If you’re anything like us, as soon as spring hits you keep your eyes peeled for glossy, cream envelopes that herald the fact that yet another one of your friends is tying the knot. It’s not that you’re not thrilled with the happy couple, but the fact is that in the age of Instagram-worthy outfits and Pinterest guides on what you should wear to a wedding it’s no longer OK wear the same dress with just different jewelry and shoes.
You spend ages decoding what your hosts mean by brunch casual/dressy or what’s appropriate for a rustic, country do when it explicitly states guests should look smart but also wear wellies! Increasingly, weddings aren’t just one-day events either! The chances are you’ll have been invited to a whole array of pre-nuptial parties including brunches, cocktail hours, bridal showers, afternoon tennis games and even last minute seating run throughs i.e. the bride can make any last minute changes to the table plan or ceremony order before the big day.
Weddings aren’t just about the outfit you wear to the celebrations, but everything you have to buy to create a capsule wardrobe that’s got the right mix of elegance, practicality and modernity but also a case you can heave off the luggage carousel yourself! Traditionally, wedding season starts in spring, or more precisely mid-April and ends the last weekend in October which means over six months of having to buy, or subtly alter outfits! What’s more, inspired by lavish celebrity couples more brides and grooms are opting for a week-long destination wedding!
Frustrated guests have struggled with elaborate themes, Great Gatsby wedding, anyone? Or a dress code that states mens formal suits must be worn, but women can choose to wear garden party/cocktail hour dresses which even Stephen Hawking would probably have trouble deciphering. Remember, a week-long program of events means a week you need to take off work, a tough pill to swallow when most Americans only get two weeks of paid vacation a year. Invariably, destination weddings will require you to find the cash for the airfare, as well as buying a suitably expensive gift. While some OTT couples have been known to ‘helpfully’ include a colour palette card within their invitation bundle so guests know exactly what hues are heavenly.
Don’t worry, you won’t be banned from attending, but we’re fairly sure turning up in pure white, or cream will raise even the most laid back folk’s eyebrows. In short, you’re panicking about appropriate colors, wondering if the shade of violet you plan on wearing is too close to that of the bridal party. Side note, if in any doubt choose something one shade lighter or darker, there’s nothing more embarrassing than being mistaken for a bridesmaid when you’re not a member of the bridal party.
Whatever You Do Don’t Panic
With all this going on the last thing you want to do is traipse around the shops looking for outfits that may, or may not look right as well as trying to fit a week’s worth of clothes into a battered carry-on that’s probably seen better days. Having said that, it is possible to make it look like you’ve worn several different outfits while resisting packing your entire closet. You’ll need lots of creativity, quite a bit of determination and probably a glass of white wine but it is possible to take just three outfits and transform them with shoes, scarves and jewellery to make four very different looks. Overall, the goal is to avoid having to shell out on something new, while at the same time convincing everyone that the dress you’re wearing is nothing like the one you wore two months ago. This means knowing what suits you well before you send off your RSVP.
Dress To Impress
Firstly, find a gorgeous, beaded frock in a color that suits your skin tone and won’t be too hot or cold depending on the area, or indeed the country, where the wedding is taking place. Pick one that meets most dress codes. For instance, a floral maxi dress is perfect for an intimate beach ceremony or if they’re saying ‘I DO’ in a country garden but may look a little out of place at a upscale evening soiree.
Look for something knee length. Why? It’s elegant, classic and you won’t be worried about anything rising during a church or religious service. The right dress can morph from black tie, to beach casual, to country wedding better than a Power Ranger and don’t forget shoes make or break your outfit. For example, a coat dress looks good on lots of women, is a classic style so won’t look dated in photos and can be worn both belted and unbelted. In fact, it’s often a go-to outfit for The Duchess Of Cambridge, and if it’s good enough for Princess Kate, it’s perfect for you.
The Wrong Trousers
No one says that you must wear a dress to every wedding you attend although lots of women do, but if you are going to choose pants make sure you follow these rules! Firstly, you can’t just rock up in a pair of jeans or some smart black pants you bought for work but decided not to wear after all. Dressy pants should be expertly tailored, in either linen or silk and not be too tight, or indeed to loose around the waist and hips. When it comes to color think carefully about what you’re pairing them with, cream coloured trousers and a white shirt may make you look like one of the hotel staff especially if the wedding’s taking place in a hot country like Barbados.
Flowing, black linen pants paired with a silk, or beaded top covered with a thin shrug can look beautiful. Or if you’re feeling daring why not try a one-shoulder or embellished top? Remember, you need to be able to dance in whatever shoes you wear. Kitten heels or sparkly flats are ideal as stilettos will get painful quickly and you certainly don’t want your heel getting stuck in the grass during the photos do you?