Going to a wedding, at least one where you’re not playing the role of the groom, isn’t supposed to be difficult for guys. You put on a suit, show up on time and enjoy the free food and cocktails. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way, and figuring out how to dress for a wedding for men is becoming more challenging every single day.
The problem is that weddings aren’t uniform anymore, meaning that the last wedding you went to could be completely different than the next one you’ll go to. While this freedom is wonderful for the bride and groom, who get to have the wedding of their dreams, it isn’t ideal for guests.
You may not be able to wear the same black suit at every wedding anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look your best – and completely appropriate – at every wedding you attend. Use this guide to learn more about how to dress for a wedding for men, no matter when or where it’s being held.
If you’ve been invited to a black tie wedding, part of you is probably dreading it. Breathe a sigh of relief though, because even if the rules of attire for weddings have changed a lot recently, black tie is still the same.
Weddings that state that they’re black tie on the event really do still mean black tie. Whether you have to rent a tuxedo or you buy one, don’t be the guy there in a blue suit. Even if they do let you in, you’ll feel out of place throughout the whole ceremony and reception.
Fall weddings are becoming more and more common, especially among younger couples who don’t feel the need to wait for spring. These weddings also allow for more interesting venues, often at discounted prices. Knowing how to dress for a wedding for men in the fall can be difficult though.
Your best bet is to stick with a dark-colored suit. Choose charcoal, midnight blue, navy or flat black. These colors are a safe bet at almost any wedding, though you might want to avoid black if you think there’s a chance the event could be more on the casual side than the formal side.
Choose materials that will stand up to the weather, but not make you feel like you’re suffocating once you’re indoors and the heat is on. Tropical wool and wool blends are ideal. If you know the wedding is going to be during a cold snap, go for a suit that’s heavyweight wool or a blend that is mostly wool.
Spring weddings used to be the standard, but these days, couples don’t always pick them. If you’re going to a spring wedding, you’re going to need to battle the interesting weather that sometimes arises.
Choose a color for a spring wedding that’s a little bit brighter than what you might wear in the fall. Olive green, high blue and even brick red are ideal choices for spring weddings, as long as they aren’t going to be extremely formal.
If the wedding is very formal, you’ll need to stick with charcoal, navy, midnight blue or black. Try adding lighter accessories like a white pocket square or silver tie to brighten your look up.
Pick a suit made of a material that’s appropriate for a summer wedding like a lightweight tropical wool or a blended suit. Linen is fine for casual weddings, but it may not be formal enough for every event.
Summer weddings take place when it’s hot outside, so they usually aren’t quite as formal. A lot of the time, you’ll be able to get away with a pair of slacks and a white dress shirt.
However, you should probably wear a light-colored suit that can be taken off in layers if it gets too stifling outside. Cream linen, taupe and khaki suits made of lightweight materials are all excellent choices. Men that prefer a bit more color can wear high blue or brighter reds this season.
When it comes to destination weddings, all bets are off. A suit might be appropriate, but if you’re going to be climbing a cliff face to get to the couple’s favorite spot in the world, you can’t be wearing a $4,500 cream linen suit.
The best way to handle destination weddings is to ask about attire or take backup options. In most cases, wearing clothing that is appropriate for the event – hiking boots if the ceremony takes place on top of a mountain – is just fine.
Destination weddings usually find guests in a wide assortment of clothing choices, so you aren’t likely to feel out of place if you make a halfway informed decision about how to dress for a wedding of this type.
Consider Your Role
The last thing you need to think about when trying to figure out how to dress for a wedding for men is what your role in the wedding is. If you’re just a regular guest, you don’t have to appear too formal.
However, if you’re the groom’s father, a part of the family on either side or in the wedding party, you should always opt to be on the more formal side. You’ll look better in pictures and to the wedding guests.