Dos and Don'ts of British Elite Wedding Style, According to Royals

These are the unofficial rules when it comes to attending a royal wedding

By Diana Nguyen Oct 08, 2018 12:00 PMTags
ESC: Do's and Dont's, Kate Middleton, Top Photo/ThumbSamir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

What does one wear to a British wedding? More importantly, what does one wear to high-society nuptials with royals in attendance? Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's wedding is happening on Friday and the guests are surely finalizing their outfits for the big day, a hard task given the somewhat strict dress code when it comes to royal fetes. 

There is certain etiquette when it comes to dressing for such a traditional affair; just look at how Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's May wedding was sartorially examined, turning into one of the biggest fashion events of the year. And while the former Suits actress is not a royal, she is  helping to modernize the monarchy and some of the guests at her big day proved that. 

So Eugenie (who is the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson) and her Casamigos ambassador beau's wedding will surely not be as major of a public event as Megan and Marry or the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding to Prince William, there will be some dos and don'ts that the couple's guests should abide by if they don't want to earn side-eye from Queen Elizabeth during their Oct. 12 nuptials. 


Meghan Markle's Best Looks

For style inspiration, one must only look to the outfits current royals and British socialites have worn to other high-profile, British nuptials. Going through their wedding wardrobe gives us a style guide of what you should do…instead of the not-so-stellar things we've seen other VIPs wear. Keep scrolling for the dos and don'ts of British wedding attire, according to the royal family.

Don’t wear all white or black

It's a classic etiquette rule that spans multiple cultures. You don't want to wear white to upstage the bride, and you don't want to wear black to mourn such a happy occasion. Lady Sarah Chatto didn't get the memo at Zara Phillips' wedding.

Do wear off-white

Want to be a rule-breaker? Wear an off-white color. Mix in colorful or even black accessories and you're neither stealing the show nor mourning a loss.

Don’t let your hat take over

If you're at a fancy, British wedding, you're almost always expected to wear a fashionable, sometimes over-the-top hat. Don't let the hat overcome your look though. Katherine Kelly looks perfectly put together at Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall's wedding, but the hat is a little extra.

Do wear a proper fascinator

When in doubt, a manageable fascinator is all you need—and you'll actually be able to see what's going on.

Don’t wear too many colors

While her colorful frock was no doubt lovely, Cressida Bonas was a bit distracting and seemed more suitable for a less formal event than her ex-boyfriend Prince Harry's wedding.

Do play with prints

While she kept the silhouette on-trend for English nuptials, Pippa gave us a delicate but unexpected print that paired perfectly with the blush pleats. 

Don’t be too matchy-matchy

It's a very common trend among high society to wear head to toe of just one color. While the Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden looks lovely, the constant hue washes her out.

Do go monochrome

Like we said, the monochrome thing is very popular at British weddings. However, style veterans like the queen like to mix things up with different textures in like colors. 

Don’t outshine royalty

Listen: There's an apparent hierarchy across the pond. When Queen Elizabeth wears a pastel yellow, you bet Camilia, Duchess of Cornwall is going to wear a more muted pastel. Typically, high-society stylists will ask brands or designers if similar looks were bought from others for the same event.

Do whatever you want

When it's your wedding, do whatever the heck you want. Wear a Beyoncé-worthy satin coat to shine a little brighter than Kate Middleton if you have to!

Don’t show too much skin

We say embrace your sexy, but at traditional British nuptials, dressing conservatively is typically the default, which means hemlines are usually never higher than a few inches above the knee and low necklines are almost never seen.

Do show off your best assets

If you got it, flaunt it. Find a silhouette that's both appropriate for the occasion but will get people noticing, like how Pippa caught everyone's attention at Kate's wedding with a super-toned backside.

Watch: Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding: By the Numbers

So even though we aren't actually attending Eugenie and Jack's nuptials, at least we now have unofficial fashion guide should we ever  find ourselves invited the next big British soiree. Or, you know, we want to crash a wedding.