The Style Blog

Men's Wedding Guest Attire: What Should Men Wear to a Wedding?

By Courtney Baldwin on 2019-04-23

Man getting dressed to be a wedding guest tying neck tie in the mirror to match his black suit vest and suit pants.

Receiving a wedding invitation comes with the excitement of sharing in a couple’s big day and even sometimes a bit of anxiety about what to wear for the festivities! In this post, we are going to provide some tips on wedding guest attire. Fashion DOs and DON'Ts when it’s not your big day, but you want to look stylish and appropriate for the occasion. Below, we discuss black-tie, formal, cocktail (semi-formal), and casual wedding dress codes, as they are the most common categories of wedding affairs.

Key Takeaways

  • Black-Tie Attire: Choose a classic tuxedo with attention to details, like a crisp white shirt and polished shoes.
  • Formal Attire: Opt for a well-fitted dark-colored suit and experiment with accessories like tie bars and cufflinks.
  • Cocktail/Semi-Formal Attire: Go for a suit or blazer with dress pants, keeping colors and patterns classy and avoiding anything too casual.
  • Casual Attire: Keep it relaxed with chinos or dress pants paired with a button-down shirt, adding personality with accessories like a stylish watch or belt.

What Should Men Wear to a Wedding?

When it comes to deciding what to wear to a wedding, think of it as your chance to express your personal style while still respecting the occasion. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Dress Code: Check the invitation for any specified dress code, but don't be afraid to add your own flair to it when appropriate. Whether it's black-tie, casual, or something in between, use it as a starting point to create a look that reflects your personality.
  • Venue: Consider where the wedding is taking place. Is it a beach wedding, a countryside celebration, or a city affair? Let the location inspire your outfit choice. For beach weddings, think lightweight fabrics and relaxed vibes. For city weddings, you might want to opt for a sleek and stylish ensemble that exudes modernity.
  • Season: Dress according to the season, but feel free to play around with colors and patterns. Bright colors and floral prints are perfect for spring and summer weddings, while darker hues and richer fabrics work well for fall and winter celebrations.
  • Theme: If the wedding has a specific theme, don't be afraid to get creative with your outfit. Whether it's a retro theme or a rustic-chic vibe, use it as an opportunity to have some fun with your look.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to wedding guest attire. The most important thing is to feel comfortable and confident in what you're wearing. So, go ahead and show off your style while celebrating the happy couple's big day!

Men’s Wedding Attire by Dress Code

So, you've snagged an invite to a wedding: now what? Before you start stressing about what to wear, let's break it down. Dressing for a wedding isn't just about picking any old outfit. It's all about following the dress code. Whether it's black-tie, beach casual, or something else entirely, the dress code guides your attire choice. Let's explore choosing wedding suit styles, one dress code at a time. 

Black-Tie Wedding Guest Attire

If the wedding invitation indicates black-tie dress, there really is little room for interpretation or deviation in your wedding guest attire. You must wear a tuxedo. While there is some opportunity to show your personal style while wearing black-tie attire, it is most appropriate to stick with tradition.  Meaning you must wear a tuxedo jacket, tuxedo pants, and a bow tie.  To show off your style a bit for the occasion, consider doing that through your dress shirt, bow tie, lapel pin, and shoe selections.

  • Wear a black or midnight blue tuxedo: For a black-tie wedding, black and midnight blue tuxes are most appropriate.  If you must wear another color, try to keep it as dark as possible.
  • Wear black patent leather, leather, or velvet oxford or loafer shoes: Unless indicated in the invitation, sneakers or any other casual shoe are considered inappropriate for the occasion.  
  • Wear a collared dress shirt: T-shirts, polo shirts, and banded collar shirts are not acceptable for a black-tie dress code.  If appropriate for the wedding venue and theme, consider a tuxedo shirt in a different color, texture, or pattern (think pastel, denim, or pinstripe).
  • Wear a white or ivory dinner jacket: Feature looks and dinner jackets, especially white/ivory dinner jackets should be strictly reserved for the groom and his attendants
  • Wear a floral boutonniere: these are typically reserved for groom and wedding attendants.  Instead, consider adorning your tuxedo lapel with a stylish lapel pin.
  • Intentionally intend on upstaging the groom or his attendants with your apparel: Keep your look clean, classic, and free from too many details that may appear that you are trying to upstage the man of the hour.
Man in black tie wedding guest wearing outfit wearing a notch lapel black tuxedo with traditional tuxedo accessories at formal outdoor event with roses.

