Wedding dressing dilemmas

Fantasty Wedding outfits

Tom Binns and Rosantica necklaces from Net-A-Porter

It’s that time of year when young people start getting married (are they insane?) and we are required to pull out all the stops, outfit wise.

Personally, I find nothing more stressful than pulling together a “dressed up” look. A usually confident shopper, I can quite easily go to pieces when faced with formal wear and end up trying too hard, often with disastrerous results.

Pulling off “occasion wear” if you are naturally happier in jeans and a t- shirt can be taxing. And finding an outfit that says – I’ve made a huge effort to scrub up and celebrate your special day, but I don’t look like auntie Edna on her way to church in Tunbridge Wells – is a challenge, to say the least.

So just how does one manage to get it right when dressing for a wedding, and (God forbid) how do you approach something as huge as being the mother of the bride?

Firstly it’s wise to set some budget restrictions. How much you spend should be in line with how important you are to the occasion.

Your 50th birthday – go for it, you want to stand out and feel great so it’s worth blowing the monthly Sainsburys budget on a dress – let them eat crackers.

Your daughters 18th, not so much, as everyone will be looking at the skinny, leggy teenagers wearing bandage dresses and no matter how good you look, you do not want to pose for a selfie with them.

A big night out with your college friends (who you have known for 30 years- how did that happen?) think Zara or vintage, as you will start the evening as grown ups drinking sophisticated cocktails and eating sushi, but inevitably end up in a dingy basement dancing to reggae with a can of Red Stripe – or is that just me?

And if you are the mother of the bride – go all out and spend the your whole monthly salary in one go if necessary, as this is your day and everyone will be looking at you. Plus if you don’t get it right, those pictures on the top of the tv (does anyone do that anymore?) will haunt you for the rest of your life and you will be lying on your death bed, muttering, “WHY did I wear a fascinator – why”.

Fantasy Wedding outfit 2

Lanvin, Victoria Beckham,Marni, Miu Miu and Theysken’s Theory

The next rule of thumb and probably the most important one, is to remember to be yourself. If you hate bright colours, then don’t chose your 25th wedding anniversary party to experiment with fluoro pink – if you never wear pattern, your husbands 60th might not be the perfect time to pull off leopard print.

Ditto heels, if your idea of footwear is usually Dr Martins or Birkenstocks, don’t wear anything over a mid height heel, no matter how much you want to be glamorous. I guarantee, you will end up walking like Dick Emery,or worse, dancing in bare feet at the end of the night – which is never a good look!

Think about occasion wear as a more dressed up version of your normal look. It’s great to spend money on statement jewellery, heels, or even the odd sequin, as long as when you see them, your heart skips a beat and you feel slightly breathless. Then you can be sure you have made the right choice and justify the cost – as every single time you wear the item again, you will feel special all over again.

Another good idea when faced with an important occasion is to make a mood board of the kind of look you are going for (Pinterest is great for this). Gather together examples of other people’s style you admire and items that you are thinking of buying. Over time you will build up a picture of the look you’re trying to achieve and when you go shopping you will more or less know what you want.

I’m going to two wedding parties next month and these images are my fantasy mood boards. I’m loving mid calf length anything at the moment, so will be looking for a dress similar to the Lanvin and Victoria Beckham beauties above, (think Cos does VB). And the addition of a mid height heel and a Marni necklace, will turn the outfit into a more dressed up version of my normal look.

The below images however, I am filing strictly under “when I win the lottery”. As the dress is from Chloe and the shoes are Mui Miu. Fantasy wedding outfit3 If you are about to be the mother of the bride and looking for an outfit, fashion brand Marisota want to hear from you, as they have just launched a Mother of the Bride survey.


  • steffi says:

    I’m actually thinking: “£840 for the crepe Marni dress is actually totally justifiable.”
    Seriously, that thought really did literally just go through my head. SCARY.
    Thank God I live in a small Swiss village far far away from a designer shopping opportunity.

  • Jane says:

    Whereas I live half an hour away from at least two shops that stock an extensive Marni range!!! *cuts up credit card*

  • Jane says:

    Steffi it would totally suit you BTW! Any weddings to go to? (not Jacks) X

  • Monix says:

    Great post Jane – this is my worst dressing dilemma! Some really good advice here. I either end up looking like the boss’ mistress or the mad art teacher. Have two god children weddings to go to this summer and am hyper ventilating as what to wear. Have found Liberty (thanks Amanda for that tip) a really good source ( love the Marni dress and I’m with Steffi in thinking it’s rather “good value”).

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  • olga says:

    The post highlights a common dilemma that many people face when dressing up for special occasions, particularly formal events like weddings. It’s a relatable situation for those who typically feel comfortable in casual attire but want to look their best at significant events. The advice given about setting budget restrictions based on the importance of the occasion makes sense. It acknowledges that different events may call for varying levels of dressing up.

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