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White weddings in the movies are always so romantic aren’t they? Snowflakes softly falling on the twinkly eyed lovebirds while Bing Crosby or whoever sings something poignant close by. Even Phoebe from Friends managed to have a sexy snowy wedding. I’d have settled for a white Christmas but no, we had to have snow in March, when wedding season begins. A wedding is going to happen whether you are ready or not. It doesn’t matter how much more up for a matrimonial celebration you’d be if it was warmer /you were a bit tanned / in a relationship, that wedding is in the calendar and as much as you might like to, you probably can’t go in your balaclava and moon boots.
I love a wedding but it has come as something of a surprise to me that having started on the merry-go-round of weddings back in 1999 when my friend Clare was the first of my friends to get hitched, twenty years on and we’re still not done with the first round.*
Back in 1999 I bought myself a skirt from Urban Outfitters in New York and paired it with a top from Karen Millen and I wore it to no less than seven weddings. It was an excellent outfit (despite the need for a strapless bra) and although I broke the heel off my shoe on the dance floor on its first outing, I managed to talk the shop I bought them from into replacing them. All seven weddings were different sets of friends or family so I really got my money’s worth, not to mention saving a lot of angst.
However, nineteen years on and next week we are off to witness our old friend (at this stage in the game one whole side of this particular congregation will be over 40) marry his lovely bride and while I am tempted to resurrect the 1999 outfit (it happens to be this season’s lilac), it seems too early for pastels and far too cold for bare skin.
So what to wear? I style a lot of women going to weddings at this time of year but because of the extreme nature of our ‘spring’ weather, it is causing more problems than usual. The shops are full of pink, mint and the afore-mentioned lilac and dresses are largely short and sleeveless. Currently I am wearing two pairs of socks, a vest, heat tech top, a jumper over tracksuit bottoms and Uggs and I am in my own home. The thought of putting on a floaty piece of silk with a pair of sheer tights and heels makes me shiver. And can you imagine a fascinator in this howling wind? Aren’t we still being advised not to do any non-essential dressing up? Or is that travel?
I am advising clients to do as they would on a normal day which is to layer up. Luckily there are plenty of very elegant pieces around which lend themselves perfectly to this – you won’t even need to resort to a pashmina – and if you have to put your dressy shoes in a bag and change out of your wellies behind a tree, then so be it.
The timing of the four main fashion weeks showing the trends for next winter (by which time we’ll have worn our summer wardrobes for oh, at least a
fortnight), plays straight into the winter wedding hand. Keep your spring stuff for when it actually feels like spring and add a bit of autumn winter 2018/19 style hot off the runway. Statement coats, interestingly coloured trouser suits and long sleeved, long length dresses are very much on trend and will be sticking around until well into next year so if you buy now you don’t need to worry about only wearing it once.
You’re probably better off worrying about clashing or worse, matching the bridesmaids. I’ve dressed a fair few bridesmaids already this year and I will warn you that they are wearing a lot of Monsoon and Coast, pink mostly, so bear that in mind. Try your local independent boutique where they are far more likely to sell only one or two of each size and may even make a note of who is wearing what to each event (yes, lovely boutique owners really are that thoughtful!) to avoid doubling up. Or find a gem in TK Maxx which is reduced from £1200 to £150 because no-one but you can see its potential, so what if it needs to be taken up or a button added?
Perhaps we should all take a leaf out of the bride’s handbook and make a decision about our outfit well in advance, hope we’ll still like it on the actual day and just hope nobody else turns up in the same thing.
I once went to a wedding where the bride was unknown to many of us before the big day. Into the chapel she walked looking resplendent and gorgeous in a daringly low cut white knee length dress and headdress. She was composed and smiling and took her seat in the front row. She was in fact the mother of the bride, the bride herself was a little more low key and didn’t seem to mind at all about her scene stealing mum.
Anyway, the temperatures look a little more sensible in London next week so hopefully we won’t all freeze to death at the wedding. Now I wonder if I can still fit into that Urban Outfitters skirt…
*That there have been no second marriages so far is in itself amazing isn’t it?