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The Perfect Wedding Outfit

By: Lisa Thiel - Updated: 9 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Bride Wedding Outfit Ensemble Headpiece

It's not just the bride who buys a special outfit for her wedding day - the majority of people attending the ceremony will have done the same. Unfortunately, the rules governing guests' outfits tend to be less clear-cut than those for bridal dresses, and it's often tricky to know what'll be suitable. Try these tips to help you pick an outfit that'll see you from church to catching the bouquet.

Going to the Chapel

The tricky thing about wedding clothes is that they've got to cover different activities - they should be formal and decorous enough for the ceremony, but also be suitable for dancing and flirting later. Traditional skirt or trouser suits can look like you've come from the office when worn at the reception, while flimsy dresses look too frivolous in church.

Even if you're not a regular church-goer, you should still observe the protocol. Don't pick anything too short - a couple of inches above the knee at most - and cover up sleeveless outfits with a jacket or wrap, for reasons of decency and because stone-floored, uncarpeted churches are often very cold even in summer.

A twist on classic looks, such as pairing a tailored jacket with a floaty dress, or a fitted shorts suit as sported successfully by the likes of Kate Moss at weddings, will be both smart and stylish enough to cover all eventualities.

Heads Up

Weddings are one of the few events in modern society where women are expected to wear hats, but a lot of people are put off by the stereotype of wide-brimmed, lace and feather-covered monstrosities that take up half the wedding photographs.

While it's still important to wear something on your head as a nod to the formality of the occasion, it doesn't have to be a traditional hat. If the idea of a crown-and-brim number appals you, try a headpiece, which have a small, close-fitting base that hugs the scalp and provides a basis for any sort of decoration you fancy. Or dispense with the idea of headgear altogether and visit a hairdresser for an elegant up-do, then adorn it with decorative pins, clips or flowers (the real or silk varieties). See related article

All In The Detail

Again, because you'll be doing lots of different things during the event, you'll need accessories to carry you through from day to night. Shoes, for example, shouldn't be stilt-high - apart from being a hazard on stone-flagged church floors, you'll end up with a bad case of aching feet if you spend all day standing around in stilettos. Pick a lower heel height that'll allow you to walk, stand and dance effortlessly.

A decent-sized bag is an important part of your wedding ensemble. Take one that's big enough for you to carry your camera, make-up, souvenirs - and perhaps even to store your hat or headpiece once the dancing starts. Ideally, pick one with handles that hangs unobtrusively at your side, rather than a shoulder strap that'll ruin the line of your outfit. And don't take anything that hangs down further than your knees - you'll look like you're off to do the shopping instead of to a wedding.

When it comes to make-up, a full-on party face can seem excessive during the day, so keep things light and take bolder eye and lip colours in your bag for the evening festivities. The same rules apply to jewellery, which should be light for easy all-day wear and not too 'bling-bling'. You don't want to look vulgar in the daylight hours - or worse, upstage the bride's ring and tiara.

Don't Wear…

  • Black - it's a colour more associated with funerals and casts a cloud over the wedding photos.
  • White - it's the bride's privilege on her special day. Even if you know the bride's not wearing white, don't risk others making the association - and anyway, you're bound to spill something down it.
  • A really big hat - not only does a really large and elaborate hat smack of more money than sense, but you'll probably obscure other people's view of the proceedings in church.
  • Anything made of Lycra - this is a formal occasion, not a gym session, and style takes precedence over stretchy comfort. Go for fitted rather than tight clothes.
  • A full-length ball gown - even if it's a black-tie event. Again, floor-length dresses have associations with the bride and bridesmaids, and controlling a long skirt is difficult at the best of times, let alone on a crowded dance floor.
Apart from the weather, the wedding dress and whether the bride's pregnant or not, few topics of conversation are more likely to come up at a wedding than other people's dress sense, so don't give gossips the chance to criticise. Besides, there's always the possibility you'll meet your future spouse at a wedding - so make sure your outfit's up to the job.

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