“You are cordially invited…”
Congratulations! Your cherished friend/relative/colleague has extended you the honor of including you their special day. You RSVP that you will gladly attend, and you’ll have the steak (medium).
But wait, what are you going to wear?
Every wedding is unique and will be influenced by the bride and groom, their tastes and style, the culture, the season, the venue, and a host of other factors. Fortunately for you, Boutique Jacques has been dressing gentlemen for weddings and other special occasions for over 50 years, and we’re happy to guide you through the many possibilities.
When is the wedding?
Different styles are suited to different seasons. Generally speaking, darker colors are more appropriate for winter, lighter colors for summer. That being said, don’t be afraid to mix it up a little – it’s ok to be an individual, just so long as you don’t upstage the bride and groom.
Time of day is also a consideration – an evening affair that stretches into the wee hours will demand a more formal look than a daytime ceremony, the same way you would dress differently for lunch with friends or a night on the town. Consider a lighter, more cheerful look for daytime – a lighter-colored suit, or a darker blazer and lighter pants. Evenings are more formal, and call for darker colors.
Where is it?
The venue can dictate the dress code. Is it a traditional ceremony in a church? A modern party in a hotel ballroom? A “destination” beach blowout wedding?
Obviously, the weather should be a prime consideration for outdoor ceremonies – make sure you’re able to stay cool at a summer beach or garden wedding. This means breathable fabrics, and lighter colors to keep the sun at bay.
What does the invitation say?
There may be several clues to be gleaned from the invitation. Color, typeface, language style, paper, design – these can all give insight into what the couple has in mind. If the invitation gives off an air of formality (“Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter etc…”), it’s safe to assume the event will be similarly formal. “Come celebrate with us and party” would imply a more relaxed atmosphere
Of course, it’s also helpful when the dress code is specified on the invitation. But what do those dress codes mean?
The pinnacle of formal fashion does not leave much room for individuality. Fortunately, this type of dress is generally reserved for state events , weddings of royalty heads of state. The de rigueur ensemble for a white-tie event is a black tailcoat , white or ivory pique vest and matching bow tie, and white formal shirt and elegant black shoes.
Black tie is the most common formal attire worn at weddings. . The classic black tie outfit is a black tuxedo, white shirt, black tie or bow and patent leather shoes. Currently, the navy blue tux is very fashionable and should be considered, unless you are part of the bridal party in which case conformity with the rest of the group is usually required. For a classic look, the tie or bow should match the color of the satin facing on the tuxedo. For a little originality add a splash of color to your outfit with the bow or tie. A pocket square is a nice touch and if you are wearing a black bow the square will usually be white or a combination of black and white or black and grey. Note if you are in the bridal party, you will usually wear a boutonnière – a flower on your lapel. Do not wear both a boutonnière and a pocket square as the left side of your jacket will get too crowded and be an eyesore. A vest is a nice touch as it can also add a touch of color and creativity to what can be an austere look. The vest is usually worn only by the wedding party and often is chosen to coordinate with the bride’s choice of colors. Cummerbunds have fallen out of fashion, but if you do decide to wear one, it should be the same color and fabric as your bow tie. Do not wear a cummerbund with a tie. The cummerbund should be worn with the pleats up … to catch the crumbs If the groomsmen are wearing tuxedos, the groom will of course wear one as well, however, he should differentiate himself from the rest of the wedding party with his accessories and perhaps the style of tuxedo.
Slightly less formal than black tie. A tuxedo would not be out of place, but is not required. A solid, dark suit (black, navy, dark grey) is perfectly acceptable, with a white shirt and tie. Guys will often try to disguise a black suit to look like a tux by accessorizing it with a bow tie and tuxedo shirt. Don’t do that … it’s an advertisement that you don’t own a tux. Accessorize your black or dark suit (preferably a solid color and preferably black) well and wear it proudly.
This leaves some room for flexibility. A suit and open-collar dress shirt, or a sport jacket and slacks would be equally appropriate. You might also want to consider a jacket with a subtle check or windowpane pattern. Lean more towards the formal side (i.e., darker colors) for evening events, and more casual for a daytime function. If you are not sure if wearing a jacket is appropriate, remember, you can always take of a jacket when you get there, but you can’t put one on if you didn’t bring one.
Dress pants, chinos, button-down or polo shirts are all acceptable, but things like jeans, tank tops, and any kind of “distressed” clothing are not (unless specifically indicated). Remember, attending the union of two souls is an honor, and it should be treated as such.
Beach weddings can present special challenges and opportunities. An outfit that would normally work for summer would likely be appropriate for a beach wedding, but it’s important to consider the elements (sand, wind, sun, etc). Think light colors and fabrics – linens and cottons and open collars are excellent choices.
Dressing appropriately for a wedding can leave you with a few questions. You are probably not alone so don’t hesitate to call the party that invited you or the wedding planner to get the “straight goods” and of course we would be delighted to help you put it all together.