Location: St Regis Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Wedding season has officially started! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding last weekend kicked things off, but for me, I’m about to attend my first wedding of the year next weekend in Malta. It’s a special wedding as I will also be part of the bridal squad as bridesmaid. I haven’t been a bridesmaid since I was 12 years old, so am particularly excited about being part of someone’s wedding crew as an adult. With all this in mind and with a whole summer worth of weddings to attend, I thought I would create a post with wedding etiquette for outfits, including some inspiration for wedding looks and highlighting some of the trends that we saw at the Royal Wedding last weekend.
I often find that nowadays, most people don’t really pay attention to etiquette as it can seem somewhat outdated. I can completely understand that, but etiquette is not to be confused with respect, and there are some things that female wedding guests should bear in mind when getting themselves dressed for weddings.
First things first, and maybe somewhat obviously, block white outfits are a no-no and by white, I mean off-white, pale cream, ecru or ivory – they all fall under that bucket. Let the bride have her moment – there really is no need to try to out-stage or compete with her. Everyone has their moment to shine and someone else’s wedding is definitely not your moment.
The time of day, and often the location, will dictate what is expected of guests. For morning weddings, dresses should not fall below the knee. Following etiquette, a hat should also be worn for all morning weddings. It’s not everyone’s favourite (including me) but sometimes you just have to go with what the bride requests. If she specifically asks guests to wear a hat, then just wear one – it won’t kill you, I promise. If the bride is more relaxed and not all that bothered about it, then that’s a different matter. In general, I think the safest option is always to ask the bride or bridesmaids what the couple’s preference is.
For afternoon to evening weddings, you have the most choice. Guests can either opt for dresses that fall to the knee or the floor, as the celebrations will run into the evening. A morning hat is not required – instead guests should opt for a fascinator, which can then be removed as celebrations continue after dark. Lastly, for evening weddings, floor length dresses are the way to go and no headdress is needed.
Hats and fascinators don’t have to be awful though. I’ve included some pieces that I actually really like below! You don’t even need to purchase one. Just have a look online and you’ll definitely find a store nearby that offers rentals.
Hats and Fascinators
For dresses, here are some of my favourites – both knee- and floor-length. I have divided the looks by colour, based on some of the themes I picked up on at the Royal Wedding. For me, these included pretty pastels in blues and dusty pinks, floral patterns and striking bold colour such as bright yellow, coral and aqua marines.
Bold and Beautiful
Follow the Theme
Sometimes, couples may want their wedding guests to follow a specific theme for their wedding. I would have loved for my wedding to be a black-tie event, however that just wasn’t practical for some of my guests. Instead of putting it on the invite, I mentioned it to a few guests who actually found a fantastic compromise! Whilst our groomsmen were all in black tie, a lot of the guests showed up in black, which fit the whole vibe of the wedding so well! That being said, probably best to avoid black for weddings unless you know that the bride and groom are ok with it.
If the couple does have any themes or requests, they will be on the wedding invite. As always, whenever in doubt, ask one of the wedding party and they will be able to guide you.
It would be great to hear more about any wedding etiquette that I have left out in this post! I’d love to read them all and think fellow readers would also appreciate any further tips!