What to Wear to a Wedding For Men: A Men’s Style Guide


Weddings: A time for joy, celebration, and a fair amount of sartorial stress for the unprepared. What to wear to a wedding can feel like a daunting question, particularly when you want to strike the right balance between looking your best and fitting into the unique atmosphere of the ceremony.

In a nutshell, the appropriate attire for a wedding largely depends on the formality of the event and typically ranges from casual wear to formal suits or tuxedos. However, this only scratches the surface of the fashion norms and nuances that come into play.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the fine art of dressing for weddings, helping you navigate dress codes, choose the right outfit for different wedding themes, and ensure you look dashing as you toast to the happy couple. So, gents, let’s embark on this journey to decode the language of wedding attire and transform potential wardrobe worries into an opportunity to truly shine.

Understanding Wedding Dress Codes

Navigating wedding dress codes can feel like traversing a fashion minefield. Yet, with the right knowledge, you can decipher them with ease. Here’s a breakdown of common wedding dress codes, and how to ace them:

Black Tie

This is the most formal dress code, usually reserved for evening weddings. Think of a classic black tuxedo, white dress shirt, patent leather shoes, and a bow tie. Adding a vest or cummerbund and a sleek, black dress watch will complete this high-class ensemble.

Formal or Black Tie Optional

A notch down from black tie, but still leaning towards the formal. You can opt for a dark suit in a solid color like navy or charcoal. Pair it with a white dress shirt, a conservative tie, leather dress shoes, and you’re good to go.

Cocktail Attire or Semi-Formal

This code grants you some sartorial liberty. A suit is still expected, but you’re free to experiment with colors. Lighter hues, patterned shirts, or a fun tie can all work here. Classic leather shoes, brogues, or loafers round off this look.


Casual weddings usually mean an outdoor or beach ceremony. Here, a lightweight linen suit or a blazer with chinos could serve you well. Don’t shy away from colors or patterns, but do ensure your outfit still looks thoughtfully put together.

Remember, these codes are guidelines, not rules set in stone. They give you an understanding of the event’s formality and what the hosts expect from their guests. When in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of slightly overdressed than underdressed.

But don’t let the codes limit your personality, there’s always room to incorporate your personal style subtly.

Choosing the Right Suit

Picking out the perfect suit for a wedding is like choosing the right dance partner – it needs to move with you, complement you, and help you shine. Let’s break down how to pick a winner, considering factors such as color, material, and fit.

Color Considerations

The color of your suit depends largely on the dress code and the time of day. Darker colors like navy and charcoal are fail-safe choices for formal events. For semi-formal or casual weddings, feel free to experiment with lighter hues or even pastel shades.

Material Matters

Material choice is all about comfort and season. For summer weddings, consider breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Winter weddings call for wool or wool-blend suits that will keep you warm. Always remember: comfort enhances confidence.

Fit is King

A well-fitted suit is the holy grail of men’s fashion. Regardless of how expensive your suit is, if it doesn’t fit well, it won’t look good. Key areas to check include the shoulders, chest, waist, and suit length. Seek the help of a skilled tailor to make the necessary adjustments.

Tailoring: The Magic Touch

A suit right off the rack seldom fits perfectly. This is where a good tailor comes in. They’ll tweak the suit to flatter your physique, adjusting everything from the hem of your trousers to the taper of the jacket waist. A perfectly tailored suit not only looks sharp but also makes you feel more confident.

Choosing the right suit may take time and patience, but it’s an investment that pays off. A well-chosen, well-tailored suit won’t just impress at a wedding, it’ll serve you at numerous occasions down the line. So, gents, suit up wisely!

Shirt and Tie Combinations

The right shirt and tie combination can elevate your suit from “just okay” to “jaw-dropping”. Here’s how you can master this subtle art, considering elements like color and pattern:

  • The Color Code: When it comes to color, remember that your shirt and tie should complement, not compete with each other. A safe rule is to choose a tie that’s darker than your shirt. If you’re sporting a white shirt, the world’s your oyster; almost any tie color will work.
  • Playing with Patterns: Mixing patterns can add depth to your outfit. If your shirt is patterned, opt for a solid tie, and vice versa. If both are patterned, ensure they’re of different scales. For example, a shirt with narrow stripes pairs well with a tie that has larger, bold patterns.

How to Tie a Tie for a Wedding

Whether you opt for the classic Windsor, the simpler four-in-hand, or the elegant half-Windsor, make sure your tie knot is neat and centered. The tip should just graze your belt buckle. Remember, it’s the small details that can make a big difference.

Pairing your shirt and tie effectively is like creating a piece of art. It’s about balance and harmony, with each element enhancing the other. So, play around, experiment a bit, and you’ll find a combination that not only looks good but also feels uniquely you.

