How to dress for a spring wedding


by Camilla Ridley

The rules of dressing for spring weddings have changed. Whether your the mother of the bride, a bridesmaid or simply a chic wedding guest, Ridley London's head of design Camilla has some smart advice for anyone looking for a flattering dress or outfit for a wedding this spring. 


The chic Lola dress from Ridey London is incredibly flattering, particularly if you have a bust. It's shown here in the new pink parrot linen floral print, and can be made to measure in any print or solid 

We’ve been helping customers find their perfect wedding outfit ever since we opened 7 years ago. We’ve dressed every type of wedding guest from mothers of the bride and groom, to teams of bridesmaids, guests and even celebrities and Royalty for an enormous variety of different occasions. We’ve even made special dresses for a number of brides who are looking for something different from the traditional white wedding dress. So we’ve got a great understanding of what’s needed and most importantly a track record of hundreds of happy customers we’ve helped. So if you’re shopping for an outfit for a wedding this year, first of all I would advise you to think about five important things up front.


1. Make your best statement

Dressing for any big occasion is all about feeling comfortable, confident and finding the right outfit that helps you look and feel your absolute best. And if you’re a key figure with an active roll like the mother of the bride, a bridesmaid, or just young, free and hoping to meet that special someone, all eyes will be on you. So it’s vital you make the right statement. Straightaway, it’s very easy to get sucked into a whirlpool of what’s on trend, but catwalks, church aisles and soggy marquees are very different places. Our friend Anna Murphy head of fashion at the Times always advises “look current and dress in what works for you opposed to religiously following trends.” With this in mind, I’d also think about avoiding the convenience of the high street for a big occasion. I’ve heard so many stories of friends who have turned up to a wedding to find not just one one person, but literally three other people wearing exactly the same ‘this season’s must have dress’ as them. While you can always introduce individuality with clever accessories, no one wants to indulge in guest twinning, particularly not if you’re the mother of the bride. Our approach here at Ridley is all about individuality and customisation. We know everyone has a unique shape and dimensions, and personality. Some people like to standout while others prefer to blend in, and the right dress can hide all manner of worries and accentuate our best features. Likewise, different colours and prints suit different people. That’s why we individually make our garments to order, so you can have any of our latest styles made up in an extraordinary choice of prints and colours. Our experienced stylists will help you find what’s really going to work, and we can customise and tailor our garments for each customers most flattering fit. 


(Top left to right) Every Ridley dress can be paired with a chic jacket that is tailored and colour matched, including Chanel style jackets shown here as well as on-trend oversized blazers. Two classically flattering dresses that are perfect for weddings include the Janie maxi dress and Carla dress both shown here in statement floral silk prints. (Bottom) If you're looking for something a little different, the current trend for tailoring, suiting and wide legged trousers continues into this season in a range of colours including must have white. To compliment this look, Ridley offers a collection of beautiful silk tops and blouses which can be tailored in any of our new floral print or plain silks. For added versatility you can match separates into a jumpsuit as worn here with our chic silk palazzo pants and Talitha top in the new blue tulip silk crepe de chine print.

2. Timing is everything

If you want to look your best, it's critical you give yourself enough time. And if you’re thinking about the benefits of a unique made to measure outfit that’s really going to flatter, you need to factor in the time to get this right and avoid unnecessary stress. Particularly if you’re the mother of the bride or groom and have lots of other pressing things to think about. While we can usually turn uncomplicated customised "off the peg" items around within a week to ten days, more bespoke items will always take a little longer. The spring is always the busiest time of year at Ridley and no-one enjoys a last minute rush so we always advise our customers to come in at their earliest opportunity, at least a month ahead of time if possible. It’s vital the necessary time is factored in for the different fittings and adjustments that might be needed to get your outfit just right. Not to mention giving you the time to choose the right accessories. This is something we can also help you with (see point number 4 below).


