What To Wear To a Wedding

I am pretty sure that it is the same 3-4 people that give me most of the content for my writing. I am glad I get these questions, I am glad these questions get asked. In our line of work weddings are big business and in my age group the weddings are still rolling along at a good clip. Recently, one of my friends had to go to a wedding. He repeatedly asked me 'What do I wear', which I would counter with 'It depends'. An annoying answer, I agree, but weddings are one of those situations that are extremely varied and full of possible sartorial land mines. In the 21st century, the standard wedding is a bit of a rarity. The whole church ceremony, followed by reception nearby, still happens, but it is becoming less and less everyday. Say you attend three weddings in a year, one may be traditional, one may be outside at a farm or similar location, and the other may be a resort down in the Caribbean. Needless to say, you should not be wearing the same thing to all three comfort alone would dictate that. So let us begin

Traditional Wedding:

This is the simplest one that I can think of because there is a lot of precedence and the dress code is fairly set. For those of you dying to know, the wedding that my friend attended recently was more of this type. The invitation said that dress should be 'Formal'. Now, formal does not mean what it used to. However, the leeway for this is very small. A tuxedo would be out of place, unless your invitation states 'Black Tie'. However, a business suit is what is considered de riguer and appropriate. Usually these will be held later in the day (especially the reception) and thus benefit from a darker palette. My choice would be a navy suit, white shirt, black satin tie, white pocket square and black captoe shoes. This is nice and elegant. It is also an easy thing to put together and a navy suit, white shirt, black tie, and black shoes are all foundational pieces to have in your wardrobe. A grey or charcoal suit would also work, just make sure that you keep it toned down. Think penguin, not Pitti.

Destination Wedding:

These are becoming more and more popular with people today. I am not sure why these have become as popular as they have, but I have some thoughts: Winter in Canada can be very cold and long, it is nice to get away. All Inclusive trips are relatively inexpensive now, especially when you go as a group. Lastly, it provides a wedding and honeymoon all in one. Regardless, down in the Windies the weather will be utmost in mind. The temperature will be warm if not hot, it will be bright and sunny (hopefully), and comparably informal. The other thing to think of is packing you may be gone for 5 to 7 days so you want to get the most of what you bring. There are no rules for this type of wedding, but you still want to look appropriate. A pair of linen pants and a white linen shirt topped off by a pair of classy sandals or some espadrilles will be comfortable and practical and can be used on other days that you are down there. Adding a light-weight navy blazer would elevate the look but still be casual enough. You can also wear a linen or cotton suit suit in khaki or some other light colour, but this may be overkill and impractical.

Outdoor Casual Wedding:

These I think offer the most opportunities for expression. These can range from outdoor 'Barn Weddings' to weddings at golf courses to ones that take place at a cottage or even a backyard. I went to 2 of this type in the last little while. One was at a golf course resort in Muskoka. To this I wore a marine blue wool & mohair suit with a white shirt, black knit tie, and tan shoes with funky socks. A little expression, but still in line with my surroundings. The other was a beautiful backyard wedding that took place in the early afternoon. To this I wore a tropical weight Price of Wales sport jacket, with cream linen pants, chambray shirt and white bucks for shoes. Perhaps over the top, but I think it fit the weather and the formality of the wedding. For something like a barn wedding, I think dark indigo jeans with a subtle sport shirt would be appropriate. When thinking of what to wear for a wedding like this, a little guidance might prove invaluable. You can always call the bride (no sense really to ask the groom) what they are expecting as attire. Some may be completely welcoming of almost anything, others will have a vision in their head.

If I had any other tips for you, it would be these.

  • Bring some extra cotton handkerchiefs with you and put them in your breast pocket. These are great to give to crying bridesmaids, spouses or whomever ever, they also will sop up a lot of wine if things get a little messy.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Looking nice is all well and good, but being able to move pain-free after 6 hours of dancing is even better. If space dictates it, you may want to bring a change of shoes for the time when the party moves to the dance floor.
  • Just because you are going to looking like a million bucks, doesn't mean you act like a hot mess. Keep it together. Have a glass of water after every couple of drinks. It will keep you hydrated and keep your dancing to only mildly embarrassing ;)

If you have any questions about what you should wear to a specific wedding, drop us a line or come in to the store. Now get out there and enjoy wedding season.

Photo from Articles of Style

Jason Byron Reynolds


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