What to Wear to a Royal Wedding

We hate to break it to you, but chances are, if you were going to be invited to the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle in May, you’d have already received your invitation. Even if you’ll be watching from home instead of sitting in the pews at St. George’s Chapel, there are still things you need to know about royal dress code and etiquette in order to fully appreciate the traditional ensembles you’ll see making their way down the aisle.

Even though Megan and Harry are extremely modern young people, and are innovating new customs within the Royal Family, their wedding will still be extremely traditional. From the elaborately frilled hats all the way down to the rise of the ladies’ heels, royal protocol still reigns supreme. Here’s a crash course on royal wedding attire, so you can be ready to jump into action if your invitation arrives at last.

1. Morning Coat

Let’s start with the men — because men’s attire tends to be a little less complicated than the ladies’ options. On Megan and Harry’s wedding invitation, which of course came from Kensington Palace rather than from the couple themselves, invites male guests to wear a “Uniform, Morning Coat, or Lounge Suit” while women should stick to a “Day Dress with hat.” Most men who haven’t been associated with the military opt to wear a morning coat — a formal outfit consisting of a single-breasted coat with tails that fastens in the middle with one button. This is an extremely typical choice for most men middle-aged and above. This attire can be made of either grey or black fabric.

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2. Waistcoat

To complete the full morning dress look, men wear a wool or linen waistcoat under their morning coat, along with trousers and a tie. While most morning coats (also known as tailcoats) are either grey or black, some people play around with color in their waistcoat as a way to express their personality. Most etiquette guides suggest staying away from loud, garish colors for a waistcoat, and instead sticking to more muted tones. Some more traditional colors include grey, a yellow-tan color typically called ‘buff’, or black. On festive occasions, pale blue or pink is acceptable.

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3. Lounge Suit

This rather outdated phrase appears on the royal wedding invitation, but it’s something much more familiar than it sounds. A lounge suit is an old-fashioned name for a regular suit something that you would see an English country gentleman wearing during the evening. A lounge suit is basically just a matching suit jacket and trousers – sometimes a waistcoat is worn, generally made in a fabric that matches the rest of the suit. Lounge suits first came on the scene in the mid-19th century and were upper-class casual and weekend wear until they were adopted as the de-facto outfit of the corporate world in the mid-20th century.

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