Twenty-five or thirty years ago I attended a wedding on a New Jersey farm. The land had been in the bride’s family for generations, complete with corn fields and hay bales. The groom was the brother of a man I hoped anxiously to marry. That man would eventually propose, and I would accept.
In the early 80s a 25- or 26-year old unmarried High WASP might worry about what to wear to the wedding of her hoped-for brother-in-law. She might attend the event with an unquiet heart. And show up noticeably fancier than most of the other guests.
I still remember my outfit – a pale pink linen camp shirt, black button-up cotton knit vest cinched with a thin black patent leather belt, mid-length pleated white cotton jacquard skirt, and a white, round-crown, wide-brimmed hat. Also pearls. A lot of fabric, but our motto for the early 80s was. “In Volume We Trust.” Why I forget what shoes I wore I cannot tell you.
Recently, a young woman got married on her farm, and asked me if I had any good wardrobe recommendations for her family and guests. High WASP training strengthens sartorial understanding as much as it saps the necessary courage for love. And yes, perhaps only in this culture are skirt fabric and matters of the heart so closely linked.
For the record, I do not suggest belted knit vests. Or the nervous smile that must have accompanied my every move. But cotton jacquard is the right fabric. Polished cotton works too. And longish and fullish is a very good silhouette.
What to wear to a wedding on a farm? A dress or skirt in a non-shiny fabric that won’t snag on hay bale seating, something long and full enough to allow for sitting on the ground if the picnic benches get crowded. Oh, and flats or wedges. No one likes to sink into dirt, no matter how glamorously.
The Grande Dame takes cotton jacquard to its most refined extreme. Has the hardest time choosing which of her hats to wear.
The Artsy Cousin tries to make her mother happy, loves that gray Oilily on the right, finds it’s sold out and takes that as the universe giving permission to mix purple stripes with a feather pattern. Just as well. The motorcycle boots might not have thrilled Mom.
The Sturdy Gal is perhaps the happiest of all at a farm, unless she’s wondering why, oh why, everyone else is getting married while she is not. If you can’t wear flowered plimsolls to a farm wedding, when then? Her jeans jacket might raise a few well-plucked eyebrows, but she brings great presents.The best sort of guest, one you can count on to talk to Aunt Priscilla about terriers.
It’s August. I wish all you late summer brides and guests wonderful farm weddings, in Maine, Bedminster, Sonoma, Purdue.
May the sun shine and the mosquitoes sleep deeply.
What To Wear To A Farm Wedding in 2016
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