Whether you’re a guest or a groom, suiting up for a summer wedding should mean looking … well, summery. This means no charcoal-gray wool suits, no navy pinstripes. Remember, you’re not going to a board meeting — you’re attending a celebration.
If you’re the groom, first consider the time and place of the wedding. Unless it’s after sundown, resist the urge to throw on a tux. Formalwear is meant for the evening. Period. And do you really want to be wearing a tux if you’re getting married by the beach or a lake or up in the mountains?
So, what do you wear?
A few options:
1. Seersucker suitIf not for a summer wedding, when? The key to pulling off this most summery of suits is to not try to look for a Southern gentleman (unless you happen to be one). So skip the white bucs and bow tie, and stick with a white shirt and a fairly simple long tie. The suit itself makes enough of a statement. Oh, and about that suit — look for seersucker in more muted, grayish-blue tones. Those bright-blue-and-white-striped ones aren’t so easy to pull off.
2. Khaki suitPair it with a white shirt, black tie and black lace-ups and you’ve got a summer afternoon’s answer to the tuxedo. Cool and classic.
3. The navy blazer
Always acceptable, but often … a tad conservative. Try livening it up a bit with a pocket square. Or try wearing some slim trousers with a bit of pizzazz. The goal should not be to look like you belong to a yacht club.
4. Linen Yes, you can wear a linen suit to a wedding, but be prepared for it to wrinkle. That’s what linen does. It’s okay. Roll with it.
5. FootwearIf you’re attending a wedding that’s actually on a beach (as opposed to a beach club), you don’t need to wear leather lace-ups on the sand. Going barefoot is okay. So is wearing sandals or flip flops with your suit, assuming you’re the type of guy who can pull them off. And this goes for a country or lakeside wedding, as well. But if you’re attending a summer wedding in a proper setting (like a country club), don’t be the “edgy” dude wearing a pair of flip flops or Chuck Taylor’s with your suit. Not cool.
6. EyewearSunglasses are not only appropriate at a summer wedding, they’re pretty much required, especially when cocktail hour takes place when the sun is blazing right in your eyes. Wear a pair of shades that are as classic and stylish as your suit, such as aviators or Wayfarers. Wraparound athletic sunglasses are what you were supposed to be wearing earlier in the day, before the wedding.
7. NeckwearIf you’re wearing a cotton suit (such as seersucker or khaki), consider a cotton tie. Countless labels make them these days, in a range of summery fabrics, such as gingham, madras, plaid et al. And you know what? If you don’t feel like sporting a tie, skip it entirely. Just make sure you’re wearing an elegant shirt and a great blazer or suit. It’s summer, after all. We should all loosen up a bit.