What To Wear At A Wedding
When deciding what to wear to a wedding, several factors must be considered. The location and formality level of the wedding and reception will help determine how formal or informal your attire should be. Additionally, if you are asked to play a role in the wedding, such as a groomsman or usher for example, then you will likely be told what to wear or be directed to a formal wear shop where you can rent a tuxedo or suit to match the others also performing a function in the wedding.
- Informal Weddings: Some weddings are kept informal with a beach or backyard barbeque setting. If this is the case, dressing as you would for a normal beach party or cookout is often acceptable. However, if the setting is at the beach but the invitation makes it a formal event you will be expected to arrive in at least a suit and tie. The same goes for a reception in someone's home.
- Formal Weddings: Traditional formal weddings and receptions would call for a suit and tie. A bow tie and tuxedo are not necessary, as the formality isn't "black tie" but simply "formal." Avoid bright colors, and instead opt for a black, navy, or charcoal suit and white or light colored shirt and a tie.
- Black Tie Weddings: Black tie weddings require a tuxedo and bow tie. The formality level is very high and if you show up in a plain suit you will be underdressed for the occasion. Owning a tuxedo is not necessary as you can simply visit a formal wear shop and rent one. The staff in the shop will have you fitted, help you select the appropriate tuxedo set, and even provide shit and shoe rental options.
If all else fails and you are unable to determine the formality level from the wedding invitation, the safest choice is to contact either the couple getting married or others attending the wedding. Ask for advice on what to wear based on what they are wearing. Most couples would prefer you ask than to guess incorrectly and show up over- or underdressed for their event.