Get the complete low-down on wedding fashion etiquette.

There's a delicate balance to be struck when it comes to the politics of wedding-wear. Overshadow the couple-to-be and you'll draw the ire of the collective. Underwhelm with casualness... and you'll also draw the ire of the collective. 

Here's a complete guide on what to wear at a wedding broken down by the dress code:

Black Tie

1

Few things in life are as straightforward as going to a black tie event. Suit up and have a tie around your neck that's black. Tuxedos are preferred.

The standard composition of a black tie wedding guest suit includes the following:

  • dinner jacket (white or black)
  • black dress trousers 
  • solid colour dress shirt
  • tie (black, bow>neck)
  • black leather belt
  • dress shoes (leather, avoid squared toes and jester shoes)
  • OPTIONAL: cufflinks are highly recommended, waistcoats and pocket squares never go amiss

White Tie

2

Rare these days, but still within the realm of possibilities. We're talking class out the ass here (unlike this sentence I just typed). Keep that posture straight, Benedict Cumberbatch, and remember which cutlery should be used for what courses.

Here's our thread prescription:

  • black tailcoat 
  • black dress trousers
  • wing tip tuxedo shirt 
  • bow tie (white)
  • waistcoat
  • black leather shoes 
  • OPTIONAL: top hat, pocket watch, monocle

Cocktail

3

Moving down in the hierarchy of seriousness, we reach the matter of the cocktail dress code. This is black tie's more relaxed cousin who doesn't mind throwing back a Corona or two. Cocktail dressing opens the door for more adventurous and fun sartorial options. 

An example may include the following: 

  • lighter colour suit
  • solid or modestly patterned dress shirt 
  • tie (neck or bow)
  • matching belt
  • dress shoes (leather)
  • OPTIONAL: pocket squares, cufflinks, waistcoats are a little extra but go for your life (and keep it laidback!)

Tropical

4

This scenario requires a bit more function to go with the form, given the environment. Relaxed, sure, but relaxed isn't an excuse not to style out.

Something in the ball-park of the following should be fine:

  • casually tailored suit (less structured, breathable material)
  • similarly more freedom here, have some fun with colours and patterns, try go with something breathable
  • dress shoes are still a must, make sure it's cohesive with everything else you're wearing (leather, always leather)-- hard no to boat shoes
  • OPTIONAL: ties and belts, pocket squares and silk scarves

Smart-casual

5

If cocktail is black tie's more relaxed cousin, smart-casual is the chill uncle who only wears Birkenstocks and bumps Fleetwood Mac. But that isn't a license for you to wear Birkenstocks, and you better take those hands off that t-shirt. Note the 'smart' in smart-casual.

The following is acceptable:

  • any suit but black, lean towards lighter colours but navy is acceptable
  • a nice, fitted dress shirt that you'd feel would be appropriate for Sunday church
  • you have more freedom with trousers in this situation, make sure they're respectable if you deviate from dress (eg. nice chinos, avoid jeans...)
  • matching belt
  • dress shoes (suede or leather)
  • OPTIONAL: ties are not a must but recommended (neck or bow), pocket squares 

Shotgun

6

Attire for this specific occasion is actually extremely similar to the ones as demonstrated above-- it'll all depend on the venue and what the bride's father is feeling... 

Suggested: 

  • tactical vest (with plates front and back) in the event the groom does a runner (and daddy-dearest is a wild buckshot)

Las Vegas

7

Like the legislation regarding marriage in this loose and lawless city, anything goes regarding ceremonial fashion. 

And I mean anything:

  • Hawaiian shirts 
  • Elvis costumes 
  • rubber horse masks 
  • maybe a bucket (for potential vom-situations)