About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Monday 26 March 2012

What to Wear to a Wedding

What you wear to a wedding depends on a lot of different variables.  If you aren't the bride then a big whoomfy white dress and veil looks a bit attention-seeking.  Many couples issue guidelines about dress.  They might, for example, stipulate morning suits for gentlemen.  If they are complete control freaks they will even tell you which colour waistcoat they want you to wear, and how much it will cost to hire it from Moss Bros.  Morning suit hire is more than I feel inclined to shell out for a present, so my view is they'll get one or the other.  An entire reception full of blokes in matching morning suits, but no towels or toasters.

Usually the couple are a bit more relaxed.  Most men will wear a lounge suit to a wedding.  No problemo, they think.  I have a suit in the wardrobe which I wore to be Dave's best man 5 years ago.  Still, a wise man will try the suit on a good week before the wedding.  And a very wise man will try it on even if someone says to him 'Aren't you going to try that suit on, darling?'  Because it's a well-known fact that suits can shrink if left hanging too long in a wardrobe.

This kind of masculine wardrobe fiasco is a mere airy nothing compared to the horrors faced by most women as a wedding approaches.  This brings me back to those variables I mentioned earlier.  What you wear depends  not least on how close you are to the happy couple.  If you are the mother of the groom you will approach the whole outfit question in a very different frame of mind from an old college friend.  Sisters of the bride may well end up being a bridesmaid, or Bag of Honour, as it was called in my family.  In this case you will not be able to choose your dress at all.  The best you can hope for is to head off anything disastrously unflattering.

Other variables are more subtle.  Is there going to be an ex-boyfriend there, who needs to be taught what an utter loser he is for no longer going out with you (even if you ditched him)?  Will the wedding be full of people you went to school with (NB start diet 4months in advance)?  Or are you only being invited because you are the vicar's wife (in which case no significant expenditure or effort is called for and you'll be on the  same table as the children and mad aunts)?

Then there's the hat issue to decide.  I used to adore wearing hats before they became de rigeur.  These days I seldom bother, unless I can be sure my hat is bigger than everyone else's put together and all will drop to their knees at my sheer millinery awesomeness.  Plus hats squash my hair.

But here's an oddity about wedding clothes which I've noticed: the no matchy-matchy rule is suspended.  Colour co-ordination is permitted at weddings, indeed, it is positively encouraged.  If you wish to wear salmon pink everything from fascinator to sling-backs, you may do so with impunity.  This is why I allowed myself to wear white trousers, black-and-white patterned top, black-and-white necklace, pink earrings, pink pashmina and pink shoes to a wedding last Saturday.  And I'm not ashamed to say it felt good.


  1. Found my dream bridal gown last week and the following day the UK arm of the company closed down and ceased to trade. Hope that's not a bad omen. My future spouse is very resistent to any kind of sartorial matching. I don't think we even have a "theme"!

  2. Annette,
    Does that mean the theme is "eclectic"

  3. In my (rather snobby) opinion, morning suits should only be worn by those who already possess them.

    I was invited to a wedding once (!) and didn't make much of an effort clothes-wise...and found I was seated at table no 3 with a whole group of the groom's mates from Uni, plus the bride's (catholic) parish priest from Ireland...I had a whale of a time!
    (I remember dancing barefooted with a whole group of people outside the venue to the accompaniment of a fiddle and bodhran at about 1.30 in the morning...and if I hadn't been driving I could have been very merry too!)

    A great day.

  4. I'm just wondering if your new addendum to the matchy-matchy rule stretches to encompass being the godparent at a baptism? As a vicar's wife, I make it my general rule to attend church in jeans. However, today at a different church (high on a hill in Walsall, you will know it!) I found myself in matchy-matchy clothes to be godparent (pink, purple and white patterned dress, pink cardigan and pink shoes (and funnily enough, I'm not a huge fan of pink!) Was this a no-no?!

  5. I'm just wondering if your matchy-matchy wedding rule stretches to being godparent at a baptism? I ask this because as a vicar's wife, I make it my business to go to church usually in jeans but today found myself at a different church (high on a hill in Walsall, you will know it!) being godparent wearing a very matchy-matchy pink, purple and white patterned dress, pink cardigan and pink shoes (and I'm no great fan of pink) Was this a no-no?

    1. Oh look, refused and disappeared comment has now appeared!

  6. Sorry you were having trouble with the comments there, Anonymous. Let's blame it on Blogger. I suspect you are right and that godparent = mother of the groom and you can match your outfit to within an inch of its life.