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 the Midwest and American South, on the other hand, summers become so brutal that it’s actually off-season.
Regardless, a summer wedding is a 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.
Meanwhile, backyard and garden weddings are quite popular inland. While they can be budget-friendly, they also offer lots of opportunities to create a welcoming yet elegant atmosphere.
Formal Vs Informal Summer Weddings
Formality and informality are technically seasonless and are usually defined by various dress codes. For instance, formalwear is traditionally associated with white tie.
However, white tie has largely fallen out of favour and black tie, which consists of a tuxedo, has largely replaced it as the predominant choice of formalwear.
Additionally, approaches to formality tend to shift among seasons. Indeed, summertime often allows for less formal attire given the heat. For example, in business professional situations where people are expected to wear a suit, you can wear lighter colors during the summer and even forgo the tie.
For the purposes of this article, therefore, 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. The summer heat can vary according to different climates, so the formality decision should be made based on whether most of the day will be indoors or outdoors. After all, being sweaty in wedding photos is not a good look.
If you’re indoors or in a temperate climate, we 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 would 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.
Summer Wedding Shoes For Men
Your choice in the footwear’s style will largely be decided by your final choice in dress code. Indeed, we’ll make suggestions for these throughout the guide. Nevertheless, the shoe’s construction is another matter worth highlighting early on.
Shoes are occasionally an afterthought. However, we believe that it’s something that can really make or break your overall outfit. Wearing scruffy old shoes to your own wedding would indeed be a shame.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that a lot of men use this opportunity to buy nice new shoes that they’ll wear again in the future.
It’s often assumed that Goodyear-welted dress shoes are the best and only footwear that you should buy. Indeed, their construction is robust, water-resistant, and allows for nearly endless resoling.
Nevertheless, summer is the season where Blake-stitched shoes can really shine. Often overshadowed by Goodyear-welted shoes, they’re perfect for a summer wedding.
Firstly, Blake-stitched shoes tend to have lower-profile soles, which allows for slimmer silhouettes. Additionally, it means that they are more flexible, easier to break-in, and breathe better in the heat. Furthermore, a Blake-stitched shoe can be resoled many times in its lifetime.
They’re also cheaper because the technique isn’t as labour-intensive. Therefore, they’re great when on a budget. We suggest checking out Beckett Simonon, which offers unbelievable value.
However, since they use a group made-to-order model, which takes time to produce, consider also Ace Marks if you’re in a hurry.
Formal Daytime Summer Wedding: Morning Dress
Despite having fallen out of favor in the USA, morning dress is quite popular in the UK and offers an excellent opportunity to observe a traditional dress code. It’s usually reserved for events taking place before 6pm and is best worn indoors or early in the morning for summer weddings.
Morning dress typically consists of the following:
- 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)
Typically, many couples will opt for a tuxedo for a formal wedding at any time of day. Technically, this isn’t quite correct and you would traditionally wear morning dress. However, as mentioned above, it’s quite rare. Nevertheless, if you appreciate tradition, it’s a great dress code to choose.
On our wedding homepage, we explain that we’re not overly fond of renting clothing. Nevertheless, morning dress is quite rare so it can be justified on this occasion.
Finally, morning dress is ideal for temperate or cool climates. It can also be worn for early-morning weddings in hotter areas. However, we would recommend that the ceremony and reception take place indoors if celebrations continue passed noon.
For instance, old stone churches offer excellent cool environments for morning dress!
Morning Dress Further Reading
If you want to learn more about morning dress and formal wedding attire, we suggest the following guides:
Formal Evening Summer Weddings: Tuxedo
Black tie is really the only option for formal evening weddings that take place after 6pm. 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
Although it’s perfectly permissible in other seasons, summer is a great opportunity to wear a white dinner jacket with your black trousers.
While it feels quite in keeping with James Bond, the style when paired with a red cummerbund is known as Red Sea Rig. It was popular among British diplomats in the Middle East and they would often wear it without the jacket because of the heat.
If you’re concerned that black tie is too stuffy or formal for guests, you can opt for things like black tie optional and creative black tie. These dress codes marry formal and informal in a fun way, which will take the pressure of your guests.
We suggest getting your tuxedo made to order to get all the details right and nail the fit). We suggest the best retailers for the occasion in a section below.
Black Tie Further Reading
Want to learn more about wearing a tuxedo? Check out some of our related resources below:
Alternatively, feel free to leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.
Informal Daytime Summer Wedding: Light-Colored Suit
Summer weddings, especially when held outdoors, are great for informal looks. You’ll want to keep both your colors and your fabric weights light. You can also 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.
For instance, striped seersucker cotton suits are particularly popular in parts of the USA. If you’re not fond of the pattern but want the fabric weave’s benefits, consider also solid seersucker.
Meanwhile, linen is a great option, too. If you’re not sure which to opt for, check out our guide where we compare the fabrics.
Otherwise, mohair is another great alternative to keep you cool but it’s somewhat pricey. Lightweight wools (as light as 6.5 ounces) also exist, but can be difficult to tailor.
