Are you a male who just received a wedding invitation and are unsure what to wear? Is your significant other placing pressure on you to “clean up” or “match their attire?” Fear not! These are common dilemmas, and we’re here to help you solve them. Below, our experts have provided you with a comprehensive guide to wedding attire for men.
When you arrive at the end, there should hopefully be no further questions about what a guy should wear to a wedding.
Step 1: Read the Invitation
First and foremost, it’s essential that you take time to read the invitation to figure out what the wedding guest attire for men is. For instance, the request may say something like “Black Tie Optional” or “Beachwear Requested.”
You don’t want to be the guest who shows up to a wedding on the beach in a full tuxedo. You also don’t want to be the guest who upstages the bride and groom on their special day.
If you’re in doubt, we recommend that you reach out to the best man or maid of honor to clarify. The groom likely has millions of other things going on leading up to his wedding day, and you don’t want to pile more onto his plate. Stick with the best man as your go-to point of contact.
Similarly, when and where the wedding occurs will also impact the wedding attire for men. If the marriage is in a small church in the middle of the summer, you’re going to want to go with something lightweight, such as linen or brushed cotton.
Vice versa, if the wedding is in late fall or winter, you may need to equip yourself with coats and accessories such as scarves or caps. The time of the wedding will also determine the type of outfit that you may wear. For instance, if the marriage is in the afternoon while the sun is up, you can play around with more tropical or warmer colors.
However, if the wedding is in the evening or at night, you may want to opt for cocktail attire or something more formal. Remember that people will be snapping photos the entire time, and you’ll want to be sure that you aren’t sticking out like a sore thumb.
Although it isn’t common, some couples will request two outfits for the same wedding! For example, if the wedding occurs in the afternoon, the couple may request formal attire. Then, the couple will request black-tie attire for the reception. An example like this goes to show how critical it is for you to read the invitation thoroughly and obtain all details about wedding guest attire for males.
Finding a Middle Ground
Determining what a guy should wear to a wedding is tricky because you must find a middle ground between overdressed and underdressed.
The goal is to just be a part of the wedding rather than the focal point. Leave that spotlight to the newlyweds! It’s their day, not yours.
Start with the Suit
No matter which outfit you go with, men who are determining what to wear to a wedding should always begin with their suit. The suit is the foundation of any dress attire, and it’s critical that you nail this down before worrying about secondary pieces.
Fit is paramount. A less-expensive, properly tailored suit will always look better than an expensive suit that doesn’t fit right.
Work with a tailor to find an outfit that best fits your style.
You should also be mindful of the types of activities that occur at a wedding. If you’re a dancer, you may want to make sure your pants have a little “give.” Your suit should be comfortable but fit appropriately.
Furthermore, you should opt for conservative colors. You can save the black suits for your next board meeting, but will want to consider:
If you choose pinstripes, make sure they are subtle. Avoid anything with too much flare. Remember, the classics never go out of style!
If the wedding is outdoors or during the summer, a standard button-down shirt will work well. Add a tie if the marriage is “formal” or “classic.” Choose a waistcoat or knitwear if the ceremony is in the winter.
After you’ve chosen your suit, it is time to accessorize. Here is your chance to “personalize” your look a bit – tastefully, of course. Because most guests will be in suits similar to yours, men’s wedding attire is made complete by the accessories that they choose.
As a rule of thumb, we advise you to go for a “crisp and clean” look. Consider adding some of the following options to your outfit.
The groom and his groomsmen will likely be wearing pocket squares. Their pocket squares will probably match the dresses of the bridesmaid. If possible, try to avoid choosing the same color pocket square as the wedding party. Your pocket square should match your tie. One of our favorite combinations for an early fall wedding is a navy suit with a deep purple pocket square. Patterns are acceptable with a square.
Whether you choose cufflinks should depend on the formality of the event. Wearing cufflinks to a formal wedding is 50-50 while wearing them to a black-tie wedding is a must. If the wedding invitation requests anything less than formal, we strongly advise that you don’t wear cufflinks.
Cufflinks can help pull men’s wedding guest attire together, but they could also wreck it quickly. Be careful here.
It’s easy for cufflinks to lead to “over-accessorizing.” Don’t purchase a pair strictly to stand out at a wedding. If you have a favorite pair reserved for special occasions, a marriage may be the perfect time to put them on.
Remember that you’re going for a classic look. We don’t recommend anything too shiny and would opt for silver over gold.
Belt and Shoes
No matter what type of wedding outfits for men you choose, you’ll want to wear a pair of quality leather shoes. Try to keep in mind that you’ll be on your feet for long hours during the wedding, so try to wear something comfortable. It could be in your best interest to invest in a pair of quality shoes before the wedding to help protect your feet.
However, if you were to do so, make sure that you break them in before the wedding day. Otherwise, you’ll have a bad case of blisters that will quickly turn your night miserable. This is especially the case with patent leather shoes, which are a must for black tie weddings.
If you choose to purchase your tuxedo and shoes, take time to soften the stiff leather before the wedding.
All belts should match the leather on the shoes unless you’re attending a black-tie wedding. You will likely wear suspenders to a black-tie wedding instead of a belt. Below, you’ll find our recommendations for color schemes:
A blue or khaki suit should have brown belts and shoes
A grey suit matches well with either black or brown leather
A black suit requires black leather
Similar to cuff-links, you don’t want to choose a watch that is too flashy. The watch that you select should also match the overall attire for the wedding. If you’re attending a summer or casual wedding, you’ll want to consider a classic style watch with a leather band that matches your belt and shoes.
If you’re attending a more formal wedding, feel free to pull out that more expensive watch. Save the Rolex for black tie-only events.
If you choose to wear a watch and cufflinks, make sure that they match. For instance, don’t wear a gold watch with silver cufflinks.
A leather watch band should match the other leather in your outfit, and the metal in your watch band carries the same principle regarding any other metal in your attire. If you choose to wear a tie clip, it will apply there as well. We don’t think a tie clip is necessary for weddings, but they can be stylish and add a nice component if done tastefully.
If there’s any part of wedding attire for men that provide them with the chance to shine, it’s the socks. No, you should not wear your favorite pair of Star Wars socks. But, feel free to add a checkered or striped pattern that is a bit bolder.
Socks have grown in popularity over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. Your socks are mostly hidden, and will not take away from your overall appearance.
There are a few types of weddings that could call for exceptions in a man’s wedding attire. These exceptions should be in the invitation. On such example is “festive attire.” This wedding attire, which is quickly growing in popularity, gives guests free-reign to do as they please with their outfit.
If you receive an invitation that requests festive attire, we advise you to learn toward cocktail-party attire. However, feel free to implement bolder patterns or colors that allow your personality to shine.
Guests are often encouraged to have fun and add playful accessories.
Look Your Best and Have a Blast!
Remember, when it comes to a wedding, you are dressing to be a part of something memorable. While we fully endorse some tasteful personal flair and accents, the most important thing is that you fit in with the rest of the event and dress the way the bride and groom have requested.
With these tips, we hope you no longer have to ask yourself “What should a man wear to a wedding?”
Now, hit the dance floor and show everyone what you’ve got.
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