Should the mother of the bride wear a hat of fascinator?


This is a question posed regularly by both mothers of the bride to be and their daughters, and I am here to give you my take on the situation. 

There are lots of approaches to answering this question so today I’m considering the style of the day.

Weddings are much changed today from the traditional affairs of just 10, 20 or 30 years ago.  Then it was (for the most part, there are exceptions to every rule) very simple and fairly formulaic.  The bride wore a gown, veil and tiara, invariably married in a church (or civil ceremony venue) and the mother of the bride wore a dress and jacket with matching hat, very much of the Condici, Jacques Vert variety (and there is nothing wrong with either of these brands).

Images John Charles, Condici, Gina Bacconi


The traditional wedding still endures today and always will I believe. It doesn’t really throw up any complications beyond what suits the individual in terms of colour and shape, but I’ll leave that for a different post.  Where the dilemmas arise today is that many brides are now opting for Tipi weddings in a field, rustic barns, windswept beach coves and a whole plethora of contemporary options.

In my experience there are 2 types of mother of the bride, those who know what they want to wear and will wear it whatever, and those who want to dress up as it’s their daughter’s wedding but don’t want to look incongruous in a very relaxed or rural setting.  These are the ladies that I’d like to address today.


Invariably clients in this situation tend to opt for slightly less tailored choices. A formal jacket may be replaced with a shawl or cape on the dress and possibly less fitted, though special fabrics and embellishments are still very much de rigeur.

Images 1-3 Gina Bacconi 4-6 Needle & Thread

If you are outside for a large part of the day, particularly in a rural setting, then you need to think in practical terms as well as in terms of style. 

Wind – There’s nothing like a gust of wind to remove a big hat and whisk it on it’s way.  If wearing a hat, it could be worth having an elastic fitted that will keep it from taking flight.

Sunshine and shade – A big brimmed hat on a sunny day can lead to a dark void under the brim on photos rather than your smiling face.  Granted this can happen outside a church too at a traditional event but there are likely to be more indoor photos too to compensate. Tipi’s in particular are dark inside for photography, whereas the light and airy Sperry tents wouldn’t present a problem.

Storage – If you are in a Tipi, Marquee or Yurt, there may well not be anywhere to store a hat safely when you are ready to take it off.  This is when the fascinator option may be a better choice as if you choose the right style (and I can assist and advise you with that), then it can be worn all the way through.

Overdressed – A traditional wedding hat could just be too much for the rural relaxed wedding (unless you opt for a softer more summery straw hat).  I completely understand that ladies want to look their best in these situations and all too often the cliché of mother of the bride hats is misleading in that it generally advocates the bigger the better.  This certainly isn’t the case, the devil is in the detail, smaller and unique and can work just as well in these situations.

Easy to wear and secure - This really applies to every option but ensure your choice won’t need a spare hand to keep it in place. You’ll probably be holding a bag, a drink, a camera and giving and receiving hugs. I don’t know about you but I’m not an octopus!


Whatever your daughter’s choices for the day I can help.  If you are too far away to meet in person I can consult via Skype, email and telephone, an exchange of photographs of you and your dress will help get things started.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Until next time!

Harriet x