Up next, we’ll discuss how to complete your wedding outfit with the right shoes and accessories.

Selecting the Right Footwear

Stepping into the right shoes can make a world of difference. Your choice of footwear can not only round off your ensemble perfectly but also contribute to your comfort throughout the event. Here’s how to navigate this crucial detail:

Picking the Shoe Style

Consider the formality of the event when choosing your shoes. For black tie affairs, patent leather Oxford shoes are a classic choice. For less formal weddings, Brogues or loafers in suede or leather can add a touch of personality to your attire.

Coordinating with Your Outfit

Your shoes should complement your suit. Black shoes work with most suit colors, but brown shoes offer a wider palette of shades. For navy or light-colored suits, consider brown or tan shoes. Grey suits pair well with black or burgundy footwear.

Remember, your shoes should be clean and polished to perfection. It’s not just about the shoe type or color, but the overall presentation. Scuffed or dirty shoes can mar the entire outfit, so give them the attention they deserve.

Choosing the right shoes might seem like a small detail, but as they say, “Shoes maketh the man.” So, put your best foot forward and stride into the wedding with confidence! Up next, let’s discuss the cherry on the cake – accessories.

Accessorizing For a Wedding

Accessories are the icing on your sartorial cake. They allow you to inject personality into your ensemble and truly make it your own. Here’s your guide to selecting and wearing cufflinks, pocket squares, belts, and watches for that upcoming wedding:

  • Cufflinks: These small pieces of jewelry can pack a big punch when it comes to style. Opt for simple silver or gold cufflinks for a classic, elegant look. If the wedding is less formal, cufflinks with unique designs or engravings can add a personal touch.
  • Pocket Squares: A pocket square adds a dash of color and style to your suit. It doesn’t necessarily have to match your tie, but it should complement it. Remember, it’s all about balance – if your tie is bold, go for a subdued pocket square, and vice versa.
  • Belts: The golden rule of belts is straightforward – match your belt with your shoes. This creates a cohesive, put-together look. Keep it simple and classy, no oversized buckles or flashy colors.
  • Watches: The watch you wear should align with the formality of the event. For black tie weddings, lean towards a simple dress watch with a black leather strap. If the dress code is less strict, you have more freedom to express yourself with your timepiece.

Accessorizing for a wedding is your chance to make a statement and showcase your style. Just remember, accessories are there to enhance your outfit, not overwhelm it. Less is more, so choose your pieces thoughtfully.

Grooming Tips For Weddings

The importance of grooming for a polished wedding look
Tips for hair styling and facial grooming for a wedding

Frequently Asked Questions About What to Wear to a Wedding for Men

What can men wear to a wedding as a guest?

As a guest at a wedding, men should typically opt for a suit. For formal weddings, a dark suit or tuxedo is appropriate. For semi-formal events, a lighter suit can work. For beach or outdoor weddings, a summer suit, dress shirt and chinos, or linen suit can be suitable. Always check the invitation for dress code specifics.

Should a male guest wear a suit to a wedding?

Yes, a male guest should typically wear a suit to a wedding. The color and style of the suit can depend on the time and formality of the wedding. Dark suits are suitable for evening and formal weddings, while lighter suits may be appropriate for daytime or casual weddings. Always adhere to the dress code if specified.

What should a man wear to a casual wedding?

For a casual wedding, a man can wear a dress shirt with chinos or dress pants, paired with dress shoes. A blazer can add a touch of formality if needed. Ties are optional, depending on the event’s level of casualness. Even for casual weddings, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.

What do men wear to a wedding party?

For a wedding party, men usually wear a suit, paired with a tie or bow tie, and dress shoes. The suit’s color and style should match the event’s formality: darker suits for formal or evening parties, and lighter suits for daytime or semi-formal parties. Always check the invitation for specific dress code instructions.

The Final Flourish

Congratulations, gentlemen, you’re now equipped with the know-how to dress like a style maven for any wedding occasion. From deciphering dress codes to tailoring a suit, from mastering shirt and tie combinations to finishing off with polished shoes and tasteful accessories, each step plays its part in crafting your standout wedding look.

Remember, the essence of all this dressing up isn’t just about looking dashing in photographs, it’s about feeling comfortable and confident. Your outfit should make you feel like the best version of yourself, so don’t forget to let your personality shine through.

Over to you now! Have you ever wowed the crowd at a wedding with your sartorial choices? Have a sure-fire style tip you’d love to share? Or maybe you’ve faced a wardrobe conundrum while preparing for a wedding?

We’d love to hear your stories, tips, and questions in the comments below.

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