The picturesque setting of a warm-weather wedding can make for an amazing ceremony -- but can also make finding the appropriate outfit for it somewhat daunting. In this guide, we’ll break down the dress codes, colors, and combinations you’ll need to know in order to assemble the best fit under the canopy this summer.
Summer Wedding Attire (Know Your Dress Code)
Since it sometimes can be confusing for men to know exactly what to wear to the most formal events, imagine the trepidation involved when it comes to summer wedding attire. Once you’ve received the invitation, the challenge lies in selecting a suit that fits the tone of the occasion and keeps you fashionable and cool under warmer weather. Here, we break down the dress code types and appropriate attire for each.
A white-tie wedding, also referred to as ‘full evening dress’, consists of a single-breasted black tailcoat (with tails optional), a long-sleeved white dress shirt with matching cufflinks and studs, and a waistcoat underneath. Trousers are traditionally black and tapered, with a double-braided line on the outside leg with a slim bow tie in your preferred color scheme.
To finish off a white-tie look, men can opt for a corsage or boutonnière to add to their lapel. Dress shoes for a white-tie occasion include patent lace-ups that should be polished and buffed to perfection. Voila! Mission accomplished.
Black-tie dress in layman’s terms for men means a tuxedo and bow tie - a dinner jacket complete with satin or silk lapels with no vents to the back, paired with a white dress shirt, a fitted pair of dress trousers in black, and a bow tie that is hand tied instead of a clip-on if possible.
For a black-tie affair, men can relax somewhat as this is the most straight-forward dress code. Note that cummerbunds are no longer an absolute for a black-tie event, so men can choose whether to or not to go the more traditional route. Polished dress shoes or even brogues work for this look to reach a sophisticated wedding look.
In essence, this dress code allows men to select either traditional black-tie look, or they can instead choose a formal dark suit, complete with white collared shirt, and bow tie or dark tie.
This is one classification where some men tend to get confused once they see the word ‘optional’, but it simply means slightly less formal than the full-on black-tie approach. So, although men are not expected to wear a tuxedo, there still needs to be an air of formality in the finished product. While black-tie, and formal are all fairly easy for men to grasp and won’t lead to any style hiccups, it should be noted that a black-tie outfit doesn’t necessarily mean wearing all black. Unless otherwise specifically stated in the invitation, men can select a tuxedo in the shade they prefer.
Nestled somewhere between semi-formal and formal, cocktail dress still requires men to wear a jacket and tie, but with the option for more adventurous ensembles like a tasteful blazer and dress pant combo.
A favorite of many men because of the versatility it allows, cocktail dress makes for ideal summer wedding attire. It is easy for men to strike the right balance between comfort and elegance befitting this dress code, particularly if you steer towards a more traditional style approach.
Semi-formal dress consists of pants and slacks at a minimum, with the option to wear a nice jacket.
For men that prefer an easy approach that is more casual and easy to put together, semi-formal dress is just about as good as it gets. The semi-formal approach allows men more flexibility, but the trick is not to get too casual. The easiest formula to strive for here is a nice suit and dress shoes - tie optional.
A casual look that fits the occasion calls for khaki pants or chinos with a collared shirt or jacket and optional tie or bow tie as a stylish look.
As the name implies, casual attire is definitely one of the more laid-back approaches to menswear for a summer wedding, and can run the gamut from jeans and shorts to sandals or even no shoes at all. Men have carte blanche to choose from an assortment of style possibilities and still stay in line with summer wedding dress codes.
Men can wear a nice pair of khakis or chinos, a short-sleeved or collared shirt, paired with a nice pair of sandals and sunglasses for a beach dress summer wedding.
Summer weddings on the beach are going to more than likely be hot, humid, wet, or a combination of all three, so consider this a mix of style meets function. Fabric is of prime importance for a beach wedding, so opt for cotton or linen fabrics for maximum comfort.
For a themed wedding with a concept, it is important to gather as much information as possible for an inspired look that makes the day unforgettable for everyone involved.
For a themed summer wedding, first check with the wedding planner or bride and groom in order to remain within their desired aesthetic approach. Once you have the green light and know what the ground rules are, go big and make your look count!
Best Colors to Wear to a Summer Wedding
Even for a summer wedding, there are some hues that will always work for men for just about any occasion, and for an event like this, men can opt for mid-grey hues all the way to navy blue, burgundy, or even an all-white or printed tuxedo jacket depending on the dress code.
What Not to Wear to a Summer Wedding
Just as important as what to wear is what not to wear, and here are a few important edicts men should not cross when it comes to dressing for a summer wedding.
Bright colors are one thing, but loud ones are something else entirely, and unless the themed wedding requests neon-esque apparel, avoid it. Second, brown shoes also should not be on the menu for any dress code from semi-formal and above. Checked shirts are also not on tap for a summer wedding in general, and last – but certainly not least – NEVER upstage the couple getting married through your apparel. When in doubt, opt for the clean and classic approach so as not to ruffle any feathers.
Finding what to wear to a summer wedding may seem daunting in the beginning, but there’s no reason to be intimidated. Know the code, do some research, and you’ll be well on your way to looking your best.