There's so much that goes into wedding planning, including establishing the wedding dress code. Couples often have a specific vision for their big day. What their guests wear will play a big part in making that vision a reality. With that in mind, it's essential to pay close attention to the dress code and follow it closely.
Once you get an invitation, you should start thinking about what you will wear to this special event. Not sure where to start? Have no idea what the common wedding dress codes are? We've put together a guide to help you figure it out, so you show up looking fashionable and ready to celebrate.
The White Tie dress code is the most formal out of all the wedding dress codes. This style of formal attire can be a source of stress for guests who've never been to this type of event. To pull this dress code off, you'll need to pull out all the stops. Act as if you're having dinner with Queen Elizabeth or attending opening night at the Met. That means choosing a tuxedo with tails, accompanied by a white evening shirt, white vest, a white tie (specifically a white bow tie). You'll also need to accessorize with cufflinks, studs, and formal footwear. If you want to take the formality to another level with gloves, feel free!
Usually held in the evening, this event also calls for a tuxedo. With this dress code, it's more appropriate to ditch the tails on the tuxedo. While black is the most traditional color, many men add some color to their formal looks. Selecting a darker blue can give that extra wow factor to a classic look. You'll need to include a black bow tie, vest or cummerbund, and dress shoes with your outfit. Because you never wear a belt with tuxedo pants, matching suspenders is a must. Also, a black-tie dress code outfit is never complete without studs and cufflinks on a formal dress shirt.
And if you want to kick your black-tie look up a notch, go with a
white dinner jacket—you'll definitely stand out from the crowd!
For more details on the black tie dress code check out our in-depth articleRead "Black Tie Dress Code Made Simple"
With black tie optional attire, guests have a choice between dressing up in a black-tie outfit or something less formal. Our black notch lapel suit, charcoal notch lapel suit, or iron gray peak lapel suit would all look great at this type of wedding. Although the black-tie optional dress code is less formal than a black-tie one, it's considered a semi-formal dress code. You'll be expected to wear a tie and dress shoes.
For more details on the black-tie optional dress code check out our in-depth articleRead "The Black Tie Optional Dress Code for Men"
Cocktail attire gives guests more freedom when choosing what to wear. With this dress code, you should always wear a suit and tie. However, this dress code encourages you to step out of the box with your colors and accessories. Try bringing some color into your look in a Bright Blue, Postman Blue, or Indigo Blue suit.
Feel free to step away from the white dress shirt and choose a color that coordinates with your suit. Since a tie is still a must, you can add some fun with a playful pattern or coordinating color. We also think guys look dapper with a matching pocket square. Be sure not to overdo it with colors or patterns—when it comes to accessorizing, less is more!
For more details about cocktail attire, check out our in-depth articleRead "A Guys Guide to Cocktail Attire"
While the formality is lower, you should still wear something sophisticated to a wedding with a semi-formal dress code. A suit and tie work best but don't forget to consider the time of day. At an evening wedding, opt for a dark suit. For a daytime wedding, choose something lighter, like our Allure Gray, Light Gray Plaid, or Postman Blue suits. Semiformal gives you the flexibility to wear a tie or forgo it altogether.Read "Semi-Formal Dress Code"
With so many couples choosing to get married, there's a good chance you'll be invited to a beach wedding. The key here is to look fashionable while also being comfortable sitting in the sun and heat. It's best to stay away from dark colors. Instead, select a suit in a lighter hue, like a British Tan, Cement Gray, or Allure Beige. Stick with light and breathable fabrics that will keep you cool throughout the day.
Since you're on a beach, you can step up your look with a colored shirt and a tie in a bold color or pattern. One thing you should never do: Wear sandals or flip-flops with your suit. Even if it means getting sand in them, you still need to wear close-toed shoes.Read "How to Dress for a Beach Wedding"
A garden wedding or garden party attire follows many of the same rules as a semi-formal dress code. While a formal dress code doesn’t leave a lot of room for interpretation, semi-formal attire allows guys to incorporate their own personal style into their ensemble. Our British Tan Suit looks amazing with bright or pastel-colored accessories, which will surely complement the garden setting. With gray now the most popular neutral, you might be more comfortable in our Cement Gray Suit, which pairs perfectly with a variety of colors so you can really step out of the box with your fun garden party attire.Read "Garden Attire Dress Code"
Summer formal dress codes for men typically mean a suit and tie in light and breathable fabrics, such as linen or cotton. The colors should be kept classic, such as navy, black, or gray, and accessories should be kept to a minimum with a simple leather belt and dress shoes. Even if it takes place on a beach, shorts, sandals, and casual shirts are generally not acceptable for a formal summer event.
Read "Summer Formal Dress Code"
What you wear will depend on the theme and style. Hopefully, the couple will give you some guidance on what they're expecting from their guests. If not, add subtle touches based on what you see on the invitation or the wedding website. For example, if the wedding has a nautical theme, try accessorizing with a blue-striped tie and pocket square. If you're stuck, there's nothing wrong with reaching out to the couple, or a member of the wedding party, for advice.
Sorry, but casual doesn't mean you can show up in jeans or shorts. This dress code works best with an outdoor event, like a backyard bash or beach vows. Dress pants in a button-down shirt will probably work best. Better yet, you could wear a suit without a tie. Some men are getting more creative with their footwear. With a Casual dress code, this would be an excellent opportunity to show off a fabulous pair of sneakers or loafers with your look.
Without guidance from the couple, you'll have to figure out what to wear on your own. Remember, this is someone's wedding. You don't want to wear something that might offend the newlyweds or their families. You can never go wrong with a beautiful suit. You can make it as casual as you like by ditching the tie, wearing more comfortable shoes, and using bolder colors and accessories if desired.