All The Outfits I Have Ever Worn To Weddings, Ranked In Order Of Regret.

You can get out of a marriage, but the ghost of a bad outfit stays with you for life.

All The Outfits I Have Ever Worn To Weddings, Ranked In Order Of Regret.

by Lauren Bravo |
Published on

Like every other woman in the twilight of her twenties who suffers from excessive friend-retention, I go to a lot of weddings.

I’ve been to 14 in my life, 10 in the last two years. They are my hobby, my project, my craft. Sometimes my unpaid job. I love them all. I weep at them all. I whoop during the speeches and dutifully use the designated hashtag. And while every wedding I've been to has been different in its own special way, they always have one thing in common: me, regretting what I wore afterwards.

Because that temporary nuptial craziness people talk about doesn’t just affect the happy couple, you know. It's a sickness that spreads down the guestlist, infecting those weaker-minded attendees and prompting bouts of what can only be described as style dysmorphia. Or ‘shotgun shopping’.

Symptoms include hasty, night-before sweeps up the high street where you start by popping into House of Fraser ‘just in case there’s a nice clutch in the sale’ and end up three hours later, dehydrated and desperate, being forcefully ejected from Bershka at closing time. Or pitching up late to the church because you were waiting in for the ASOS man to come. Or dropping your whole rent cheque in Whistles to look good for the evening reception of your boyfriend’s colleague who you’ve met once.

It’s the reason you own three pale pink blazers, and an elasticated gold belt with shells on it. It is a disease.

And I am more than commonly prone. As soon as the invite plops through the letterbox, I lose all sight of my actual taste or physical comfort levels. I don’t know what it’s like to arrive at a wedding without the vague feeling of being in fancy dress, like Bridget Jones walking into the barbecue in her bunny outfit while everyone else is in something understated from Reiss. I am the person who the couple’s kids will point at in the photos in 10 years’ time and say, 'look at that funny lady.'

So here are all the things I've worn to all the weddings in my life, ranked in order of how much I regret them. Because believe me – you can get out of a marriage, but the ghost of a bad outfit stays with you for life.

12) Year: 2016


Wedding: East London reception

Outfit: black Finery culottes jumpsuit (formerly black Finery flared jumpsuit), zebra print hair butterfly, trusty cream wedding clutch.

Decided to chop two foot of fabric off the bottom of my voluminous wide-leg jumpsuit to turn it into culottes, 20 minutes before we needed to leave the house. “Um. Do you have a back-up outfit?” asked my boyfriend when he found me on the bedroom floor in my pants with pins in my mouth, wiping spag bol remnants off the kitchen scissors and muttering “upcycling… upcycling…” like a dystopian Kirstie Allsopp. I did not have a back-up outfit.

BUT, I did have a roll of bondaweb, an iron and nerves of steel. In the end we weren’t even late, and my lower calves were so much breezier on the dancefloor. I take thee, smugness! I do!

11) Year: 2015

Wedding: Greenwich Yacht Club

Outfit: Full, taffeta midi skirt in metallic rainbow check, black camisole, embellished slingbacks, navy pillbox hat with veil.

You can tell you have picked a good friend when you begin to describe your outfit for her chic, riverside wedding with the words 'you know Elmer the Elephant..?,' and she seems genuinely excited. Bonus points because not a single part of this outfit was panic-bought in the week before the wedding.

10) Year: 2014

Wedding: Village hall, Bath

Outfit: Yellow floral vintage cocktail dress, pale pink jackety thing, floral headband, mint green shoes.

Look, I didn’t know when I picked this ensemble that there was going to be torrential rain all day. I didn’t know that my whimsical, sunny spring meadow of an outfit was going to end up looking like I was basically trolling the happy couple. Like a giant middle finger in pastel polyester. I wasn’t to know.

I should have known, however, that going braless in a draughty church was going to make it look like I was packing my own sugared almonds. Still, we live and learn.

9) Year: 1995

Wedding: Country house, Sussex.

Outfit: Blue chambray frock, lace-trimmed ankle socks, floppy-brimmed denim hat like Blossom.

A decent outfit for a mid-90s seven-year-old, but a source of great bitterness for not being a) a bridesmaid’s dress, b) a cheerleading uniform or c) a red leather trouser suit like Louise from Eternal.

8) Year: 2014

Wedding: Garden and art gallery, Edinburgh

Outfit: Floral layered patchwork dress from & Other Stories, borrowed silver Mary Janes, pale pink jackety thing, flower headband.

