Discover what to wear to a summer wedding in this style guide from Team SG. From casual wedding outfits for men to men’s semi formal wedding attire, you’ll find outfit ideas for every kind of nuptials.
Last summer I attended the wedding of an old roommate down in Memphis, Tennessee.
The theme? Summertime Fly.
Even if you knew the couple, you were still kind of like, “So…what does that mean, exactly?” My girlfriends and I eventually agreed that printed cocktail dresses were perfect for the ladies in attendance—but I drew a blank when trying to imagine what the guys would wear.
What do men wear to weddings where the dress code is murky at best?
Turns out that most guys’ interpretation of Summertime Fly was…a navy suit and brown lace-up shoes.
Classic? Sure. But “fly?” Not exactly.
They blended together like the sea of businessmen I battle each morning in Midtown Manhattan.
That is—everyone except one guy.
A friend of the groom wore a beautiful washed teal linen suit, white shirt, and no tie. Full disclosure, I may or may not have had a crush on him years ago, but believe me when I say, he looked incredible.
The point, you guys, is that he embraced the unique wedding dress code, and here, a year later, I can still picture his head-to-toe look perfectly.
Don’t you want to look this memorably stylish at all your summer weddings? I bet you do.
Unless we’re talking black tie wedding attire for men, you’re probably recycling the same couple suits over and over again. And while that may be economical—it’s not very fun!
That’s why Team SG put together a stylish and inspiring guide on how to interpret every dress code for summer weddings this year.
From a backyard barbecue that just happens to include a marriage ceremony to a lavish destination wedding on some far-off shore, we promise you’ll look amazing.
Below, what to wear to a wedding, a guide for men:
Men’s casual summer wedding attire
AKA, YOUR COUSIN’S BACKYARD DAYTIME WEDDING
I really hope this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this, but casual wedding attire for men doesn’t mean jeans.
You cannot. But you can absolutely wear your favorite pair of nice chinos or lightweight dress pants. AND you can leave the blazer (and socks!) at home.
So, what should a man wear to an outdoor summer wedding that’s casual?
This is still a special occasion, remember, so when it comes to what to wear to an outdoor summer wedding, think: comfortably upgraded.
Even if you’re simply headed to a local park where your uncle’s flipping burgers at the communal grill for dinner, you still want to honor the bride and groom with an outfit you put effort into.
A slim, great fitting polo is definitely an option, but since you come here for *opinions* not options, I’m going to strongly recommend a printed shirt.
You’ll look cool and fun, but not like you’re trying too hard. And remember, this is still a special occasion—so tuck your shirt in!
Odds are you’ll be the best-dressed guest no matter what, but why not really drive the point home with your finishing touches.
Think: a woven leather belt and some suede espadrilles. They’re the perfect shoes for dancing the night away with your adorable nieces under strings of twinkly lights since they’re ridiculously comfortable.
When you’re deciding what to wear to a casual wedding, remember that a little effort goes a long way.
You want to look stylish, cool, and put-together.
So, iron you shirt, trim your beard, and be the dopest goddamn version of “casual” you possibly can be.
Men’s semi formal wedding attire
AKA… MOST OF THE WEDDINGS YOU’RE GOING TO THIS SUMMER
There’s something about seeing the words “semi formal” printed on gorgeous, expensive cardstock that makes me salivate slightly.
Maybe it’s because I’m imagining that first, crisp sip of a Negroni at sunset. Or maybe I’m imagining all the handsome dudes on the dance floor, looking totally debonair.
Semi formal attire – also sometimes called cocktail attire – follows a lot of the same guidelines as a formal dress code, but lets guests be a bit more playful with stylish details.
A dark suit is definitely the move. You want something that’s just slightly more saturated and vibrant than a typical navy, and for that reason, looks beaucoup plus expensive.
From there, take a few liberties with shirt styles!
Think subtle prints like swiss dot and mini-gingham—which pair nicely with on-trend floral ties and your most whimsical pocket squares.
When it comes to cocktail attire for men for a summer wedding, you want the overall effect of your outfit to be dressy, but not rigid.
That’s why, as a finishing touch, you could swap out your go-to lace-up dress shoes for a really nice pair of leather tassel loafers!
If mixing prints makes you nervous, remember that it’s all about balancing proportions and tying colors together.
None of the prints should be the same. In the lewk above, peep that tiny navy swiss dot print on the shirt with a lavender seersucker pocket square, and a floral tie with elements of navy, purple and white.
Semi formal and/or cocktail attire is like the Negroni itself. Sleek and sophisticated with a refreshing twist.
Avoid the urge to dress like you do for the office and kick your favorite suit up a notch with playful, fashion-forward details.
Beach wedding guest attire for men
AKA: YOUR BOUGIE COLLEGE ROOMMATE’S INTIMATE DESTINATION WEDDING
The dress code for a beach wedding can be a head-scratcher.
A suit is always appropriate for a wedding, even at the beach. (Sorry Bermuda shorts, you’re not welcome at this party.)
The best suit for a beach wedding? The one you won’t sweat through.
Opt for one that’s really lightweight and airy, and if you’re itching to branch out from your tried-and-true navy, I encourage you to explore the summery range of beige, light grey, sky blue, pale pink or even off-white.
It could even be mint green if that’s what you’re into!
