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Summer Weddings: What to Wear as a Wedding Guest

by Caroline Paris

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Wedding season is always a hot topic on this little island. Growing up in close proximity to so many friends and foes generally means that as the summer months approach your calendar will generally start to appear somewhat dotted over the weekends. As much as some might like to moan over the - 'oh not another wedding when there's the champions league final' - we love the food, the drinks and the socialising. We are Maltese after all!

The general female complaint is quite real though and it usually revolves around what to wear. Wedding styles have changed over the last decade, dress codes have evolved, timings have evolved (afternoon weddings are a perfect example of this) and what was once generally considered a safe bet to wear, might not be so anymore. 

So what should one wear?

To wear white or not to?

Wearing white to a wedding has over the last few years stirred a great many debates. I myself have entered this battlefield on multiple occasions and even once had a friend tell me that if she didn't wear a pretty white dress to a wedding, she'll end up never having an occasion to wear one and well, she just simply wanted to wear it.

There are brides that won't mind, that much is true. But generally speaking, these are a rarity. The majority will mind and no it isn't about upstaging as some mistakenly believe. You could still end up upstaging the bride in red if you turn up wearing an Oscar de la Renta ballgown. The point I always like to drive home is that the tradition started as this concept that the bride must be different to everyone else, simply because it is her day, her party. Traditionally this individuality was always depicted through colour, hence the bride should be the only person wearing white in a room full of colour.

So I always like to ask this question - is it worth the risk? There are so many colour options that you can wear. Is it worth risking upsetting or annoying the bride and maybe not even on her special day but maybe sometime afterwards when she would be looking at the photographs? It might seem somewhat childish but in reality, this reaction can be justified. Some traditions related to weddings may long have been abandoned, but this one lives on and not just in Malta, internationally too.

The morning wedding in summer

For a morning wedding, I tend to favour neutral colours such as beige, brown, camel, while I try to avoid anything with lace or related in any way to bridal wear. I would also avoid head-to-toe black as I feel this doesn't really work well at a morning wedding. Pastel colours can look really nice but again, I would avoid an overall pastel look. Injecting a richer hue somewhere within the outfit will definitely make it more striking. Patterns can also be used and can really add some oomph to the look.

As far as the length of the attire goes, I prefer shorter/mid-length dresses for this type of wedding rather than longer ones although there are some long ones that can also work well. It all depends on the colour and style. What I would definitely recommend avoiding is a long dress with embellishments.

Since the weather is quite warm at this time of year, the choice of fabric is also very important. Opt for natural fibres such as linen, silk and cotton to avoid overheating. A blend could also work and may also prove easier to keep crease free. Do avoid 100% polyester though since it is simply a heat nightmare waiting to begin.

Regarding hairstyles, I strongly recommend tying it up somehow with the help of these hair salons. The always-present humidity is bound to cause stress and worry, not to mention the impending frizz ball might prove unsightly. Keep it up, keep it fresh, keep it stress-free. If you do decide to wear your hair down, use a moisture barrier to protect it. Here are some tips on how to choose the right hair care products. As for make-up, it is also best to opt for waterproof products that can defy sweat and heat and don't go for overly heavy looks since they might look too unnatural in the summer sun.

The afternoon wedding in summer

For a summer afternoon wedding as far as colours go I would stick to a dress in a bright rich hue, maybe a royal blue or an emerald green or a light purple colour.  Again, I also suggest avoiding head-to-toe black if possible (at least inject some colour by adding some bright accessories) and avoid chunks of overly light pastel colours as this will look somewhat odd when the sun goes down. Patterns are a great idea for this wedding as they look great both in the morning and in the evening and can really jazz up a look. Regarding long dresses, colourful, patterned dresses look great at this kind of wedding but avoid the super formal long gala dress as it will look odd throughout the first part of the wedding.

My suggestions for hair and make-up for this wedding are pretty similar to those for morning ones, but ultimately it all depends on the temperature. If it's very hot, then an upstyle might be your best option. Go for something relaxed though - even a messy bun would do the trick. Make-up can be a bit more glamorous here since it is meant to transcend into the evening so the look must work for both day and night time. However, I still recommend keeping it somewhat subtle, perhaps just adding a flicked eyeliner or a subtle smokey eye. Not sure how to apply your eyeliner? Here as some eyeliner styles if you're a beginner.

The evening wedding in summer

For an evening wedding, things change. For this time of the day, I love the idea of a full length, embellished affair in practically any colour. I say practically any colour because I still tend to recommend shying away from anything too close to white and I also probably prefer skipping on the pastels and nude and going for richer hues.

I love the idea of a suit, be it a skirt suit or a trouser suit. There's something so elegant about a woman in a trouser suit. The fit is very important here, so opt for one that has the perfect fit. You can sometimes get away with a dress that might not fit perfectly from all areas, but the same won't apply in the case of a trouser suit.

As regards with humidity, in the evening this might become even worse. There's no sun but the potential of a really hot and humid night increases at this time of the day. It might be best to play it by ear when it comes to your hairstyle. This is the wedding type where all styles are suitable, so you may go with a formal updo or a relaxed blow dry. Make-up can be as sophisticated and as glamorous as you wish, so why not opt for a nice red lip?

What shoes should you wear?

When it comes to shoes, I only have one strong recommendation irrespective of the type of wedding and that's to wear something you can spend hours in. It's a wedding so you want to have fun, mingle and possibly dance the night away. So make sure you purchase the right pair of shoes. Don't waste the day/night in pain.

Make sure you feel and look great when you attend the next wedding. Visit these boutiques to get the perfect wedding guest outfit.

Keep on discovering local with Yellow!   


Caroline Paris
About Caroline Paris

Caroline is a fashion stylist and writer from Malta, she launched her fashion blog and lifestyle platform in 2011, always with fashion at the forefront of all her endeavours.

Over the years, Caroline has continued to develop her styling career and was awarded the Malta Fashion Awards – Best Fashion Stylist Award three times (the max this award can be achieved) – in 2013, 2015, 2016. She has worked as fashion stylist on many different campaigns and publications including Style Magazine, Sunday Circle Magazine, Venere TV Series, il-Klikka TV Series and Malta Fashion Week. 

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