What Men Should Wear to Weddings as Guests

Whether you received a wedding invitation from your cousin, friend, or boss, you’re probably wondering what you should wear.

Should you rent a tux? Should you rock a necktie or a bowtie? What shoes should you pick? Is it acceptable to not wear a jacket at all? Sound familiar? We’ve heard these questions asked thousands of times, so just relax. Once you finish this article, you’ll know what to wear to a wedding.

First, Define The Dress Code

If you’re lucky, the dress code will be mentioned on the invitation.  Here’s a breakdown (by category) of what male guests are expected to wear:


Black-tie means you must wear a black or navy blue tuxedo with a bowtie. While there isn’t too much room to deviate from tradition, you can still personalize your outfit by selecting a unique bow-tie, lapel pin, or pair of shoes. For example, if you choose to sport a navy blue tux, consider wearing tasteful brown oxfords with it.


While black-tie attire is optional at a wedding with a formal dress code, men are also free to wear suits and neckties. If you’re attending a formal wedding, then we recommend wearing either a black, navy blue, or charcoal colored suit. The great thing about formal wear is that you are not as confined in your choices. If you’re wondering exactly what to wear, try a charcoal suit with a sky blue dress shirt, a gray tie with blue stripes, and black oxford shoes.


The main difference between formal and semi-formal is that you can wear suit separates at semi-formal weddings. For example, you can wear dark blue pants with a gray sport coat and a necktie. 


Since everyone has their own opinions about what “casual” dress attire really means, it’s easy to get confused. Depending on the weather, your best bet is to wear khaki pants with either a solid colored shirt, a plaid shirt, or a polo shirt. For shoes, consider either tasteful boat shoes or loafers.

What to Do When The Dress Code Is Not Explicitly Stated

If the dress code is not stated on the wedding invitation, then consider the venue, the weather, and the time of day in which the event will take place. If the wedding is at a swanky reception hall, like the Society Room of Hartford, then stick to formal wear. On the other hand, if the wedding will be on the beach during the middle of summer, then dress semi-formally, but bring a change of casual clothes with you just in case.

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