If the wedding invitation indicates black-tie dress, there is little room for interpretation or deviation in your wedding guest attire. Petronella Photography

Formal Men's Wedding Attire

If the wedding dress code calls for formal, many of the black-tie attire rules apply.  The largest difference is that a tuxedo is not required for formal attire but it is often optional.  Instead of wearing a black or midnight tuxedo, consider wearing a black or dark colored suit.

  • Wear a dark suit or tuxedo: For a formal wedding, dark suits, such as blackcharcoal grey, or navy blue, are most appropriate.
  • Wear a bow tie or necktie: Unlike with black-tie attire, a bow tie is not required. You may wear a bow tie or necktie.
  • Wear a collared dress shirt: T-shirts, polo shirts, and banded collar shirts are not acceptable for a formal dress code.  If appropriate for the wedding venue and theme, consider a dress shirt in a different color, texture, or pattern (like pastel, denim, pinstripe) to show off a bit of your personal style.
  • Wear casual shoes: Although black patent leather shoes are not required, dress shoes are a must for formal attire.
  • Mix and Match Suiting Separates: A full suit with matching jacket and trousers should be worn.  Resist the urge to mix suiting separates in different colors for Formal wedding attire.
  • Opt for overly casual accessories: When you're rocking formal wear, there's room to let your personal style shine, but it’s crucial to keep it classy. Skip the novelty ties and neon socks—they're a bit too loud for the occasion. Instead, stick to classic accessories that add a touch of sophistication without stealing the show, such as a chrome tie bar and matching cufflinks.
  • Disregard grooming: When going formal, it's all about looking sharp from top to bottom. Keep your hair tidy, whether it's a neat cut or a styled 'do. Make sure your facial hair is in check—whether it's a clean shave or a well-groomed beard.
Simple, elegant charcoal grey suit outfit with a white button-up dress shirt and navy tie, perfect to wear as a guest at a formal or cocktail wedding.
A man in a dark blue suit with a bright blue dress shirt and black suit accessories for a colorful wedding guest outfit to wear for cocktail events.

Formal (left) vs. semi-formal or cocktail (right) attire for a wedding.

Cocktail and Semi-Formal Wedding Attire for Guests

An invitation with cocktail attire indicated, provides more freedom in look styling than Black-Tie and Formal dress codes.  With cocktail dress you can loosen the necktie a bit, literally and figuratively, and relax into chic and modern fashions for the event.  Now remember to keep it classy because it’s still a wedding!

  • Wear a suit. For a wedding with cocktail attire, suits or suit separates are most acceptable for men’s wedding guest attire. Navy blazers and sport coats are often popular for cocktail events because as the evening moves on and the dancing begins, you can lose the jacket and get more comfortable.
  • Wear a necktie. You should consider wearing a necktie with your suit to the event initially and if you see that other guests are not in neckties, feel free to slip it off and put it in your jacket pocket.
  • Accessorize your look. Feel free to adorn your look with sophisticated jewelry (wooden or beaded bracelets), lapel pin, tie bar or patterned pocket square to really show your personal style
  • Wear a tuxedo. Cocktail attire requires a certain level of formality but definitely not a tuxedo.  A suit and trousers will suffice.
  • Wear Jeans. Jeans are not typically considered acceptable for a cocktail attire wedding even with a blazer.   Save this look for another time and place.
  • Wear clothing with rips, holes, tears. Cocktail attire is still considered dress-to-impress so clothing with rips and holes will not make the cut.  Keep your look sophisticated and classy unless otherwise indicated by the couple.

Casual Wedding Guest Attire

The designation of casual attire is probably the most broad and confusing of the attire designations discussed in this post.  It’s the most confusing because everyone’s description of casual wedding guest attire may be different. First and foremost when deciding what you will wear to a wedding indicated as “casual attire,” try to take some clues from the invitation, venue and time of day that the wedding will take place.

  • Wear chinos or suit pants: Chinos or khakis are a great option for casual weddings especially those that take place in the summer.  If it is an especially warm climate, you may even consider wearing khaki or chino shorts. In cooler climates, opt for a nice pair of lightweight wool trousers.
  • Wear a printed shirt: A printed shirt in plaid, stripes, or all-over pattern is a great option for a casual wedding  
  • Add color to your look: Different than black-tie and formal weddings where dark colors are encouraged, a casual attire wedding is often a good time to add a little color to your look.
  • Wear a t-shirt: Unless specifically indicated by the couple to be a super casual wedding, a t-shirt is probably not your best bet for a wedding.  Opt for a polo or short sleeve poplin shirt if you are looking to wear short sleeves.
  • Wear a necktie: For casual attire, you can likely skip the bow tie and necktie.  If you are not comfortable wearing your shirt open and unbuttoned at the top, consider wearing a banded collar shirt with all buttons fastened.
  • Wear open toe shoes or flip flops: Unless specifically indicated as a beach wedding, you should still wear a closed toe, oxford or loafer shoe, even if you go without socks.

