My original goal was to be an inspiration, to motivate people into putting an effort into getting dressed, even if to just one person. So when readers tell me I am an inspiration, or that they keep my ideas in mind when shopping or picking out an outfit, it is, to me, a cause of joy and is, to say the least, tremendously alleviating. It's what keeps me going!
Anyway, back to today's subject- a reader asked me to write about what to wear (and not to wear) at weddings. Coincidentally, I had just watched Letters to Juliet and was fascinated by Amanda Seyfried's outfit as a guest at the wedding...
I've noticed that here in Malta, people do limit themselves a lot when it comes to weddings and anything formal, really. We're caught in a rut over here. Most seem to think that glamour lies solely in diamonds and silver sandals... AND boleros - I am getting sick of seeing boleros at weddings. There is something called a shawl, people.
On the other hand, I do believe that weddings are not the place to make a fashion statement. When the dress code is formal, even solely out of sheer respect for the bride and groom, who have invited you to celebrate with them an important step in their lives, dress formally.
So before I begin to present you with a few ideas, let's set a few ground rules...
1. Follow the dress code.
I cannot stress this enough. Generally, the invite indicates a preferred dress code. The lines are rather blurred when it comes to distinguishing between each dress code; there are various grey areas - so amongst the words that may be thrown at you here are a few - 'black tie', 'creative black-tie', 'formal', 'semi-formal', 'evening'.
As a side note - I know for a fact that there is a number of thriving 'fashionistas' who think they'd be better off 'doing what they do best' and try and look 'different' and original. I repeat - weddings aren't the time to experiment. On the contrary, I believe it's rather rude when people disregard dress codes. Dress codes are there for a reason.
Now, back to the scale...
White tie is mainly for state weddings - women wear a tiara and opera-length gloves and men a white bow-tie and a tail-coat. I won't go into the details of this since it's rather restricted when it comes to attire and hardly a daily happening for the majority of people - but you get the drift.
Black tie - this is to higher profile events than those on the lower end of the scale. In a black tie event, an elegant cocktail dress or even a gown is required and, of course, a black bow tie or black tie for men, and hire/buy a tux please!
Optional Black Tie - 'optional' generally added so that invitees who do not afford a tux aren't excluded. If it's optional - it's exactly that, but still adhere to the guidelines of formality as close as you possibly could. Optional black tie STILL doesn't mean you can go in combats or day wear.
Creative Tie - this may perhaps be the most popular among fashionistas - since it is what it is - creative. It allows space for trendier, or fashionable versions of the classic black tie look. Enjoy it - but do not go overboard - it's still a wedding.
Lounge Suit - a less formal look. Men wear business suits and women may even wear a suit or a cocktail dress. This might be the most popular option amongst the Maltese.
2. The Location
The location is often times overlooked, yet it's a crucial aspect in deciding what to wear for such an occasion. Will the reception be set in open air or will it be in a closed hall? Also - the type of location will give you a good idea of what you're expected to wear.
3. Time of Day
Morning or Evening? Adapt accordingly.
4. What are the Bride and Groom Like?
This is immensely important, yet no one seems to bother thinking about what the bride would like. Or what the groom would like at that. It's their wedding after all. If you know what the bride and groom are like, you will generally know what they expect you to wear at the wedding, even if the indicated dress code isn't that clear.
5. Whose wedding is it?
Family, distant family, close friends, friends, colleagues. It makes a great difference.
Now that we've cleared all that up -
Some other issues...
Hats aren't an obligation for morning weddings, period. The prior tradition to wear a hat at a wedding may have been linked to women's obligation to cover their heads in church. Fascinators are gaining momentum as a replacement for hats - if you simply must wear something. There are a few pretty ones on the market!
[all from ASOS]
Catarzi pill pox hat, ASOS feather pom fascinator, Pieces feather fascinator
Please, please don't! It wasn't elegant 5 years ago, and it's not elegant now. A shawl from exquisite fabric is so much more elegant and sophisticated. Do take some time in picking out the right cover-up for weddings. If you're going to be wearing a jacket all the time, be sure it complements the dress and that it doesn't cover-up the dress. After all it's the dress you want the focus on and not the jacket.
Black and White
Black is allowed - just as long as it doesn't look like you're at a funeral and not at a wedding. So avoid demure dresses if you're going for black. Play with texture or brighter accessories (a gold statement necklace would be ideal).
As for white - keep away from it! The bride may not mind, but the bride's mother or close relatives/friends might throw a few looks at you. It's not worth being so self-conscious the whole time just because you wanted that white dress so badly... Once again, context is everything! So weigh the pros and cons well beforehand ;)
When it comes to accessorising your outfit there are a few rules you must follow, but really they all boil down to one: Keep it simple!
Avoid costume jewellery. Colourful statement necklaces should be locked some place far, with the key thrown away, in the evening. They're adequate for a morning wedding (a coral necklace would work just fine, and is a timeless classic).
Go for the real thing. If you must wear a fake, it must be a really, really good fake. Otherwise, don't wear anything.
I've prepared a few polyvore sets for some 'wedding guest' outfit ideas, suitable for most weddings.
If you've got any specific questions feel free to ask (comment section, facebook, through tumblr, by email (go on contact me) . I'm here to help ;)