Men's Guest Attire: What To Wear To A Wedding
So you got a fancy wedding invitation in the mail, replied with a resounding "yes! I will attend" and now you're scratching your head about what to wear.
Check The Invitation
First things first, read the invitation. That's the beauty of weddings—most of the information you'll need to make the right wardrobe choices will be written down for you. If the wedding you're attending has an established dress code, you'll find it on the invite. (If it's not on the invitation, but a url for the couple's wedding website is included, be sure to look for a dress code there, too.)
But, if guidelines aren't provided there's no need to start hyperventilating. Unspoken wedding etiquette and common sense should rule the day. If you take a few simple bits of advice to heart you'll be looking good come ceremony time.
When And Where?
The venue and time of day should be a major guiding force in your wardrobe choices. Typically, if the wedding is during the day less formal attire reigns supreme. Lighter colors, slacks, a dress shirt and tie are probably okay for a daytime wedding, but you might want to have a jacket on hand just in case.
Night weddings generally require guests to have a more polished, formal appearance. Expect to wear a suit and tie. If the nighttime wedding is black-tie, you're going to need a tuxedo or well-fitting black suit, at the very least. A formal black bow tie and a black or white pocket square are required for a black-tie wedding, too.
Don't overlook the season and wedding venue. You'll look a bit foolish at a casual beach wedding in July with a dark, heavy suit on. (See our post on summer wedding attire.) Vice versa, for a winter wedding in a cold-weather climate, don't show up in a crisp linen suit.
No matter what the dress code is, being well-groomed is a must. Shower, brush your teeth, shave or make sure your facial hair is well maintained and trimmed. Get a haircut if you're looking a bit shaggy. Being clean cut may not be your thing, but the bride and groom will appreciate you stepping outside of your comfort zone for their big day.
Better Overdressed Than Underdressed
Always err on the side of overly-formal. It’s a lot easier to remove a suit coat or tie if you feel overdressed than it is to conjure them out of thin air if you go too casual.
Also consider the happy couple's fashion sense. Are they conservative dressers or fashion-forward trendsetters? It’s very possible you have no clue, which is no big deal. But if you do, think about how they would dress as guests to their own wedding.
No matter what, never wear denim to a wedding unless the invitation specifically says to. In the perfect rustic barn venue, denim can look great on the guests and wedding party. But you don't want to be the one guy wearing jeans when no one else is.
Ties For Weddings
Ninety-five percent of the time, you're going to wear a tie to a wedding. The same considerations you take into account when choosing a tie for any occasion should apply when picking out a tie for a wedding you're attending. Namely, pick something that complements the suit and shirt you plan on wearing.
If you just don't know where to start (and the wedding is not a black-tie event), paisley ties are a great choice for formal occasions. The pattern is dressy, but can be a bit bold, too. Keep your look from going over the top by realizing that a paisley tie is the focus of your outfit. Wear a neutral shirt and suit (solid is best) in colors that complement the paisley pattern.