Men’s Wedding Attire FAQs

How can men ensure the right fit for their wedding outfits?

Ensuring the right fit for your wedding outfit is key to looking and feeling your best for the big day. Here are some tips to make sure your suit fits like a glove:

  • Suit Jacket Fit: The sleeves of your suit jacket should end by the tops of your wrists, revealing a bit of your dress shirt underneath. The back of the jacket should fall around the top of your seat, providing a clean and tailored look. Make sure the jacket isn't too tight or too loose—you'll know it's the right fit if it doesn't pull or gap when buttoned.
  • Suit Pants Fit: When it comes to men's dress pants, aim for a slim tapered look that complements your physique. Pant length is always something to keep in mind. The pants should end toward the top of your shoes, depending on your preferred break. Whether you prefer a full break or a slight break, the finished hem should create a clean line without bunching up around your ankles.

For more guidance on how to make sure your suit fits, consider using tools like our easy-to-use Fit Finder and information-packed Fit Guide, which provide helpful tips, measurements, and accurate sizing recommendations to guide your selection.

Remember, a well-fitted suit enhances your appearance and boosts your confidence. So, take the time to get it right—you'll thank yourself when you look sharp and stylish on the wedding day.

How can you accessorize men’s wedding outfits?

Accessorizing can take your wedding outfit from stylish to stand-out. Here are some general tips on accessorizing men's wedding outfits:

  • Cufflinks: Adding cufflinks to your shirt cuffs can instantly elevate your look. They're perfect for adding a touch of class to formal or black-tie weddings. Choose designs that speak to your personality, whether it's classic and understated or bold and eye-catching.
  • Tie Bars: Tie bars not only keep your tie in place but also add a cool factor to your outfit. They're versatile enough to work for both formal and semi-formal weddings. Pick one that matches your style, whether it's sleek and modern or vintage-inspired.
  • Wristwatches: A stylish wristwatch is the ultimate accessory for any wedding outfit. It adds a hint of sophistication without trying too hard. Find one that suits your taste and complements your attire, whether it's minimalist or statement-making.
  • Pocket Squares: Pocket squares are a fun way to inject personality into your suit jacket. They're perfect for adding a pop of color or pattern to formal and semi-formal weddings. Don't be afraid to experiment with different folds and styles to find what works best for you.
  • Neckties and Bowties: Whether you're a necktie guy or prefer rocking a bowtie, both options can add charm to your wedding look. For a relaxed vibe, opt for soft fabrics and playful patterns that reflect your personal style.
  • Dress Socks: Let your personality shine through with your choice of dress socks. Go for bold colors or funky patterns to add a fun twist to your outfit. Just make sure they're comfortable enough to dance the night away.

Remember, accessorizing is all about expressing yourself while staying true to the dress code of the wedding.

What should men wear to winter, spring, summer, and fall weddings?

Whether you're bundling up for winter, embracing the bloom of spring, soaking up the sun in summer, or enjoying the crisp air of fall, here's a guide to help you dress the part for every seasonal celebration:

  • Men’s winter wedding attire: When it's chilly outside, think cozy yet stylish. Opt for suits in rich, textured fabrics like wool or tweed to keep warm without sacrificing style. Darker hues like a charcoal or deep burgundy suit add a touch of elegance to your winter look. Layer up with a stylish overcoat or a warm scarf for extra flair and comfort.
  • Men’s spring wedding attire: Spring weddings call for light and breezy looks that reflect the season's freshness. Choose lightweight suits in soft colors like light gray, soft tan, or light blue to capture the essence of spring. Add a pop of color with a floral or patterned tie for a fun and vibrant touch. 
  • Men’s summer wedding attire: Keep it cool and casual for summer weddings with breathable fabrics like linen or cotton. Opt for light-colored suits in shades like khaki, light gray, or pale blue to beat the heat in style. Ditch the tie for a more relaxed vibe, and slip into comfy loafers or dressy sandals for easy-breezy summer vibes.
  • Men’s fall wedding attire: Fall weddings are all about embracing the cozy vibes and warm colors of the season. To match the autumnal palette, think earthy tones like dark green, burnt orange, or chocolate brown for your suit. Finish off your look with leather accessories like a belt or dress shoes for that rugged yet refined fall feel.

What should men wear for different wedding themes?

