In this article, we’ll be discussing the various aspects that go into selecting attire for a summer wedding. Whether you are a groom, groomsman or guest, this comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know in order to dress appropriately for a wedding in the summer.
If you already know the formality level and / or time of day, click any of the links below to jump straight to that section. There’s also a specific section on attendants and guests for those not involved in a wedding:
What To Wear To A Summer Wedding
Summer’s popularity as a wedding season varies from region to region. In the American Northeast and West Coast, it’s extremely popular (in fact, this author got married in the summertime). In the Midwest and American South, on the other hand, summers become so brutal that it’s actually off-season.
Regardless, a summer wedding is the perfect excuse to be outdoors and to dress comfortably. It’s an excellent time for folks who want their weddings to be more casual, and it’s quite common to get married on the beach.
If you’re interested in knowing more about what you should wear to a summer wedding on the beach you can visit our guide on how to dress for a beach wedding.
Formal Versus Informal Summer Weddings
Formality and informality are seasonless. For the purposes of this article, we take “formal” to mean “tuxedo” and “informal” to mean a suit or something even less formal than that.
The choice to go formal or informal is entirely up to the couple. Summer heat is not a joke in most parts of the world, so the formality decision should be made based on whether most of the day will be indoors or outdoors.
Being sweaty in wedding photos is not a good look.
If you’re indoors, we’re think a formal wedding is fine. Everyone will be in an air-conditioned room and take minimal issue leaving the house in a jacket and tie on a 90-degree day.
If you’ll be outdoors, we highly recommend a more casual affair. Male guests will appreciate the pass to forgo a tie if they so choose, and women won’t be so bogged down by heavy dress fabrics, opting for something light and airy.
Formal Daytime Weddings: Morning Suit
If you’re going to be inside and the wedding starts before 6 in the evening, a morning coat is correct. Morning dress includes:
- Morning coat in black or grey
- Striped black or solid grey trousers
- White, ecru, or light blue French cuff shirt
- Waistcoat in buff, dove grey, of Robin’s egg blue
- Silk necktie
- Well-polished black shoes (not patent leather)
Formal Evening Weddings: Tuxedo
A tuxedo is really the only option for formal evening weddings. Here’s a brief overview of what goes into a tuxedo:
- Black or midnight blue dinner jacket with matching trousers
- White French cuff shirt
- Black self-tie bow tie
- Black patent oxfords or opera pumps
- Single-breasted waistcoat (optional)
- Black cummerbund (optional, not worn with waistcoat)
- White braces
An important thing to note is that in the summertime, you have the option of wearing a white dinner jacket with your black trousers. There is little more James Bond-esque than such a get-up, and you’d do well to try it out!
Note: Daniel Craig had his made to order. To get all the details right (not to mention nail the fit), you will likely want to do the same.
Informal Daytime: Light-Colored Suit
Summer weddings, especially when held outdoors, are great for informal looks. You’ll want to keep both your colors and your weights light, and consider losing the tie. Some great colors and materials to start thinking about are:
- Light grey
- Medium blue
- White (linen or cotton)
- Chinos & blue blazers
Feel free to play around with pattern. A wedding is a time when a suit doesn’t have to be all business, and if you want to wear bold stripes or checks but typically can’t, now’s the time.
Further, look for jackets that have either half or 1/8 linings. Fully-lined jackets are fine, but removing some of it allows for a little bit more ventilation, which is never a bad thing when the temperatures hit 85 degrees and above.
In the daytime you can also opt for less formal shoes like white derbies or suede loafers. Should you want to go even more casual, you can lose the tie and the socks, or even opt for a pair of linen trousers with linen shirt and odd waistcoat.
A quick note on material: cotton, linen, and mohair are wonderful alternatives to wool to help keep you cool. Lightweight wools (as light as 6.5 ounces) also exist, but can be difficult to tailor. If you have the means, going made-to-measure or bespoke will open the worlds of these fabrics up to you and help keep you well-ventilated.
Informal Evening: Darker Suit
Evening weddings are always a touch more formal, even in the summertime. With that said, we advise you to at least wear a suit and tie. The sun will have set anyway, making things easier for you in terms of keeping somewhat cool.
Some suit color options are:
- Deep tan
- Cadet blue
- Medium grey
Summer evenings don’t necessarily require black shoes despite their incrementally increased formality, but you can wear them if you choose. We happen to think that British tan and light brown shoes are perfect options that carry a bit of formality but are a bit more laid back, just like the season.
