What to Wear to a Summer Wedding: A Guy’s Style Guide
What should a man wear to a summer wedding in 2023? Style Girlfriend’s got ideas…
Guys, discover what to wear to a summer wedding in this dress code-decoding style guide from Team SG. From casual wedding outfits for men to men’s black tie wedding attire, you’ll find summer wedding looks for guys to suit every kind of happy occasion.
Click below to jump to a section:
- Men’s casual summer wedding attire
- Men’s semi formal wedding attire
- Beach wedding guest attire for men
- A no-dress code wedding guest outfit
- Tropical or destination wedding guest outfit
- Men’s cocktail attire for a summer wedding
- Black tie-optional wedding attire for men
- Black tie wedding attire for men
Last summer I attended the wedding of an old roommate in Memphis.
The theme? Summertime Fly.
My girlfriends and I eventually agreed that printed cocktail dresses were perfect for the ladies in attendance—but I drew a blank when trying to imagine what the guys would wear.
After all, what do men wear to weddings when the dress code is murky at best?
Turns out that most guys’ interpretation of Summertime Fly was…a navy suit and brown lace-up shoes.
Classic? Sure. But “fly?” Not exactly.
These guests blended together like the sea of businessmen I battle each morning in midtown Manhattan.
That is—everyone except one guy.
A friend of the groom wore a beautiful washed teal linen suit, white shirt, and no tie.
Believe me when I say, he looked incredible.
Why? Because he embraced the unique wedding dress code! And here, a year later, I can still picture his stylish look perfectly from head to toe.
Don’t you want to look this memorably stylish at all your summer weddings?
I bet you do.
Unless we’re talking black tie wedding attire for men—and we will!—you’re probably recycling the same couple suits over and over again. And while that may be economical, it’s not very fun!
That’s why Team SG put together this guide on how to dress for every summer wedding dress code.
So, if you’re wondering, “What do guys wear to weddings in 2023, anyway?” I’ve got the answer.
Or more accurately, the answers. This guide is chock full of outfit ideas perfect for men’s summer wedding guest attire.
From a backyard barbecue that just happens to include a marriage ceremony to a lavish destination wedding on some far-off shore, we promise you’ll look amazing in your wedding guest outfit.
Below, what to wear to a wedding, a 2023 style guide for men:
Men’s casual summer wedding attire
For instance: Your cousin’s backyard Labor Day nuptials at the family’s summer home
I really hope this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this, but casual wedding attire for men doesn’t mean jeans.
So, what should a man wear to an outdoor summer wedding that’s casual?
This is still a special occasion, though. So when it comes to what to wear to an outdoor summer wedding, think: comfortably upgraded.
Even if your uncle’s flipping burgers at the grill for dinner, you still want to honor the happy couple with an outfit you put effort into.
A slim, great fitting knit shirt is definitely an option. So is a patterned short-sleeve shirt.
You’ll look cool and fun, but not like you’re trying too hard.
And remember, this is still a special occasion—so tuck your shirt in!
Odds are you’ll be the best-dressed guest no matter what, but why not really drive the point home with your finishing touches.
Loafrers are perfect for dancing the night away with your adorable nieces under strings of twinkly lights since they’re ridiculously comfortable.
When you’re deciding what to wear to a casual wedding, remember that a little effort goes a long way.
You want to look stylish, cool, and put-together.
So! Iron you shirt, trim your beard, and be the best goddamn version of “casual” you possibly can be.
Men’s semi formal wedding attire
For example: Most of the weddings you’re going to this summer!
There’s something about seeing the words “semi formal” printed on gorgeous, expensive card stock that makes me get a little giddy.
Maybe it’s because I’m imagining that first, crisp sip of a Negroni at sunset. Or maybe I’m imagining all the handsome dudes on the dance floor, looking totally debonair.
So, what should men wear to a wedding where the dress code is (almost boringly) normal?
Semi formal attire follows a lot of the same guidelines as a formal dress code, but lets guests be a bit more playful with stylish details.
Here’s the tl;dr: A dark suit is definitely the move.
You want something that’s just slightly more saturated and vibrant than a typical navy, and for that reason, looks beaucoup plus expensive.
From there, take a few liberties with shirt styles!
Think subtle prints like swiss dot and mini-gingham—which pair nicely with on-trend floral ties and your most whimsical pocket squares.
When it comes to semi formal attire for men for a summer wedding, you want the overall effect of your outfit to be dressy, but not rigid.
That’s why, as a finishing touch, you could go with lace-up dress shoes, or swap in a nice pair of leather tassel loafers.
The effect is effortless elegance.
Semi formal attire is like the Negroni itself. Sleek and sophisticated with a refreshing twist.
Avoid the urge to dress like you do for the office and kick your favorite suit up a notch with playful, fashion-forward details.
Beach wedding guest attire for men
For example: Your college roommate’s sunset nuptials in the sand
linen suit: Bonobos
The dress code for beach wedding attire for men can be a head-scratcher.
You’re used to wearing flip flops when hitting the sand, but that’s not the move here.
A suit is always appropriate for a wedding, even at the beach. (Sorry Bermuda shorts, you’re not welcome at this party.)
As for the best suit for a beach wedding? The one you won’t sweat through.
Opt for one in a lightweight and airy material. And if you’re itching to branch out from your tried-and-true navy, I encourage you to explore the summery range of beige, light grey, sky blue, pale pink or even off-white.
But! If, for example, this beach happens to be in the Virgin Islands and not Martha’s Vineyard, feel free to get a bit creative with a punchy print.
A light sandy suede or natural leather will go nicely with any of the above suit colors.
For accessories, keep your location in mind.
A wedding in Key West is your moment for tropical florals and palm prints on your tie or pocket square.
