6 ways British guests are doing weddings better than you

British Weddings
British Weddings

Having spent the past few years in England, I’ve been privy to a few British weddings. There was The Wedding (ahem, when Prince William and Kate Middleton became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), of course, celebrated with a holiday from work, pubs open ludicrously early, and the hat that will live in infamy. Then came Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall, Kate Moss and Jamie Hince and most recently, the blocked-from-Instagram wedding of Poppy Delevingne and James Cook. All of them had their own brand of British charm, with guests and party-members alike dressing to impress. British people really know how to do it, like cardigans, sounding smart when they aren’t and getting sunburned. Nuptial attire is something the British are better at than you.

Sure, Jayden Smith somehow made a white batman suit work at Kimye’s black tie wedstravaganza, but I think in general, the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, oh yes and wear a hat” approach of the Brits can really teach us a thing or two. Here’s how to gear up for wedding season like the Daughter of the Commonwealth you are.

Beatrice Eugenie Royal Wedding
Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice at the Royal Wedding, shot by Mike Marsland/Getty Images

Hat game: strong
Beatrice and Eugenie are only the tip of the Iceberg-themed fascinator. The Brits in general really know their way around a hat, and weddings are where the wheat is separated from the chav.

Cara Delevingne Poppy Delevingne Wedding
Cara Delevingne at her sister Poppy Delevingne’s wedding, shot by Keystone Images

No one is messing with a mullet hem.
Clean shifts, cute A-line skirts, blazers, even—this is the stuff of 1950s formal attire updated, and I. Do. Not. Mind. Classic shapes and cuts and colours work on everyone and means no one’s tacky cousin ruins wedding pictures with their loose interpretation of the dress code. “It’s black tie because it’s black and the entire bodice is just loose fabric I tied together!” Okay.

Cressida Bonas The Wedding Of Melissa Percy Thomas Van Straubenzee 2013
Cressida Bonas at the wedding of Melissa Percy and Thomas Van Straubenzee, shot by by Danny Martindale/WireImage

They know how to keep it appropriate
Whether for keeping warm, church appropriate, or simply adding a pop of colour or pattern to your outfit, the British are adept at employing a demure blazer, bolero, or wrap, and it’s genius. It’s basically formal layering, allowing your outfit to carry you through weather changes, venue changes, and transport changes without forcing you to steal your date’s jacket.

Caroline Sieber Wedding
Caroline Sieber at the wedding of Melissa Percy and Thomas Van Straubenzee, shot by by Keystone Images

Pastels reign supreme
British weddings are like a beautiful Easter egg basket. Lavender! Peach! Periwinkle! We’re here, we’re subdued, get used to it! Wedding parties look summery and event-appropriate in light-hued tea dresses and suits with fun baby pink socks peeking out. Plus it’s a nice way to add some colour to the event if the country’s notorious rain dampens proceedings.

Princess Anne Zara Phillips Wedding
Princess Anne at the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall

Mothers of the bride really get into the role
British mums of the bride aren’t trying to get sexy or youthful. After all, your daughter’s wedding day is the last day to be fishing for “you two could be sisters!”-type compliments—I’m looking at you, Kris Jenner. This is not to say that they don’t have fun with their outfit, or that mothers of the bride have to look old and dowdy, no no. In fact, mums of the bride tend to get a little jazzy with it, sporting glitzy embellished blouses or fun dresses, while keeping the colour palette soft and lines simple.

Geri Halliwell Poppy Delevingne Wedding
Geri Halliwell at Poppy Delevingne’s wedding, shot by Keystone Images

Longer length dresses are the way forward
While they might seem more formal and uptight, floorlength hems are actually a party girls’ best friend: dance the night away in flats that no one can see! Sit on the ground without flashing your knickers! Don’t even THINK about shaving those legs! Get a piggyback from that hot groomsman without hiking your dress up to your hips!