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Holly's Guide to Hat-iquette

What are the dos and don’ts of wearing a hat to a wedding.  I’ve put together a brief guide to help guests navigate the etiquette behind wearing a hat or headpiece to someone’s celebration and all of the need-to-knows so that you’re turning heads for the right reasons and not because you broke the first rule of fashion and good form.  Read on for my five top rules…

Rule One:  Do not wear your wedding headpiece to a wedding

The obvious rule to follow is that no matter how much you loved your own wedding headpiece and choose to wear it around your house in your spare time, it should not make an appearance at another wedding, just incase the bride ends up having somehting similar.  Unless it is extremely understated there is no wedding at which it will probably be suitable for you to wear.  Especially since it was the perfect piece for your wedding day, not somebody else’s.

Rule Two: Birdcage veils are still veils

In keeping with rule number one, a headpiece with a white or ivory birdcage veil attached is still a veil and it’s bad form to wear a veil to someone else’s wedding. Whilst it’s OK to have some veiling attached to your headpiece or over one eye, once it extends over nose, it can be considered a bit detracting from the actual bride herself.  After all, she may turn up wearing a birdcage veil also and then it’s all a little bit awkward.

Rule Three: How big is too big?

This is a common concern, especially if it’s the Mother of the Groom who wants to wear a big hat but is concerned about upstaging or “out-doing” the Mother of the Bride (who traditionally wore the bigger hat in the event of the brides parents hosting the wedding).  My honest advice in this situation is to have an open conversation about it.  Each couple (and each Mother of the Bride) is different.  Perhaps the bride’s mother isn’t really into hats or is planning to wear something petite and won’t mind what the Mother of the Groom is wearing.  Tradition made it so much about size, modern day headpieces are more about personal style and that might mean something less flamboyant but just as fabulous.  A headpiece or hat doesn’t have to be big to be brilliant, it’s all in the detail; the colour, the design and how the personality is brought through of the person wearing it.

Rule Four: Getting it White

Can you wear a white hat to a wedding?  Honestly? I don’t advise it if it's the only colour.  But again, it’s one of those where it’s worth having a word with the bride and explaining the situation.  Just as you wouldn’t wear a white gown to a wedding, an all white headpiece is a bit of a faux pas so try adding a splash of colour with it.  If you fancy something all pale perhaps look at fashioning pastel pink, cream, champagne or even a stylish metallic number.

 Rule Five: When is it time for hats off?

Another question I’m asked often is how long to keep your hat on for?  Formally, it’s until the Mother of the Bride decides to take her hat off (which is usually after the meal) but again, if she is enjoying wearing her hat, she may keep it on through the night and even when on the dance floor.  When it comes to wearing a hat indoors, this is perfectly acceptable at a wedding (and it’s only the chaps who will be expected to remove their hats at the church or when speaking to said Mother of the Bride).  The truth of the matter is that these days, people take their hat off when they are comfortable but it seems a shame to take it off at the first opportunity, how often do you get to wear a hat, after all?  I often get asked to make mini versions of the hat so that guests can clip a flower in their hair or something to replace their hat for when it’s removed.  I always make sure my hats are really comfortable and secure so pinching behind the ears or discomfort are never an issue, it will feel like you’ve never been without it.

So there you have my top tips for all things hat-related when attending a wedding day.  Are you wearing a hat to a wedding this season?  Do you have any questions about how to wear yours or the dos and don’ts of having the right amount of drama but also the right amount of decorum?  Get in touch and ask me your questions, I would love to make more people feel relaxed about wearing headpieces to a wedding.  After all, when you get the right headpiece for you, you’ll absolutely know!