Do You Have to Wear A Suit To A Wedding?

by Jamie
Camille's of Wilmington - Bridal Shop, Wedding Dresses, Prom Dreses,

Appropriate wedding attire for men can be hard to get right. It’s a celebration, so you can’t simply go for bland office wear, however, it’s got to be formal enough to fit with the smart vibe of the event. Whether you need outdoor wedding attire, semi-formal attire for men, or traditional outfits, we’ll cover it all in this handy guide. 


Men Wedding Attire: What Should I Wear to My Wedding?

Just to make things clear, unless you’re going to a religious wedding or going for something like formal Scottish attire where there’s a set dress code, then you can’t go wrong with a suit or tux. They look good, they flatter the body, and hey, it’s your wedding day, you gotta dress up a bit. The main thing you should really be wondering when what to wear at a wedding, is whether you should opt for a tux or a suit. Both are acceptable, but each one gives off a slightly different vibe and finish.

Suit Vs Tux for a Wedding

There aren’t a whole lot of differences between a suit and a tux, but it’s worth knowing them so you can make a clear decision on what to wear to a wedding, men. The biggest difference between a tux and a suit is the use of satin.

Tuxedos tend to have satin on the lapels, pocket trims and a stripe down the side of the trousers. The accessories you match with your suit and tux can also differ, and although this isn’t a rule that’s totally set in stone, you generally wear a bow tie with a tux and a tie with a suit.

Formal Attire for Men

Whether you’re a guest, best man or groom, if you’re going for a formal wedding then you’ve got to dress the part. This means ensuring every part of your outfit fits immaculately, is flattering in colour and shape, and isn’t over adorned with accessories. Even small details can make a difference to proper wedding attire, so make sure you’re focusing on all the important features.

Fit of a Suit

Suits are a standard option, but what suit to wear to a wedding? Well, first off, one that fits perfectly. This is probably the most important feature, and even if you’ve got all the other details just right if your suit is too tight, loose, short or long, then you’ll never be able to pull it off.

So, with that comforting thought, let’s get on to some of the things to keep in mind when you’re trying on a suit.

  • The stitching connecting the sleeve of your suit to the torso should run along the side of your shoulder so that it fits correctly against the top half of your body.
  • When you button up your jacket it should fit closely against your body, but not so tight that you create an X shape.
  • Your sleeves should fall just below your wrist bone and not drown out the sleeve of your shirt.
  • Your trousers should just cover the top of your shoes.

Colour of a Suit

There are bound to be a few people out there typing into Google ‘is it okay to wear black to a wedding?’ Black suits at a wedding are completely fine, and as long as you’re not matching it with a black shirt then you’re not going to look in any way morbid or too intense. If you’ve got a black suit that fits perfectly, there’s no reason you can’t brush it off and wear it to the happy occasion. 

Grey also works for formal occasions, and you can easily pair one with a classic white shirt and, for a bit of brightness, some brown leather brogues.

Accessories for a Suit

If you’re working with a formal wedding dress for men then it’s best to keep the accessories to a minimum. Too many pieces and the suit will look cluttered and won’t maintain a sleek, classic vibe. They’re a few traditional accessories that are worn with men’s suits for weddings, but try and keep these general guidelines in mind if you choose to add them to your suit. 

  • Cufflinks – Opt for a simple, design in a plain silver or gold. There are Game of Thrones ones out there – a formal wedding isn’t the time for them.
  • Pocket Square – If you haven’t got lapels or other pieces on your suit then they can be a nice addition to your suit. Opt for a simple white one, or a lightly patterned and coloured one if you want a little more vibrancy.
  • Lapel Pin – Like with the pocket square, if you haven’t got a whole lot going on with your suit, then a lapel pin is fine. It’s best to stick to a plain gold or silver one, or minimal detailing if you want something more interesting.

Semi-formal Attire for Men

With so many hyper-formal weddings out there, it makes sense that many people are beginning to take a more casual approach to weddings in general, and this can have an impact on what to wear to a wedding if you’re a man. In fact, smart casual wedding attire can be a lot harder to sort out than formal wear, as you don’t have the option of opting for a simple suit.

