It’s that time of year, when the weddings and social events come flooding in, and we wouldn’t change it for anything – who doesn’t love to get dressed up and drink bubbly in the sunshine?
But with the average cost of attending a UK wedding estimated at anything between £250 and £1,000, it can be a real financial burden too.
One way to save is to do as the Duchess of Cambridge does: wear the same dress to multiple events. And it doesn’t need to feel boring or repetitive – dress it up differently, and even if you meet the same crowd, they’ll never notice that you haven’t bought a new frock.
The most important thing is to find a dress that makes you feel beautiful. Whatever cut suits you – whether you favour a prom dress, a shift dress or a body-con wiggle dress – stick with it, and let the accessories do all the hard work. It’s probably safest to avoid dramatic prints if you plan to wear it multiple times.
And make sure you feel comfortable and secure in even the most delicate frock at any time of the month by packing your favourite Tampax discreetly into your handbag, so you’re always prepared.
For a traditional country wedding
There’s nothing more summery than a floral frock, but you don’t have to buy a printed dress – just let your plain dress blossom with flowery accessories.
Your accessory guide
The colour scheme: choose hues that suit you and the dress, but won’t risk outdoing the bride. Pale dusty pinks, light greens and radiant corals are a safe bet.
The shoes: team your simple dress with some fabulous printed floral kitten-heels or wedges. If you have shoes with ankle straps, you could buy some little ribbon flowers from a craft shop or haberdashery and stitch or pin them onto the ankle strap, or the front of the shoe.
The jewellery: go for delicate enamel flower earrings and a pendant that you can wear again and again, and that won’t overwhelm the outfit. The bag: a tiny structured straw cross-body bag scattered with silk or appliqué flowers would be a suitably carefree option.
The hat: this is where you can have fun. If you have a florist nearby, you can ask them to trim a basic straw hat or hairband with real flowers for an absolutely stunning alternative to a classic fascinator. While they’re at it, they can make you a corsage to pin on your dress. If you can, check with the bride that your choice of flowers won’t clash with the decorations and bouquets.
For an urban wedding
A perfectly sleek style, this is the absolute opposite to floral: think flawless make-up and chic hair, and ask your other half to wear a sharp, stylish suit.
Your accessory guide
The colour scheme: go for more clarity and contrast with your colours. Bright, crisp shades like fuchsia, cobalt or bright green, contrasted with black or white, can look super-sophisticated.
The shoes: a perfectly simple pair of pointed, high-heeled, black or vibrantly coloured pumps in suede or satin will work beautifully here.
The jewellery: when everything else is about simple, clean lines, you can really go for it with a statement necklace and matching cuff on the wrist. Aim for something contemporary but really eye-catching.
The bag: a sophisticated clutch in patent leather or suede – try to match it to your shoes if you can.
The hat: try a little glossy beret in black, beige or a complementary colour, perched on the side of your head – attaching one to a headband is probably the most secure way. If you go for feathers, make it sculptural: a single stripped, brightly coloured quill, for example.
For an uber-glam wedding
When you know an event is going to be no-holds-barred fun, you can afford to put some sparkle into your outfit for a night to remember.
Your accessory guide
The colour scheme: girly, sparkly and oh-so-pretty, whatever colour your dress is it will be improved by the addition of sequins and glitter. Go for it.
The shoes: there are lots of gorgeous gold and silver shoes on the high-street at the moment, and if you can’t wear them now, then when? If you’re going to be dancing, consider taking a pair of soft ballet flats with you, tucked into your handbag, for extra comfort.
The jewellery: diamanté, fake gems, and rose gold. Forget being sophisticated: sparkle is your watchword. Just try to keep it coordinated, so it doesn’t go over the top.
The bag: a pretty, structured evening bag on a long shoulder chain or wrist band will keep your hands free for canapés, bubbles and dancing. Just make sure it’s big enough to hold your lippy, credit card, phone, keys and Tampax!
The hat: you could go for a lovely little feather fascinator or headband with glittery accents, or if you prefer, ditch the hat altogether and scatter some fabulous diamanté hair clips through your tresses for a truly magical look.
What’s your favourite wedding-guest look? We’d love to read your ideas, in the comments box below.