It’s so lovely when a heavy white envelope lands on your doormat containing an invitation to a wedding. Summer months usually have one or two of these events marked on the calendar, but the cost of going can get rather expensive. Hen do’s, hotels, gifts - and that’s all before you’ve bought something to wear. So, how can you look great, feel comfortable and save money on your outfit?
Firstly, it’s a good idea to be very clear on what type of event you’re going to before you think about what to wear. Whose wedding is it? You may want to be more formal if you have a starring role, such as the bride’s sister, but if it’s your second cousins wedding, you might not need to think so formally.
Secondly, what is the expectation? What kind of wedding will it be? If your second cousin happens to be a member of the royal family, then chances are it’s going to be a rather grander affair. Weddings and themes vary so much these days that it’s really important to find out what kind of event is planned - you don’t want to go and invest in a pair of Jimmy Choo’s only to find you’re knee deep in cow dung at a hog roast and hay bale kind of wedding.
Thirdly, how much will you be required to do? Is it an all day event, or just an evening? Is there a long walk from the church to the reception? Staying comfortable all day is pretty important - and if it’s going to be a very long day, you might want to take a second, more comfortable pair of shoes for the evening.
Fourthly, what is the weather likely to be like? I know this is an almost impossible question, but big hats are out if the wind is up, and that little summer dress might not look so lovely if you’re shivering with cold. Best thing to do as we live in the UK is to plan for all eventualities - so make sure your handbag will fit a small umbrella in it!
Now, once you’ve got an idea of what kind of event you’re going to, then you can plan an outfit. Have you got something already in your wardrobe that you can jazz up with a new necklace or a great fascinator? If not, it might be time to buy something new. My advice for occasions is this; unless it’s some uber posh fashion affair where you are literally judged on every item you’re wearing; which in most cases it probably won’t be, then always dress one level down than you think you should. What I mean is, find a dress that is wearable again. Why blow a couple of hundred pounds or more on an outfit that you only wear once? That money is far better spent on the things you wear every day like your underwear, or your jeans.
You might want to think about hiring, or explore some of the charity shop’s offerings. Dress agencies like ours are also a great place to hunt for wedding outfits, as people bring us their past costly purchases to sell on - and usually it’s only been worn once before. That way, you might just find the best of both worlds - a great outfit at a bargain price.
If you know your colours and your body shape then this will also save you money - you’ll be far more likely to buy something that already goes with what you own at home (shoes, hat, jacket etc). Also, what you’re buying will be something that is the perfect colour and shape on you - so you’ll be far more likely to wear it again.
A dress is a great solution, instantly jazzy enough, and your outfit is almost completely sorted in one go. Maxi dresses work well for weddings, and usually mean you’ll have another occasion to wear them again (plus you don’t need to worry about spray tanning your legs or wearing tights).Can you find a dress to match shoes you already own? That will save you some money and if you’ve worn them before they’re likely to be more comfortable. You can then add to the dress either a jacket, a cardigan, a shrug or a pashmina - depending on the event and the weather. Or even mix and match - put it with a jacket for the church and reception, but take a pashmina for later for the less formal evening.
So, to find a wedding outfit without having to take out a second mortgage firstly be very clear on the type of event you’re going to. Then, have a good rummage in your wardrobe and see what you already have that you can use. If you need to buy something new, have a look at your local charity shops and dress agencies before hitting the high street - or even go and raid a friends wardrobe. Buy something that you’re likely to wear again, and make sure your outfit is comfortable enough to see you through whatever the event throws at you. Then, knowing you haven’t spent a small fortune on a once only outfit, you can go to your wedding with the best thing to wear - a smile!