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Our style columnist Esther Walker shares her ideas for wedding guest outfits that look chic while also being child-friendly


Including my own, I think I have been to just four weddings. That’s a bit weird, isn’t it? I am 38 years old!

OK, I had to miss a couple because I had literally just had a baby (twice) and one was in Afghanistan – or possibly Scotland. But, even then, where are all these weddings that everyone says they’re invited to each weekend in spring and summer?

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I am so cool that people are too intimidated to invite me to their weddings. Alas not. The truth is I am such a grouch and such a vibe-suck at any party, no one wants me there.

I am also a bad friend. I don’t call: I don’t remember birthdays.

So my calendar yawns in front of me, empty, wedding-less, and speculation on wedding outfits is completely academic. It’s tragic, really – me wondering what it would be like to have loads of friends who invited me to their weddings.

“Oh, we must have Esther,” they say in my fantasy life. “It will be no fun without her complaining and going to bed early! She won’t pull a face at having to sit next to my grandmother and definitely won’t yawn in the speeches or say too loudly, ‘I give it six months’.”

And – still in my fantasy life – I would agree to take my children to this wedding! Which I would never do because they behave even worse than me.

I might as well bring a couple of half-trained rottweilers to a squirrel’s birthday party and expect them to behave.

Isn’t one of the points of a wedding to drink rosé and chatter away to people? I have never found this compatible with childcare, unless you’re OK with your kids stumbling about covered in nettle stings or wildly swatting the wedding cake with both hands.

But let’s pretend I am the sort of person who gets invited to weddings and also the sort of person who has children who could be presented in public – if both things were true, I would need a clever outfit to wear.

Because as we all know, children have a sixth sense for when you are wearing anything dry-clean only, or something that your boobs will fall out of if you have to bend over, or some heels that will do in your ankle if you have to break into a trot to stop a four-year-old from running up the aisle of the church holding a stick shouting, “Pew, pew, pew”.

[Continued below]


Meet the anything-
but-dull suit
Also comes in mint,
nude and white
Esther loves this
vibrant scarf
Stand out in these
dazzling heels


“Children have a sixth sense for when you are wearing anything dry-clean only, so play it safe with a machine-washable trouser suit or jumpsuit”


Just as children will find and test to the max the vulnerabilities in your marriage, your car, your sunglasses and your mental health, so they will test any outfit you choose to put on. Which is why, until my youngest child started school, I wore trainers, boyfriend jeans and hooded sweatshirts – and that was it.

So, what on earth can you wear to a wedding where you have your children with you? You have options: either a jumpsuit, a cross-body bag and low wedge heels, or a trouser suit with a block heel.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I wear a skirt my kids take it as an open invitation to pull it up and then hide under it – or just flap it up and down with both hands like they’re laying out a picnic blanket.

A cross-body bag or clutch mean you have both hands free so that

you can clamp one over an errant child while keeping hold of your champagne glass with the other. And the stout heel, well – what with the unpredictability of a British wedding ground surface – I’d be surprised if you’re not wearing this sort of shoe anyway, but a wedge or a block is just the best thing for the sudden bursts of speed you need when in charge of under 10s.

If you’re thinking this doesn’t sound very glamorous, that’s where your accessories come in! Lots. Bracelets, necklaces and earrings will elevate any outfit into a party. And, by the way, this is going to be the summer of the scarf – around wrists, necks or in the hair. Get practicing.

The alternative, of course, is to not take your kids. Why don’t you drop them off with me? I haven’t got much on. Just promise to bring me back a slice of cake.


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Styling: Chloe Forde / Make-up: Karina Constantine / Hair: Ben Cook / Nails: Charly Avenell

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