The strict dress rules for Meghan and Harry’s royal wedding

Allison Yee
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

There’s just a few sleeps to go until Meghan Markle lives all of our princess dreams and walks down the aisle to marry Prince Harry.

But while all eyes will be on the stunning bride as she debuts her hugely anticipated wedding gown for millions around the world, it’s not just Meghan’s ensemble that’s going to come under scrutiny.

Meghan and Harry’s wedding is just days away, so no doubt guests are finalising their outfits for the big day. Photo: Getty

For those lucky enough to be invited to the wedding on May 19 at Windsor Castle, royal protocol dictates there’s a very specific dress code that needs to be followed.

Legs and shoulders are to be covered

It’s a case of the more conservative the better when it comes to frocking up for Meghan and Harry’s big day, and that means hemlines that fall below the knee.

And while Meghan’s made headlines for baring her shoulders in recent weeks, any guest doing so at her wedding will see some serious disapproval thrown their way.

“Shoulders should be covered, hemlines should be on the conservative side, and closed-toe shoes,” etiquette expert Myka Meier told Town & Country.

Hats are to be worn in church

Princess Beatrice made headlines for her controversial head piece for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding, but donning a hat is compulsory for all wedding guests.

Headware is mandatory, but Princess Beatrice pushed the boundaries at Kate and Wills’ wedding and faced the fashion pack wrath. Photo: Getty

One thing to be wary of, say experts, is restricting the view of other wedding attendees who might be wanting to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom, so nothing too big or overly extravagant.

‘Morning dress’ is advised for male guests

It’s not just ladies who are subject to strict dress requirements.

Male wedding guests are likely to be sporting morning dress, which consists of waist coat and tie, with experts saying navy or grey suits are customary.

Elton John and his partner David Furnish paid close attention to the strict dress code at the royal wedding in 2011. Photo: Getty

Wondering what Prince Harry might be wearing on the big day? Speculation is rife Harry – who served for over a decade in the armed forces – will follow in Prince William’s footsteps and wear military garb.

Keep heel heights sensible

They’re the ultimate outfit accessory for a lot of women, but those donning high heels to attend Meghan and Harry’s big day risk being judged for their choice.

Case in point: Victoria Beckham’s sky-high heels did not go down well with etiquette experts at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2011 nuptials.

Posh came under fire for her towering heels at Kate and Wills’ wedding. Photo: Getty

“Don’t wear huge heels. It’s not practical as well as not being etiquette. Victoria Beckham wore huge stilettos. Now, they were going into Westminster Abbey—a church floor is not a smooth floor,” etiquette tutor William Hanson told Town and Country.

A word of warning to wedge lovers – insiders report Queen Elizabeth loathes them, so best to steer clear of these too, and all female guests need to wear nude stockings as well.

Skirts are to be below the knee, with nude tights covering legs, say experts. Photo: Getty

Neutral nail shades only

Meghan will no doubt have her engagement ring polished and ready for its close up when Harry slips the wedding band on, and royal protocol dictates the Suits star will be showing off a neutral shade.

Her Majesty is said to disapprove of bright garish nails, and reportedly wears on one colour – Essie’s ‘Ballet Slippers’ – with guests recommended to follow suit.


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