A simple, ultra-crisp white shirt in linen or cotton will keep you in the “safe zone” of looking formal, but if, for example, this beach happens to be in the Virgin Islands and not Martha’s Vineyard, feel free to get a bit creative with a punchy print.
A light sandy suede or natural leather will go nicely with any of the above suit colors.
For accessories, keep your location in mind.
A Caribbean or Hawaiian destination wedding is your moment for tropical florals and palm prints on your tie or pocket square.
For a coastal wedding in Washington or Maine, on the other hand, think stripes, gingham and tiny, subtle florals.
And I know it’s the beach, but, reflective lens sunglasses ring a bit “over” to me in the Year of Our Lord 2022.
Instead, try a colored, semi-transparent lens in blue or green as a fun alternative to your typical dark grey or black.
Love your beach wedding look the way you love the beach. Embrace the breeze. Embrace the tropical vibes. And don’t make a big to-do out of getting sand in your loafers, nerd!
*A note: It’s up to you to judge based on the bride and groom’s vibe, but for beach weddings you can usually opt out of wearing a tie.
Leave the top button of your shirt undone and accessorize with just a pocket square.
Wedding Dress Code: FESTIVE ATTIRE
AKA, YOUR COWORKER’S LABOR DAY NUPTIALS AT THE FAMILY’S KIAWAH ISLAND SUMMER HOME
Oh boy, right? “Festive” makes for a fun party, but when it comes to decoding the wedding dress codes for men? These invites are not without their challenges.
First of all, yes, it is slightly vague.
Second, it can be intimidating if you’re not a typically adventurous dresser.
For the uninitiated, “festive” means basically the same as a cocktail dress code, but the hosts encourage a dash of whimsy.
The tl;dr? The bride and groom want you to get creative with your look!
Of course, you can approach your festive wedding guest outfit a few different ways.
You could wear a traditional wedding look with statement-making shoes in a fun color. Or, you can deconstruct a suit and try mismatched separates with a cool print and a pop of color or two.
What? That sounds crazy and maybe kind of hard to pull off?
Let me explain.
First, I’ve singled out one of my favorite menswear pieces of all time—the ivory blazer.
It’s the more casual, comfortable version of a black tie dinner jacket. To avoid looking like a cater-waiter, wear it with linen dress trousers in a tonal shade of khaki. Keep it funky with a totally unexpected patterned shirt.
For finishing touches, you’ll have to judge by the venue and the time of the wedding how formal to go.
A more relaxed setting and a 3 p.m. ceremony means you could probably go sans tie and wear a cool pair of canvas or leather sneakers (like these pink bad boys!).
For a festive wedding after five, opt for your dressy loafers or lace-ups—but no matter what don’t forget your no-show socks.
It’s summer, after all! Ankles out!
Don’t miss this chance to be truly creative with your ‘fit.
As long as the foundation of your look is solid, you can take all kinds of fun “fashion risks” that really aren’t that risky. The big print. The ivory jacket. Those fresh sneakers you still store in their box…
Wedding Dress Code: EVENING FORMAL OR BLACK TIE-OPTIONAL
AKA, YOUR TRUST FUND BABY BESTIE’S 300-PERSON WEDDING AT THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
To me (and most women, let’s be honest), there are few things more attractive than a man done up in full black tie regalia.
That perfectly draped shawl collar jacket, with a single-button defining your silhouette, a daring tuxedo stripe that draws the eye down to a perfect break above your dressiest shoes.
Obviously, if the invite indicates “black tie optional,” you don’t have to wear a tuxedo. But if you have one (or are in the market to invest), why not take advantage of this rare opportunity to get really, really dressed up?
They’ve been around awhile now, but I still stan hard for midnight blue tuxedos. The classic black will always be a classic, but the blue just photographs really well. (#Trust)
For summer (and, ahem, fall and spring) weddings, a velvet slipper makes for a dapper alternative to classic black lace-up dress shoes. This tasseled Paul Stuart pair is top-of-the-line, but if you shop around, you can definitely find more affordable options out there.
As far as finishing touches, a bow tie is required with a tuxedo—so pick one that’s formal without being too stuffy—like a nice dot print!
Oh, and do we need to mention that you should learn to tie a bow tie? If you haven’t already? Because you should, and a black tie wedding is a great excuse…
And finally, a simple white pocket square is fine, of course, but why do that when you could really splash out with something bold like a Gucci pocket square covered in bees?
We so rarely get to truly dress up these days, so why not do it really, really right. A tuxedo is the pinnacle of masculine elegance, and honestly, when was the last time you felt elegant anyway?
Tips on decoding wedding dress codes for men
When your next wedding invite arrives in the mail, consider stepping out of the grey suit/navy suit box.
Your role as a wedding guest is the perfect moment to see an opportunity where others see just another night in their go-to suit.
Don’t get me wrong—I love your go-to suit. You love your go-to suit. But testing the proverbial waters by changing it up with, say, a bright, bold printed shirt or (cough, cough) a gorgeous ivory blazer, could be the difference between a good wedding outfit and a great one.
Plus, the stylish impression you make may just be burned forever on the brain of your lady (or a cute lady in attendance). Win-win!
Want 1-on-1 style support for all your wedding dress codes for men conundrums? Team SG can help!
If you’re ready to tear up the dance floor looking like a star at all your weddings but don’t want to do the hard work of putting all those outfits together, consider having Team SG shop for you!
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