They say height of spring is the perfect wedding weather and I couldn’t agree more. It must be that sweet spot between the last remnants of the winter cold and the scorching summer sun. That time of the year when nature itself comes out to play, petals start to blossom and the birds are chirping. It’s the perfect time to dust off those light coloured blazers and polish those penny loafers. Anyway before I get carried away, I better get back to talking about weddings or more precisely a wedding I witnessed a week ago.
The wedding between Emmanuel and Debora was truly exceptional and has all the pedigree of a beautiful marriage ahead of them. With their permission, I will do a separate blog post to share some of their precious moments I was able to capture before and during the ceremony. So if you want to see true love on display then you may have to come back.
The focus in this article is how to dress up for a wedding ceremony as a guest. Choosing the right outfit for a wedding can be a challenge for many. Various factors need to be considered such as location, season and sometimes the theme of the wedding.
If you leave your outfit planning to the last minutes you might end up in one of those frustrating situations where you cant find anything to wear and end up impulsively buying anything that remotely looks like wedding attire. If not planned properly choosing the right outfit could be an incredibly stressful experience especially for the single brothers and sisters out there (side-eye). Guys you know exactly what I am talking about. You want to walk into that church or reception party and see people parting way for you like Moses parted the red sea. As for the ladies you know you like to walk into a room and feel like you are having your own private runway show.
Anyway let me keep this article moving shall I. Before listing out what I think you might find useful, let me do a quick summary of things you should try to avoid at wedding ceremonies and parties.
- Do not try to outshine the groom. Guys, I know we always save our best outfit for occasions like these but be considerate and not try to be the centre of attention. I guess this applies to ladies too. The wedding is about two people and two only, the bride and the groom.
- Do not underdress – In as much as you shouldn’t try to outshine the groom .That does not mean you show up with any old beat up attire. They say it is that it’s better to over dress than to under dress.
- Do not wear denim or casual chinos – In fact just wear a suit. There isn’t a better time to wear a suit than a wedding ceremony. The exception to this is if you choose to go traditional and don something from a different culture altogether just stick with your lounge suit.
Quick note: the tips provided here assumes you are wearing a suit.
Traditionally, there are three types of wedding wear. You have at the very top end formal (with a tuxedo and bowtie), and the bottom end smart-casual where you can wear a dressy chino and a blazer (I personally do not recommend this). Between these two lay my favourite style, which I refer to as contemporary elegant. Contemporary elegant allows you to look smart, elegant and dapper without looking like the groom. One thing I love about contemporary elegant is that it allows you to add your personal style to it. It brings out character, which in turn allows you to feel relaxed and comfortable, something that very formal wear does not always allow you to do. Are you still with me?
To put a structure to this article, I will describe four major items that make up the entire look.
- Suits: Suits as I have described above are a modern dapper man’s best friend and I am not exaggerating here When it comes to suits, there are two main options which are tuxedo or a lounge suit. A tux typically consists of black or midnight blue dinner jacket with matching trouser. The jacket will have satin or grosgrain facings on it lapels and buttons while the trouser will have a matching stripe running along the out-seam. A Tux is always worn with a bow tie. If your tux does not have any of the things described above then I feel bad for you son, get your money back, seriously, got to the place you bought it and demand a refund!. To me a tux is just too formal it comes with no room to manoeuver and add my personality to it.
- This leaves me with one option, which is the lounge suit. The lounge suit is versatile (depending on the colour) and can be adapted to suit many occasions. It’s a good investment. The colour you chose to wear is completely up to you obviously considering the season and time of year just as long as you don’t blind everyone with some bright colours that would put autumn flowers to shame. Remember, its not about you so try not to get all the attention.
- Shirts: This may sound simple and obvious but many people get it wrong from time to time. To be on the safe side, just stick with solid colours with very little or no patterns. I usually just go for white. Make sure the shirt is crisp, clean and pressed. Depending on the look, you may want to take note of the kind of collar on the shirt.
- Shoes: Your choice of shoes should be at least neutral and at most dressy. Stay away from patent shoes unless you are wearing a tux. Always match your shoes to your belt if you are wearing one. The safest option is to go for oxfords or even monk straps. On this occasion, I went with tasselled loafers, which allowed a bit of sock to show. Just my personal touch.
- Accessories: Accessories can take the form of ties, a waistcoat, pocket squares, tiepins, cuff links and many more. I personally like to have fun with my ties. When it comes to ties and pocket squares, I really like to let loose and add quirkiness to the look. I seldom match the colour of my tie to my suit. As for the pocket square, I usually let it have a life of its own when it comes to colour and texture. A waistcoat is a great way to balance a smart-casual and formal look. In terms of matching colours to the rest of the suit your problems are solved if you wear a three-piece suit. However, I personally like the idea of introducing a different colour or pattern into the mix as can be seen in the photos. Again, this is purely down to taste and the look you want to go for. As far as tiepins and cufflinks are concerned, try to keep them simple but classy. If they matched in colour that is a perfect bonus.
So thats my take on suiting up for a wedding. let me know in the comment section what you think. Would love to hear about candid views.
5 thoughts on “A man’s guide to wedding outfit as a guest”
I love this! I’ve written a guide for women on my blog, but love this from the male perspective!
Hey Naomi, will certainly check yours out. Thanks for stopping by.
‘Cuts for him’ a fantastic article. Really like the picture where the groom has his friends’ hands rested on him. A very moving picture
Thank you testified! appreciate your support. I agree re the pic we laid hands on the groom! Just sending him on his way using the best possible way really. The entire wedding ceremony was beautiful and emotional