So you’ve received an invitation to what is set to be the wedding of the year (move over Harry and Meghan) but what on earth should you wear? With dress codes becoming more ambiguous each year we’ve put together a short guide to help you ensure that you arrive suitably dressed and ready to celebrate.
What to wear when the dress code states: White tie
A white tie wedding is the dressiest of events and you should ensure that you are dressed for such an occasion. Men should wear a black double-breasted two-piece evening tailcoat with a white dress shirt, white Marcella waistcoat, and white Marcella bow tie. Black trousers with a stripe of satin on both side seams and a patent shoe is a must.
What to wear when the dress code states: Formal/black tie/black tie optional
If you’re invited to a wedding with the words ‘formal’ or ‘black tie’ included in the dress code then be sure to dress to impress. Think the Oscars or any other red-carpet event and opt for a look that is both suave and sophisticated. A black dinner suit (tuxedo) is the most appropriate option although dark midnight blue can also be worn. Keep it simple and pair it with a white dress shirt, black bow tie and black leather or patent dress shoes. Cummerbunds, dress studs and co-ordinating cufflinks should also be worn. If the invitation states ‘black tie optional’ then a smart dark suit (black, navy or charcoal) and tie with a formal, button down shirt can be worn.
What to wear when the dress code states: Morning suits
Get set for a quintessentially British event if your invitation dictates that morning suits should be worn. A black or grey tailcoat, waistcoat (not necessarily matching), collared shirt and striped trousers is required along with a top hat and formal shoes.
What to wear when the dress code states: Semi formal/lounge suits
If the invitation states that ‘semi-formal’ or ‘lounge suits’ are to be worn, then it’s time to dust off your sharpest suit or pay a visit to one of our tailors who can craft you a new one. Opt for classic colours such as blues and greys or a lighter neutral hue during the summer if you prefer. Luxurious shirts and silk ties are a must, as is a smart pair of brogues or Oxfords.
What to wear when the dress code states: Smart casual
Perhaps the trickiest code to pull off, ‘smart casual’ tends to be the dress code that throws guests into a real outfit dilemma. Here a tailored jacket with a more casual chino or trouser could cut it if you don’t want to wear a suit but a laid back suit can also work. You should still wear a button up shirt but a tie isn’t essential. Footwear can also be toned down - perhaps opting for a loafer or driving shoe style in a casual suede or leather fabric.
What to wear when the dress code states: Casual/relaxed
The invite says casual but I can’t turn up in my jeans…can I? In a word, no. Not unless you know for a fact that the bride and grooms want you to and that it is a very informal occasion. For a casual wedding a jacket isn’t usually required so a button down collared shirt with trouser or chino would be appropriate. For footwear stick to loafers or driving shoes – nobody should ever turn up to a wedding wearing trainers or flip flops!
Consider other factors that may dictate your choice of outfit:
There are many other considerations that you should take into account to help you to ensure you are dressed appropriately for the big day.
Firstly think about the wedding venue, if you haven’t visited it before check it out on the internet or even better visit it if you can. This will help you make a more informed decision about what type of clothing will be appropriate. For instance, if the reception is being held in a formal ballroom yet the invitation indicates semi-formal attire you will know that you should opt for something on the dressier side, with a sharp suit and shirt fully accessorised with tie, pocket handkerchief and your smartest shoes. Comparatively, if you are attending an outdoor, country wedding and the invitation has a semi-formal dress code you may be able to get away with a suit in a slightly more relaxed fabric and fit.
You may also like to consider your partners’ choice of outfit when deciding on what to wear. Whilst it is not necessary that you match the colours of each other's outfits (which in fact can be considered quite tasteless) it is important that both of you dress to the same level of formality and complement each other’s choice.
Finally, the weather is also likely to play a role in dictating what you wear. If the wedding is being held somewhere hot then you’ll need to think about wearing something in a breathable, lightweight fabric. Similarly if it is likely to rain you may not want to don your favourite suede shoes that are likely to be ruined by the wet weather.
Ultimately what you wear is up to you – you need to feel comfortable and happy in your choice of clothing. If you are thinking of flouting the dress code though, remember to double check that this isn’t something that has been set by the venue itself. Many event spaces like to stipulate what their guests should wear and you wouldn’t want to be refused entry to such a special day!
For further styling advice or to book an appointment with one of our tailors to create your perfect wedding guest outfit please call us on 0800 542 3406 or enquire here.