A Royal Guide to Wedding Hats and Fascinators

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Learn the etiquette rules to consider, and design trends to know, before purchasing your first fascinator or millinery masterpiece.

In case you’re inspired by the royal wedding to make a bold millinery statement this summer, whether you’re off to a friend’s nuptials or the Queen’s Plate, we’ve gathered some insider tips from talented Toronto milliner Karyn Ruiz of Lilliput Hats on pulling off sculptural, fashionable headwear IRL.

Consider the occasion

“Fascinators and hats are both acceptable for a daytime wedding; however, a hat should be removed at cocktail time. A smallish or medium-sized fascinator, depending on its components, can double as a cocktail hat for a late afternoon or early evening reception.”

Embrace strong design elements

“I love a bit of height and asymmetry; flowers tucked under a brim look fab! Strong colour, an ‘exclamation mark,’ or a strong horizontal element like a quill or bright pheasant tail feather can look great.”

Go bold, but not too big!

“Be mindful of upstaging the bride or her immediate family. And try to ensure you are open and approachable—i.e. huggable!”

Respect other guests’ lines of sight

“One should be mindful of blocking someone’s view during the ceremony, but hats are generally kept on for the duration of the wedding.”

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Feathers and flowers are the perennial favourites

“Anything and everything is in as far as the royal wedding goes. The fascinator is still popular, especially a more substantial ‘saucer’ or ‘plate’ shape with feathers and flowers. Elaborate feather pieces and more sculptural pieces are my personal favourite.”

Colour-coordinate your accessories

“Nude, blush and cobalt are classic statement colours, and easy to work in with shoes and bag.”

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Check that the fascinator sits properly, and your veil isn’t too long

“Most people are right handed, so we tend to angle our fascinators to the right. Typically, it sits just above the eyebrow, but not too far over so that it looks like it’s slipping. A well-made fascinator should be comfortably asymmetric, with a delicate drop of netting or veiling just over the eye for daytime (but not longer than that!).”

Relax, and enjoy the shopping and design process

“Try on everything! Have fun. It’s your opportunity to shine and play! Choose, or let a professional help you choose, something which compliments the dress and outfit.”