What Color Suit to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest In 2024?
So, you’re wondering what color to wear to a wedding.
It’s an important question to ask yourself because you don’t want to be guilty of any faux pas, such as upstaging the groom or wearing a color that totally clashes with the wedding’s theme. But it’s not an easy question to answer – many invitations specify dress code without mentioning colors.
Now you’re almost left on your own to decide. Luckily, that’s where this guide comes in.
Read on to discover some appropriate colors to wear to a wedding (and some less-than-appropriate ones) so you don’t have to fret about your outfit.
Understanding Wedding Dress Codes
Your first clue about the colors to wear to a wedding comes from the dress code specified on the invitation. Some of these codes have very specific color expectations – making your decision easy – while others may give you a few more options while still carrying an expectation of what color to wear, even if that color is unstated.
You can, assuming the rest of the men at the wedding will be wearing one. Tuxedos are often specifically requested for black tie events, but they can be worn at a formal wedding. And that makes your color choice easy – black is the way to go.
Still, a nice suit is a fine option for a formal wedding, with colors veering towards darker shades. Classics, like black and navy, work well here, as does charcoal grey. You’ll usually pair that suit coloring with a white shirt and black shoes. So, when it comes to what colors to wear to a wedding, seeing “formal” on the invitation makes your job fairly easy.
A little more flexibility comes into play with a semi-formal wedding, though, as Esquire points out, you’ll still need a suit and tie. The big difference between formal and semi-formal attire lies in colors.
Dark colors, as you’d wear for a formal wedding, are still safe here and you won’t look out of place if you choose them. But you’ll find that lighter greys and blues are also acceptable, and may be a better choice if the wedding takes place during the summer.
The most important rule to remember for a casual wedding is that what you consider casual at home isn’t the same as casual for a wedding. “You’re not going to show up in ripped jeans and a t-shirt at a casual wedding,” says Generation Tux. “Rather, casual just means you’re not wearing quite as ‘stuffy’ a suit as you might wear for a formal or semi-formal wedding.”
In other words, it may be casual, but it’s still a wedding. For colors, going lighter is acceptable here, with khakis and lighter greys generally working well. A polo shirt combined with a sports coat can also be a good look if you’re looking for what to wear to a casual wedding as a male.
Breathable fabrics and lighter colors are the order of the day when it comes to beach weddings. Here, colors like black and navy will look out of place – and make you feel overly warm – when set against the light tones of the sand and bright blues of the sea.
In terms of acceptable colors to wear to a wedding on the beach, white and khaki are both good choices because they’re light and breezy colors. Check out our separate guide for beach wedding suits. Similarly, light (or neutral) colors, such as beige and light blue, can work, too. But don’t go too summer-y. Bright yellow trousers, for instance, would certainly be a talking point, but they’d look out of place even at a beach wedding.
“Informal” doesn’t mean sloppy. That’s the first thing to remember when it comes to informal weddings. You’re still usually expected to wear a well-fitted suit, placing this dress code somewhere between semi-formal and casual.
The difference is that you can experiment with colors a little more, both with the suit and its accessories. For instance, you might still wear a navy suit while choosing a red tie to make that suit pop. A colorful tie and unstructured blazer look could work, but you don’t need to throw in zany socks just because the dress code says “informal.”
Colors to Consider
Now that you know a little more about how to dress as a wedding guest for men – along with some color suggestions, let’s dig a little deeper into some of the more specific colors to choose.
The safest bets are colors that work for almost any type of wedding, though you may avoid them when attending a beach wedding. Navy, black, and charcoal grey fall into the “safe” category – all ideal for an evening wedding or one that has anything from a formal to an informal dress code.
The only time these colors look out of place is when worn to an event where lighter colors are expected. The aforementioned beach weddings stand out, but you also won’t choose these colors to wear to a wedding if the groom has specified a color scheme that doesn’t include them.
Sometimes, the best color to wear to a wedding is the color that matches the season as much as the event itself.
For instance, winter and autumn weddings point toward the safe choices mentioned above – black, charcoal grey, and navy. All are deep colors that not only reflect the atmosphere outside but also do a better job of keeping you warm than lighter colors. But you can get a little experimental here – assuming the dress code allows it – with emerald, burgundy, and plum coloring.
As for summer and spring weddings, especially those held outdoors, lighter colors work better. Think neutrals, such as beige and khaki, as well as cream colors that aren’t quite white but are light enough to leave you feeling cool when the mercury rises.