Finally, 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°F (30°C) and above.
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. The options that we suggest below cater to summer fabrics and construction so they’re well worth checking out even when on a budget!
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 a linen shirt and odd waistcoat.
Informal Evening Summer Wedding: 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.
As it may likely still be quite warm, especially when the festivities properly kick-off, we suggest that you still bear our fabric suggestions above for the daytime in mind. However, you will have greater freedom in the evening.
If you wish to be laidback but want to add a slight streak of formality and elegance to the even, consider suggesting cocktail attire on the invitations. This dress code offers the groomsmen and guests opportunities to add pops of color with fun bow ties without adding too much pressure to the attire’s demands.
Summer Wedding Colors & How To Accessorize Them
Brightness and lightness tend to dictate summer wedding color themes. Some common ones are:
Whatever color combination the couple decides on, it would behove 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 a 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 buying groomsmen’s accessories like ties and pocket squares.
Finally, those involved in the wedding are expected to follow the color scheme. Meanwhile, guests should avoid taking it too far unless requested on the invitation. You can add it in a subtle way but you don’t want to be confused with the wedding party!
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
- Backyard Weddings
There are, of course, many other options such as castles and manor houses. Needless to say, it all depends on what’s available in terms of location and budget.
Party & Guests Summer Wedding Suits
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 hungover, 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 expected to dress identically.
However, the groom may stand out with something a little different.
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.
Since you may play in a role in organising the groom and groomsmen’s attire, check out our section below on where to source the suits.
A groomsman has the simple task of wearing what he’s been given. You may be expected to get measured with the other groomsmen so just try to respect any appointments. Otherwise, you might just be asked to send your measurements.
Once at the wedding, wear the clothing properly and where them well to make sure all the photographs look fantastic. It may also help you get lucky yourself later on!
You may wear something similar to the groom or not. It usually plays out 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
As you likely have a financial stake in the event, it comes with certain prerogatives. Unlike the groomsmen and guests, you’ll have a greater level of freedom in what you wear.
You may follow the color scheme if you desire, but if it’s all right with the wedding couple, you may opt for something different. Rather than dress for another day at the office (unless you’re happily retired), dress for the occasion!
After all, it’s a party so it’s a wonderful opportunity to throw on a brightly-colored suit than usual as well as a bow tie. If you have a double-breasted suit in the wardrobe that you’ve been itching to wear, now’s the time.
In short, seize the opportunity to dress in a fun way that’ll make your child proud.
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.
If it has been specified on the invitation, you can follow these colors. Otherwise, you may subtly use them but avoid doing so in a way that’ll get you mixed up with the bride and groom’s entourage. Despite the best intentions, it might not be well-received.
Where To Buy Summer Wedding Suits
If you’re the groom or involved in organising the event, it’s worth knowing that some brands offer in-house wedding services.
In some cases, they may offer discounts or deals such as free accessories. Yet, they will streamline the logistics and organisation at the very least given it usually involves ordering several suits for a specific date.
Indeed, made-to-measure brands like Indochino and Black Lapel offer wedding services. Furthermore, you can enjoy a 10% discount from Indochino with our exclusive code “BESPOKEUNIT” or $25 off your order from Black Lapel with “FTOBESPOKEUNIT“.
The advantage of ordering made-to-measure suits is that they often come with a variety of free customisation options. You can also choose the fabric and lining according to the season and your requirements. Ultimately, though, you’ll have a suit made to fit you perfectly.
Nevertheless, be mindful that these take time to prepare. You and the groomsmen may also need alterations after they are made. Fortunately, both brands offer credits or in-house services for free alterations. Still, it’s worth getting organised well in advance.
Meanwhile, if you’re a guest, it might be a great opportunity to invest in a new suit, too. We highly recommend the made-to-measure brands above, especially given that Indochino can retail suits for around $300!
Alternatively, check out our guide to the best online suit brands, which also includes fantastic ready-to-wear options.
Summer Wedding Suit Accessories
Summer weddings are a wonderful opportunity to experiment with fun accessories like cufflinks and pocket squares. Meanwhile, we highly recommend organising boutonnières for the groom and his crew.
These floral bouquets add a wonderful splash of color to the outfits but also help identify the key people of the event. You could also opt for cheaper synthetic lapel flowers if you’re on a budget. Sometimes, they can be found in bulk at a great price, which means that they can also be distributed among guests.
If you’re a guest, you can certainly opt for a lapel flower. However, you may want to refrain from a boutonnière to avoid being confused with the people involved!
Although the suits of formal dress codes are limited in how they can be accessorised, you can still play around with things like cufflinks and boutonnières as described above.
In summary, we recommend the following for a summer wedding:
- Stay cool and keep your guests comfortable
- Take advantage of the season’s color palette
- Utilize lightweight fabrics
We invite you to take a look into our suits home page for all the information you could possibly need on suits: proper fit, alterations you may need, and much more!
Otherwise, if you want to read more around the subject, check out some of our related guides: