So you’ve been invited to a wedding and there isn’t any mention of what exactly you should be wearing on the invitation.

If you don’t know the bride and groom well enough to simply pick up the phone and ask them what kind of attire is appropriate, or even worse, you didn’t get an invitation because you’re somebody’s plus-one date, that wedding invitation is probably making you feel pretty nervous. After all, it can be pretty difficult to for a man to figure out what to wear to a wedding.

While you may not know what to wear to a wedding right at this moment, there are some basic guidelines that can help put your fears to rest. Learn them now and you’ll be set for a lifetime that will almost certainly be full of wedding invitations for years to come.

What Time of Year Is It?

Determining what to wear to a wedding has a lot to do with the time of year when the wedding will be held. It might seem obvious that you don’t want to wear a 100% wool suit to an August wedding held outdoors, but many men don’t consider the time of year when picking their wardrobe for such a rare event.

However, you can’t simply assume that a summer suit is appropriate for summer weddings or that a heavy wool suit will be fine for any fall or winter event. There’s a lot more to consider than just the material the suit is made of, though that should definitely come into play if you want to be comfortable. You’ll also look out of place compared to other guests in a suit that’s inappropriate for the season.

Consider the Location

When you’re trying to figure out what to wear to a wedding, perhaps the most important thing to consider is where the actual ceremony and reception will be held. In most cases, you can determine how formal or casual a wedding is going to be based on where the main parts of the event will take place.

For example, beach weddings, which are relatively common these days, tend to be events where white or black tie is almost never required unless explicitly stated for obvious reasons. You’ll be on a beach, likely out in the sun. Nobody wants to be wearing a waistcoat and tails when the sun is beating down on them and sand is getting in their shoes.

However, there are times when you may be able to figure out that an event is likely going to be more formal, or at least that formal attire will not be out of place. If the ceremony is being held in a place of worship and then the reception will be held at one of the finer hotels in the city, you can generally assume the event will call for you to dress up.

Of course, the information provided on the invitation should always be your guideline, but more and more invitations these days don’t specify what to wear to a wedding, allowing some leeway for guests with different wardrobes, budgets and lifestyles. That doesn’t mean you should wear a tux to the beach or a linen suit with a t-shirt to a formal event.

Tuxedo or Regular Suit?

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Once you’ve determined what time of year the wedding you are attending is going to be held and where the ceremony and reception will be, you should have a pretty good idea of how formal the entire event will be. There are still going to be times when it can be difficult to figure out whether you should wear a tuxedo or regular suit.

In most cases, a tuxedo is not essential at a wedding unless ‘White Tie,’ ‘Black Tie,’ or ‘Formal Attire,’ which generally just means black tie, are put on the invitation. In some cases, you may find ‘Formal Attire Optional’ or ‘Black Tie Optional,” which will signify a formal event where a tuxedo or suit can be worn.

In these cases, you can always wear a tuxedo and you’ll fit in just fine, except when you’re attending a white tie event. Fortunately for most men, white tie weddings are very rare and usually reserved for state events these days.

An event that is formal but doesn’t require a tuxedo should be viewed as an opportunity to wear a high-quality suit that’s nice without being over the top. For most men, that really means a suit that is black, dark blue or charcoal. Any other color of suit is likely going to look too casual for a formal event.

Weddings Change, A Good Suit Doesn’t

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While what you wear to a wedding can change based on the time of year, location and how formal the bride and groom want the ceremony to be, a good suit never really changes. That’s why you should take the opportunity to get yourself an excellent suit that you can wear time and time again.

When you’re picking a suit to wear to a wedding, you should consider having one custom made for you. When you have a custom suit made, you’ll be working with an extremely skilled tailor who can help you get the perfect suit – one that will last you a lot longer than one wedding. They’ll also be able to help you figure out what suit to wear to a wedding and what’s a safe bet while complementing what you already have in your wardrobe.

If you do want to work with an off the rack suit, you’ll still want to have it tailored by an expert. Otherwise you’re going to look like you’re wearing borrowed clothes and that’s not a good look for any man.

Does Style Matter?

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The style of your suit does matter, but unlike a suit that you’re buying for your professional life, you have a few more options when it comes to following or ignoring trends. For men these days, that mostly means picking between a slim fit suit and a more traditionally styled suit that’s a bit looser in the body and leg.

However, you should consider the fact that you may want to wear your suit other places. If you choose a slim fit suit and work in a corporate environment, you may be uncomfortable wearing it on a regular basis.

When you have a custom suit made, these are all things that you can discuss with your tailor. They’ll help you find the right suit for the wedding that you are attending while helping you add your own personal touch so you have a suit you can wear for other events too.

Knowing what to wear to a wedding can seem incredibly difficult for the average man, especially if you don’t attend a lot of formal events. But it doesn’t have to be an experience that you go through alone, only to end up with an average suit that you are uncomfortable in.

Hiring a skilled craftsman to help you get the perfect custom suit can make you the best dressed man at any wedding and pretty much any event in your daily life. A good suit is worth its weight in gold, and a custom suit truly is the cream of the crop.

what to wear to a wedding

Ralph Lauretta

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.

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