There’s an art to dressing for someone else’s wedding. The occasion is usually formal, and as such, you not only need to consider what dress to wear, but also which accessories to wear with it. This can be easier said than done, as there is a bewildering array of accessory options out there!

If you’ve got a wedding coming up, and you want to plan the perfect look from head to toe, here’s a useful guide to help you.

Step one – assess the dress

It’s a good idea to choose the wedding guest dress first, then coordinate your accessories with it. When you get the dress home from the shop, lay it out on the bed, and think about the following:

  • Is it detailed, or relatively simple? When accessorising dresses with detailing, it’s a wise idea to keep your accessories simple. Otherwise it might look visually ‘too much’. However, if the dress is simple, then you’ll want some eye-catching accessories to give it personality.
  • Is it full or figure-hugging? Again, this will affect what accessories will work with it. For example, if it’s a full-skirted dress, you might want to keep the hat or fascinator small, to provide a sense of balance.
  • What colour palette? You’ll want to select accessories that complement your dress, so clashing colours should be avoided. Refer to the colour wheel if you’re not sure which shades work well together.

Step two – identify what’s needed

Try on the dress in the mirror to ascertain what accessories are needed. For example, if the dress looks a little ‘plain’ around the middle, a pretty belt could add visual interest. If you’ve chosen a midi-length dress, you might want to wear a pair of kitten heels, as these work excellently with dresses that end at the knee.

Don’t forget to consider what you’ll wear on your head too. Traditionally, a hat or fascinator is what most women wear to a wedding. Does your dress need a wide-brimmed hat (which is also useful for keeping the sun out of your eyes)? Or would a feathered fascinator set it off to perfection?

Step three – get experimenting

When you’re shopping for accessories, it’s a good idea to take the dress with you. Then, you can hold the accessories against it, to check there are no clashing colours or textures.

Remember that you’ll also need to think about other details. For example, what make-up would work with the outfit? Is a smoky eyeshadow the way forwards, or would pastel shades be better?

Which fragrance is going to complement it best? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Some women even choose to wear male scents, such as the popular Green Irish Tweed perfume, especially in the summer, as it has notes of cut grass.

Step Four – enjoy the experience

Shopping for accessories should never be a stressful experience. If you’re not sure which items to buy, ask a friend for advice – sometimes, two pairs of eyes are better than one.