The five golden rules of wearing a hat to a wedding

If you've a wedding or two (or three) coming up this year, Emma Hughes steps forward with advice for an essential of a lady's wardrobe: the hat.

Rule 1: You definitely do need to wear a hat

It’s a bit like a GCSE logic puzzle, this one. You should wear a hat whenever you can. One of the few places you can wear a hat without raising eyebrows is to a wedding. Thus it follows that you should always wear a hat to a wedding. QED.

Rule 2: The bigger the better

We’re talking here about proper hats, the ones big enough to pick up signals from outer space or double as manhole covers. Fascinators are different – a milquetoast compromise that barely registers a blip in the style stakes.

When it comes to creating a sense of occasion, which hats do better than any other accessory, size matters. Generally speaking, the bigger the brim, the better the overall effect: think of Bianca Jagger in the huge, louchely deconstructed one she wore to her own wedding to Mick Jagger in 1971.

wear a hat to a wedding


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Rule 3: Plan the purchase carefully

The question of whether you should or shouldn’t wear a hat having been settled, the only one remaining is which sort? The key is to set aside a lot of time to try different ones on over several days; this isn’t a decision you should rush.

Take the outfit you’re planning to wear or, at the very least, a photograph of yourself in it. Colourwise, don’t worry about finding an exact match – in fact, a deliberate clash can be more elegant.

Rule 4: Think about the back as much as the front

wearing a hat to a wedding

Once you’ve narrowed it down, think about how your choice looks from all angles. With reportage having largely taken the place of posed wedding photography, the back of your hat is as likely to be snapped as the front.

Rule 5: Learn the art of hat kissing

Hats are magnetic – but, of course, this presents its own difficulties. ‘It is notoriously difficult to socially kiss while wearing a wide-brimmed hat,’ warns Debrett’s.

The problem, fortunately, isn’t insurmountable. ‘There is a knack to tilting the head at a suitable angle, but two ladies both in wide-brimmed hats should avoid such an “intimate greeting”.’

Bear all that in mind and the day will be positively brimming with possibility.