For a coastal wedding in Washington or Maine, on the other hand, think: stripes, gingham and tiny, subtle florals.
It’s up to you to judge based on the couple’s vibe, but for beach weddings you can usually opt out of wearing a tie. If you do, leave the top button of your shirt undone and accessorize with just a pocket square.
And I know it’s the beach, but, reflective lens sunglasses ring a bit “over” to me in the Year of Our Lord 2023.
Instead, try a colored, semi-transparent lens in blue or green as a fun alternative to your typical dark grey or black.
Embrace the breeziness of a beach wedding in your outfit.
The No-Dress Code Summer Wedding
Like: Your frat bro’s Vegas elopement
This is still a special occasion, even if it’s 2am and the maid of honor is wearing a feather boa she snagged off a dancer at the Spearmint Rhino earlier in the evening.
If you know you’ll be a wedding guest at a non-traditional wedding—even the world’s most laid-back ceremony—pack a sport coat, and pair it back to pleated trousers for an easy, effortless outfit.
Swap the dress shirt for a knit polo if you’re worried a buttoned shirt would be overkill!
Men’s tropical attire for a destination summer wedding
Like: Your cousin’s Labor Day nuptials in Turks & Caicos
Much like a beach wedding, the tropical dress code encourages guests to prioritize comfort and fun with their looks.
Tropical weddings are warm and humid.
So, we’re talking: linen. We’re talking: shoes that let your feet breathe. Or no shoes at all.
And don’t be afraid of color! If it’s the color of a cocktail you’d order at a swim-up bar, you’re doing something right with your wedding guest outfit.
Men’s cocktail attire for a summer wedding
Such as: Your coolest friend getting hitched at some downtown loft space
Oh boy, right? Cocktails make for a fun party, but when it comes to figuring out, What is summer cocktail attire for a wedding? Well, these invites are not without their challenges.
First of all, yes, a “cocktail attire” dress code for men is slightly vague.
Second, it can be intimidating if you’re not a typically adventurous dresser.
For the uninitiated, cocktail—you’ll also see “festive” sometimes on invites, which basically means the same thing—is a small step away from semi-formal.
What sets it apart? The encouragement to add some stylish flair to your outfit.
The couple wants you to get creative with your look!
Of course, you can approach your cocktail wedding guest outfit a few different ways.
You can also deconstruct a suit and wear mismatched separates with a cool print and a pop of color or two.
For finishing touches, you’ll have to judge by the venue and the time of the wedding how formal to go.
A more relaxed setting and a 3 p.m. ceremony means you could probably go sans tie and wear a cool pair of canvas or leather sneakers.
For a festive wedding after five, opt for your dressy loafers or lace-ups—but no matter what don’t forget your no-show socks.
It’s summer, after all! Ankles out!
Don’t miss this chance to be truly creative with your ‘fit.
As long as the foundation of your look is solid, you can take all kinds of fun “fashion risks” that really aren’t that risky. The big print. The ivory jacket. Those fresh sneakers you still store in their box…
Black tie-optional wedding attire for men
For instance: Your trust fund baby-bestie’s 300-person wedding at the Museum of Natural History
Obviously, if the invite indicates “black tie optional,” you don’t have to wear a tuxedo.
A suit in a dark color, like the Bonobos style above, with a dark tie completely fits the bill for this dress code.
But if you have one (or are in the market to invest), why not take advantage of this rare opportunity to get really, really dressed up?
A bow tie is required if you’re going with a tuxedo. So pick one that’s formal without being too stuffy—like a nice dot print!
Oh, and do I need to mention that you should learn to tie a bow tie If you haven’t already? Because it’s a fun life skill to have, and a black tie wedding is a great excuse to add it to your style toolbox!
For summer (and, ahem, fall and winter and spring) weddings, a velvet slipper makes for a dapper alternative to classic black lace-up dress shoes.
And finally, a simple white pocket square with either a navy suit or a tuxedo is fine, of course, but why do that when you could really splash out with something bold like a Gucci pocket square covered in bees?
We so rarely get to truly dress up these days, so why not do it really, really right.
A tuxedo is the pinnacle of masculine elegance, and honestly, when was the last time you felt elegant anyway?
Black tie wedding attire for men
Where to wear it: Your boss’s boss’s third trip down the aisle at the Plaza
To me (and most women, let’s be honest), there are few things more attractive than a man done up in full black tie regalia.
That perfectly draped shawl collar jacket, with a single-button defining your silhouette. A daring stripe along your pants that draws the eye down to a perfect break above your dressiest shoes.
Unless you are a concert pianist, or say, a movie star, you probably don’t have too many chances to wear a tuxedo. So take the opportunity when you have it!
Tips on decoding wedding dress codes for men
When your next wedding invite arrives in the mail, consider stepping out of the grey suit/navy suit box.
Your role as a wedding guest is the perfect moment to see an opportunity where others see just another night in their go-to suit.
Don’t get me wrong—I love your go-to suit. You love your go-to suit.
But testing the proverbial waters by changing it up with, say, a bright, bold printed shirt or (cough, cough) a gorgeous ivory blazer, could be the difference between a good wedding outfit and a great one.
Plus, the stylish impression you make may just be burned forever on the brain of your lady…or a cute lady in attendance.
Want 1-on-1 style support for all your wedding dress codes for men conundrums? Team SG can help!
If you’re ready to tear up the dance floor looking like a star at all your weddings but don’t want to do the hard work of putting all those outfits together, consider teaming up with a stylist from Style Girlfriend to help you plan your perfect looks!
Ready to seriously improve your closet and your confidence? Learn more here.
Taylor Davies splits her time between NYC and Sun Valley. She loves writing about menswear, overpriced martinis in dimly lit hotel bars, and cross-country skiing. Not necessarily in that order.