‘Wedding season’ – or ‘Spring and Summer’, as I call it – is upon us, and with it the tremendous amount of both fun and sartorial stress that being a guest at someone else’s wedding involves.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel like I go back to square one when faced with the need to pull together a wedding ‘look’ – all the clothes, make-up, shoes, bags and hairstyling techniques I use every day suddenly appear irrelevant and I find myself desperately searching the shops for new, well, everything.
I have, however, got better at this in recent years, so I wanted to share some of my tips for finding a wedding outfit with minimum fuss and financial strain.
Scour your wardrobe (and don’t forget those of your friends and family)
Now, while I admit it’s nice to buy some new stuff from time to time, and to feel as though you’ve ‘made an effort’ when attending the wedding of a loved one, the first thing I do when I start organising my next wedding outfit is to check what I’ve already got.
I don’t attend events that involve a fancy outfit on the regular, so sometimes I can forget just what I have collecting dust at the back of the wardrobe. Make sure there’s nothing suitable you already own and love that you could wear, maybe with some different accessories if you find the idea of wearing exactly the same outfit to two events too much to bear. Also, ask friends and family if they have anything you can borrow. My sister-in-law did just that to me last year and looked fantastic in a pink number I had bought for a friend’s wedding a few years back.
Search the sales at some of the more expensive shops
As a general rule, more expensive shops tend to beat their cheaper rivals on cut and quality, and when it comes to a wedding outfit that you’ll be wearing all day and be heavily photographed in, I think that matters. With weddings, you normally have months of notice to prepare, so set yourself an early target to check out the sales at stores you might not normally shop in to see if anything suits. I have picked up some absolute bargains from Hobbs and Pied à Terre using this method. Scouring their sites this Spring, I would be keeping an eye on this number and also this one.
Having said that, for the wedding I attended a week ago, I managed to score this number for £20 from Tesco – you can still buy it online here.
Save on accessories
If you are the sort of person who wears heels a lot then this might not be the tip for you. However, as someone who wears a smart-heeled shoe approximately three times a year, they are not a good investment for me. Being 5’11”, I find a low-heeled court shoe suitable for most wedding outfits, and if purchased in a versatile colour they can be re-deployed for other events and even work. M&S is the holy grail for this type of shoe – you can pick up decent courts from as little as £18 and some really quite lovely ones for £45. I mean, come on, does anyone find it comfortable to wear super-high heels for a whole day and night?
The same goes for bags and jewellery as far as I am concerned. My top spot for buying gold (plated) earrings and necklaces is (again!) M&S – this set of studs for under £15 is perfect for those who like simple earrings.
Hair and beauty
Whatever the occasion (or lack thereof), if you can afford to pay someone else to do your hair and make-up for you, then I say do it. When it comes to weddings, it is a much better investment than any item of clothing as far as I am concerned – professionally done hair and make-up will look fantastic in all the photos and you won’t have to worry about touching up throughout the day.
If you can’t afford a wedding ‘do’, I say stick to the hairstyle you are best at. This might sound crazy if you have very well-behaved hair, but I don’t and so this is my tip. Depending on when and where the wedding is, also take into account the likelihood of precipitation and plan accordingly – I personally find an up do works best in the rain. If you are pretty skilled at styling your own hair, then I think this braid would look lovely for a wedding.
As for make-up, now that I have moved beyond a lick of mascara as the definition of ‘done up’, there are four steps I would add into my usual make-up mix to create a lasting and slightly more effortful look for a big day.
Secondly, add some eyeshadow if you don’t already use it. I was such an eyeshadow sceptic until recently, but I think it really does define the eyes and can be really easy to apply if you choose the right products. I have two recommendations for eyeshadow that should give you a sort-of-smoky eye in some lovely neutral and brown shades: get this creamy eyeshadow base in bronze for under £5 and then use this bargainous quad in a bronzy shade over the top.
Thirdly, add some powder – as with the aforementioned primer, this is going to extend the wear of your make-up and stop you looking shiny mid-proceedings.
And finally, throw on some lipstick – go on, it’s a special occasion! It doesn’t have to be something bold, especially not if you’ve smoked out your eyeshadow. I am really into this taupe shade at the minute when worn over this brilliant budget lip-liner.
What do you think of my tips for putting together a wedding outfit? Have I missed a trick somewhere? Let me know by leaving a comment below.