April 4, 2013

The Reader

Somewhere around a decade ago (geez what is it about talking about time in terms of decades that can suddenly make you feel really old really fast? Quick, somebody get me a Justin Bieber cd….STAT! Oh wait, I just called it a cd…Nevermind. I’m already a lost cause! :). But anyway, somewhere around a DECADE ago, I found myself alone in a strange country in the middle of a year-long study abroad program in England. I was placed in a residence hall with five new British flat mates. who eyed up their new American acquaintance with reserved curiosity. We spent that first night sitting around the kitchen table, making small talk about George W. Bush and pick up trucks. It was not off to a great start.

But somewhere in the days & months that followed, these five strangers became five of my best friends in the world. We did everything together. Dubbed ourselves “The Binghams Crew.” And a couple years later when I announced I was marrying a boy named Justin (What? Like Timberlake?), they all flew across an ocean to stand beside me. Just like they’d always done.

Fast forward a few more years, and now it’s our little Lou- Lou’s turn to take a walk down the aisle. So this summer, Justin & I will be returning the trans-atlantic wedding commute as we go back to merry old England to see one of the dearest friends of my life promise forever. Lou has also given me the HUGE honor of being one of the readers at her wedding. So a couple days ago, I fired off an email to her asking for advice on what one typically wears to an English wedding. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be that different from what the guests wear to weddings in America.

Boy-oh-boyyyy was I glad I asked. This is what she came back with:

*Guests tend to avoid wearing the same as the bridesmaids (in our case, purple & lilac)
* Green is thought to be highly unlucky
* And wearing all black here means you are against the wedding!

Honest to goodness, my go to wedding outfit as a guest is a poofy black cocktail dress & ruffly purple shoes. All I needed was a green bag & my outfit of disaster would have been complete! Yeaaaaa. That would have been awkward. Note to self: go shopping before July.

Then she hits me with THIS. Oh yea, and people do tend to wear a hat or fascinator.

Uhhh, who wears what to the where now???

A fascinator. Hmmm fascinating. Honestly, part of me kind of really wants to. I mean who among us doesn’t want to take a swing at channeling their inner Kate Middleton once in their life. In my head it would be awesome & would look something like this:

But the more I think about it, the more I start to think what I would actually end up looking like would be something a little more like this. Yea, yikes!

You guys. I don’t know. I’m scared!

Ok, ok so you tell me. What do you think? Do you think I should take the chance for that one shot of channeling my inner Kate Middleton? (I mean how often do opportunities to wear something like this on your head & it be totally socially acceptable come along??) Or do you think nothing is worth risking if it could mean winding up looking like one of the evil stepsisters from Cinderella? Because let’s be honest, “Drizella” doesn’t look good on anyone. Weigh in!

Happy Friday y’all!

  1. Jamie

    Go for it! You only live once and I would bet my life that you could find something faboosh on Etsy!

  2. Abby Grace

    Hahah that HAT! I remember getting up at 4 am to watch the royal wedding and seeing Beatrice emerge in that monstrosity. You should DEFINITELY wear one! I mean, not the "toilet bowl + ribbon bow" variety, but I love that first red one on Kate Middleton- something simple with a bit of netting will be just fine. Understated enough to not be obnoxious, but in-line with British fashion enough to blend in. Pretty soon you’ll be sipping tea and saying "brilliant!" like you’re a true Brit!

  3. Jane

    I’m from England, and yes you HAVE to wear a fascinator! :) you can’t pass this opportunity by, or else you’ll get to the wedding and you’ll have real hat envy of the other guests! Small and simple is best, to avoid looking like Princess Beatrice! I love Kate’s cream dress and hat.

  4. Katie Jane

    Yes! Wear the hat! I have a lot of British clients, and it’s always so delightful when they show up in their hats and fascinators. You can totally pull it off.

  5. Susan Evans

    You should ABSOLUTELY do it!! It’s your chance to wear something totally crazy and fun and still fit right in! Plus, you would most definitely rock it out! Can’t wait to see your look – I’m sure it will be brilliant dawling!

  6. Tiffany Bolk

    this is a total no brainer! You can totally pull off the Kate Middleton! You would look super classy in a fascinating fascinator!

  7. Tiffany Farley

    I just laughed SO hard picturing you in the last hat. bahaha. Please wear one. Please.

  8. Jensey

    We do a ton of British weddings at Disney World and YES, you’re gonna want to wear a fascinator. Go somewhere like Nordstrom and get honest advice from the cast members- You won’t regret it! :)

  9. bethany cox

    ABSOLUTELY do the fascinator! When else will you have the chance? I would LOVE to wear one but wearing one in my house in the office really doesn’t make sense. Go for it!

  10. Emily Hall

    Doooo it! Otherwise, you’re the girl who missed out on the opportunity to rock a fascinator. And that would be sad.

  11. Spring

    YES!!!!! Do it – ill help you shop for one- I love hats and would totally rock on here even though I’d be sure to get all kinds of funny looks!

  12. Gwendolyn Tundermann

    YES!!! I can’t wait to see which one you choose. I’m sure it will be tasteful and not that awful "look-at-me" variety!

  13. Alicia Candelora

    I say do it! And if you want to practice, you can wear one to my wedding. Just make sure you also use your best British accent. I have a few friends coming form various parts of Europe, so you’ll fit right in.

  14. jenn

    you definitely need to wear one! i have been waiting for a chance to buy one and actually wear it from here: http://kcshats.com/id16.html
    . now is your chance, mary!

