Some guests may be well versed in festival attire, but weddings are of course gatherings of different ages and people from all walks of life, so we thought some guidance was in order. Basically, the invite may say ‘festival glamour’ but if you’ve never been to a festival before you might be in trouble.
You’ve arranged the time off work, hen and stag parties are done, you’ve booked the hotel, arranged babysitters, contributed to the wedding fund and panicked about which of your ex’s might be there… but have you planned your outfit? There’s SO much to think about as a wedding guest! And you might have multiple weddings in one year. We feel for you.
Festival weddings – There’s a fine line between looking overdressed and too casual. Make sure you get it right.
Don’t be fooled into thinking there’s just one ‘look’ for outdoor weddings. This is where you need to scrutinise the invitation and look carefully at the wording the couple have used to indicate dress code. An outdoor wedding could be quite ‘country’, think hay bales, bake-off style cake tables, bouncy castles… village fete if you will. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, an outdoor wedding could be Ibiza festival vibes i.e. no kids, cool DJs, stylish outdoor lounges. Happily for us bell tents go equally well at both but you wouldn’t want to turn up to a village fete affair in your hot pants and sparkly boob tube, and likewise, you wouldn’t want to turn up to a Coachella-esque affair in a prim floral knee-length.
Linen, while nice for a garden party, doesn’t really work in a field, you’ll get crumpled and dirty and you won’t be comfortable. Think colourful, bold patterns for a festival-style wedding, rather than tailoring.
If you know the couple well the likelihood is, you’ll know what vibe they’re going for and what they’ve got planned. However, if you’re a plus one you might not know them at all, so see what you can find out to ensure you dress appropriately.
Actual festivals vs festival weddings
What would you wear to an actual festival? Denim shorts? Harem pants? I’m trying to point out that you might not wear what you’d wear to a festival to an outdoor wedding, but you can use it as a guide. In my opinion, and it will depend on your style, think ‘boho’ and you can’t go far wrong. Hippy-style floaty dresses with layered jewellery and ankle boots, or a maxi dress in a colourful bold print.
It’s a good idea to avoid white, it can look pretty cool in the sun, especially for Ibiza-esque vibes but you don’t want to be mistaken for the bride and you’ll probably end up rather dirty!
Festivals and festival-style weddings are an opportunity to defy conventions and let your flamboyant persona shine through, so perhaps you want to go all out with headdresses/all the glitter… i.e. something you wouldn’t wear on the school run!
Stand on ceremony
At outdoor weddings, there’s likely to be a lot of standing up. The meal may be a casual affair, there may be some queuing for food and drink, the ceremony seating might be hay bales and you may even be sitting on logs around a campfire in the evening… so comfort is key! Pssst if you’ve got a bell tent, you can head off for a nap during the day!
Obviously you don’t want to be wearing stilettos in a field, or anything too formal. As I mentioned above, I think ankle boots work well with festival-style outfits. Cowboy boots too. Although, if it’s mega hot, you probably won’t want to be sticking your feet into boots. I say go barefoot! Or invest in, or make yourself (with the help of a handy YouTube tutorial), a pair of barefoot sandals. A great way to feel grounded and at one with nature.
We suggested sandals in our recent post about festival bridalwear, we highly recommend checking it out. The sandals we’ve linked to work for guests as well as brides… as well as everyday life!
Flip flops are an obvious choice for an outdoor wedding, but you’ll want to leave your worn Havaianas at home and maybe invest in a twinkly jewelled pair.
Wellies may be necessary depending on the location and weather, so you might need to consider how your outfit’s going to look with rubber! Or perhaps you don’t even care and are happy to stick on your grubby Hunters. Wellies and floral dresses work well for the ‘country’ vibe mentioned earlier, and wellies and shorts/short dresses look good for a more hedonistic, Glastonbury feel.
At an outdoor wedding it’s likely you’ll need all sorts of bits and bobs (if you’re staying in a bell tent of course you’ll have a home for all your paraphernalia). You’ll probably want sun cream, sunglasses, hay fever tablets, bits for the kids etc etc. So how about making a big statement straw bag or wicker basket part of your outfit?
We love an oversized straw hat too – great for protecting your skin from the sun, super chic and an opportunity to make a bit of a statement. We also love Belles and Whistles headpieces, flowers in your hair at festival-style weddings is a must in our book.
Earrings – tassels all the way, check out Supermoon London on Etsy.
If you need a bit of sparkle to complete your outfit, check out our recent post Sparkle with a Conscience this Festival Season.
We hope that’s been helpful, we’ll cover menswear for festival weddings in a post soon! In the meantime, if you want to chat about bell tents for glamping weddings, check out our weddings page and get in touch.