Choosing an outfit for a wedding may not be high on your priority list, but it should be. Wedding attire is important not just for the groom and his groomsmen, but for male guests too.
The question foremost on your mind will likely be whether you should wear a tuxedo, a suit or even something less formal. Can you wear a tuxedo to a wedding no matter what time the ceremony is or are there outfit etiquette rules that should be followed?
If you’re waffling between wearing a suit or a tuxedo, our guide can help you decide which one is appropriate and how to wear both looks successfully.
Can You Wear a Tuxedo to a Wedding? Understanding Dress Codes
Tuxedos are typically worn at evening weddings — with ceremonies at 6 p.m. or later — because they tend to be more formal than daytime ceremonies. You will also be expected to wear a tuxedo if your invitation requests a black tie dress code.
If the ceremony is in the morning or afternoon, then a suit would be a more appropriate choice.
To get a handle on what you should wear to the next wedding you attend, here’s a rundown on the different wedding dress codes.
The name of this dress code tells you the most important part of your outfit: a white bow tie. Paired with an evening tailcoat, trousers, a white vest, a wing-collar shirt and black patent leather shoes, this is the most formal of all of the wedding dress codes. It is also the rarest.
Essential accessories to complete your look are cufflinks and studs. While it’s not too likely you’ll be asked to attend a white tie wedding, here’s an example, should the occasion arise.
- White tie attire (featured above)
A black tie wedding is similar to the Oscars. All of the men are expected to wear a tux. Tuxedos do come in a variety of colors and patterns, but a black tie wedding isn’t the event to show your creative side. Traditional black is best.
Along with black trousers and jacket, you’ll need a black bow tie, a white shirt with French cuffs, black dress shoes and black dress socks. If you choose to buy rather than rent a tux, here are two great options.
Formal (or black tie optional)
A formal wedding, also known as black tie optional, is a bit more relaxed than black tie. That doesn’t mean you can dress casually, however. Black tie optional is still a formal dress code that gives you the option of choosing to wear a tuxedo or a suit in black, navy, or charcoal. Here are three wedding-appropriate looks.
If you show up in a tux at a semi-formal wedding, you’ll definitely stick out like a sore thumb. While less formal than a black tie event, you’ll still need to wear a suit and tie with a collared shirt, dress shoes and dress socks.
Cooler weather weddings make dark suits in heavier fabrics a natural choice. Lightweight suits are ideal for summer and, aside from traditional navy and gray, you also have the option of lighter hues such as tan. If you don’t have a suit, you can wear trousers with a sport coat, button-down shirt and a tie.
These examples will ensure you look picture perfect for a semi-formal ceremony.
Dressy casual definitely leans more toward dressy than casual, but you don’t have to wear a traditional suit if you don’t have one. You can opt for trousers or dressy khakis with a blazer and nice button-down and dress your look up with a tie, if you like. If you don’t like dress shirts, you can wear a nice pull-over top instead.
These looks are all a good starting point.
A casual wedding doesn’t mean you can wear jeans or shorts. A pair of chinos and a button-down shirt or a nice polo is the way to go. If the wedding is in the cooler weather, you can add a sport coat for some extra warmth.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
What to Wear When No Dress Code is Stated
As a new dress code expert, you’re good to go — as long as your invite actually requests a particular type of dress. If your invitation doesn’t mention a dress code, then what?
Wearing a suit will work 70 percent of the time, but what about that remaining 30 percent? You don’t want to look out of place. The time of day and location listed on your invitation can help you figure it out. To learn more about what to look for, read on!
Less formal than evening ceremonies, weddings held before 6 p.m. are typically semi-formal or dressy casual. That makes a suit or trousers and a blazer a good choice. You should always avoid casual clothing unless your invitation specifically asks you to dress casually.
If the wedding is a small backyard affair or being held in a very rustic location, you can get away with chino and a button-down shirt.
Here are three good options for a daytime wedding.
Evening weddings are typically black tie, formal or semi-formal. If you’re expected to wear a tuxedo, however, your invitation will say so. If no dress code is listed, you can opt for a suit and tie or a less traditional tux.
These outfits both work for an evening ceremony.
Church weddings are definitely formal, and that means either wearing a suit and tie or a pair of trousers with a blazer and tie. If you’re attending a black tie evening wedding, however, you’ll need a tux.
Here’s a few ideas for black tie, formal and semi-formal weddings.
A beach wedding isn’t an excuse to wear shorts. While beach nuptials tend to be less formal, you still need to make an effort. Khakis and a button-down or polo shirt will have you looking cool and comfortable. If it’s more formal, a linen suit is a stylish choice.
These outfits are perfect for a wedding on the beach.
A garden wedding always has an elegant vibe, so a suit or trousers with a blazer is perfect. Garden nuptials are also colorful, so wearing a colored shirt or a patterned tie and pocket square will have you blending in beautifully. If you’re more daring, you can even wear a colorful sport coat.
These looks are all fun but sophisticated.
A country wedding may not be the place for a tuxedo, but it could well be the perfect occasion for a suit. Country weddings tend to be semi-formal to dressy casual, so a suit and tie or trousers and a blazer will be your best options. If you want to shake up your look a bit, exchange the blazer for a vest.
These outfits are perfect for country nuptials.