Hear that? A few short months before wedding season begins in earnest, it’s the sound of this summer’s glut of fancy envelopes and Pinterest-ing notecards falling through your letterbox, each asking for the pleasure of your company at some far-flung countryside location. Or maybe it’s the ping of an email inbox slowly filling with Paperless Post missives, each one asking you to save the date, or the Whatsapp notifications calling you up for plus-one duties at the last minute. Whichever way, the outcome’s the same. From your mid-twenties onwards, it’s a given that you’ll spend at least one third of your annual leave happily playing a bit-part in your friends’ personal rom-coms – and that you’ll spend a sizeable proportion of your monthly budget on dressing for the occasion.
Hunting down the perfect wedding guest dress can prove time-consuming and expensive, but in recent years the high street has really stepped up its game when it comes to affordable occasionwear, whether that’s ASOS’s mix-and-match bridesmaids gowns, Whistles’ fashion-forward bridal range or Topshop’s ever-reliable edit of event-appropriate dresses, jumpsuits or separates. New to the game is H&M, who have just launched their Wedding Shop, a selection of fashion-forward dresses for brides, bridesmaids and guests.
Options for guests include simple maxi dresses in pastel hues or bold red, a shorter style with an eye-catching crossover front and full skirt, available in a handful of jewel tones or a sleek jumpsuit in a subtle floral print. Crucially, all these pieces sit comfortably on the more affordable end of the spectrum, with prices for dresses starting at around the £40 mark.
For those who are heading down the aisle, the bridal silhouettes are fluid and modern: a £149.99 maxi dress with barely-there lace sleeves is a standout, while those looking for something a little less traditional could choose the ivory gown with a very Carrie Bradshaw ballerina skirt, or the ‘60s-style mini shift dress.