How to Dress for a Wedding

how to dress for a wedding How to Dress for a Wedding

Once you’ve sent the RSVP and purchased the gift, your obligations as a good wedding guest rely on switching to celebration mode. But while the bride and groom have surely planned their ensembles well in advance, there are also certain style guidelines one should abide by as a guest. Yes, the day may belong to the newlyweds, but no one wants to be the guy who sticks out for being inappropriately dressed.

Planning what to wear to celebrate a friend or family member’s nuptials requires consideration of multiple factors which can influence the implied dress code. Here, we take you through a few points to note when reaching for that suit with the Everyguyed Guide to How to Dress for a Wedding.

Check the invitation

If you’re lucky the invitation will indicate the level of dress expected right on it, most invites traditionally make some mention.

But if it isn’t spelled out for you, fear not. The formality of the invitation may help you deduce a little about how to suit up. A formally-worded invitation using calligraphy, for example, would indicate a full suit is best. Invitations with basic, simple wording or design, however, may indicate a little leeway in the formality of dress.

When and Where

The time of day the wedding’s held may also help decipher the level of wedding attire required. A daytime wedding, taking place before 6:00 p.m., may deem less formal wear appropriate – a lightweight blazer and dress slacks with a button-down shirt, for example. An evening wedding reception, meanwhile, is usually more formal, so go for the full suit.

The season and setting, meanwhile, similarly provide a few fashion cues. The warm weather of a daytime summer wedding, for example, allows for linen or light cotton suits, specifically if it’s taking place outdoors or on a beach under the blaring sun. Depending on the setting, you may also be able to go tieless for such events. For a more formal summer wedding, taking place at a church, or at night, go for a comfortable cotton suit in a dark colour.

For a fall or winter wedding, meanwhile, you’re going to want to dress warmer in a wool suit in a dark colour. For winter, make sure you have an appropriate overcoat on-hand as well.

Dress Code

If the dress code is indicated on the wedding invitation, then there’s no need to worry about what to wear, as long as you keep the following in mind:

  • Formal: Reach for your well-tailored suit, and combine a long-sleeved dress shirt with a classy tie, belt and well-polished oxfords.
  • Semi-Formal: You can leave the tie behind if you choose, but should stick to wearing a well-matched blazer and pair of dress pants with a nicely-pressed dress shirt. Semi-formal does not mean sloppy.
  • Black tie: Ensure you have a basic tuxedo in black with matching bow tie and cummerbund, only to be worn after 5 p.m. During the day, a business suit might be appropriate.
  • White tie: This is super formal, and not very common. Traditionally it requires a tux with tailcoat, gloves and white tie. You’ll also want to brush up on your etiquette ahead of this type of affair, as white tie is the most formal of dress codes (in addition to a little outdated).


As long as it’s not black or white tie only, feel free to add a little colour and pattern with your neckwear of choice, while keeping it classy. You may also add a little character to your ensemble with your choice of cufflinks, and then keep it classic with the rest of your accessories. For a suit, a black belt and black oxfords work well to finish off your formal look, though brown shoes would work equally well with a navy suit.

A Few Final Tips

  • Don’t try to outdo the groom or wedding party with your ensemble. All eyes will still be on them, and you’ll end up feeling uncomfortable.
  • Been a while since you last suited up? Try it on ahead of time to ensure it’s still a perfect fit.
  • Don’t get too creative – wearing sneakers, jeans or a crazy shirt with your suit isn’t cute, it’s offensive. And it’ll get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.
  • When in doubt, go slightly more formal – you can always lose the tie and jacket if you’re feeling overdressed.

Remember, while you want to look sharp, this day really isn’t about you. As long as you effectively gauge the level of dress expected, the focus will remain on the newly married couple, as it should.


Have any of your own wedding style dos and don’ts? Witnessed a fashion fail at a recent reception? Let us and the EveryGuyed community know!


Christopher Mejaski

Christopher Mejaski

Christopher Mejaski is a writer and communications professional from Toronto, specializing in digital marketing and arts and culture writing. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University, and is pursuing a Masters degree in Communication and Culture from Ryerson and York Universities.
Christopher Mejaski

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