I have just returned from another amazing destination wedding, this time in South Africa (apologies for anyone who follows me on Instagram who has been spammed with stunning scenery and clear blue skies whilst I was there). This sort of event comes with a different set of rules as you are having to factor in things like weather, cultural differences and luggage allowances! I thought I’d put together some learnings and tips for anyone heading off on a wedding jaunt this year.
When planning your outfit, think about climate. Especially for us Brits, we are used to stripping off at the earliest opportunity when on holiday but a bikini and a pair of shorts and flip flops won’t really cut it at a wedding, not if you want the brides/grooms to ever talk to you again anyway.
Dressing respectfully and appropriately for the occasion is a bit trickier in really hot temperatures. It might be humid or dry heat, but either way you need comfortable and natural fabrics that let your body breathe, nothing tight and synthetic (ew) so think about how you will feel in your outfit when sitting still in airless hot temperatures. Think about sitting outside watching your loved ones making their vows under a beating hot sun and no shade, it gets sweaty fast. However, a leg split, low back or short sleeve can give some breeze so look for those details if buying something new.
I am trying to not buy new clothes at the moment so wore a River Island dress I already had, along with a pair of old strappy nude shoes and an electric blue Whistles clutch. I also wore a pair of these amazing Whistles corkscrew earrings that I’ve had for a few seasons.
For layers - a linen jacket is a good shout if you want to wear one but beware it creases easily so bring a travel iron or steamer or it can look scruffy and unkempt, not the look we’re going for!
But you can have some serious fun with colour and print. The sunlight will make everything pop and I just love a wedding party that is a riot of bold tones, it’s so vibrant.
Clash your colours and your prints, you can be so much more adventurous and gold toned jewellery also looks amazing. Wood is also a lovely texture to weave in, think bangles or even a chic bag. Take inspiration from nature and go for floral, leaf or animal prints and don't stop at just jewellery when it comes to fun accessories-I have a fantastic pair of red 50’s style sunglasses that I love to wear to add even more colour.
Think about all the parts of your body that will be exposed and wear SPF on them too. Just because you’re putting clothes and not swimwear on doesn’t mean you won’t need sun protection. SPF 15 or higher and at least a 4 star rating.
To stay cool, consider buying a chic fan or even a parasol to keep you out of the sun. Wear SPF under your make up (the SPF in some foundations might not be enough). I use Bare Minerals CC cream as it is light and just evens out your skin rather than piles make up on top of it.
Wearing comfortable shoes is even more important when in a hot climate as your feet will swell slightly, and if you’re a bit sweaty then they might rub. Factor this in when choosing footwear – avoid tight strappy stilettos or you’ll be in blister town in no time. Wedges are wise if you will be standing on grass, we have all seen someone’s stiletto disappearing into the lawn and it does look rather ungainly. Wedges are also safer if you are an exuberant dancer. No broken ankles now (but whilst on that subject, get travel health insurance just in case).
You know what really ruins the gorgeous summer outfit you’re wearing? Huge, unsightly and itchy red mosquito bites all over your legs and arms. If you are a fellow sufferer like me (my blood is like a Michelin star buffet, apparently) then insect repellent and antihistamines are your friend. Avoid perfumes or aftershave as it attracts them. And be careful at sunset/sunrise as this is when they’ll come out to play. Evil little things.
One more piece of advice-drink a ton of water. You’ll be drinking alllll the champagne if you’re anything like me and that coupled with the heat and sweat and dancing is a one way street to a banging headache the following morning so stay hydrated and it will slightly lessen your pain!
And there we have it, my top tips and crash course in how to look chic and not like a sweaty disaster at a destination wedding. But as always the best piece of advice is to enjoy it and savour the moment, be there for your friends. Hopefully they’ll only do it once and you don’t want to miss it ;)