royal wedding hat etiquette

Royal Wedding Hat Etiquette: Everything You Need to Know

by Bryce Gruber

Consider this Fascinator 101

With the Royal Wedding basically just hours away, the world is wondering what Meghan’s dress will be like, what the cake will look like (we got a sneak peak though, if you’re interested), and what on Earth is going on with her walk down the aisle. Perhaps the most artistic Royal Wedding expression, though, is the parade of fascinators that’ll be seen heading for the chapel, and then around the world. But is their any particular Royal Wedding hat etiquette guests need to honor? Most certainly.

Genevieve Rose Atelier’s owner and designer, Genevieve Foddy, weighs in with all the Royal Wedding hat etiquette rules you’d ever need to know:

Hats must be worn by ladies. No exceptions.

royal wedding hat etiquette tips
Genevieve Rose Atelier

“Meghan and Harry’s wedding invitation gives the dress code as ‘day dress with hat.’ This means that a hat or fascinator must be worn for the entire church service and through the lunchtime reception hosted by the Queen in St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle. It is advisable that the headpiece is comfortable and well secured, with a hatpin, elastic or sturdy hairband, which are usually invisible.

A medium to large size hat is mandated for a Royal Wedding.

Royal Wedding Hat Etiquette
Genevieve Rose Atelier

“Some more traditional British etiquette guides recommend that a traditional medium to large sized hat be worn to a wedding, particularly a royal wedding. However Meghan and Harry are keen to have a more inclusive and relaxed wedding and as such it is perfectly acceptable to wear a smaller headpiece. For a royal occasion such as this, I would advise following the dress guidelines for the Royal Enclosure at Ascot and choose a piece whose base is at least 4 inches across.”

Women’s hats are traditionally trimmed on the right side (men’s on the left).

Royal Wedding Hat Etiquette
Genevieve Rose Atelier

“This right side rule extends to headpieces and fascinators which are almost always designed to be worn on the right side of the head.”

The dress code of ‘day dress’ excludes the wearing of evening dress, cocktail dress or tiaras.

royal wedding hat etiquette
Genevieve Rose Atelier

“In keeping with this, it is advisable to keep sparkle to a minimum and rather choose a trim of silk flowers, feathers or ribbons.” 

Felt hats are a definite no-no for an early summer wedding.

royal wedding hat etiquette
Credit: WeirPhotos/Splash News

“Likewise anything knitted or made of fur should also not be worn. Hats should be made of straw or covered in fabric to match or complement the outfit. I would avoid the more casual-looking Panama straw.”

Etiquette guides recommend breaking up white or black outfits with another color.

royal wedding hat etiquette
Genevieve Rose Atelier

“Or perhaps combining the two. The hat or headpiece is the perfect place to introduce a contrasting color.”

Genevieve comments that in addition to these key Royal Wedding hat etiquette rules, certain circles consider it “rather gauche to wear sunglasses with a hat or headpiece, and indeed it can be difficult to fit both on at the same time.”

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