Can You Wear Shorts to a Wedding?

can you wear shorts to a wedding article

The summer months often go hand-in-hand with weddings and that means you likely have at least one or two ceremonies to attend during the warm weather.

Whether you’ve been invited to an outdoor wedding in the country in June or a July beach wedding, it’s important to be dressed appropriately for the occasion. 

But, can you wear shorts to a wedding? Are shorts appropriate for summer nuptials, beach ceremonies or tropical destination weddings?

Read on to not only find out how you can look your best, but stay cool at warm weather weddings.

can you wear shorts to a wedding in the summer

Can You Wear Shorts to a Wedding in the Summer?

We’re willing to bet that you’d never consider wearing shorts to a semi-formal wedding let alone a black tie affair. But what about a casual summer wedding? Are shorts appropriate?

Casual attire for a wedding is not the same as the casual clothing you would wear around the house or even out running errands. And that means avoiding anything resembling a pair of shorts, no matter how hot it is on wedding day. 

If you’ve been invited to a casual warm weather wedding, it’s important to show respect for the bridal couple by looking casually elegant. Men can forgo a jacket in favor of a nice button down shirt and a pair of khakis or trousers while women can wear a pretty knee-length sundress, maxi dress or a jumpsuit.

The only exception to the no shorts rule is if your invitation specifically says that shorts are acceptable. Otherwise, we advise all wedding goers to stick to proper wedding attire.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to dress for every type of casual summer wedding so you can always put your best foot forward as a wedding guest.

dressy casual beach or tropical wedding

Dressy Casual Beach or Tropical Wedding

A beach wedding doesn’t always mean a casual affair. Unless your invitation says otherwise, aim for a dressy casual outfit. Ladies really can’t go wrong with a pretty maxi dress, sundress or jumpsuit while men can opt for a button-down shirt with trousers. 

For a bit of extra polish, you can add a blazer or sport coat with a fun pocket square. If you do choose to wear a sport coat, lighter-colored blazers in lighter fabrics like linen are best for keeping you cool.

Need more inspiration? These outfits will have you looking your best.

petal and pup axara dress blue floral

Dressy casual wedding attire ideas for women

tech smart traditional fit plaid coolmax dress shirt nordstrom

Dressy casual wedding attire ideas for men

Casual Beach or Tropical Wedding

A casual beach wedding still requires guests to look put together and chic. Men can don a button-down shirt or a nice polo shirt with chinos. Female guests can wear a casual maxi dress, sundress or jumpsuit with a pretty pair of sandals (no flip flops, please!)

Here are some examples to have you ceremony-ready.

shannon tie back midi dress morning lavender

Casual beach wedding attire for women

mens regular fit medeallion print shirt created for macys

Casual beach wedding attire for men

Country Wedding 

A country wedding does not always equal super casual clothing and that means no shorts, jeans or T-shirts. If you’re attending a casual country wedding, then think about donning pieces that are laid-back yet still elegant and stylish.

Pretty floral, lace or gingham dresses are the ideal attire for women while men can wear trousers and a button-down shirt or a western shirt if the wedding has a rodeo or cowboy vibe. If the wedding is more dressy casual, then men should add a sport coat to their ensemble as well.

Need some ideas? We’ve got you covered.

nora lee dusty rose sleeveless lace midi dress lulus

Country wedding attire for women

mens regular fit traveler dress shirt created for macys

Country wedding attire for men

Garden Wedding

A garden wedding calls for a slightly more sophisticated outfit than, say, a beach wedding. Think ​​English tea party attire and you’ll be looking positively brilliant.

Ladies should choose a dressy casual frock with a pretty floral or polka dot pattern. A pretty skirt and top ensemble or a floral jumpsuit are also great choices. You can also add a hat to complement your outfit if you choose. Not only will you look chic, but it will help keep the sun off of your face.

Men should also go with a dressier look. Trousers, a button-down shirt and sport coat are ideal. If it’s too hot for a blazer, you can opt for a vest instead.

Here are some good examples to get you started.

superbly stunning light mauve floral print satin maxi skirt lulus

Garden wedding attire for women

asos design wedding skinny suit vest in black window check

Garden wedding attire for men

Church Wedding

Church weddings always require a bit more polish than a more casual venue such as the beach. 

For men, that means trousers and a sport coat or vest and a tie. While you’ll need to keep your coat or vest and tie on for the ceremony, you can remove both for the reception if you’re too warm.

Ladies can wear a pretty, light-weight dress, skirt and top or jumpsuit to stay cool while also looking stylish. Summer dresses can often show a lot of skin, however, so choose your outfit with care. Plunging necklines, skin tight fabrics or short skirts are all major no-nos for a church ceremony. 

Instead, aim for something a bit more modest. While not all churches are strict about a dress code, it’s always better to be dressed too conservatively than to look inappropriate. 

Here are a handful of great outfits to serve as inspiration.

wilde dress jenna reformation

Church wedding attire for women

perry ellis mens linen suit vest amazon

Church wedding attire for men

What are the Exceptions to the No-Shorts Rule?

While shorts are inappropriate for most weddings, if you receive an invitation to a backyard barbecue wedding or something equally as laid back, shorts may be OK. If your invitation doesn’t expressly give permission, however, you should check with the bride about what attire is appropriate.

If she says shorts are permitted, then feel free to wear them. That doesn’t mean just any old pair of shorts will do, however. Even if you do get the green light to wear shorts, make sure they are classy. 

For men, that means a pair of chino or trouser-style twill shorts worn with a short-sleeved button-down or polo shirt and a pair of nice slip-on shoes. Ideally, women should still opt for a sundress or culotte-length romper, but a pair of stylish trouser-style capris with a cute blouse or top would also be acceptable.

No matter what, athletic shorts, denim shorts, short shorts and shorts with rips and fraying should never be worn. Here are some great examples for appropriate attire for a super casual wedding.

behold red floral print off the shoulder jumpsuit lulus

Attire for women

mens wanderer poplin chino shorts nordstrom

Attire for men

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