Is Pippa Middleton Really Asking This of Her Wedding Guests?

Sabrina Rojas Weiss
Pippa Middleton, pictured at the royal wedding of her sister, Catherine Middleton, to Prince William in 2011, will soon say her own “I do’s.” (Photo: Getty Images)

Another day in May, another rumor about Pippa Middleton’s top-secret wedding. Today’s uncorroborated news is that the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister has requested that guests come to her wedding with a change of clothes for the reception.

The concept has some scratching their heads, some tsk-tsk-ing with disapproval, and others eager to make this a trend.


We’re increasingly familiar with the idea of the bride changing her gown for a less cumbersome reception dress, but this request strikes some as unusual. Middleton’s wedding to James Matthews on May 20 will take place at St. Mark’s Church in Englefield, so it’s likely that conservative dress will be appropriate.

According to reports, Middleton’s parents, Carole and Michael, will host the reception at their $7.3 million estate, Bucklebury Manor. That leaves open the question of why these guests will be changing clothes. For a fancy evening dinner? A themed costume ball? A casual pool party? A chill garden party with lawn games? Our imaginations are running wild with possibilities.

“She’s definitely not having a pool party,” New York-based event planner Jove Meyer, who still isn’t quite convinced that this rumor is true, shares with Yahoo Style. “If it is the case and she is doing it, I think it’s a logistical nightmare for everybody involved.”

Those logistics include where guests will store their change of clothes, how they’ll transport them, and where they’ll change. Meyer suggested that a solution might involve some kind of messenger service and a separate tent for changing.

“As luxury as portable bathrooms have become, I don’t see her guests in their gowns getting in portable bathrooms to change,” he says. Even though the party is at a private home, most people hosting an event that size don’t encourage guests to enter the house itself.

Such an outfit change would also take away from time the guests could be spending celebrating. On the other hand, that may be because our frame of reference is the typical five- or six-hour American ceremony-cocktail-hour-reception order of business. European weddings can go on for 18 hours, Meyer notes.

Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding, for example, was a day-to-night affair. After the grand 650-guest luncheon at Buckingham Palace, about 300 of the guests were invited to take a break, change into evening wear, and return to the palace for a reception hosted by Prince Charles. If Pippa is following suit, with a formal church wedding followed by a long break before an evening party, then a change of attire makes more sense.

If Meyer’s clients decide to replicate a potential clothing change, he has some ideas of how they can do this on a smaller scale without placing the burden on their guests: “Potentially, it’s done through accessories we would provide,” he said, spinning off ideas about shawls, T-shirts, shorts, or even fascinators that a couple could offer for changes from formal to casual.

Whatever Pippa ends up doing, Meyer (who hosts a wedding podcast) is sure that her wedding will set trends, and he anticipates that he’ll be seeing Instagram and Pinterest boards full of photos from the big event.

“She’s a style icon,” he says. “The design choices she makes will impact my future clients.”

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