How to dress well for weddings – from the most formal occasion to the least: from the grandest cathedral to a country village knot-tying knees up.
Modern 21st century weddings come in all shapes and sizes, which makes for a much more exciting, culturally varied wedding season but is potentially stressful if you’re at all anxious about what to wear.
What is the dress code for summer nuptials in Tuscany? Or a rock ‘n’ roll registry do at Westminster Register Office, venue of choice for Beatle’s John and Ringo, and Liam Gallagher. Or even a humanist ceremony followed by a BBQ on a Hebridean beach*.
Better to Overdress
Hopefully the invitation will give you some indication of the dress code. There’s nothing worse than a ‘wear what you want’ invite – unless it’s on a beach in Bali.
The bride and groom no doubt imagine this casual approach will relieve their guests of the social pressure associated with attending a wedding. But in actual fact there is nothing more likely to induce panic than the commandment to ‘wear what you want.’
It can also lead to some tension amongst couples as there is often disagreement about how this statement should be interpreted. These disagreements tend to follow quite a traditional gender split – say no more….
If there is any doubt whatsoever, we would advise erring on the smart side. Far better to be overdressed than under dressed.
What Style is the Wedding?
In essence, despite the many different ways people choose to celebrate their marriage, there remain three styles of wedding: the grand formal do; the informal yet smart wedding; and the boho, or modern country event.
If you’ve been invited to a grand, old school formal wedding, perhaps in a cathedral, then a morning suit is the order of the day, or if you’re in Scotland – a kilt.
Fear not though, if the idea of either fills you dread it is perfectly acceptable to wear a suit. The very smartest one you own with the addition of a simple buttonhole to elevate it for the occasion.
Don’t be misled by the term informal, this doesn’t mean you rock up in your jeans. In this case the dress code simply infers there’s no need for morning dress.
You can still don a kilt if you choose. Otherwise it’s smart suits according to the season. Waistcoats are one way to push the style boat out without upstaging bride or groom.
Boho, or Modern Country
Increasingly popular modern country weddings have relaxed the dress code for men. Well-paired separates have replaced classic attire and there’s a bit more room for individual expression.
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