If you’re reading this, chances are someone in your life is about to tie the knot. Not only that, but they want you in attendance on their special day. Before you start prepping your moves for the dance floor, however, a task awaits you. You’ve got to figure out men’s wedding attire. That’s where we come in. We’ve rounded up our top tips for what to wear to a wedding. No matter the dress code, time of year or location, we’ve got you covered.
Cracking the 4 Main Wedding Dress Codes for Men
Let’s start with the basics: dress codes. This is your strongest guidepost when determining what to wear to a wedding. But don’t let the term “dress code” intimidate you. You won’t need a complex cipher to make sense of wedding outfits for men. The first place to look for your intended dress code is on the invitation. This also holds other important clues such as the location, venue, season and time of day of the festivities. If your invitation doesn’t explicitly lay out the preferred guest attire, reach out to the happy couple or their coordinator. As long as you do so in a timely manner, they’ll appreciate you taking the time to prioritize their preferences. Now that you have the details secured, here’s our walk-through of the four most common types of men’s wedding attire.
Men’s Formal Wedding Attire
As the name suggests, men’s formal wedding attire is just that—formal. The soon-to-be-weds want their male guests to dress up and look smart without having to don a full tuxedo. For this dress code, we recommend opting for suits in dark tones, such as midnight blue, black and charcoal. These shades boost sophistication in a snap. Next, a pressed, collared dress shirt is a must. Find the best-fitting shirt for your build by checking for puckering at the buttons or excessive bagging around your torso. White is always a safe bet, along with pale hues of tan, blue and blush. The key is to strike a balance between celebratory and subtle, so you won’t pull focus from the main event.
If you’re itching to add your own sartorial spin, get creative with your tie. Show off your personality with a paisley necktie or spotted bow tie. Want to level up? A matching pocket square is our favorite men’s wedding attire plus one. Last but not least, finish off your look with dress shoes like black oxfords or brown derbies.
Expert style tip: If you’ve ever wondered when to wear cuff links, a formal wedding is the perfect opportunity to do so. Though not required, they can give your look that extra polished touch. Pair them with a french cuff, also known as a shirt with a double cuff. Then, make sure your sleeve extends slightly past the length of your jacket, so the cuff links are just visible. Talk about a dapper slam dunk.
Men’s Semi-formal Wedding Attire
Next on our wedding wear lineup: men’s semi-formal wedding attire. Instead of going for a conventional full suit, give separates a try. This look is less fancy than formal attire, but not quite as relaxed as your usual business casual rotation. Mix a navy blazer with beige pants, or a clay red trouser with a charcoal coat. Feel free to wade deeper into the world of patterns and prints with this dress code. A well-tailored suit jacket in a neutral windowpane print, for instance, is a welcome choice.
A key difference between semi-formal attire and more upscale choices is that, here, ties are optional. If you’re uncertain of what your fellow ceremony-goers will be wearing, you can always keep one in your pocket. We’ve got five easy steps to master a tie-knot that you can save on your phone, just in case.
Men’s Cocktail Attire for Weddings
If you’ve ever been confused by the true definition of men’s cocktail attire, you’re not alone. The safest guideline to follow for cocktail attire is to seek out wedding outfits for men between formal and casual. If you’re looking for the fashion-forward approach, this dress code is decidedly more celebratory than semi-formal. That being said, these style rules are one of the most highly debated areas of wedding attire. If this turns up on any of your invitations, we recommend checking with the wedding party first for clarification.
Since this dress code is more relaxed than the previous two, you can also loosen up on your shoe choices. While dress shoes are never a miss, consider subbing in a pair of chukkas or wingtips. We do suggest sticking to classic neutral colors, especially if you’ve gone bold elsewhere in your men’s wedding outfit. Here, you can toast to the newlyweds in a lilac suit and floral dress shirt. Or, look like you just arrived from a Hollywood afterparty with a blazer effortlessly layered over a white T-shirt. Add royal blue slacks, and you’ll be the coolest guest in the crowd. Cheers!
Casual Wedding Attire for Men
Before you envision yourself cheering on your loved ones in a T-shirt and jeans, let’s define what we mean by men’s casual wedding attire. Here, casual means that your style is more relaxed in relation to the other types of wedding attire for men. This dress code usually applies to daytime weddings or more laid-back venues like a backyard. Unless otherwise noted, expect to dress up (at least a little) out of respect for the occasion.
A go-to outfit choice is a button-up shirt partnered with chinos or dress pants. Trousers, slacks and suit pants are all acceptable options. You won’t need a tie or highly polished dress shoes here. But you can still add festive flair with loafers or brogues and a coordinating belt. If you’re still unsure of what to wear, look to a business casual type of office attire for inspiration. Wear a neatly checkered button-down and tan pants while watching the processional, or consider espresso-colored chinos and a blue shirt. Congratulations on completing our wedding attire crash course. You’re a step closer to acing wedding season. Speaking of seasons, it’s time to talk about men’s wedding guest attire for every part of the year.
Wedding Guest Style Suggestions by Season
You’ve cracked the code of men’s wedding attire. Now you can move on to the other components of what to wear for the big day. While not every invitation denotes the dress code, all wedding invitations let you know when the nuptials are taking place. From a wedding in the sunshine to a snowy ceremony, here are our favorite wedding outfits for men by season.
Men’s Summer Wedding Attire
Have you noticed a trend in your wedding invitations asking you to save the date for the summer? Summer is typically considered “peak” wedding season, so expect to get the maximum mileage out of men’s summer wedding attire. For these shindigs, turn to the year’s seasonal trends for inspiration. Summer fashion is all about putting prep in your step. Why not take a walk on the sunny side of the aisle with preppy style? Lean into pastel colors like mint, robin’s egg blue and coral. Test out classic patterns with a polka-dot tie, or don a plaid button-down for your next hot-weather soiree.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how important lightweight fabrics are as well. Cotton and linen are your MVPs, especially for outdoor ceremonies. Strike a balance between comfort and style in a beige linen suit layered over a seer-sucker shirt. Bring it all together with tawny loafers and a handkerchief to dab away any sweat while you enjoy the festivities.
