What To Wear To A Wedding

By Mark Ferguson

When it comes to being a guest at a wedding, most men are pretty unsure of what they are supposed to wear. For many, the first question is, “Do I have to wear a suit?” If the answer is no, then the man usually sighs in relief and imagines himself in jeans and a polo shirt at the reception. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are quite a few rules regarding dress code. Below we’ve penned a quick reference guide that can help you find your way.


White Tie or Ultra Formal
Not many of us get invited to these affairs but if you do get asked to an important political dinner or the Oscars, you’ll know what to do. White tie is the most formal of all occasions. When you go to one of these events you should definitely be in a black dinner suit complete with tails. A white vest is appropriate as is a bow tie. Black patent leather shoes are also a must.

Black Tie
This is also a very dressy event. Guys will still need a dinner suit with a black bow tie; The good news is, you don’t have to worry about tails at this point either. Patent leather shoes are still required.

Formal or Black Tie Optional
There’s some disagreement as to whether formal dress is the same as black tie or black tie optional. So keep in mind if the invite just says “formal” you may want to clarify ahead of time.  For our purposes we are going to view it as a black tie optional scenario. In this situation you have a choice. If you want to go all-out with a dinner suit, it would certainly be appropriate but you can also get away with a suit. However, just don’t wear any suit, you should take a cue from the formal part of the invite and stick with a something dark coloured. Remember it is better to be over dressed than under dressed.

Beach Formal
So many weddings happen on a beach these days that it has its own category.  For guys this means you may still have to wear a suit. Take your cue from the bridal party; if they are wearing suits, you should to. Ensure it is light weight as this type of fabric is better in the warm conditions. A light coloured linen suit is perfect for this occasion. Tie is optional

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual
Guys should probably stick with a suit here but you aren’t locked into dark or light colours. Simply make a choice based on the season and time of day. An evening or winter wedding gets darker colours while an afternoon or spring/summer event gets the lighter hues.

Casual
Although this leaves the door wide open we don’t suggest dressing down too much unless it is specified. For instance, a theme wedding could ask you to wear just about anything. However, unless directed to wear shorts or jeans (or something else), stick with business casual attire. Try dress pants with a polo or button down shirt. You’ll be comfortable but won’t run the risk of being under-dressed. A quick note, you should never wear jeans to a wedding, sadly this does happen.

Keep this guide filed away and when the next invite arrives in the mail, you’ll have no problems deciphering the dress code.

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