding reception where you don’t know too many of the other guests and all your small talk has run dry.
Fashion is absolutely your savior here. Accessorize with something fun – the Lulu Guinness lips clutch bag, or a good imitation of it, is absolutely brilliant for this – and you’ll find it does a sterling alternative job as a conversation starter. Similarly, if you’re stuck for something to say, then find something to compliment. Nobody was ever offended because a stranger breezed up to them and said, “Love your shoes!”
Do I Have to Clap like Nicole Kidman?
In all seriousness, yes you might. Images of Nicole Kidman at the 2017 Oscars went viral when she was caught on camera clapping “like a seal”. She later explained that this was because she was trying to protect her ring – a cluster diamond ring from Harry Winston.
I have some sympathy with this. I recently spent the last hour of a wedding reception on my hands and knees under the table looking for a tiny diamond that fell out of my vintage ring due to over-enthusiastic clapping after the best man’s speech. Well, I have now perfected the Nicole seal clap while wearing precious jewellery and heartily recommend that you do too.
Eek! She’s Wearing My Dress!
There are ways to avoid this. When it comes to prom season, for example, some students do organize WhatsApp groups where they post pictures of their prom dress so that no-one else buys the same one. Let’s assume, however, that you haven’t done this for any upcoming weddings. So when you spot someone across the marquee wearing the exact same Whistles dress as you? Own it. Take the initiative. March up to her with your widest smile and compliment her on her taste. Then throw your arm around her and pose for a selfie. Best case: you might make a friend. Even if you haven’t, it’s still better than slinking around avoiding being seen with her for the rest of the day.