Appropriate wedding millinery for the bridal party and guests

Wedding Millinery

So you have a pending wedding in the family? It may be yours, your daughter's, your son's, your brother's, your sister's or even a friend's? Wearing a hat to a wedding is always a question of will we or wont we?

It is tradition that the mothers of both the bride and groom are, more or less, expected to wear hats. This can set the trend for the wedding guest's to follow suit, but the guests can choose to wear wedding millinery even if the mothers have chosen not to.

Personally, I never go to a wedding without a hat of some sort. I consider it a mark of respect, and I put myself in the view of the bridal families, and regard the attire worn by the guests as showing the esteem at which these families are regarded by that guest.

I may be wrong, but if it were my family wedding and the guests rocked up in jeans and a T-shirt or a inappropriate dress or one that had passed it's 'used by' date, I would be extremely insulted.

Having said that, I don't mean to sound snobbish, and I certainly don't expect the guests to spend a fortune on the clothes they wear, but they should be dressed appropriately. So if somebody has taken the trouble to add head wear to that scenario, I would believe that they would have a high regard for the bridal families and feel privileged to have gained an invitation to attend the wedding celebration.

In Australia, hats have been somewhat forgotten for some years but recently the trend has certainly turned and a majority of mothers of the bride and groom choose to wear some head dress. This could be a small headpiece or a full blown hat. Even more recently, wedding millinery has returned as a choice for the wedding guests as well.

I love hats, and love wearing them, and enjoy seeing others enjoy them too, so my opinion could be somewhat bias. But, looking in on a wedding function, it is so nice to see an array of millinery confection worn by the guests.

I have heard people say that you shouldn't "outshine" the bride when it comes to choosing what you wear. I believe that unless you choose to dress as a bride, in white or cream, and a gown similar to a bride, there is no way that you can dull the radiance of a bride.

* Wedding Millinery starts with the bride. Her wedding veil, along with her headpiece, has been a tradition for centuries. The veil is usually worn over the face as she enters the ceremony venue, and turned back to reveal the face after the wedding vows.

This was, in days gone by, a symbol of her virginity but today, as times have changed the outlook on relationships prior to marriage, that seems to have gone out the window in the majority of cases. None the less, the practice has continued and the bride who do choose to wear a veil, usually enters the wedding ceremony venue with her face covered with her veil.

Most brides who choose not to add a veil, often wear some sort of wedding millinery, which could be a small headpiece, a jewelled comb, or a large or small hat and some include a small veil or netting to drape just over the face.

Hats, such as the pillbox, the top hat and the picture hat has been a recent favourite, especially when staging a garden or beach wedding, which is sensible with our summer climate conditions in Australia.

The Mother of the Bride and Groom needs to give some thought to the hat she chooses to wear. It needs to be comfortable so that it is wearable for the length of the wedding ceremony as well as the reception.

If the reception runs into the evening, a cocktail style may be more suitable. It is etiquette to leave the hat on for the entire event. However, as a Milliner, I have often been requested to supply two pieces of wedding millinery, a hat for the ceremony and a smaller head piece for the reception.

When choosing the style of hat, the mother would need to consider the brim of the hat, as she will be greeting guests with kisses and she doesn't want to have her hat dislodged every time it happens. I suggest one side of the brim should be upturned or a hat small enough to avoid hanging too far over the face.

The guest has a free range, although the time and place of the wedding often determines what style of hat could be worn. Outdoor weddings lend themselves to a brimmed hat, and an evening wedding requires a more cocktail style.

A formal event would necessitate a different style of hat to that which is worn to a casual event. Most wedding invitations indicate the dress code, so it should be easy to assess what wedding millinery you may wear.