What To Wear To Weddings

Find out what to wear to weddings with expert fashion tips from Tom James.

By: Kim Keller, Clothier - Dallas, TX
February 14, 2024

Weddings are special and memorable occasions that call for appropriate attire. As a guest, knowing what to wear without feeling too over or underdressed can be tricky. That's why we've put together this essential guide to dressing for a wedding. This guide covers the various dress codes, offers tips on stylish yet respectful dressing, and explores outfit ideas for different types of weddings including outdoor, destination, and themed celebrations. We'll also discuss the significance of accessories and how to dress for different seasons and weather conditions to ensure you're both comfortable and fashionable. Let’s dive in and explore how to assemble the perfect attire for any wedding event!

Decoding Wedding Dress Codes

Before you start planning your outfit, it's important to understand the rules of wedding attire. Dress codes like black tie, formal, cocktail, and casual can often be puzzling when it comes to weddings. However, comprehending these dress codes is key to dressing appropriately. Here are some tips to help you choose the right outfit.

Attire for different dress codes

Black tie weddings are the most formal, typically requiring men in tuxedos and women in long evening gowns. Semi-formal weddings still call for polished attire, with men in dark suits or tuxedos and women in cocktail dresses or refined separates. Cocktail attire is often seen at weddings. Men are expected to don suits or blazers with dress pants, while women can select knee-length dresses or smart separates. Casual dress codes provide more leeway, allowing men to wear dress pants or khakis with button-down shirts, and women to wear sundresses or chic separates.

Dressing for themed or custom weddings

Themed or custom weddings can be fun, but they often come with specific dress codes. Check with the couple or wedding planner for any guidelines. Consider incorporating elements of the theme into your outfit without going overboard. For example, for a 1920s-themed wedding, a classic suit with a vintage-inspired tie would be a great choice.

Considering cultural traditions and dress codes

Different cultures may have specific dress codes or traditions for weddings. Be respectful and follow any guidelines provided. Some cultures may require modest attire or specific colors to be avoided. Researching cultural traditions beforehand can help you choose an outfit that fits the wedding's expectations.

What not to wear to a wedding

It’s equally important to know what not to wear to a wedding. White is traditionally reserved for the bride, so it's best to avoid it. Also, it's best to avoid anything too revealing, overly casual, or that might steal the spotlight from the couple's special day. Certain items should not be worn under any circumstances such as athletic wear, shorts, jeans, casual footwear like athletic sneakers or flip flops, graphic tees, or anything else that is too casual.

Remember, dressing appropriately for a wedding shows respect for the couple and the occasion. By considering the type of wedding, any themes or customs, and cultural traditions, you can select an outfit that fits perfectly and allows you to celebrate in style.

Dressing for different seasons and weather conditions

Dressing appropriately for the season and weather conditions is important when attending weddings The location and time of day should also be considered when deciding what to wear to a wedding. So whether you're attending a summer, spring, fall, or winter wedding, here are some tips to help you choose the perfect outfit. 


Summer Weddings

For summer weddings, opt for lightweight fabrics such as cotton or linen to keep cool in the heat. Choose bright colors and floral prints to embrace the vibrant spirit of the season. Men can consider wearing a light-colored suit or a linen blazer paired with chinos. Women can go for flowy maxi dresses or knee-length sundresses.


Spring Weddings

Men can go for a light-colored suit or a blazer paired with dress pants. Women can choose a midi dress or a skirt with a blouse. Layering with a light cardigan or jacket is a good idea for unpredictable spring weather.


Fall Weddings

Fall weddings call for deeper colors and heavier fabrics as the leaves start to change. Men can opt for a darker-colored suit or a tweed blazer paired with dress pants. Women can choose a cocktail dress or a skirt with a sweater. Don't forget to bring a jacket or wrap for cooler evenings.


Winter Weddings

Winter weddings require outfits that keep you warm and stylish. Opt for heavier fabrics like wool flannel or tweed and muted colors. Men can go for a dark-colored suit or a velvet blazer paired with dress pants. Women can choose a long-sleeved dress or a skirt with a blouse and a cozy coat. Adding accessories like scarves and gloves can add both warmth and style.

Layering is key when it comes to dressing appropriately for varying weather conditions. Consider wearing a dress shirt, blazer, and tie for indoor ceremonies, and bring a coat or wrap for outdoor ceremonies. Remember to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. The time of a wedding can be very helpful in determining what to wear. A morning wedding typically calls for dressy casual, while a ceremony after 5 p.m. generally calls for formal attire or black tie optional. Pay attention to any dress code specified on the invitation.

Completing your wedding guest look

Accessorizing is key in pulling off any look and this applies especially at weddings where details matter. Opt for a classic tie or bowtie in a solid color or pattern that matches the color of your suit. Keep jewelry simple and minimal; a watch, cufflinks, and pocket square are enough to elevate your outfit without drawing too much attention.

Putting your outfit together

Now that you have all the information needed to dress for a wedding, it's time to put it into practice. Choose an appropriate suit based on the wedding's formality level, and accessorize with simple yet stylish pieces like ties, pocket squares, and cufflinks. Lastly, avoid anything too casual and inappropriate such as shorts, athletic wear, or jeans. Understanding the rules of wedding attire and key factors like location and time of day will help you make sure that you look sharp while still being comfortable. By following these tips, you can create a wedding outfit that displays your personal style while respecting the occasion's dress code. Remember, at Tom James, we offer a wide range of high-quality, tailored clothing options to help you look your best at any wedding. Browse our collection and let us assist you in finding the perfect ensemble for your next event!

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