Finding the perfect wedding hat for the Mother of the Bride or Groom

Alison Roe

Bespoke Millinery Designer and Owner of the Hat Hire Gallery at The Coach House Studio.

Your son or daughter is getting married and you have sourced the perfect dress for this very special day in the life of your family. But when it comes to the hat, choosing your millinery can be quite daunting, especially if you haven’t worn a hat before. Don’t worry as we have put together some tips to help you find the perfect hat to complete your ensemble.

Initial Consultation 

I usually advise allowing at least 6 to 8 weeks if you are having a bespoke headpiece made, so arrange an initial consultation well in advance. Bring the outfit you have chosen and also the shoes & accessories (if you have them). If you have had your dress made especially for you, there may be some of the fabric to spare and sometimes it can be incorporated into the hat. 

A Mother of the Bride can find it helpful to bring the bride along with her for that initial appointment and I advise trying on lots of different hat styles to see what suits & what feels comfortable before deciding on the final choice. Often, I find that in the course of trying on different hats, customers can be quite surprised that they really like a particular style that they would not even have considered before trying it on!


As Mother of the Bride/Groom, you have a special role on the day and will be welcoming so many guests. Therefore, it is very important that you feel comfortable and that your hat allows you room to greet guests without having to turn your head to an unnatural angle or push veiling aside. If guests have to duck to give you a kiss, it is possible that you may end up having their make-up on your shoulder!


It is also important to make sure that your face can be seen in photos. You don’t want to be invisible under a brim that is very wide or causes a shadow to fall on your face, making it very difficult for the photgrapher to get a good shot. Therefore, hats that sweep up to the side or cocktail and disc hats can be a good choice, rather than wide brims with deep crowns.


How you intend to wear your hair can also be a consideration in determining how you would like to have the headpiece affixed to your head (ie. hairband, hat elastic, combs). I feel that it is wise to have a comb sewn in whether the hat attaches to the head via elastic or hairband, as it provides additional security if the hair is fine. Hats with deep crowns (similar to the style of hat worn by the queen) can also leave a line mark on your hair when you remove the hat later in the day (what I call ‘hat-hair’!).

Traditionally, ladies wear hats on the right hand side but if the parting of your hair is on the left side, then it can look nicer if a headpiece is worn on the left hand side (covering the parting) to allow the fuller volume of hair to be styled to the other side.


If there will be a car journey between the ceremony and the reception, then is is wise to consider the height of the hat you want to wear. If it has any height in it, it will be necessary to remove the hat in order for you to fit in the car. This may be difficult if the hat is affixed to the head by hat elastic especially if the hair has been pinned in over the elastic. Sometimes, the headpiece can be pushed back too far when touching the roof of the car so that it is not sitting correctly on the head for the photographs. I would advise thinking about all of this with your milliner before deciding on the style you choose and also discussing this with your hair stylist in advance of the big day.

Wedding Etiquette

Wedding etiquette dictates that the Mother of the Groom should opt for a hat smaller than the Mother of the Bride!  

The mother of the bride dictates when other ladies may remove their hats and fascinators. Until she removes her hat, other ladies are expected to leave theirs on!

We hope that you will find these tips useful. Please feel free to contact us for a private consultation (without any obligation to purchase/hire) or telephone us to discuss your requirements. 
Here at The Coach House Studio, we have three millinery options for the Mother of the Bride and Groom: 


Have a unique piece designed by Alison especially for you to complement your individual style and your chosen dress.

Ready-to-Wear Collection

Purchase one of our Ready-to-Wear headpieces in a colour of your choice

Hat Hire

Hire one of the hundreds of designs we have available to hire in our Hat Hire Gallery upstairs in the studio and online.