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Navigating The Sequel Wedding

Why have one wedding when you can have two? Inspired by celebrities past and present, many couples are choosing to have two separate “dos” with very different aesthetics. Thomas Pink explores how to dress the part for both.

When you think of a celebrity wedding, no doubt you imagine a lavish, no-expenses-spared affair on a private island. While this is the case for many A-listers, there are also those who opt for a no-frills courthouse or registry office “I do”.

It’s easy to see the appeal in going low-key – celebrity or otherwise. Not only can you eschew the usual excess and expense of a big wedding, but a stripped-down affair means you have more freedom to do things your way.

This naturally extends to the dress code. The informality of a quickie town hall or courthouse ceremony means you can embrace the impromptu nature of it all and go a little unconventional. Who can forget Yoko Ono in a white minidress and boots standing alongside John Lennon – looking equally rakish in a cream-coloured roll neck, trainers and blazer – after their 1969 Gibraltar elopement? In fact, each member of the Fab Four opted for a civil service, with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney favouring the storied steps of Old Marylebone Town Hall, while George Harrison tied the knot at Epsom Register Office with his beautiful 22-year-old bride, the model Pattie Boyd, wearing a fabulous Mary Quant fur coat (can you get any more Swinging Sixties?).

Modern couples often look to the past for sartorial inspiration when it comes to a registry office ceremony. Bianca Jagger was the OG cool bride in a YSL Le Smoking jacket, worn sans blouse, when she wed Mick Jagger – also oozing ’70s chic in a pale suit and floral shirt – at their St Tropez Town Hall wedding. This iconic look was later adopted in 2018 by Millie Mackintosh when she married fellow Made in Chelsea alumnus Hugo Taylor at Chelsea Old Town Hall, as well as Emily Ratajkowski in an orange Zara trouser suit and black wide-brimmed hat for her New York courthouse nuptials the same year. Lily Allen channelled Mia Farrow’s 1966 wedding to Frank Sinatra when she wed actor David Harbour in a short, ’60s-inspired dress (both, incidentally, took place in Las Vegas, although the Allen-Harbour nuptials were officiated by an Elvis impersonator). “The King” also found time to officiate the spontaneous 2022 Vegas wedding of a leather-and-sunglasses-clad Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker in the first of their three ceremonies, with their ‘proper’ wedding held in lavish, Dolce & Gabbana-sponsored style in Portofino, Italy.

Sometimes called a ‘sequel wedding’, a two-part ceremony is nothing new but is growing in popularity. This is due in part to the pandemic turning the industry on its head, with many couples holding micro ceremonies followed by a big party once restrictions lifted. Four years on, the trend is apparently sticking around.

But how to navigate two weddings with two very different aesthetics? Guests lucky enough to be invited to the low-key legal ceremony (usually these are reserved for close friends and family), should embrace the rock ’n’ roll-ness of it all – without taking the spotlight away from the bride and groom. Double-check whether the vibe is smart-casual or jeans and a T-shirt. If it’s the former, opt for a coloured or striped shirt, such as our Pale Blue & White Classic Fit Formal Core Poplin Bengal Stripe Shirt, or a white dress shirt with knitted tie or simple twill pocket square. Take an umbrella if the forecast isn’t looking great and lean into the playful nature. Last year, Made in Chelsea stars Jamie Laing and Sophie Habboo – rocking a short Vivienne Westwood frock and sunnies – made the rainy streets outside Chelsea Town Hall look effortlessly cool before jetting off to sunny Seville for a second ceremony.

If you are heading to a destination wedding, the setting will inform what you wear. Check the itinerary; a white sand beach in the Caribbean will require a different ensemble to a marquee in Tuscany, for example. Thomas Pink’s linen and cotton-linen blend shirts are ideal for keeping your cool in hot weather with their lightweight and breathable properties. Our White Tailored Fit Smart Casual Plain Linen Slub Shirt is a smart- casual essential for either groom or guest. For a country barn or stately home affair, our Tailored Fit Formal Ramses Poplin Shirt in white is the foundation of a more formal wardrobe. But an elegant setting doesn’t mean you can’t add a pop of personality to your outfit. Our beautifully made Coral Pink Tailored Fit Formal Superior Solid Plain Shirt in our signature pink is eye-catching when worn slightly unbuttoned sans tie. Preferably paired with a tan.