Unsure what to wear as a wedding guest? The number one rule is to not steal the show from the groom (or the bride…. she would hate it). If you want to master the dress code, add personal style and be the best guest ever, follow this new go-to guide.
Weddings are supposed to be fun. Hopefully, the happy couple is actually happy and the champagne is chilled and bubbly. As fun as weddings are, not knowing what to wear can be problematic.
You don’t want to look exactly like every other guy in the room, but you also don’t want to steal the groom’s attention and make your crazy tie the topic of conversation. It’s a balancing act.
How many of us have received a wedding invitation that left you panicking about the dress code because we had absolutely no idea what to wear to a daytime wedding in the middle of December?
Combine that all with the venue and culturally appropriate expectations and you have a problem.
The type of wedding ceremony – Is it secular or religious? Does the religion or culture of the bride and groom require headpieces or special attire?
Local customs – Is there a traditional outfit or garment that should be incorporated? Note that some country parts (even from the same country) are more conservative and reserved than others.
We’ve compiled popular dress codes so all you have to worry about is being a fantastic guest…. which you obviously already are, otherwise you wouldn’t be invited.
White Tie Wedding
If you are invited to a ceremony that requires White Tie (white bow tie) wedding attire, you are either a movie star or know people who are. This dress code is the most formal and requires a tailcoat (large formal suit), a vest, and all the old world charm you can muster.
Black Tie Wedding
The dress code for a highly formal and special wedding. The Black Tie (black bow tie) dress code has certain requirements – like a black tuxedo, also known as a small formal suit. However, here it is allowed to emphasize one’s personality with a pocket square or subtly entertaining cuff links.
Cocktail attire for a wedding
Men’s cocktail attire offers a lot of freedom, but you’re still expected to wear a jacket or suit (not a tux) and look sharp. As always, the bride and groom are in the spotlight.
Casual dress for a wedding
The casual wedding guest dress code is a really nice gesture by the bride and groom to wear a suit or blazer without having to buy something new or something you don’t own… like a tuxedo. It usually requires a suit and a shirt, but you can also wear a blazer or sport coat.
No dress code
This is where the bride and groom trust you to look your best without setting a specific look for their ceremony. Pay attention to where the wedding is taking place – a public park or the oldest church in town – and what time of day. We recommend a look that includes neckwear and a blazer. Wear dark jeans if it’s a casual affair.
Spring wedding dress options
If your spring is like Denmark’s, it can be anything from freezing cold and wet to warm and sunny. If it’s a warm spring day, choose colorful accessories like an elegant bow tie or pocket square and wear a lighter colored suit. If the day is more wintry, choose a darker suit like gray or navy (not black) and bring out the spring with accent pieces.
Summer wedding dress options
Summer weddings are known for blue skies, warm temperatures and great photos thanks to the cloudless horizon. They’re also notorious for sweating like crazy if you’re not dressed appropriately. Stick to a bright suit and a touch of color with a bow tie, necktie or pocket square. And don’t forget the sleeve holders in case the temperatures become unbearable.
Fall wedding dress options
Fall weddings require a bit of planning as temperatures vary, just like spring weddings. Opt for texture and incorporate seasonal colors into your look – think neutral colors in browns and accents of color that blend with the reds and yellows of fall.
Winter wedding dress options
It’s rare to find a super casual winter wedding. Maybe it’s because the cold forces everyone indoors… or because it’s easier to dress sharp and classy when hot weather isn’t a problem. Choose a darker suit for a winter wedding and make sure to accessorize for the formality of the event.
The time of day
Our favorite wedding planner, Emily Burton , suggests, “Wear a black tuxedo in the late afternoon or evening and lighter colors during the day. Consider the season and dress code. If there is no dress code, you can’t go wrong with a charcoal or navy suit. They can be worn during the day or evening and the accessories you choose can help you match the venue, the style of the wedding couple, the season and the formality.”