Here are a few examples of some outfits to wear to a wedding that could work for a more laid back event.

Casual Wedding Suit

A suit doesn’t always have to be worn with a shirt, and if you’re at a wedding that’s not strict about the dress code, then there’s no reason you can’t tone down your suit by pairing it with a plain, well-fitted T-shirt. You can go for a range of colours, but make sure that your T-shirt works well with the colour of your suit, i.e. don’t go for a brightly coloured or patterned design. A white, navy or black T-shirt can be matched with pretty much any coloured suit, so if you’re nervous about colour matching then stick to these.

If you’re looking for beach wedding attire for men then this might be a good option to go for. It’s lighter weight than the standard suit and shirt combination, and if you opt for brighter colours, like a beige or tan suit then you can create a beach appropriate look. 

Jeans and a Blazer

If you’re working with a really relaxed dress code then, if you’re careful, you can add some jeans to the mix. While jeans tend to be on the list of what not to wear to a wedding, if you match it with a neat, tailored blazer then it’s possible to smarten it up enough to make it appropriate for a wedding.

Make sure your blazer is the perfect fit, and keep your jeans slim fit and in a dark tone like navy or black (and before you ask, yes, you can wear a navy suit to a wedding). If you’re going for casual legwear then your shoes should be smart, but anything from monk shoes to brogues can work with the look. If you feel the look is formal enough then finish off with a T-shirt, but if you’re worried things are looking too casual then stick to a dress shirt or an Oxford shirt.

Lose the Blazer

The suit jacket is really the main piece that pulls a suit together and gives it that formal edge. Take that out of the equation and you’ve got a shirt and chinos, which is still a smart outfit but can be dressed down for a smart-casual look.

Go for complementary neutral colour schemes such as white and beige or black and white to keep things classic. Colours not to wear to a wedding tend to be ones that make too much of an impact. It’s not the time for a ‘look at me’ moment, especially if you’re looking for men’s wedding guest attire.

Personalising Wedding Outfits for Men

A suit for a wedding guest is a standard outfit, but don’t feel like you can’t make yours stand out from the standard wedding attire. With the right accessories or colouring you can add some of your own personality to your suit without taking away from the formality of the look.

If you’re looking to make an impact then a coloured or patterned suit is a good place to start. You can go for a classic black and white colour but opt for an elaborate pattern, or choose a simplified print but in a more abstract colour.

Lots of patterned suits are made from a durable wool, and this makes them doubly useful if you’re wondering what to wear to a fall wedding, as wool is both warm as well as durable, and is ideal for cold evening wedding attire. 

Fall wedding attire can be given a boost with simple, classic accessories, while lighter, summer suits can be personalised with more colourful pieces. You shouldn’t put too many accessories together, but something like a classic pocket square, lapel pin or intricate cufflinks can help to elevate your outfit.

If you’re accessorising your suit, make sure the pieces are subtle and don’t draw too much attention away from the suit. A pocket square can be colourful and patterned, but only when paired with a plain suit so as to avoid any clashing.

Do You Have to Wear A Suit To A Wedding?

  • Suir or tuxedo? – we’d recommend a suit but it depends on how formal the wedding is going to be
  • Fit – make sure your new suit fits you properly, get measured before you buy
  • Colour – navy and grey are your safest bets, black can be worn but make sure you style it properly
  • Accessories – cufflinks, pocket squares and a nice watch are a great addition to your outfit
  • Semi-formal – a nice light suit won’t be as hard for you to wear and will also be more laidback
  • Jeans and a blazer this is better for the reception but it can still be worn to a wedding, make sure that the clours match

On That Note

There tends to be strict rules on what a man should wear to a wedding, but as long as you’re not trying to upstage the groom if you’re a guest, or the bride if you’re the groom, then you have more freedom than you’d think. Casual pieces like jeans and T-shirts can even be worn as long as they’re dressed up properly, and there are various ways to personalise a simple suit if things are feeling too generic. If you don’t know what to wear to a wedding reception men, then take a look back at this guide.

Feature image from Pinterest

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