At most traditional English weddings, ladies are encouraged to wear hats (for the mother of the bride, it tends to be expected). And it’s pretty fun, lets be fair – aside from going to the races and attending garden parties, where else do you get to wear one? But if you’ve never worn a hat or fascinator before, it can be quite a daunting prospect. However, there are plenty of stylish options to ensure you attract the right kind of attention – you might want to make a head-turning entrance à la Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral or you may just want to wear something chic and understated to give your outfit a final finishing touch. (P.S. Don’t forget to remove your hat when it’s time to sit down for the main reception dinner!)
It can all depend on whether you’re a day or evening guest, or whether you’re a member of the bridal party. For instance, if the bride’s parents are hosting, noone’s hat should upstage the mother of the bride (same goes if it’s the groom’s parents). And if you happen to be the mother of the bride or groom, make sure you choose a hat that doesn’t completely obscure you like the cap of a mushroom – remember, you’ll want to be visible in all the photos! Plus as ‘the host’ you’ll spend most of the day receiving and talking to guests, so you don’t want to keep craning your neck throughout the day.
If you’re a day guest and it’s a smart church wedding, a fascinator or pill box hat (a small hat with no brim) are good options – or you can opt for something a bit more adventurous and wide-brimmed, as long as it still fits the ‘smart’ category. But if it’s a relaxed casual vibe, e.g. a countryside wedding outdoors, you can go for something more boho like a floppy straw hat. While evening guests can dial up the glamour; a sparkly headband or fascinator should cut a striking figure on the dance floor!
With that in mind, we’ve picked some stunning designs to give you some inspiration on your next hat shopping expedition. Scroll down to see our favourites …
Headband with Statement Bow
Perfect for a touch of understated chic (and ideal if you’re wearing your hair loose and wavy). From a selection at The British Heart Foundation.
Pink Fascinator by Julien Macdonald
If you’re after a hat that says “look at me” – look no further. £52.50 at Debenhams.
Cocktail Hat With Rose
A wedding hat can be a great excuse to invest in a treasured keepsake to pass down the generations. £1450 at Jane Taylor.
A splash of colour is a great way to liven up a more minimalist outfit. £38 at Johnny Loves Rosie
Upturned Brim Hat
If traditional brightly coloured wedding hats aren’t your thing, opt for something more neutral yet just as impactful. From a selection at Lock & Co.
Straw Boater With Pompom
Channel some Edwardian chic with your wedding ensemble. “Photographs & Souvenirs” £495 at Lock & Co.
Red Velvet Crown Headband With Knot
Be that lady in red. Make sure you have a lipstick to match. £140 at Beverley Edmondson
Effortlessly elegant and perfect for a summer wedding. From a selection at The British Heart Foundation.
Sequinned Beanie Hat
Re-live the last days of the disco. From a selection at Debenhams.
Vintage Petals Headpiece
If you’re a fan of old-school 1920s glamour, you’ll love this style. £94 glitzysecrets.com
Boho never looked so chic. Wear this with your hair loose, 70s-style. ‘Hera’ £200 at Grace Loves Lace
Silk Bow Fascinator
This jazzy mix of silk and netting makes a perfect addition to an evening outfit. From a selection at Jane Taylor.
Boater Hat With Bow
Remember the gorgeous hat Julia Roberts wears to the races in Pretty Woman? This is the next best thing. ‘Adrienne by Prudence’ £365 at Lock & Co.
Black Statement Feather Headband
Effortlessly chic yet head-turning for all the right reasons. £60 at Debenhams (from the Star by Julien Macdonald collection).
Whether you’re a guest or a bride – check out these dazzling hair accessories, perfect for the alter.