Wedding Crashers | New Line Cinema

THE ACT OF receiving a wedding invitation should precipitate excitement at the least and unbridled joy at the most. Yet, the occasion is often met with apprehension, as questions of what you should wear and how much you’re going to have to spend sour the mood. You’re not alone in this feeling.

In the midst of wedding season, many men are faced with the perennial challenge of knowing precisely what to wear. While it’s easy to default to the classic suit and tie, today’s weddings offer a myriad of style options for the modern man. No matter the dress code, the key to wedding attire is to strike the perfect balance between style, comfort, and appropriateness.

So, before you RSVP and start planning your outfit, allow us to help you decipher the dress code. Whether you’re attending a formal affair or a laid-back outdoor celebration, this is your definitive guide to dressing to impress at weddings.

Should a man always wear a suit to a wedding?

The tradition of men wearing suits to weddings is a deeply entrenched societal norm, but it’s not always necessary. While the classic suit undoubtedly adds a touch of sophistication to any occasion, it’s essential to recognise that weddings, much like the individuals involved, come in a diverse array of styles—and desired atmospheres. In today’s fashion-focused landscape, where personal expression and individuality are celebrated, a rigid adherence to sartorial conventions may not always be the best option.

The most crucial aspect of attire for any wedding, regardless of gender, lies in understanding the happy couple’s vision for their special day. Whether it’s a sleek tuxedo or a more casual ensemble, what truly matters is how you contribute to the atmosphere of the celebration, not the fabric draped over your shoulders. Therefore, while a suit can certainly be the desired attire at a wedding, its necessity ultimately depends on the preferences of the couple and the tone they wish to set for their union.

How should a man dress for a wedding?

The first step in nailing your wedding outfit is understanding the dress code specified on the invitation. Whether it’s black-tie, semi-formal or casual, adhering to the expectations of the couple is the easiest way to ensure your styling choices won’t cause a commotion—and will actually impress.  Here, we’ve broken down some of the most common wedding dress code themes, so you can be prepared for every eventuality.

Black tie

When the invitation reads ‘black tie’, it’s time to bring out the big guns. A classic tuxedo is non-negotiable, complete with a crisp white dress shirt and a sleek bowtie. If a tux isn’t your style (or in your price range), a formal dinner suit may be an acceptable substitution—but check with the bride first, and don’t blame us if she says no. Ensure your shoes are polished to perfection, and are preferably patent leather. Don’t forget to add a hint of personality with some nice cufflinks or a statement watch. Remember, confidence is the ultimate accessory when rocking formal attire.

Beachy vibes

Beach weddings are becoming increasingly popular, and if you’re heading to a seaside soirée, it’s a good idea to embrace the relaxed atmosphere with breezy attire. A linen shirt paired with tailored shorts or lightweight trousers exudes charm and will do nicely. Footwear should be comfortable yet stylish, so sandals or boat shoes are your best bet. Don’t forget some sunglasses (and sunscreen) to shield yourself from the sun.


Don’t be confused by the word ‘casual’, it’s still a wedding after all (read: thongs are still unacceptable). While this dress code screams laid-back, it still calls for a certain level of sophistication. Think effortless cool with a hint of class. Opt for a well-fitted blazer paired with chinos or smart trousers. Ditch the tie but don’t shy away from a crisp, button-down shirt. Loafers or stylish sneakers complete the ensemble. Pro tip: accessorise with a quality watch or a pocket square for that extra dash of flair.

Outdoor wedding

For an outdoor or garden wedding, channel your inner dapper gent, but add a smart-casual twist. Opt for a lightweight suit in breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Pastel shades or floral patterns are perfect for enhancing the outdoor ambiance. Pair with a crisp dress shirt and suede loafers for a polished finish. A nice boutonniere (French for buttonhole, into which you make like Paul Mescal at the 2023 Oscars and insert a floral rosette) could also be a good call.

Cocktail party

Creativity beckons with a cocktail wedding, so feel free to showcase your individual style. Mix and match tailored separates for a look that’s equal parts refined and daring. Experiment with bold colours, patterns, or textures to stand out from the crowd. A well-tailored blazer paired with bold trousers or a printed shirt is sure to make a statement. Finish off with stylish footwear and accessorise with confidence.


For a wedding with a vintage theme, embrace the nostalgia with retro-inspired attire. Think Mad Men meets The Great Gatsby. Opt for a slim-fit suit in classic hues like navy or charcoal. Add a touch of old-school charm with a skinny tie or bowtie. Don’t forget to pay attention to details like suspenders or a fedora hat to complete the vintage look. Just remember to keep it classy, not costume-y.

The Wedding Singer | New Line Cinema

Do’s and don’ts to follow when dressing for a wedding

DO: Embrace personal style (within reason)

While it’s essential to adhere to the dress code, don’t be afraid to inject your personality into your ensemble. Experiment with colours, textures, and accessories to create a look that reflects your individual style while still respecting the formality of the occasion.

DON’T: Upstage the couple

Come on dude, it’s not your wedding. While it’s essential to look your best, avoid wearing anything overly flashy or attention-grabbing that might overshadow the bride and groom. This is their day to shine, so opt for attire that complements the wedding theme without stealing the spotlight.

DO: Keep it simple

For formal and semi-formal weddings, there’s no need to get overly experimental. A well-tailored suit is a timeless choice. Opt for classic colours such as navy, charcoal, or black, and ensure a proper fit that flatters your physique. Pair with a crisp dress shirt, coordinating tie or bowtie, and polished dress shoes for a look that never fails to impress.

DON’T: Play fast and loose with the dress code

If the invitation specifies a dress code, respect it. Ignoring the stated attire can make you stand out in a negative way and may come across as disrespectful to the hosts.

DO: Accessorise

Accessories are the secret weapon of a well-dressed wedding guest. Elevate your ensemble with carefully chosen accessories such as a pocket square, cufflinks, boutonniere or a stylish watch.

DON’T: Go too casual

Even if the wedding is more laid-back, avoid dressing too casually. Jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts are generally not appropriate unless specifically indicated by the hosts. Show some respect for the occasion by dressing up appropriately.

DO: Dress for the season

Consider the season when selecting your wedding attire. For summer weddings, opt for lightweight fabrics to stay cool and comfortable. In contrast, winter weddings call for heavier fabrics like wool or tweed, paired with extra layers like a vest or overcoat.


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