Introduction

It’s coming up to that season once again. The time when it feels like everyone you’ve ever known has decided to get hitched just to remind you how truly alone you are. And although a winter wedding is an easy event to dress for, once the sun comes out and invitations start flying through your letter box, it’s a completely different story.

During the winter there really are only two options a guy has to choose from: a tuxedo or a dark neutral suit. That’s all there is to it. I tend to go with navy during the day and grey during the evening, with a tuxedo if the dress code dictates. As long as the suit is made from high quality medium-weight wool and you keep the details simple and classic, you can’t go wrong.

However, what makes dressing for a wedding during the winter months so easy is the exact same reason dressing for one in the summer is so hard: trying not to upstage the groom. Because as much as you want to make sure your suit says “meet me at the bar”, rather than the office, you don’t want it to say “look at me, not the guy at the altar”. Or even worse, “look at me, not the woman at the altar”. Trust me when I say that last one will always get you in trouble.

So, essentially, the question is this: how do you stay stylish without crossing the line? Because as much as I’d love to rock up to my mate’s wedding in a Gatsby-inspired pink linen suit or a madras blazer from Gant, I’m pretty sure he won’t appreciate it. As always, the devil is in the details…

Dressing For A Wedding Guidelines
Lookbook Inspiration

Before we start, some lookbook inspiration in order to get the creative juices flowing:

Men's Summer Wedding Guest Outfits

avva ss13massimo dutti nyc 5th avenue ss13diegel ss13reiss ss13windsor ss12zara edition spring 2013de fursac ss13ted baker ss13Ermenegildo Zegna ss13he by mango ss12zara man ss12austin reed ss13
Seasonal Is Not Optional

Let’s face it, as soon as the ceremony is over it’s time to get on it. And as someone who is truly committed to cutting a rug at any wedding he attends, believe me when I say that wearing something seasonal is a must.

Stick to linens, cotton or tropical wools to avoid being the sweatiest guy at the reception.

  • Stone Cotton Linen Mix Slim Fit SuitStone Cotton Linen Mix Slim Fit Suit
  • Asos Slim Fit Stripe BlazerAsos Slim Fit Stripe Blazer
  • Vito Seersucker BlazerVito Seersucker Blazer
  • He By Mango Striped Cotton BlazerHe By Mango Striped Cotton Blazer
  • He By Mango Linen-blend Suit TrousersHe By Mango Linen-blend Suit Trousers
  • Topman Blue Flecked Skinny SuitTopman Blue Flecked Skinny Suit
  • Topman Blue Seersucker Skinny BlazerTopman Blue Seersucker Skinny Blazer
  • Reiss Rushby Three Button Notch Lapel Linen Suit Airforce BlueReiss Rushby Three Button Notch Lapel Linen Suit Airforce Blue
  • Reiss Rushby Three Button Notch Lapel Linen Suit GreyReiss Rushby Three Button Notch Lapel Linen Suit Grey
Go Khaki

This is summer wedding 101. Pick up a khaki suit in a cotton/linen blend, keep it slim in the cut and finish with neutral pieces like a white dress shirt and a monochrome tie – you can’t fail.

  • Topman Khaki Cotton Skinny SuitTopman Khaki Cotton Skinny Suit
  • Austin Reed Contemporary Fit Khaki Linen JacketAustin Reed Contemporary Fit Khaki Linen Jacket
  • Valentino Single-breasted Cotton Suit 148608Valentino Single-breasted Cotton Suit 148608
Check Yourself

Plaids aren’t just for winter. A suit in a subtle grey check is the perfect accompaniment when going stag or with a plus one.

The other great thing about any suit with a check or stripe is that you can pick out a subtle colour within the pattern using your shirt or accessories. For example, I’ve got a tobacco brown plaid suit with green in the checks that I love pairing an olive knit tie.