A wedding where I’d never met the bride or groom, so to blend casually into the background I decided to wear a ‘conceptual’ dress of clashing florals that looked like a valance sheet. Weight of many fabric tiers was such that I nearly had a coronary during the ceilidh. Forgot to pack my standard wedding clutch so was forced to stash makeup and phone in a nearby sporren. Otherwise a solid B+.

7) Year: 2015

Wedding: Fancy hotel, Cotswolds

Outfit: Satiny ASOS prom dress, cream clutch, pale pink blazer, nude stilettos.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when in the Cotswolds, wear nude stilettos. To a wedding that is mostly on lawn.

6) Year: 2015

Wedding: Rustic barn, Somerset

Outfit: Satiny ASOS prom dress with newly-customised low back, brown jackety thing, faux-fur stole, pillbox hat, leather gloves, silver shoes.

Thought I was being very cunning by altering the back of the dress I’d worn to a wedding two months earlier and accessorising it into a whole new outfit. But actually it turned out to be solid evidence that you can’t treat wedding accessories like garnishes piled on top of yesterday’s stew. It is still yesterday’s stew, just with crap on top.

And the back cut off. Ah well.

5) Year: 2013

Wedding: Basement nightclub in Putney

Outfit: Hot pink, gold-trimmed tutu, black studded jacket, net fascinator made myself with fabric, a hair clip, a stapler and a cereal packet.

In my defence, the theme was ‘glitter rave’. And it was dark.

4) Year: 2016. Actually, last Saturday.

Wedding: East London. Concept: ‘urban concrete realness’.

Outfit: Bright orange strappy Finery dress, vintage 80s fruit-print silk bomber jacket, silver heels.

'Death to the pale pink jackety thing!' I yelled, typing ‘paisley boho embellished cropped bolero’ feverishly into eBay and sifting through the resulting eight pages of Per Una shrugs. 'It will be a cool wedding! I will not have their special day ruined by me in a shit jackety thing!'

Fast forward two weeks and I’m wearing an oversized bomber jacket covered in tropical fruit. My vision was ‘millennial Carmen Miranda’. The actual vibe is ‘Timmy Mallett cruise collection’. I have successfully defined a new era of shit jackety thing.

3) Year: 2011

Wedding: Boyfriend’s friend, York

Outfit: Navy sateen cocktail dress from French Connection, lacy cardigan, black tights. Fine layer of sweat.

What really isn’t ideal, when you’re going to a wedding with your new boyfriend for the first time and have never actually met either of the people getting married, is when you try to sit discreetly at the back but the ushers move you into the front row to fill an empty seat and you end up smack bang in the middle of all their ceremony photos.

It’s even less ideal when you’re wearing a Primark cardigan, and a dress so tight it triggers a mild panic attack. And not ideal in any way at all when it’s an unseasonable April heatwave and you put 100 denier opaques on like a fool.

'I suppose we can never break up now,' he sighed afterwards. 'Not now you’re in all the photos.'

2) Year: 1988

Wedding: No idea. Maybe Kent.

Outfit: White frilly dress (Mothercare, 6-12 months), white Victorian mop cap, white tights

Shat myself.

1) Year: 2003

Wedding: Another cousin’s, Scotland

Outfit: Tweed skirt with asymetric hem, black Zara top, purple velvet blazer, lacy tights, pashmina. Hair like an Afghan hound.

Remember that brief period in the early noughties when the height of chic was a ¾ sleeve boat-necked top from Zara, and 15 year olds wanted to dress like middle aged women in Horse and Hound magazine? No? Well I am here to tell you it definitely happened, and the proof is my cousin’s wedding photos.

The fact it was November and we were up a hill in the middle of Scotland is still no excuse for the fact I went to my first wedding as a semi-grown up wearing the exact outfit I wore to my Saturday job at the local library. It wasn’t a choice, though; it followed a frantic shopping trip with my mother during which the only thing I could find in the whole of Brighton that didn’t make me feel like I wanted to claw my own skin off with adolescent self-loathing was another, slightly different, tweed skirt.

The only redeeming feature of the whole thing was that, being 2003 and ghds having only very recently arrived on the scene, my normal hedge of hair was all silky and straightener-virgin sleek. It made a useful curtain to hide behind in the corner of the marquee, furiously vowing to myself that I would never wear tweed to a wedding again.

And I haven’t.

NB: This doesn’t include bridesmaid outfits. I have loved all my bridesmaid outfits and nobody can prove otherwise.

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Follow Lauren on Twitter @laurenbravo

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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