Wedding Attire for An English Wedding

My son is getting married in York England I need to know if it is required that I wear a hat? I have not decided on a dress yet the wedding is in late April at about 2:30 in the afternoon. One of the family of the brides and older Aunt mentioned she was looking for the perfect Hat which made me think that maybe I should be looking too?

Jill Curtis
Psychotherapist, Author
How to Get Married … Again (A Guide to Second Weddings)

Well, a hat is not ‘required’ but I think you will feel more comfortable with a hat as most of the guests – certainly family – will have gone to town with buying the perfect hat! The hat worn by mother of the bride (and groom) is really rather a feature. We love an excuse to dress up, and a wedding is the perfect setting.

Gena Conti, Owner, Designer, Milliner at Gena Conti Millinery

Dear Ming,

There is no law requiring ladies to wear a hat to an English wedding … It’s just customary that women will do so.

Wearing a hat, especially by the Bride and Groom’s mothers, is not only expected, respectful, distinguished and elegant, but is part of the bridal party’s overall beauty, unique styling, and “regal nobility for the day.”

Wearing hats to a wedding, especially and English wedding, is exciting fashion that is highly anticipated by all the guests.

If you are skittish wearing a hat, it may be because you are not accustomed to it, have a hard to fit head size or cannot locate an appropriate chapeau in retail stores. You may still have time to have a hat or stylish headpiece custom made for the big event. If I may be of assistance, please call on me.

How wonderful! You are one of the “Queen Mums” for a day. Place your crown on your head and enjoy every minute of it.

Congratulations, Mom!

english wedding hat

Donna, Wedding Queen

How does one deal with the hairstyle for the day when wearing a hat? I love hats but am always concerned I wil have “hat hair” when I remove it.

Gena Conti, Owner, Designer, Milliner at Gena Conti Millinery

Dear TWQadmin:
The answer is very simple.

A lady does not remove her hat. Your hat is an important part of your total ensemble. Although it is an “accessory” … so are your shoes … I would not remove them or my blouse, for that matter when I am out or attending an important event or social affair – like a wedding…. (big smile)

To avoid “hat hair” make certain your hat is sized properly. Not always an option in retail store, I know.

Sometimes it is better to have a hat made a wee bit larger than your actual size. I highly recommend this for “Summer Hats” especially. There is nothing like a custom hat … it will spoil you forever.

When the weather is very hot, a slightly loose fitting, light weight hat is your best bet for comfort and, should you want to remove your chapeau (Oh! my!) then your hair has better odds of “perking up” from under it.

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Winter fabrics and trim, although heavier by nature, are lush and exciting … But the same rules apply. Your hat should not weigh you down or be constrictive. A proper FIT is key!

In the winter, in colder climates, we often wear a hat for protection & warmth. If you are wearing a hat for that purpose only (for skiing, playing outdoors) then you’d most likely remove it… although yours truly finds that wearing a warm, functional hat does not mean “stocking hat” only. A warm functional winter hat can and should also be a “stylish” hat for every day. Here too, wear a hat a wee bit larger so as not to crunch your head and hair. Try a “cocktail style hat too for those special occasions.
Hope that helps.

My hat’s off to you for all you do!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Mother of the Groom,

The bottom line here is that you don’t have to wear a hat. There is no ‘rule’ concerning this. But, if you feel as if many of the family members will, it is probably a good idea that you do. Many of our etiquette rules are based on what is socially acceptable for that particular area, family, or ethnicity.

Best wishes,