  • Caxton Skinny Fit Textured SuitCaxton Skinny Fit Textured Suit
  • Reiss Naples Three Piece Check Suit GreyReiss Naples Three Piece Check Suit Grey
  • Reiss Sunseeker B Cotton Check Blazer GreyReiss Sunseeker B Cotton Check Blazer Grey
  • Reiss Sydney B Pocket Linen Blazer BitterReiss Sydney B Pocket Linen Blazer Bitter
  • Ted Baker Cottjak – Cotton BlazerTed Baker Cottjak - Cotton Blazer
  • Linen Melange Gingham JacketLinen Melange Gingham Jacket
White Bucks

For me, not only are these the shoe style of the summer, but they add a point of interest to any look.

White buck skin (or suede) shoes work so well because they are the very definition of neutral – they will go with anything. Sure, they’re bound to get a little bit roughed up during the evening reception, but they only end up looking better for it, if you ask me.

  • Walk-over Derby Buck ShoeWalk-over Derby Buck Shoe
  • Nubuck Derby ShoeNubuck Derby Shoe
  • Mark Mcnairy Suede Derby ShoesMark Mcnairy Suede Derby Shoes
Swap The Shirt

The easiest way to sharpen up your summer wedding style without freaking out the bride or groom is to venture away from the usual white or blue dress shirt.

Whether you opt for a tuxedo or a suit, pairing it with a pink, lavender, grey or khaki dress shirt can be a great way of adding a pop of colour without going over the top. This summer is all about pastel colours anyway, so why not introduce them?

  • Reiss Drive Small Collar Slim Fit Shirt MintReiss Drive Small Collar Slim Fit Shirt Mint
  • Allsaints Danzig ShirtAllsaints Danzig Shirt
  • Canali Lilac Cotton ShirtCanali Lilac Cotton Shirt
  • Richard James Pink Cotton-poplin ShirtRichard James Pink Cotton-poplin Shirt
  • Reiss Navigator Plain Poplin Shirt TaupeReiss Navigator Plain Poplin Shirt Taupe
  • Gucci Piece-dye Poplin-cotton Shirt 147352Gucci Piece-dye Poplin-cotton Shirt 147352
Get Creative With The Details

Again, this is a nice and subtle way of upping your style points at any event this summer. By opting for ties and pocket squares in interesting colours, patterns and textures you will breathe new life into even the stuffiest of nine-to-five suits. Great for those who haven’t got the funds for a whole new outfit.

Gingham checks in monochromes, colourful polka dot or anything made from chambray are ideal for creating that ‘twist on a classic’. Just remember to keep everything else simple and refined to show that you understand the dress code but still want to have a bit of fun.

  • Twin Pack Chambray Tie And Bow Tie SetTwin Pack Chambray Tie And Bow Tie Set
  • J.crew Gingham Check Cotton TieJ.crew Gingham Check Cotton Tie
  • Topman Burgundy Chambray 6cm TieTopman Burgundy Chambray 6cm Tie
  • Turnbull & Asser Polka-dot Silk Pocket SquareTurnbull & Asser Polka-dot Silk Pocket Square
  • Alexander Olch Check Woven-cotton Pocket RoundAlexander Olch Check Woven-cotton Pocket Round
  • Austin Reed Viyella Blue Circle Neat Pocket SquareAustin Reed Viyella Blue Circle Neat Pocket Square
Final Word

So there you have it, a few basic guidelines that I tend to follow when I’m putting together my outfit for a summer wedding.

The key is to be mindful of the bride and groom – it’s their day after all – and, as tempting as it may be, showing them up is not the best of wedding gifts. Just get them some plates instead; they’ll appreciate it a lot more.

As always, I want to hear what you have to say, so leave a comment below. What do you tend to wear to a wedding, be it summer or winter? Are you as considerate to the groom? Any cautionary tales that you can share? Let us know.

Next week’s article will be about what it’s like from the other side of the fence – how to dress if it’s your own wedding.