Do you have a wedding on your calendar this season? Not sure what to wear? Check out this guide to find out!
While I’ve already covered dress codes generally here on The Modest Man (check out that complete guide here), in this article I’ll detail wedding-specific details, including several “rules” to consider.
Weddings are a special occasion and dressing well helps to convey your respect. The thing is, since each wedding is different, it can be difficult to know what to wear.
What to Wear to a Wedding
Since I’ve already written extensively on dress codes, I’ll refer you to that article.
For answers to specific wedding-related questions consult the question and answer section below. Again, I’m keeping things general here because so much depends on the formality level that’s indicated on your invitation.
What To Wear to a Beach Wedding?
A wedding with a view. A beach wedding is a unique style situation since weddings are typically formal affairs and beaches are naturally informal places. If you’re planning on going to a seaside wedding, be sure to double-check the dress with the host.
While the formality of beach weddings will vary, usually a light-colored linen suit with a lightweight white collared shirt will do the trick. Loafers with no-show socks are ideal footwear in this scenario.
Expect sun (it is the beach after all) — be sure to bring along a quality pair of sunglasses 😎.
What To Wear to a Summer Wedding?
Outdoor summer weddings can be similar to beach wedding attire. However, you’ll probably want to wear a casual tie (like a silk knit).
Also, you might want to swap out the cream-colored linen suit for a wool unlined light blue suit. Tropical wool is best for the heat.
While clean white minimal
What To Wear to a Fall Wedding?
Fall is many a well-dressed man’s favorite season. The reason?
In the fall you can experiment with layering clothing in new and fun ways.
For a fall wedding, you might wear a grey flannel suit with a matching vest.
What To Wear to a Winter Wedding?
Wear to a winter wedding what you’d wear to a wedding in the fall but just be sure to wear a nice overcoat.
Also, in the winter I feel that darker colors work better than the rich earth tones you’d normally see in fall.
What Should a Groom Wear?
First off, congratulations! Who’s the lucky lady?
When you’re planning your own wedding, it’s really up to you what you want to wear. Really, anything goes. It’s your special day.
However, while you could orchestrate a Shrek-themed wedding, I’d encourage you to choose clothing that’s a little more… dignified.
You don’t want to be showing your wedding photos to your kids someday and wonder “Why in the world did I wear that?”
Thus, try to avoid trends, but if there’s something trendy clothing item that you really like, go ahead and wear it. Just know that you’re wedding photos will probably quickly look out of date.
Personally, I’d recommend wearing a classic suit, if not a tux, to your wedding. Again, wear what you want, but you only get married once (hopefully)!
If your tastes are more on the formal side, check out Hespoke Style’s Groom Guide to help you look your absolute best. Brian Sacawa of Hespoke Style also has some great Youtube videos about what to wear to your wedding.
Should You Wear a Suit to a Wedding?
Traditionally speaking, men should wear a suit to a wedding. However, it all depends on the dress code.
Dressing for a Wedding “Rules”
Here are four wedding style “rules” for men. These aren’t hard and fast rules but are meant to be helpful guidelines to consider as you prepare to attend your next wedding.
Don’t Outshine the Groom
Women in Western cultures have a rule not to wear white to a wedding. That’s to ensure that they won’t be mistaken for the bride.
In the same strain, men shouldn’t try to outdo the groom. That doesn’t mean that you as a guest shouldn’t look your best, but it can mean avoiding flashy accessories, eye-catching jewelry, and in-your-face color combos.
If you know the groom will be wearing a dark, conservative suit and tie, you might want to forgo wearing your usual pocket square with your suit.
If a wedding is supposed to be casual, don’t wear a suit. If you arrive at a wedding and realize you’re dressed too formally, don’t hesitate to leave your jacket in the car or lose the tie.
If you’re dressed conservatively and use common sense, outdressing the groom shouldn’t be a problem.
Follow the Wishes of the Couple
Follow the wishes of the couple. If you receive an invitation to a wedding and it says “Gentleman should wear a purple tie,” wear a purple tie (even if you hate wearing ties).
Attending a wedding is all about showing your love and support for the happy couple, this means following their dress code, even if it’s slightly inconvenient to you.
Don’t Give Style Advice
While you might be the best-dressed man in the room (despite being careful not to outshine the groom), a wedding is not the time or place to give style advice.
Unless you’re asked directly, don’t point out to the groomsman that his tie is 2 inches too long, or to the groom that his suit trousers are puddling at the bottom. Really, don’t be that guy.
Now, if someone asks you a style-related question directly and it’s reasonably within their power to change, by all means, give your advice.
What I mean is that if the groom asks “Hey, does my tie look good to you?” two hours before the ceremony, it’s probably ok to say, “Actually, if you went with a smaller knot it would look even better with that type of shirt collar.”
However, if he asks the same question nervously two minutes before he’s about to stand in front of the justice of the peace, that’s when you just smile and say, “You look great, man!”. In this instance, he doesn’t really have time to re-tie his tie, so don’t stress him out.
There are rare occasions when you definitely should point out a fashion faux pas even if you’re not asked. For example, if the bride’s father is about to walk down the aisle and has toilet paper stuck to his shoe, for goodness sake tell him.
Use your best judgment about when to say something and when to keep things to yourself.
When in Doubt, Ask the Host
Most of the weddings I’ve been to haven’t had a dress code written out on the invitation. That’s because within my culture everyone pretty much knows what’s expected.
For Latter-day Saint weddings, the expected attire for male guests is almost universally “a white shirt and tie.” Suit jackets are welcome but usually optional.
However, a non-Latter-day Saint guest probably wouldn’t be familiar with this custom. He’d have to ask to know what to wear.
Similarly, if I were invited to an Orthodox Jewish wedding, since I’m not as familiar with Jewish traditions, I’d be sure to ask the host what I should wear.
In the case of a wedding, by “ask the host” I mean to inquire of the couple, the parents, or a wedding planner, if they have one.
Even if a dress code is included on your invite, it’s always better to double-check if you have any doubts at all as to what you should wear.
This is a really important rule when it comes to dress codes. If you only remember one thing from this article, this should be it — when in doubt, ask the host.
Deciding what to wear to a wedding can be tricky. You have to decipher the dress code, consider the venue, and find something that fits you well.
I hope this guide was helpful as you prep for your next big event!
What did you wear on your wedding day? Anything you’d change? If you’re not married, what would you wear? Leave your answers down below!
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