The New Rules Of Wedding Guest Dressing

The New Rules Of Wedding Guest Dressing

Since Tina Knowles' all-white wedding, and Judy Murray's white mother-of-the-bride outfit, it's no longer faux pas to wear the same colour as the bride. But that's not to say there aren't other dos and don'ts...

When it comes to wedding guest dressing, there is one golden rule: do not wear white. Or should we say there was one golden rule, since no-one appears to be paying much attention to it.

As with all good rules, this one is there to be broken. And no-one railed against it better than Solange Knowles, whose wedding to Alan Ferguson last year was one of the most stylish we've seen in a long time, with everyone (Beyonce and Jay Z included), wearing white. So it is sacrilege or stylish? Well, we might not suggest you co-ordinate all of your guests' outfits a la Solange, but it does seem pretty outdated to put a ban on a colour – especially when it rules out so many otherwise perfect wedding guest dresses.

Needless to say, we've come to question whether this rule has any place at a 21st century wedding. Especially since Solange and Beyonce's mum, Tina Knowles, followed in her daughter's footsteps at her wedding to Richard Lawson this weekend by getting all her wedding guests to wear the same shade as her.

And let's not forget Judy Murray, who also ignored the age-old style rule and turned up at her son and daughter-in-law's wedding in Dunblane on Saturday the same colour as the bride. From the beaming smile on Kim Sears' face, she didn't seem to mind a jot.


While more and more people are in agreement that white is no longer a no-go, (a straw poll of the InStyle office's married women showed that none of them would have given two figs had one of their guests turned up in white at their nuptials), that's not to say they're aren't any rules at all when it comes to dressing for a wedding.

So, to make sure you don't make any fashion faux pas, InStyle's bride-to-be Lucy Pavia brings you the new dos and dont's of dressing for a modern wedding...

Swap fascinators for hairbands
A very stylish friend of mine actually put a 'no fascinators' rule on the invite to her wedding. I am not a fan either, looking across the church at a multitude of ladies wearing those bright feathery ones can make it look like the happy couple has invited a flock of brightly-coloured birds to witness their marriage. Why not try a cool embellished hairband (a la Sam Cam at the royal wedding), or a clip-in silk flower instead. Or go old school with an actual hat…

Nude courts: please, please make it stop 
Yes I do understand the practical points on this: they're leg lengthening, they go with everything, you can wear them again and again etc. But they're also tired and more-than-a-little dullsville. If you can get away with an open toe, swap for a very simple strappy sandal, or try metallics, which (don't forget) are also a neutral so you'll get just as much bang for your buck. 

Match tones not colours
For your wedding ensemble to come together you don't need to pick one colour and obsessively match your shoes, bag, nails, jacket, child to it. Work with colours which are the same tone or type and you'll get a more relaxed and modern look. 

Context is everything
Is it a country wedding in a field or a sleek urban affair? I wore a bright blue belted jumpsuit to my friend's city wedding which would have looked pretty odd in the middle of the countryside. Also, don't feel under pressure to dress in 'wedding mode' - unless it's a particularly formal affair, these days it's fine to go against the grain and swap the classic dress and jacket for a trouser suit or skirt and top. 'Where are the rest of the Incredibles?' my friend Tom asked me when I turned up in the above jumpsuit. He was wearing a cravat. I rest my case. 

Coat dresses
Tempting I know. But my general rule of thumb is to avoid these if you're a) under 50 b) not a Middleton. 

Beware the Whistles pair-up 
Whistles is a victim of its own success here. Because you can always find something stylish and nice to wear to a wedding in Whistles, odds are that someone at said wedding will be in the same Whistles dress as you. If you know lots of the guests do a quick straw poll before to see what everyone's wearing. Or, to hell with it, go in the damn Whistles dress and make a joke of it. 

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