This week we’ve asked luxury milliner Rosie Olivia to reveal her top tips to help you get ahead on your hat etiquette!

Dress code

If you’re dreaming about specific headpieces at your wedding or would prefer larger creations to be left at home, make sure that your guests aware of this as soon possible. Guests will need to know any dress code requirements at least six weeks prior to the wedding.

Suit your style

Remember, you’re wearing the hat and not the other way around. Be confident but choose a style that ultimately you’re comfortable in and one that complements your shape and height. If you’re tall avoid tall hats and go for wider brims. If you’re short avoid large hats and go for smaller structured creations.

Hat etiquette

The mother of the groom should always choose a wedding hat smaller than the mother of the bride’s. This is a set rule across all social situations that dictates that guests should never out-shine their hosts. If you and your groom are hosting the wedding then the two mums can opt for equally grand creations.

Don’t block the shot

Ensure that your guests wear hats that do not drown their head and shoulders for pictures. Ask the photographer to kindly remind guests to adjust hats for group photographs so that you can see and remember their faces in years to come.

Stick to tradition

When accessorising a hatband, or indeed your bridal headpiece, with flowers, feathers or any other embellishment, keep in mind that traditionally ladies decorate hats on the right hand side, the opposite to that of men who always stick to the left.

Bigger is not always better

The time of day your guests are wearing their hat should directly impact on their choice of headwear. As a rule of thumb, the size of the hat should decrease as the day progresses. Large brims in the morning or evening are considered vulgar and extravagant as there’s no need for them when the sun isn’t out.

Ensemble accessories

A simple one we all know. Women’s hats are fashion accessories and are part of their ensembles. Therefore, ladies are not required to remove their hats when going indoors. Gentlemen on the other hand should do so – especially in religious buildings. That means no top hats in the church or inside the reception venue – even for photographs.

Venue etiquette

Make sure that your groom and groomsmen know their etiquette if they’re wearing top hats. As well as removing them when indoors, they should remove their hats whenever speaking to a lady – in particular their new mother-in-law. It’s a sign of respect that dates back generations.

Tipping the hat

A rule for gents and mothers in particular, it is considered rude to show the inside lining of your hat. When removing, tipping or doffing your hat, always ensure that only the outside is visible. If you remove your hat for any reason, hold it with the lining facing towards your torso.

Mother knows best

The mother of the bride dictates when other ladies may remove their hats and fascinators. Until she removes her hat, other ladies are expected to leave theirs on.


The golden rule

And finally, the golden rule of etiquette. Couples should not point out the faux pas’ of guests who may not have read these key rules!


  1. My daughter is holding her wedding in an hotel. Next June With eveything being held inside what is the protocol with wearing hats as it would seems odd to wear one if not outside. Thank you in advance


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