How to Dress for a Wedding

If you thought there were a lot of “Ifs, Ands, or Buts” on how to dress for other occasions, well knowing how to dress for a  wedding is no exception. In fact, weddings can be the trickiest.

The first step in figuring out your wedding attire is to consider the time and location. For example, beach weddings are typically during the day and will call for clothes that are more casual. If the wedding is at a chapel or an indoor venue at night, a suit would be more appropriate. The most important thing to remember about a wedding is if you keep it classy you’ll fit right in.

But when in doubt, read the wedding invitation because it will typically tell you the dress code. The fine print instructions are actually useful! If the dress code is not listed and you are in a panic attack on what to wear just take a deep breath and calm down. Next, find out what the groomsmen are wearing and try to match their style. These tips should solve any lingering questions you may have about how to dress.

Wedding Dress Code

White Tie

These are the fanciest events and rare. White tie weddings call for a full on tuxedo with penguin tails, satin stripes on the pants, white orchestra conductors gloves, and the shiny shoes. No one wants to wear that and only a select few can pull it off which is probably why these types of events are rare.

Black Tie

A step down from the white tie, but still very formal. Still wear a tuxedo, but the penguin tails won’t be necessary. Be sure to wear a tie or bow tie.


This is where the freshly pressed, black suit comes into play. Any dark color variation is appropriate as well. No, you don’t have to wear a vest or a cummerbund. Leave that to the groom. Fun cuff links you’ve been wanting to wear? Time to break them out.

This is also when you can use some of those exciting tie knots. Eldridge, Trinity, Rose Bud and Tulip knots are especially impressive and fun for a wedding. Plus, any braided or non-traditional knots are great conversations starters, besides the typical, “How do you know the bride or groom,” questions.

If the wedding invitation has no indication of a dress code, it is best to stick with the formal look.

Dressy Casual

This is always tricky. “Dressy Casual” is such a vague term. A colored suit such as gray or blue, with a shirt and tie. A pin striped shirt or a blue shirt that goes with your suit would be appropriate as well. Be sure your belt and shoes match. The simpler the outfit, the classier you will look. Remember the general rule of thumb, lighter colors for day time weddings and darker colors for evening weddings.


I love a casual dress code. We can all be comfortable while we dance and mingle. For a casual look, I like to pair a slick, modern fit khaki pants with a sports coat and a button up shirt. No tie necessary.

Wedding Tip – For the groom and groomsmen,  just listen to the bride regarding the dress code. Don’t go out of your way to stand out in the crowd and be different…unless the bride is asking you to wear a pink ruffle shirt, in which case you have my permission to object.

My best advice for you though is unless you’re the bride or the groom, no one is going to be looking too much at your outfit. When in doubt, dress in classic attire and keep it simple. You can always adjust from there if you are overdressed.

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