Getting the perfect hat for a wedding can be tricky. Whether you’re the mother of the bride, mother of the groom or a wedding guest, luxury women’s hat maker Rosie Olivia reveals her top tips for finding the right headwear.

Phase Eight Nude Wedding Hat - The 12 Golden Rules of Wedding hat Etiquette

The 12 Golden Rules of Wedding Hat Etiquette

Dress Code

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

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 can wear all day. Also, remember to choose something 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

Traditionally, the mother of the groom should always choose a smaller wedding hat than the mother of the bride. 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 don’t drown their head and shoulders in pictures. Ask the photographer to kindly remind guests to adjust their hats for group photographs so that their faces are clearly visible.

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 too extravagant as there’s no need for them when the sun isn’t out.

Lady holding hat - The 12 Golden Rules of Wedding hat Etiquette

Ensemble Accessories

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 they’re speaking to a lady – in particular, their new mother-in-law. It’s a sign of respect that dates back generations.

Lady wearing hat - The 12 Golden Rules of Wedding hat Etiquette

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.

Lady wearing hat with man- The 12 Golden Rules of Wedding hat Etiquette
Credit: Daffodil Waves Photography

The Golden Rule

And finally, the golden rule of etiquette. If a guest has not read these key rules – do not point it out!

Discover some of the hats we’re loving at the moment below…

Best Wedding Hats to Buy Now

Phase Eight Bow Front Hat, £110



Whiteley Hats Duchess Of Cambridge Straw Pillbox Hat, £116.95



Hobbs Freya Fascinator, £79



Accessorize Rhea Oversized Bow Fascinator Headband, £37.50



John Lewis & Partners Beatrice Loop Disc Occasion Hat, £38



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