What to wear: Formal city wedding

Next weekend, husband and I are off to a wedding. Under ‘normal’ circumstances this would have given me some sartorial anxiety. The wedding is between one of husband’s former colleagues and his long term partner and not only will husband’s boss be there (who I have never met) but also a lot of husband’s clients too. Many of which are quite important people. There will also be a heavy focus on the party aspect of the wedding, not least because the couple married abroad and this is the celebration part, but also because the dinner is at a Michelin starred restaurant and the trade in which my husband works is the wine trade.

This time though I have the added dilemma that I will be at 11+2 weeks pregnant. My 12 week scan only 5 days away but will not have actually happened. For various reasons, I am attempting not to get too excited about pregnancy until the scan shows a viable fetus, and so, we have told people only on a need to know basis so far. We are wondering whether to tell (a) the bride and groom and (b) husband’s boss prior to the wedding, or to just play it by ear. For better or worse, I can imagine a situation where people simply won’t take “no thank you” as a response to whether I’d like more wine. Also, the invitation says dinner, drinks and dancing and given that the dinner is in a restaurant, I am expecting the dancing to take place at a secondary venue, perhaps a night club or members club, to which I will no doubt be both too tired and too sober to go to and we will have to make a (noticeably) early exit.

Actually, for me personally, the biggest dilemma is what the fuck I’m going to wear. I’d be having this anyway in light of the who and where, but at least before I’d be roughly confident that my stand-by outfits fit and that I’d be able to wear heels. And that after a while, I’d be comfortably drunk and I’d stop being able to feel my feet. Not so. My size seems to be changing daily and my tummy more frequently than that, due in large part to digestion rather than Pip. Actually the two places I’ve really gained weight are my boobs and my bottom, both of which mean that I suspect my trusty dresses won’t be quite right. However, at only the middle of the 12th week, it is pointless trying to wear ‘real’ maternity wear.

I’m going to have to wear something from my existing wardrobe though. I’m on a shopping moratorium to try and pay off my credit card prior to having no income and obviously in time, I will have to add to my wardrobe. But for now, no dice. However, in a bid to try and get some ideas and to trigger some thoughts of my extensive existing wardrobe, I had a quick scroll through ASOS and thought perhaps the following might work.

My main criticism of them all is that they are perhaps just a little too short for a sit down dinner and perhaps even a smidge too casual. Also, red is not really my colour, nor do I necessarily think that it is appropriate for a wedding. I tend to like wearing navy or black, particularly to a formal city wedding. Dress 3 is probably my favourite of the four. It did remind me that I do own a drapy navy COS dress which I have worn to previous weddings, most recently with a (borrowed) white chanel-esque jacket and a white hat. This being a dinner rather than a wedding as such though, a hat is not required.

So, I might try the navy draped COS dress. It has some shoulder pads somewhere if I can find them, which might give it a little more definition. The only downside is that I think it worked better with a belt, and I’m not sure that belted garments are working so well with me right now. That said, it’s probably the best of my options right now.

Those other options include a vintage velvet shift dress with a beaded collar area, but I fancy that velvet is a little too much for early October. I have worn it to two recent events – late last November to a wedding in the Cotswolds and the December before to an engagement party in a London hotel. Somehow black velvet and crystal beading work better nearer Christmas.

Going back to the dresses above, I do like the bow detail on the neck of dress 2, but again, I am not entirely convinced by pink. That said, it looks quite a comfortable shape and the bow detail would do a good job of distracting attention upwards. At £23 it certainly might be worth a look were I attempting not to spend any money at all. I do think though it would work better in black for a formal occasion.

Shoes wise, I think I will attempt to wear high heeled pumps of some kind, as we will be sitting down for a lot of the evening. I really feel a formal dinner calls for high heels and a clutch bag. Probably with hair up in some fashion.

I just hope that husband and I are sat together. By far the most stressful wedding dinner I have been to was one where I was sat at a table where I knew no one and the old boy I was seated by just wouldn’t take no for an answer as far as topping up my glass was concerned. He even asked me if I was pregnant. I wasn’t; just pacing myself as there was a cocktail bar to come and I’d already had several glasses of champagne. I dread either lying that no I’m not pregnant, or, to me, worse, then having to discuss the pregnancy and/or plans etc, when I am waiting until after the scan to make any decisions or start thinking about it in any way.

What other suggestions do people have for formal wedding wear?

Photos from ASOS/1/2/3/4



  1. Oh this is tough, I didn’t realise one changed so much in the first trimester (so much for me to learn one day). I like the sound of the Cos dress and think with jewellery to distract the eye upwards you could definitely get away without wearing a belt. Plus a jacket gives structure and will hopefully create some of the shape the belt would.

    As to telling people, I think you’re doing the right thing in not telling people yet. I’m sure with some subtle non-drinking you could get away with it. And dinner at a Michelin restaurant, sounds wonderful! Hopefully you can enjoy it.

  2. […] weekend, I went to what I thought was going to be a formal city wedding. I wrote about what I might wear to it here. I did go with the draped COS navy dress, without the shoulder pads as I couldn’t find them, […]

  3. It’s funny, your body certainly changes more than I thought it would. I put on 1kg which doesn’t sound a huge amount, but it certainly makes me the heaviest I have ever been. My bottom and thighs and breasts have taken the weight I think which also changes your shape a bit. I had to buy new pants because some of mine just became too small :)


  4. […] weekend, I went to what I thought was going to be a formal city wedding. I wrote about what I might wear to it here. I did go with the draped COS navy dress, without the shoulder pads as I couldn’t find them, […]

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