  15. Ali

    I’ve always wanted the opportunity to wear one, but in the U.S. you’re looked at as "that girl," the one who also has read Harry Potter 8 times and pictures of princesses in your room. No judgement, but I’m just not that girl. So if you have an occasion, ROCK.IT.OUT.

  16. Sarah Adams

    Of all people- I think YOU could pull off the fascinator effortlessly. You already have amazing style. Would LOVE to see what you come up with for some head style! Go for it :)

  17. Sarah Hoppes

    Absolutely go for the fascinator!!! How many opportunities do you get to rock one? It will look fantastic on you!! Just go for something relatively small and simple. Have fun!!

  18. Jil

    definitely yes!!!

  19. Amanda

    Definitely! Do it! You would look fabulous! I would just pick a small fascinator that matches the color of my outfit so it doesn’t stand out too much. After all, the fact that I would be wearing a hat at all stands out enough. I love the top right pic of Kate!

  20. Annetta

    I would love to wear one of those hats that Kate’s wearing. Love th sassy grey one! I wear a hat to church every Sunday but nothing as daring as these. I say go for it!!

  21. MartaV

    Totally do it!! They are awesome! I have always thought it’s sad that there is not really an occasion to wear them here in the states. You will look fabulous!

  22. Sarah Wamuhiu

    You can totally pull it off. Its all about the size and the placement. Go small and classy. There is quite a bit of British influence in Kenya and alot of my brides wear them for their reception which I love (and I’m usually the one who figures out where its supposed to go because no one else can :). You will awesome and be sure to post pictures!

  23. Jennifer Bacchiocchi

    Yes! Wear one! We did a wedding shortly after Wills and Kate got married. She grew up in MA but had met her husband in London while studying abroad and ended up living there. They got married here and lots of there guests were from England. I loved seeing all of the fascinators! They were so much fun. You could totally pull it off!

  24. Jessie Emeric

    I agree with everyone else! You can totally pull it off. Do it! xo

  25. Josh Liba

    I’m not sure why my mouth tends to pronounce "Fascinator" with a heavy emphasis on the last syllable.

    Anyway, I think you should go for it! While we’re at it, wear it back in the U.S.! We could do with some more eclectic tastes.

    Role Model: Audrey Hepburn at the horse races in My Fair Lady. Yes. Go.

    Also, thank you for making my day with that final picture. It looks like the scene at the end of Beauty and the Beast when all of the household items turn back into humans resembling their teapot or candle counterparts, and she just happened to be a lacy door knocker. Beautiful.

  26. Elizabeth Langford

    Definitely wear a fascinator!!! Take the chance. Seize the moment. Buy an outfit to match!!

  27. Ashley

    yes!! if anyone can pull it off as well as Kate, it is you, Mary!

  28. Autumn C.

    Do it! Do it! I love them and am trying to bring the fancy hats back too! Etsy has many beautiful options and you can even send a dress swatch to some to match colors! There is also a facinator company out of NYC that has lots of options. If nothing else it’s a chance to play dress up with your hubby. What fun! I’m so jealous!

  29. jodi vander woude

    Go out all the way!! You are beautiful and you will look amazing!!!

  30. Jessica Chavez

    Go for it!! Get a fascinator!! I’m sure you will look amazing!!

  31. GrandmaIna

    You can do it! You look great in anything you put on–and you wear everything with such panache!

  32. Lydia

    Do it, Mary! You would totally rock it!

  33. Jen

    ABSOLUTELY do it!
    if you’re afraid of picking a bad one – just wait til you get over there and have your British friends help you!!
    You have to do it though! Very jealous!

  34. Kristin S.

    Wear one! I have one and I wish there were more opportunities to wear it. Just go with a smaller one like the one in the upper left of your Kate block. There’s a whole bunch available on Etsy. Nordstrom tends to carry them too. Also… we both may have been in England at the same time. :) Have a fabulous time!

  35. Jordan

    DO IT!! Really, when will you have the chance again? Have fun with it and enjoy yourself!

  36. Lisa

    I say do it! And have a great time, I’m jealous…

  37. Leah Haydock

    Hi Mary :) I saw you speak at a Boston PUG meeting and check in on your blog every now and again – always fun! I’ve been to a LOT of British weddings – here are some helpful differences http://leahhaydock.blogspot.com/2011/04/weddings-in-uk-vs-us-differences.html You will totally need a fascinator – check out Monsoon or Selfridges or John Lewis online and get it shipped to your hotel. Have fun! Leah :)

  38. Ciiku

    You should definitely rock one!!

    In Kenya, people wear them too and I know you will look awesome!

  39. Rici

    Oh I love this post Mary! Go for some extravaganza please! It´s England! I´d love to see you pull of the best wedding guest outfit there!

  40. Litt Lou-Lou

    I love this post, it made me cry happy tears & laugh in one swoop!

    If my 87 year old Grandma can wear a fascinator, then Miss Mary surely can.

    Cannot stop giggling like a 10 year old girl at this post. I cannot wait to see your outfit with a fascinator & for the binghams crew to be reunited!


  41. Amy Clifton Keely

    Um, I have NO doubts that you can rock the fascinator with no trouble!!

  42. Leah C. Couture Millinery

    As a couture milliner, I would say YES to a fascinator as guest at an English Wedding! What is most important is your personal choice of that fascinator. Take your time, see what’s out there, be true to your personal sense of style and make a confident decision.
    An experienced milliner could help which is why making an appointment and inlisting professional help would aid in your decision making process.

    Our showroom has many options pret-a-porter and we provide a professional consultation at every appointment.

    Leah C.

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