Navigating wedding themes isn't just about picking out a suit—it's about getting into the spirit of the celebration. Whether you're kicking back by the beach, soaking up the sun in a garden, going retro with a vintage vibe, or gearing up for a festive fiesta, here’s how to dress right for every theme:

  • Men’s beach wedding attire: For beach weddings, keep things breezy with light fabrics and laid-back styles. Think linen or cotton suits in soft colors like beige or light blue to stay cool under the sun. Lose the tie and opt for a sharp shirt paired with chinos or dressy shorts for that effortless beach vibe. And don't forget the sandals or loafers—you'll thank yourself later when you're digging your toes in the sand.
  • Men’s garden wedding attire: Garden weddings call for easy-breezy looks that blend in with the natural beauty around you. Stick to light, airy fabrics and soft colors like pastels to match the romantic setting. Throw on a floral tie or pocket square for a touch of garden charm, and finish off your look with comfy shoes that can handle a stroll through the flowers.
  • Men’s vintage wedding attire: If you're stepping back in time for a vintage-themed wedding, embrace those classic vibes with tailored suits and retro details. Go for rich, deep colors like burgundy or navy, and don't be afraid to mix in some bold patterns or funky accessories like suspenders or a fedora. Just remember to keep it cool and comfortable—vintage style, modern comfort.
  • Men’s festive wedding attire: For a festive-themed wedding, it's all about bringing the party energy with bold colors and playful touches. Go wild with bright hues like electric blue or fiery red, and throw in some fun patterns or funky accessories to really get into the spirit. Just make sure you're comfortable enough to dance the night away—after all, it's all about celebrating in style!

Does time of day impact men’s wedding guest attire?

Absolutely, the time of day can have a significant impact on men's wedding guest attire. Here's how:

  • Afternoon Weddings: Afternoon weddings often lean towards the casual or semi-formal side. This means you have more flexibility with your outfit choices. For a casual afternoon affair, you can opt for a smart-casual look with a sports coat or blazer paired with dress pants or chinos. If the dress code is semi-formal, a suit without a tie or a dress shirt paired with dress pants is a safe bet. Lighter colors and breathable fabrics work well for afternoon events, giving off a relaxed yet polished look.
  • Evening Weddings: Evening weddings tend to be more formal, especially if they're held after 6 p.m. This means it's time to step up your game with a more formal outfit. A classic suit in dark colors like navy, charcoal, or black is a staple for evening weddings. Pair it with a crisp dress shirt, a tie, and dress shoes for a polished and sophisticated look. Consider adding a pocket square or cufflinks for a touch of elegance. Evening weddings provide the perfect opportunity to showcase your formal attire while celebrating the special occasion in style.

What should a groom wear to a wedding?

When it comes to a wedding, all eyes are on the groom, and rightfully so! As the star of the show, the groom's outfit should be nothing short of spectacular, setting him apart from the rest of the crowd. To achieve this, planning your wedding suiting is key. Consider opting for a classic tuxedo, which exudes timeless elegance and ensures that all eyes are on you as you exchange vows. 

Alternatively, if a tuxedo isn't your style, choosing a suit in a different color from your groomsmen can also help you stand out. Whether it's a sharp navy suit or a sophisticated charcoal ensemble, make sure your outfit reflects your personal style while complementing the overall theme of the wedding. Don't forget to pay attention to details like tailored fits, high-quality fabrics, and well-coordinated accessories to complete your dashing look as the groom. After all, it's your special day—time to dress to impress and make a lasting impression.

Wrapping Up: Curating the Perfect Wedding Outfit for Men

To wrap things up, nailing the perfect wedding outfit for men is all about blending style with practicality. Whether you're the dapper groom or a suave wedding guest, there's a look to suit every vibe and venue. From laid-back beach weddings to upscale ballroom affairs, there's no shortage of options to express your personal flair. And let's not forget about women's wedding guest attire—they're rocking their own fabulous looks too!

Whether you're suited up in a classic tux or keeping it cool in a stylish suit, just remember to have fun, stay true to yourself, and celebrate love in style.

Looking for more style tips? Check out our style throughout our site, our take on the latest trends, and find your own style in our collection of suits and tuxedos. For help, contact us at, or for inspiration, follow us on Instagram.

About the Author

Courtney Baldwin

Courtney Arrington-Baldwin is the co-author of GROOMS: A Professional Stylist’s Guide to Wedding Planning for Every Budget. She has a seasoned background in menswear styling and provides style advice and wardrobe planning. Living in one of the fashion capitals of the world, New York City, she has a sophisticated understanding of wedding style, fit, and budget.