What you wear to a wedding depends on a lot of different variables. If you aren't the bride then a big whoomfy white dress and veil looks a bit attention-seeking. Many couples issue guidelines about dress. They might, for example, stipulate morning suits for gentlemen. If they are complete control freaks they will even tell you which colour waistcoat they want you to wear, and how much it will cost to hire it from Moss Bros. Morning suit hire is more than I feel inclined to shell out for a present, so my view is they'll get one or the other. An entire reception full of blokes in matching morning suits, but no towels or toasters.
Usually the couple are a bit more relaxed. Most men will wear a lounge suit to a wedding. No problemo, they think. I have a suit in the wardrobe which I wore to be Dave's best man 5 years ago. Still, a wise man will try the suit on a good week before the wedding. And a very wise man will try it on even if someone says to him 'Aren't you going to try that suit on, darling?' Because it's a well-known fact that suits can shrink if left hanging too long in a wardrobe.
This kind of masculine wardrobe fiasco is a mere airy nothing compared to the horrors faced by most women as a wedding approaches. This brings me back to those variables I mentioned earlier. What you wear depends not least on how close you are to the happy couple. If you are the mother of the groom you will approach the whole outfit question in a very different frame of mind from an old college friend. Sisters of the bride may well end up being a bridesmaid, or Bag of Honour, as it was called in my family. In this case you will not be able to choose your dress at all. The best you can hope for is to head off anything disastrously unflattering.
Other variables are more subtle. Is there going to be an ex-boyfriend there, who needs to be taught what an utter loser he is for no longer going out with you (even if you ditched him)? Will the wedding be full of people you went to school with (NB start diet 4months in advance)? Or are you only being invited because you are the vicar's wife (in which case no significant expenditure or effort is called for and you'll be on the same table as the children and mad aunts)?
Then there's the hat issue to decide. I used to adore wearing hats before they became de rigeur. These days I seldom bother, unless I can be sure my hat is bigger than everyone else's put together and all will drop to their knees at my sheer millinery awesomeness. Plus hats squash my hair.
But here's an oddity about wedding clothes which I've noticed: the no matchy-matchy rule is suspended. Colour co-ordination is permitted at weddings, indeed, it is positively encouraged. If you wish to wear salmon pink everything from fascinator to sling-backs, you may do so with impunity. This is why I allowed myself to wear white trousers, black-and-white patterned top, black-and-white necklace, pink earrings, pink pashmina and pink shoes to a wedding last Saturday. And I'm not ashamed to say it felt good.