Summer Wedding Colors & How To Accessorize Them
*Editor’s Note: Anyone involved in the wedding can freely wear the wedding colors in their outfits, but guests should not intentionally do so.*
Brightness and lightness tend to dictate summer wedding color themes. Some common ones are:
Whatever color combination the couple decides on, it would behoove you to use that to inform your choices of furnishings such as socks, ties, shirts, cufflinks, etc.
For example, if the colors are peach, light green, and blue, you could wear peach socks, a blue tie with green floral pattern, and a light green pocket square with peach dots.
This method can also be used to nail down what the best man and groomsmen will wear. Use it as a guide to buy groomsmen’s gifts like ties and pocket squares.
Typical Venues For Summer Weddings
You’ll notice that the venues we listed below are all outdoor ones. This is because outdoor weddings are quite common in the summertime.
With that said, keep in mind that a ballroom or more formal venue is obviously an option, and may be discounted depending on the part of the country you live in.
- Garden parties
Guests, Wedding Party, & Fathers Of The Bride & Groom At Summer Weddings
If you’re not a groom, what follows are some more targeted tips on what to wear to a summer wedding.
The best man will, in addition to ensuring that the groom shows up to the ceremony minimally hung over, provide support for the groom in a myriad of ways. Part of this is often helping the groom decide what he and the groomsmen will wear.
As a rule, you should complement the groom. Wear an ensemble of similar formality and color, but not exactly the same thing that the groom is wearing. An exception to this would be if you’re all wearing tuxedos, or morning coats, in which case it’s perfectly appropriate to dress identically.
You should not overshadow the groom. If he’s wearing solids, avoid patterns. If he’s wearing a patterned suit, wear a solid or less-boldly-patterned suit. The colors of accessories like socks and cufflinks will likely be dictated by the wedding colors.
Sartorially, being a groomsman is easy. You fall in line and wear what you’re told to wear, regardless of your opinion on the clothes. Your role is to support your friend, make photos look awesome, and perhaps make out with someone later in the reception.
Looking the part for that, however, is largely going to be up to the groom, and possibly the best man to a lesser extent. Know that you will likely be wearing the same thing as the groom, or at least something so similar that guests will clearly be able to see the variation on a theme.
Most people go in one of two directions:
- Grooms, groomsmen, and best man all wear identical ensembles. This is typical for formal weddings wherein the men wear tuxedos or, more rarely, morning coats.
- Groomsmen and best man wear identical ensembles, groom wears something slightly different. This is one of the most popular methods by which to dress a wedding party. A simple example is to have the groomsmen in dark grey suits while the groom wears a light grey one. Another one would be the same navy suit for everyone, but the groom adds a vest.
Accessory colors (socks, ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, etc.) will typically be dictated by the wedding color scheme.
Father Of The Bride Or Groom
Being the father of a bride or groom is a lovely experience. You’re beaming with pride and you get to sit back and enjoy watching one of your children take a huge life step. As far as what you wear is concerned, there are a couple of ways to go.
For an informal wedding, you should wear a suit. The biggest qualifier here is that you should not wear a suit like you’re going to work. Wear a suit like you’re headed to a party, because you are!
As a father of a bride or groom, you are not necessarily beholden to wearing colors in the wedding’s scheme as the attendants typically are. You certainly can if you like (we suggest checking with your kid and future child-in-law), but the important thing is to be festive.
Wear a brighter-colored suit than you typically do. Have you been looking for an excuse to put on a bow tie? Now’s the time. Don’t be afraid of a flashy pocket square, and feel free to don the fanciest shoes you own.
You probably paid for a lot of what you’re about to enjoy, so you can dress however you please. Just have fun with it.
Wedding guests have more leeway in terms of what they can wear than the wedding party. Here’s how you know what to wear:
- Does the invitation indicate a dress code? If it does, adhere to that dress code. If it doesn’t, wear a suit.
- Consider time of day and season. Generally speaking, daytime weddings require lighter colors, whereas nighttime weddings require darker ones. Spring and summer also have lighter color palettes, so keep this in mind when you pick out your clothes.
You’ll be more comfortable during the summer in lighter fabrics like lightweight wool, cotton, or linen, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding what to wear. It’s easy to overheat and ruin a good time as a result.
- You don’t have to adhere to a color scheme. The vast majority of weddings have color themes (“wedding colors”) that are decided by the couple in the beginning planning stages. It influences everything from flower arrangements to napkin colors. It often has a say in what grooms and groomsmen wear too.
It has nothing to do with what you choose to wear. In fact, it’s advisable to not intentionally wear the couple’s wedding colors, as this would be a bit off-putting and kind of creepy.
For summer weddings, you want to:
- Stay cool and keep your guests comfortable
- Take advantage of the season’s color palette
- Utilize lightweight fabrics