There is more to wearing a hat at a wedding than can be imagined. For instance, did you know that it is considered etiquette for female guests to wait until the Mother of the Bride has taken off her hat before theirs can be removed? At a formal wedding this is usually when the coffee is about to be served. It is also considered polite in some circles for the Mother of the Groom to have a smaller hat than that of the Bride’s Mother!

There is a need for practicality. For instance, it can be quite difficult for waiting staff to get round a hat at a formal sit-down reception. So, if you have an exceptionally large hat you should take this off as soon as you are seated to avoid any awkward clashes. Similarly, if you are in the greetings party at the Reception, a large brim can certainly make it hard for any welcoming kiss.

A hat can make or break a wedding outfit: Here’s a few tips:

• A hat should be no wider than your shoulders. Women with smaller heads should try a hat that tilts to the side so their face is not covered.
• Fascinators – decorative headpieces normally made from ribbons or feathers -are fun and tend to suit any face.
• Try on every kind of hat and take a friend and a hand mirror when you are buying one. Look at the hat from all angles. Often the first impression of someone at a wedding is from the back.
• Don’t be a fashion victim. Select a hat that matches the style of your outfit and not necessarily the colour of it. Have a structured hat if you are wearing a tailored suit or dress and if you have a flowing dress than match this with one less rigid, adorned with ribbons or flowers.
• The colour of your hat should complement one of the shades in your dress or be a lighter or deeper tone. It should match with the colour of your other accessories
• Ensure your jewellery works in harmony. If you are wearing a bigger hat, wear smaller earrings and vice-versa.
• If you wear glasses, pick a hat style that is turned up at the front, which will frame your face
• Don’t leave it to the day of the wedding to wear it. Put your hat on around the house, keep adjusting it to see which angle is best for you and try it with your wedding day make-up to ensure the whole ensemble works.


Samantha MattamsFor childhood sweethearts Ryan and Samantha Matthams there was never going to be any better place than Hylands House, Essex, to celebrate their special day in July 2014. The Chelmsford couple met twenty years ago, when they were just 13 and 14, whilst cycling in their local park and have always admired Hylands House and its surroundings. “We only viewed other venues online, as we had pretty much set our sights on Hylands from day one”, said Samantha, “and we often take walks around its pretty grounds with our children”. The use of the grand house and its sweeping drive and gardens turned out to be an excellent choice, particularly as Ryan and Samantha’s wedding took place on the hottest day of the year. The house with its large windows and patio and its adjacent vast parkland, ensured that all guests could take advantage of the weather.

At the start of the day, Samantha and her bridal party were given the new, exquisitely light and stylish Bridal Suite to get dressed in and ensure that hair and makeup were picture-perfect for the day. Meanwhile, Ryan settled into the Repton room, with his groom’s party and a couple of nerve-calming cold beers, whilst they changed for the big day. “The fact that we had these rooms too just helped add to the specialness of the occasion”, said Samantha.

With 61 people attending in the day and a further 50 in the evening, the couple also made use of the rest of the large house, so that they could properly share this beautiful venue with family and friends. The Ceremony took place in the dual aspect Drawing Room, which overlooks beautiful parkland towards a lake. Following this, the wedding breakfast was in the lavishly decorated Banqueting Room, which has 24 carat gold leaf swag and scroll decorations, and silk lined walls.

The Dining Room and outside Patio were used for the reception drinks and the evening buffet was held in the Terrace Room. Last but certainly not least, the stunning and impressive Entrance Hall, with its chequered marble floor flooded with natural light in the day, was also commandeered as their evening dance venue.
The couple decorated Hylands to make more of their chosen colour scheme. “For the wedding breakfast, the seats and tables were covered in white linen, with brown sashes on the chairs. We had tall standing martini glass centre pieces placed on round mirrors with scattered crystals for extra sparkle”, continued Samantha.

“We put a great deal of thought into our colour scheme”, added Samantha. Ryan and his Groom’s party wore chocolate brown suits, with white shirts and brown shoes. Samantha’s enchanting traditional dress was in ivory with a lovely long train and veil. The bridesmaids toned in beautifully, wearing rum pink strapless evening-style dresses.
Tamsin and Tom from Hylands House wedding team helped with the initial preparation for the day, “All of the staff, from the day we booked the venue to end of our wedding day were brilliant”, said Ryan, “and were always happy to assist where needed.”

Samantha continues, “Hylands House is timeless and offers such an amazing, fairy-tale feel for your wedding day and is the perfect setting for some truly memorable pictures. We would highly recommend it to anyone.”

Following the wedding Ryan, Samantha and their children flew to Spain. We wonder if the weather there was as gorgeous as it was on their lovely wedding day.


Black Brides Cake Black Brides COuple blue room Black Brides Gardens Black Brides pPink DressHylands House has provided the backdrop for many a film set and of course thousands of Essx weddings over the years. Recently our beautifully maintained Grade II Listed Georgian Villa was chosen by a top wedding magazine for a stylish shoot. Our lovely large white house, breath-taking park and gardens and additional Grand Pavilion offered a spectacular and stunning setting, but we were still in awe of the beautiful pictures they took.


Black Brides and Weddings magazine created an enchanting shoot entitled ‘Just upon a Wish’. This shows a gorgeously dressed couple strolling hand-in-hand in our gardens, standing next to an elegantly decorated table and posing against large windows in our Terrace Room.

For a while Hylands House was flooded with cameras and lights as the photo team, models, stylists hairdressers and make-up artists explored every inch of Hylands, sighing at each superbly decorated room.

Our serene Bridal Room, a perfect location for a bride’s party to get ready in and also as a place for the bride and groom to relax in during the day, is shown with the bride on her own and then again with the couple together. There is a really lovely shot of them in the house, stealing glances at each other over a magnificently decorated wedding cake and there are photographs taken in the architecturally stylish Terrace Room, which has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the terrace, lawns and the landscaped parkland towards the Serpentine Lake.

The inspiring photography gives a gorgeous view of how Hylands House greatly enhances a wedding and highlights how the house is such an utterly romantic setting.