3. Know your location, style and dress codes

There was a time when dressing for a wedding meant a demure two piece suit with a knee length skirt, a matching hat, shoes and a marquee on a lawn. Thankfully times have changed, and both weddings and dress codes are now far more relaxed. For many people, this lack of uniform can also be a little daunting at first. Our Ridley stylists are experienced in helping customers find something unique, that absolutely works for them and is perfect for their event. I can’t count the number of mothers of the bride and bridesmaids we’ve now dressed for tropical or Mediterranean beach weddings. With this in mind it’s important to understand the location, likely weather, and temperature as well as the overall vibe of the event you’re attending. There are weddings when a beautifully tailored and extraordinarily comfortable and cool in the heat silk kaftan worn with wedges really is the perfect solution. And there are others where an up to the moment jumpsuit, a bohemian styles silk maxi dress, or a tailored wide leg linen trouser suit are more appropriate. And there are of course more dressy evening weddings where you’ll want to look and feel like a movie star. I recently heard a horror story about a lunchtime wedding on Lake Como in July, with everyone melting in full evening wear. Can you imagine anything less glamorous?! 


4. Relax and think beyond the big day

The best thing about today’s less formal contemporary style of wedding, are the more relaxed and accessible dress codes. In short, as long as you look like you’ve made an effort, and you look and feel great, then anything goes. Regardless of whether you’re a guest, bridesmaid or even the mother of the bride. This more individual approach invariably opens up a whole realm of possibility, most of all it means a welcome change of mindset and the value equation. Thankfully, you therefore no longer have to buy a specific outfit to attend a wedding. You can in fact buy a great dress, jumpsuit, trouser suit or separates that you’ll love wearing for all sorts of spring and summer occasions, and even holidays to come. There’s even the option to give something you love from your existing wardrobe an on-trend refresh with up to the moment accessories. Wearability is undoubtedly the buzz-word of the moment, particularly when one considers the environmental impact of every purchase. So if you’re thinking about investing in an outfit for a wedding this spring, and you’re infront of a mirror in a dressing room, I would ask myself: “ do I really feel comfortable in this?” And  “realistically, am I going to wear this again, to what sorts of events, and how many wears am I likely to get out of it in the next few years?" And if the answer to any of these questions is no, then there’s probably a better solution. 


The new Ridley London spring wedding guest collection has a flattering dress for every style of occasion, from more classically chic cuts to contemporary statement dresses. (From top left to right) The elegant new Chiara shirt dress in the new yellow tulip crepe silk print by Liberty of London. The glamorous Tam Maxi dress in the aqua and fucshia Wisley silk satin print. The Layla Maxi dress in the on-trend vanilla roses silk satin print. (Bottom) The new Marnie dress in the gorgeous blue and white Delft silk print. The Lillian dress in harebell blue silk chiffon

5. Accessorise for the perfect match

Once you’ve found your perfect outfit, choosing the right accessories and jewellery are key, and can really finish off your wedding outfit. Again these should take account of the local climate and the style of wedding as well as the vibe you want to project. Sometimes it’s as obvious as needing a hat or having a well tailored matching jacket to keep you warm on a potentially cool English day in May. Or having the right high glam shades, jewellery and a fan to keep you cool on Lake Como in July.  If it’s a more traditional wedding, often a hat or headpiece will be required and these days there are some great hiring services available, but stocks can be limited if it’s a busy peak time of year. Our partner milliner operates a hiring service, and they can also colour match any of their hats (purchase only) to match or compliment your specific Ridley outfit. This can be a very easy and worthwhile investment. Likewise our partner shoe and bag companies have an amazing stock of all of the latest on-trend styles. We’ve also worked the other way round where we’ve helped people find the right dress and create the right outfit around a favourite hat or pair of shoes. Once again, our expert Ridley stylists can advise on the right accessories to finish off your perfect outfit.


Ridley London's new spring wedding guest collection of dresses, skirts, tops, and tailoring is available to purchase online and in Ridley's Barnes store. Celebrate your individuality with a unique piece that's customised to flatter in your choice of any of our stunning new printed florals, geometrics or solid silks. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting: 

Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 0203 3367900

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