So you’ve been invited to a wedding…

Posted on: 5th September, 2016

Category: Image

Contributor: Louise O'Dwyer

A practical and fun relationship show ‘Then Comes Marriage’ airing on RTÉ2 this autumn offers a unique opportunity for couples thinking of taking the plunge to gain valuable insight into their relationship.

Under the guidance of leading relationship experts, psychoanalytic psychotherapist Dr. Ray O’Neill and psychologist Allison Keating, three couples have the chance to prepare for their future life together on the ultimate relationship skills crash course, which tackles everything from personal finances to family planning. Ray speaks to Mary O’Brien.

The invite has arrived so you know that it is style countdown time. Believe it or not, anything might go regarding a lot of situations these days but there a still a few simple rules when it comes to dressing as a wedding guest.

If there is going to be a white dress at a wedding… then it should only be on the bride, actually champagne and ivory fall into that category too. While not every bride wears white now, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Bottom line, unless the bride specifically asks people to wear white, it’s a big no-no, so save that gorgeous white or ivory dress for another occasion.

There will always be “that one” who shows too much skin or reveals too much cleavage. Proper etiquette demands that only the bride should steal the show; all eyes should be on her, so no matter how tanned, toned or great your legs or cleavage look, save it for another day. That said; it is very definitely ok to accentuate your favourite asset. Your outfit can have one sexy element – like a low back or a short hemline, a cut-out or a body con snug fit – but no more than one… that’s what you call “tasteful dressing”! Going to a wedding is very different from going to a club, yes there might be a disco at the end of the day but there will be a hell of a lot more going on before you hit the dance floor.

Always study the invitation, look for clues like semi-formal, beach-chic or black tie. If the ceremony is in a church then you will need a pashmina or at least something to cover the fact that your dress is backless. The people that will be sitting behind you, whether they know you or not, will be sitting there for quite a while. Do you really want to be referred to as the “girl with the backless dress” for the rest of the day?

If you are unlucky enough to choose a dress that is exactly the same shade as the bridesmaids, there are a few things that you can do to separate yourself from the bridal party; add a belt, a wacky clip-on flower, unusual colour shoes or a cropped jacket. For those of you who always choose prints, then you will always be safe. This is one of the things that cannot be helped, so if you do show up in the same colour, just know that you have great taste – same as the bride!

Obviously there will be a lot of photos taken, whether it is the wedding photographer or other guests on their phone, so if you feel a bit uncomfortable, or under-dressed, standing at home in front of your mirror, think long and hard about how you would feel being photographed in the dress – a photo lasts!

If you are a certain age, then you might end up having three or four more weddings in any one season. Weddings in succession can be costly, especially if every event requires a different outfit because it is the same group of friends. A great way to avoid breaking the bank is to cleverly buy a couple of versatile dresses that are subtle enough to look different with different accessories. Statement accessories are a fantastic way to update any look, especially if you incorporate some of the latest trends.

I really do think that every bride should make sure that there is communication about colours between the mother-of-the-bride and the mother-of-the-groom. Neither wants to look the same as the other and this can most definitely be avoided. Also it is important that their choice of colours will complement, not clash with, whatever shade the bridesmaids will be wearing. Good communication is an absolute must.

Winter weddings are the perfect opportunity to wear a luxurious faux-fur stole. You will look glamourous, on-trend and most importantly, you will be warm. Summer weddings can require a bit of a sun-kissed look so get your tan RIGHT and if you can’t do it yourself, pay a professional – you don’t need to be mahogany, a light glow is more than enough. That said, pale white skin can look amazing when complemented with the right colours, then all the tan pressure is off. Obviously we do not live in the tropics, so some summer weddings could easily be mistaken with a winter wedding; downpours, wind or dull grey skies can really change how you look and feel in a skimpy little dress. Always have a back-up plan like a sheer coat, jacket etc because it is all about feeling comfortable!

While make-up artists can create an amazing look, don’t decide on the morning that you are a make-up artist if you clearly are not. Go with a more dramatic look than you would normally wear on a day-to-day basis but don’t try a new magazine look unless you have practiced and made perfect.

Jewellery can be key to a great look; a more subtle dress demands dramatic jewellery, so wear it and wear it well. Patterned dresses need minimal jewels… beware of that mistake or you could end up looking a bit disjointed. Heels must be wearable, they need to do more than just look good, so find your ‘walk-able’ height and strut your stuff with your head held high.

Be confident…be yourself…and for God’s sake when someone pays you a compliment, say ‘thank you’ – please don’t launch into a story about whom the dress is borrowed from or how cheap it was. It is proper etiquette to say “thanks” and leave it at that, you could add that “it is very comfortable’. Believe it or not, because you look good in the dress and carry it off confidently is the reason why someone will say how well you look. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS. FEEL THE COMPLIMENT!

Always remember what an honour it is to be invited to a day that celebrates love. You do know that love makes the world go round – so soak up that wonderful romantic experience and let it into your heart.


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