A fashion-forward guest might veer away from the safer options and toward colors that are trendy in 2024. That can work, as 2024 seems to be the year for both guests and wedding parties to experiment with color, as Mariée Ami’s vice president of graphic design, Mary Baugh, points out. She says, “We will definitely see more color than usual as couples experiment and take color hints from their venues. For example, a Texas Hill Country bride chose colors from the sunset at the venue as her inspiration, with lots of deep oranges and warm rose tones.”
If following the example set by the venue doesn’t work for you, both pastel colors and earth tones are in vogue this year. Sage green is a good choice as it skirts the line between informal and casual, being deep enough to carry a touch of glass while also standing out against the sea of safe colors that many choose.
Colors to Avoid
Though 2024 appears to be a year for experimentation, there are still some “wrong” answers when people ask themselves what colors can you wear to a wedding. Experimentation has its limits, after all, and the following colors should be avoided.
Never Wear White
White screams danger for any wedding guest because it’s the color usually reserved for the bride. And while this rule is steadfast for female guests – any woman who wears white is immediately setting herself against the bride – it’s also a good rule of thumb for men.
This rule goes regardless of the dress code. Yes, you’ll likely wear a white shirt, but that shirt isn’t the “main event” of your ensemble. Stick to darker suit colors if you’re uncertain and always go for different light tones if the event calls for them.
Be Cautious with Black
This may seem like a strange color to avoid considering that it falls within the “safe” category mentioned earlier. But there’s also no denying that black can convey a more somber tone – it’s usually worn for funerals after all – that may not be fitting for some weddings.
Specifically, any wedding that has a casual or beach dress code is one for which black should be avoided. Black and its various shades are not appropriate colors to wear to a wedding when everybody else is sticking to a lighter color scheme.
Avoid Overly Bright Colors
When you’re asking about what colors do you wear at a wedding, overly bright colors are almost always off the table. Think of bright yellows and shocking pink and you’ll get the picture. These colors may be “fun,” but they’re also attention-grabbing eyesores that take the focus off the bride and groom and place it squarely on your weird color choices.
In short, extremely bright colors are distracting. The only time you should even consider them is if the invitation specifically says it wants you to wear these types of colors. Otherwise, go for one of the safer options based on the dress code and season.
While you now have a good idea of what colors are appropriate to wear to a wedding, it’s always worth keeping these additional tips in mind to ensure you don’t make any mistakes.
Check the Wedding Invitation
The invitation you’ve received often contains nuggets of wisdom, both in terms of what you should wear and the color scheme. For instance, if you’re pondering, “do you have to wear a tie to a wedding?” the mention of “formal” or “semi-formal” on the invite will tell you that you should. A casual dress code might give you more leeway.
But what if the dress code isn’t enough?
Scan the invitation for any mentions of color schemes. It may say something like “autumnal colors are preferred,” which would lead you down the path of greys, browns, and similar dark shades. On the opposite side of the coin, a beach wedding comes with an implicit understanding that you’ll wear lighter shades.
When in Doubt, Ask
There are no stupid questions when it comes to a wedding, especially when that question revolves around ensuring the bride and groom get what they want from the event. And remember – they’re dealing with a lot in the planning phases. Sometimes, that can lead to them failing to specify a color scheme on their invitations even though they have one in mind.
So, pick up the phone and ask.
A quick text to ask if there are any specific colors to wear (or avoid) should do the trick. If you don’t want to bother the bride and groom with the question, ask one of the groomsmen instead. They can tell you what colors they and the groom will be wearing. While you don’t want to match those colors unless stated – that’s a faux pas in itself – the colors the wedding party wears are indicators of the color expectations for the rest of the guests.
Find the Best Color to Wear to a Wedding
When picking colors to wear to a wedding, it’s all too easy to get decision paralysis when deciding on suit colors. Calm down and pay attention to the indicators in the wedding invitation and the information in this article. Both can lead you to what color to wear to a wedding, regardless of the type of wedding you’re attending.
When you’re not sure, opt for one of the safe choices or ask a member of the wedding party. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Once you’ve established which color to wear, finding the right suit becomes much easier. But you may not want to buy that suit, especially if you only intend to wear it for one event. Instead, you want to rent a suit that you can return when the event is over.
Generation Tux is your solution.
With over 25 suits and tuxedos in its collection – incorporating many of the color schemes discussed here – Generation Tux helps you to find the right suit and accessorize appropriately. Best of all, you can buy from the comfort of your own couch, with free color swatch cards and at-home try-on to ensure you get not only the perfect color but also a perfectly fitted suit.