One of the most exciting aspects of any wedding, especially a royal one, is the fashion. Watching what people wear, ooh-ing and ahh-ng over the hats is almost as good as watching the tiny little flower girls and page boys waddling down the aisle.
But attending a royal wedding comes with great restrictions. The most outlandish thing will likely be a hat given the plethora of codes and rules that one must abide by if they’re attending. After all, a royal wedding is built around tradition and decorum, so you don’t want to be caught in a hat past 6 p.m. (tiara time), or God forbid you wear wedges.
In honor of the most exciting day of the year (May 19) fast approaching, we thought it best to give you a rundown on things to expect with regards to royal wedding fashion and the traditions that govern these rules.
It’s compulsory for hats to be worn in church
If you’ve observed a royal wedding before, you will be no stranger to the plethora of insane hats atop the heads of guests. It’s because ladies are expected to wear “appropriate” attire, adorning their shoulders, having long hemlines and covering their hair — hence the hats.
Despite the tradition being steeped in frigid historical beliefs, people continue to top their heads with hats and it’s frowned upon if you don’t. Plus, they’re a status symbol — a way of signaling one’s social rank. The more elaborate the hat, the higher the status.
Meghan’s bouquet will have myrtle in it
In a tradition that was kicked off in the 1800s by Queen Victoria when she married Prince Albert, myrtle — aka the “herb of love” — is always in the bridal bouquet. Victoria planted the herb in her garden following the wedding and brides — Queen Elizabeth, Diana and Kate included — have had it in their bouquet ever since.
The wedding dress will be made by a British designer
This is not a hard and fast rule, but most royal brides have followed it in an attempt to showcase local talent and give the economy a boost. It started with Queen Victoria when she wore a white (the first ever to do so) lace dress to give a bit of attention to the artisanal lace makers who were dying off after the Industrial Revolution. It worked and the craftsmanship was written about for months following the wedding.
Royal brides who have followed suit include Queen Elizabeth, who wore Norman Hartnell; Princess Diana, who wore Elizabeth Emanuel; and Kate Middleton, who wore an Alexander McQueen design.
Prince Harry will be in military garb
Like his wife, Prince Albert was a real trendsetter. He was the first to don a military uniform in 1840, and in the years following, royal grooms have done the same, so it’s likely Harry won’t be any different. Both Prince Phillip and Prince Charles wore their naval commander uniforms, while Prince William wore his Irish Guard colonel garb.
Prince Harry spent 10 years in the army, completing two tours in Afghanistan, and had the rank of captain, so expect him to be a man in uniform like the men who came before him.
Neutral nail polish only
Unfortunately, Meghan won’t be able to don glitter or nail art for her special day. It’s a sad rule that for official royal events, nails must be natural-looking, so any outlandish colors she might want to test out will have to be saved for the honeymoon.
Fun fact: The Queen hates wedges. Not. A. Fan. And so by unofficial royal decree, no one is allowed to wear the heel. They’re a bit last-season anyway, so we doubt anyone will have a problem with this rule.
Nude tights should always be worn
Unlike wedge heels, the Queen always has a pair of tights on and expects most other women in her company to follow suit. So expect a sea of sheer pantyhose.
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