Wedding Dress Codes, Decoded

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, then chances are you have recently taken the enormous step of proposing to your other half and are now pouring every precious drop of your soul and bank balance into your wedding day. As if there weren’t enough plates to spin to ensure the day goes smoothly, there is also the not-so-small matter of what you are going to wear: doubly important when you consider that everyone in attendance is going to be looking right at you for the best part of a day.

At T.M.Lewin, we’ve dressed thousands of grooms for their wedding day, so you’re in safe hands. The single most important factor to consider is the type of wedding you want as this will largely determine what you’ll be wearing. For example, morning dress is often the uniform for formal weddings, whereas if you are to be married on a quaint Tuscan hillside in July, you would be much better off in a lightweight linen suit so you don’t evaporate into the ether. Black tie is becoming an increasingly popular option too, especially for early evening weddings, but you probably wouldn’t want to wear it to a registry office at 11.30am on a Saturday morning. Relaxed summer weddings call for a lounge suit or separates, which can be dressed up or down depending on your vibe.

What to wear

There are few other occasions in a man’s life when he can ceremoniously indulge himself in the finer arts of looking good. So, we have outlined three of the most popular types of wedding and what to wear for them.

The smart city wedding

Whether you’re tying the knot at a registry office or in your local church, a city wedding calls for an urbane approach to dressing. A slim-fit navy suit with a deep, rich tone strikes the perfect balance of sartorial smarts and modern style, which is why our double-breasted linen jacket in the aforementioned hue is an obvious choice. Pair it with our matching linen trousers, and a crisp, white, non-iron shirt with a dogtooth tie to complement the hue of the suit. Finish off the look with a smart pair of black Oxfords, and you’re good to go.

Double Breasted Linen Suit Jacket in Navy

Non-Iron White Twill Slim Fit Shirt

Navy Pink Stripe Slim Silk Tie

The casual/relaxed wedding

Just because it’s a casual wedding, doesn’t mean that the sartorial wheels can come off. A tailored silhouette is still the best option. However, you can divest yourself of a traditional suit, and instead opt for sophisticated separates. In the summer, this could look like our light pink linen suit jacket styled with an extra slim fitted pair of beige cotton chinos to deliver a look that’s equally relaxed and elegant. To finish the ensemble, opt for an open collared white shirt and bookend the look with a smart pair of brown loafers or cap-toe semi-brogues.

Linen Suit Jacket in Light Pink

Moretti Extra Slim Fit Chino

Light Blue Pencil Stripe Poplin Shirt

The warm-weather wedding abroad

So you’ve managed to convince everyone you know to follow you and your fairer half to celebrate your matrimony under the warm glow of the Mediterranean sun? In which case it’s time to rip a page out of the Italian sartorial tradition and opt for a “sprezzatura” look that is refined but has a confidently casual edge. Cue our linen ecru suit, cut in a universally flattering slim fit and single-breasted style. With the jacket buttoned up it is the picture of sophistication, while keeping it unbuttoned it adds a touch of Italian swagger. A light-blue stripe shirt is the perfect complement to the soft neutral tones, but don’t forget to add a flourish of colour with, for example, our Royal Ascot orange stirrup link silk pocket square. Polished brown leather Oxford shoes are a safe bet to complete the look, but if you want something with a little more character, opt for a pair of dark single monks.

Single Breasted Linen Suit Jacket in Ecru

Slim Fit Linen Suit Trousers in Ecru

Non-Iron Blue Chalk Stripe Twill Shirt

Dos and don’ts

So that’s your outfit sorted. Now don’t fall foul of these potential pitfalls as the big day gets close:

Do start a skincare routine in the months running up to the wedding. Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful things you ever do, and nowhere will that stress be more evident than in your face. Get into a good grooming groove to a couple months running up to the wedding to ensure you’re glowing on the day.

Don't have a drastic haircut just before the big day. Picture your bride’s face: you’ve had the same haircut she has come to cherish and take comfort in ever since you met, and then you rock up with a “Cristiano Ronaldo at United circa 2006” and watch as her vision of your future together falls apart before her eyes.

Do grab some quality sleep during the week before. It goes without saying. The fastest route to looking your best is achieved by lying down with your eyes closed.

Don't book your stag night for the night before. Or even the night before that. Not even in the movies does that happen anymore.

Do think about how to make the bride’s life easier in the months before. We know this is constantly on your mind, but extra vigilance please, gentlemen.

Don't take part in any form of contact sport, or a sport that involves a ball travelling at speeds high enough to blacken an eye, break a nose, or threaten fertility. Park your competitive streak for at least a fortnight before the wedding.

Do think of the things that can (and probably will) go wrong on the day, and have a plan. A car parked at the back of the church with the engine running might be a touch extreme, but each to their own.

Don't try any new skincare products in the week before the wedding. We’ve seen this happen too often. Groom washes his face with water for 35 years then decides to use a glycolic acid face peel days out from the wedding, and his skin has a meltdown.

Frequently asked questions

Having prepared many a groom for his wedding day, we’ve been privy to a number of questions that regularly surface, so to put your mind at rest…

How do you choose your best man?

Put yourself in the worst possible scenario you can imagine, then ask yourself who, outside of a family member, you would phone for help? If this person would also likely dine out on the story for years to come, you’ve found your man.

Should the groom and best man’s outfits match?

Unless the wedding has a strict black tie dress code, then we would recommend always having a point of difference from your best man. You want to be unique on the day, not to mention identifiable to the more senior guests in attendance.

Should the best man and usher’s outfits match?

It can be a nice touch for your best man and your ushers to have matching outfits, but it also serves a purpose – the rest of the guests in attendance can readily identify them should they need to ask any questions or require help for whatever reason.

Should you have a wedding list?

This is always a tricky one and often depends on the means of both those getting married and guests in attendance. In the UK, it is often the norm to ask for gifts, whereas in many places on the continent, the married couple asks for cash in order to replenish the coffers after the wedding. You need to make a considered call, especially if getting to your wedding will require a significant financial outlay from guests.

Do you give gifts to your groomsmen?

Besides the gift of your eternal friendship, it’s always a nice touch to gift your groomsmen and best man. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it should be something personal to the individual. We’d definitely recommend a pair of our silver cufflinks.

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