5 Small Talk Conversation Starters To Use At A Wedding & What To Wear

April 19, 2017


Outfit Credits

Dress: ‘Zoe Swing Dress’ by Phase Eight | Shoes & Bag: Old Favourites 

It’s official – wedding season is upon us!

With the first sprinkling of blossoms, and #WysteriaHysteria taking grip of Instagram, you know it’s only a matter of days before you’re packing your weekend bags and heading to a wedding.

I absolutely adore a wedding (who doesn’t?!), and I’m excited to have teamed up with Phase Eight to share my take on wedding guest style, as well as some helpful small talk conversation starters for the big day.

Plus – extra good news! – Phase Eight currently have a 20% off promotion running. Use the code: 20SPRING to receive 20% off of your oder. Which makes this pretty poppy red ‘Zoe’ swing dress even more of a delight!

Small talk is one of your greatest assets at a wedding, it’ll help you to get to know the people surrounding your friends on their magical day.

Read on for my wedding guest dressing tips, and advice on starting conversations at any occasion. 


What To Wear To A Wedding

Let’s address the elephant in the room first and foremost: what to wear to a wedding?

The minute your invitation to a wedding drops on your doormat (or lands in your inbox) you’re likely to do a scan of your existing wardrobe, and decide that it’s a great idea to buy a brand new outfit.

Naturally, I couldn’t agree more!

Whilst I have a number of pieces which I rotate I do love to purchase a new outfit for a special occasion. That particular outfit then reminds me of that wedding or occasion every time I slip it on. I love clothes that hold memories ❤️

That red dress? Don’t you love it even more for all the memories it holds?!

In my eyes, there are only a few set rules to abide by when choosing what to wear to a wedding:

  • Be mindful of the setting. Choose your outfit around the location of the wedding. Will it most likely be warm? Cold? Mid-way? Outside? Inside?
  • Don’t wear white. Unless the bride expressly says it’s OK.
  • Choose something you feel beautiful and comfortable in. The two have to work hand in hand!
  • If in doubt, choose something formal. Better to be overdressed than underdressed. 
  • Colour is your best friend, it’s playful and echoes the joy of the day.

For me, this Zoe Swing Dress by Phase Eight ticks every box. I love love love the colour – the bright coral-red is so flattering. The swing shape is cute and playful and super comfortable. It will easily take you from the ceremony to dinner to dancing. 


 5 Small Talk Conversation Starters

To Use At A Wedding

Once you’ve settled on your outfit, there’s the big day to navigate. 

Some people have the natural gift of breezing into a room full of strangers and making themselves at home right away. Oli’s always been really good at this and I’ve always admired the way he can find common ground with pretty much anyone. Being a hairdresser Oli’s skilled at talking to multiple people all day everyday.

Noticing how well he’s able to get on with new people, I quizzed him on conversation starters we can all use at a wedding, as well as peppering in my own advice. 

1 – How do you know the couple?

This is the classic conversation starter at a wedding. You already have one thing in common: you know the bride or groom, or both. Asking how you know them is a simple entrance into a potentially longer conversation. If the person you’re engaging in conversation with says “from university” for example, you have a starting block to build more questions around. Et voilá you’re acing the small talk!

2 – Compliment

This is one of Oli’s greatest skills when beginning a conversation, he always compliments someone genuinely and immediately it builds a bond. I’ve noticed it too with people, that if they compliment me on something I’m immediately flattered and more at ease.

You can use this technique too! Simply find something about what they’re wearing (most likely everyone will look lovely as they’re dressed up for the occasion!) and compliment them genuinely. A compliment is such a lovely way to open a conversation with someone, and you can go on to develop the conversation around it.

For instance “I love you shoes!” may lead into . . . “The colour is beautiful, where did you find them?”.

3 – Common ground

Finding common ground with people is the best way to build a larger conversation, the moment you can talk openly about something you both enjoy you’re on to a small talk winner.

You can try questions including:

“Are you travelling this year?/ Where is somewhere you’d like to travel to?”

“Do you have any good Netflix recommendations? I’ve just finished ‘x’ series!”

“How many weddings are you attending this year?”

4 – Where did you grow up?

In May’s issue of Elle there’s a brilliant article about navigating parties. The article suggests asking “Where did you grow up?”.

Asking about someone’s upbringing (in a gentle non-intrusive way) is a great starting point for building a genuinely interested conversation. It’s always interesting to learn about people’s history, and it gives a deeper insight into them.

5 – Use open ended questions

When I was studying at university we were told to use open ended questions when interviewing people.

Rather than saying: “Do you enjoy your work?” which will lead to a yes/no answer, you can try “What do you find most enjoyable about your work?”. An open question will encourage people to share more with you, which in turn will help to build a conversation.

Beautiful-Red-Swing-Dress-Phase-Eight-Monica-Beatrice-Welburn-The-Elgin-Avenue-Blog-Photography-by-Marlene-Lee Beautiful-Red-Swing-Dress-Phase-Eight-Monica-Beatrice-Welburn-The-Elgin-Avenue-Blog-Photography-by-Marlene-Lee

Overall – a smile and a drink in your hand will always help!

As Oli’s a few years older than me I have been a plus one at a fair few weddings with him. When you don’t know anyone at a wedding, or any event, it can be tempting to pull your phone out and lock eyes with your screen as a security blanket – please don’t! It’ll send out signals that you don’t want anyone to talk to you.

Instead, get a drink so you have something to hold (awkward hand placement is a real predicament ????) and smile. Everyone will be in a good mood anyway – hello wedding vibes! – and smiling makes you seem approachable and friendly.

Most likely there will be a lot of people at the wedding who don’t know many people too. Armed with your new small talk tips, smile, and beautiful outfit, there’s no reason why you can’t handle a hella good conversation with your fellow wedding guests!


What’s your take?

How do you find small talk at weddings and occasions? Do you have any tips you can share too? As for your wedding guest outfit, what rules do you abide by?

You can have a peruse of Phase Eight’s beautiful wedding guest dresses here. Remember to use the code 20SPRING for a limited time offer of 20% off!

Love, Monica x

Thank you to Phase Eight for sponsoring this post. 

Photography by Marlene Lee.

Shot on location at Lainston House


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