Here’s a topic that is guaranteed to cause stress: what men should wear to a wedding as a guest. It really shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, though. As a guy going to a wedding, you probably can’t go wrong with a solid, understated suit. Just don’t try to look better than the groom.

Indeed, weddings aren’t the right events for experimenting with cutting-edge fashion; conservatism almost always works. Just make sure that your tie and shoes match your suit.

At the same time, different kinds of weddings and different times of the year can entail somewhat different ensembles. Therefore, it’s beneficial to ask other guests what they plan on wearing.

Pay close attention to your wedding invitation, too. Invitations describe the type of event that will take place, and they offer details about what you should wear. For example, when it’s called “black tie,” you’ll need to have a tuxedo ready, not a suit. Meanwhile, weddings that are formal but not black tie call for dark suits.

Casual and Dressy Casual Weddings

Casual weddings, which are less common, give you some sartorial freedom. Even so, “casual” doesn’t mean jeans unless the bride and groom are free-spirited and say that denim is fine.

At a casual wedding, you’d likely do well to wear a jacket, perhaps a sports jacket, as well as khakis and a pair of loafers or other comfortable shoes. You probably won’t need a tie. When you arrive, you might find that most of the other guys don’t have jackets. Thus, you could just leave yours in your car. Also, shirts with crisp, attractive patterns look great at casual weddings.

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Then there’s the dreaded “dressy casual” label. What on Earth does that tell you as a wedding guest? It certainly doesn’t give us men a clue. You could sport a suit that you’d wear to the office, or you might just select a favorite blazer and tie.

Once again, you could do some last-minute adjustments as soon as you get there. If most of the other fellows lack jackets, ties or both, you could follow suit (no pun intended). In fact, you might want to bring a sweater or a vest in case you get a little chilly without your jacket.

The time of day is also an important factor, as it influences what men wear to a wedding as a guest. Lighter colors are appropriate in the morning and afternoon, and darker shades are right for evenings and nights.

Men’s wedding fashions also vary to some degree according to the season. Let’s look at the spring, summer, winter and fall separately.

Spring Weddings

With trees and flowers in bloom, spring is obviously a season of gorgeous hues. As such, you might add a splash of color to your wedding attire, especially at dressy casual and casual affairs. Just keep it subtle; no neon pink suits, please. You might opt for a purple or blue necktie, a shirt that’s striped or checkered or vibrant pocket squares and socks.

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Summer Weddings

Summer weddings are especially popular. In fact, more people get married in June than any other month. Fortunately, there are a few ways to stay cool during such proceedings. Go for short sleeves and don’t bother wearing socks. More important, select fabrics that are lightweight and moisture-resistant to avoid getting soaked with sweat.

Keep in mind that you can be a little more daring with your clothes at a country or a beach wedding than one that takes place indoors. You might try getting away with a light jacket or a blue suit. Indeed, linen clothing and even sandals can be charming at weddings on the beach.

Fall Weddings

Given the foliage, colorful accessories are as fitting for fall weddings as for spring ones. You might try to reflect the season’s colors in some of your accessories. For instance, you could sport burgundy, orange or red tie clips, cuff links and so on. What’s more, a charcoal suit can look sharp in the autumn, and suede shoes are often ideal for a homey and rustic event.

Winter Weddings

Naturally, for a winter wedding, you should think warm fashion thoughts. Heavy fabrics will keep you snug and toasty during the coldest months; wool and velvet are two fine examples. It’s a great season for layers as well. Sweaters, vests, waistcoats and cummerbunds all add bulk to wedding ensembles, and they let you put together an enticing textured look.

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Final Thoughts

When it comes to what a man wears to a wedding as a guest, two factors are crucial no matter the time, the place or the type of wedding: fit and comfort. You could have a truly beautiful suit on, but if it’s too large or small, it’ll come across as slovenly. A tailored suit is a wise option.

On top of that, make sure that every part of your outfit feels good, breathes and has some stretch. After all, you’ll be sitting, standing, hugging, shaking hands and dancing for hours. With the right look, the right fit and the right feel, you’ll surely be attracting eyeballs and compliments from every direction.

men's fashion advice

About Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.