Men’s Fall Wedding Attire
After summer, fall is the second most popular wedding season thanks to comfortable temperatures and beautiful foliage aplenty. Our favorite tip for men’s fall wedding attire is to lean into those seasonal shades. Give warm neutrals prime space in your closet along with rich hues like berry purple, merlot red and marigold. Flannel fabrications should be your wedding outfit guest of honor. Seek out a crisp white shirt, then wrap yourself in a forest green plaid sport coat. Now you are set to celebrate amongst a dreamy ceremony in the woods.
Although autumn usually boasts mild temperatures for many regions of the country, some areas have entirely different weather patterns. October marks the start of the rainy season in the Pacific Northwest, while many southern states stay hot into the winter months. Be sure to double-check the forecast before choosing your men’s wedding guest outfits this fall.
Men’s Winter Wedding Attire
What could be more idyllic than a winter wedding? Picture candlelit windows lined with frost, fresh pine aroma and a warm hearth offering the perfect photo booth backdrop. If brumal nuptials are in your future, get ready for the cozy and fashionable world of men’s winter wedding attire. Especially in the case of an outdoor event, thicker fabrics are the best place to start. In these cases, search for suits and blazers made of tweed, wool and flannel. If the event is indoors, you can still channel the cozy vibes with textured options. You’ll hear no shortage of compliments while wearing a rich velvet sport coat paired with sleek leather chukkas. As a bonus, you can repurpose these pieces the next time you’re searching for what to wear to a holiday party.
Because of the season’s reliance on dark hues, winter weddings tend to skew formal. However, if invited to a celebration with a cocktail dress code, this is the time to winterize the blazer-over-a-shirt outfit. Instead of a short-sleeve shirt, partner your blazer and dress pants with a turtleneck. You’ll look endlessly sophisticated while also staying warm.
Men’s Spring Wedding Attire
Something about the fresh emergence of flowers and the return of warmer days denotes wedding season. Get suited up to watch your loved ones tie the knot with men’s spring wedding attire. Just like in the case of summer weddings, say “I do” to light, airy hues. Turn heads in a buttercup yellow suit with a microfloral-lined waistcoat. Or, set the mood for casual weddings with olive chinos and a chambray shirt. Last but not least, keep a weather-resistant coat on hand. Even if the event is indoors, you don’t want April showers to catch you at the end of the night.
Expert style tip: If you’re assisting with wedding planning, consider selecting in-season local flowers for bouquets and boutonnières. Choosing local vendors reduces energy expenditure, and naturally growing flowers use fewer resources and chemicals than farming them out of season. Plus, it’ll save you money since these blooms are more easily accessible. Now you can put the money saved toward other parts of the wedding or planning your future together.
What To Wear To 3 Popular Wedding Venues
You’re two-thirds of the way to mastering what to wear to a wedding, guys. All that’s left is figuring out the venue’s impact on what men’s wedding attire you should choose. In general, there’s a direct correlation between the wedding venue and appropriate attire. If the wedding day is in a religious institution, for example, stick to the formal side of things. On the other hand, if you’re celebrating at a park, chances are dressing will lean on the more practical side for navigating nature. Below, we’ve selected three of the most popular wedding venues and the best attire to pick for the occasion.
Beach Wedding Attire for Men
Headed to the coast to ring in the newlyweds? Look no further than beach wedding attire for men. For a formal affair on the shoreline, consider a seafoam-colored blazer and matching pants in a linen fabrication. For a casual affair, try a tropical-printed short-sleeve button-down and cuffed trousers above your ankles. Additionally, be sure to select styles you don’t mind getting wet from the ocean spray. This means saving the silk shirts and ties for another occasion.
Finally, we know what you’re really wondering about men’s beach wedding attire: can you wear shorts? For anything more formal than a casual wedding, our vote is to leave the shorts for another day on the coast. However, if you’re headed to a casual wedding and you’ve confirmed with the two getting married, let your shorts shine.
What To Wear to a Vineyard Wedding
For a wedding day in a vineyard, cocktail attire is a look worth committing to. Since you’ll likely be listening to vows alfresco, the slightly casual, yet chic aesthetic is your best bet. Drink in the rolling hills and rows of grapevines while wearing a camel-colored suit with loafers. Or, explore the barrel room in a pinstriped shirt and tapered dress pants. However, vineyards range from small family wineries to exclusive Napa getaways. Take the time to look up the venue online. You’ll get a feel of the local vibe and see what other visitors are wearing in photos there.
Expert style tip: In case of wine stains or food spills at the reception, keep a stain stick in your pocket. If you forget to bring one, you can still salvage your clothing. Simply dab any excess food or liquid, and run the spot under cold water. Then, ask the caterers or serving staff if they have baking soda or salt on hand. You can cover the spot in either substance to help pull out the remaining mark.
What To Wear to a Barn Wedding
Even city-slickers can’t resist a good old-fashioned barnyard wedding. For these events, choose wedding outfits for men with a rustic twist. Think neutral or muted suit colors over eye-popping pastels or tropical hues. You can’t go amiss with a black suit or a dusty blue hue too. Add some yee-haw charm with suspenders or a vest. You can even swap out your traditional necktie for a bolo option. If the wedding has a full-on country theme, we won’t stop you from wearing cowboy boots and a steamed Stetson. At last, you’re all set to do-si-do onto the dance floor.
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