12 Tips for Men Wearing Semi-Formal Attire to a Wedding

semi formal attire men wedding

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We’re in the heart of wedding season, so you know what that means! It’s time to wear your nice clothes and celebrate with your friends and family. You’ll watch your best friend as he and his sweetheart go on their honeymoon or one of your parents as they seal true love again. Whatever the occasion, you’ll want to look your best. What’s the dress code? Here’s a guide for men wearing semi-formal attire to a wedding. 

What Semi-Formal Attire Men Wear to a Wedding

Semi-formal means you want to look nice, but you don’t necessarily need a James Bond-level of tuxedo. Here are five tips for semi-formal attire men should wear to a wedding. 


Wedding attire starts with your suit. Pick a blazer that precisely fits your body shape to ensure you look sharp. If you’re shopping for a new jacket, go to a department store and allow the sales associate to take your size. Then you can ensure you get the best-fitting coat possible.

Pick a dark color like navy or charcoal but avoid wearing a black blazer — this color is for the groom and groomsmen. If you’re part of this crew, black is an excellent choice! Ask the groom what color he’s wearing and what color he wants you to don.

Dress Shirt

Next, you’ll want to pick a dress shirt. White is a terrific color because it goes with nearly any color blazer you buy. It also naturally goes with black, as you see in all the pictures. When you close your eyes and imagine men wearing semi-formal attire at a wedding, you likely picture black blazers and white shirts. 

Ultimately, it’s your call on the color. Above all, you’ll want to ensure the shirt is clean and crisp. Iron your shirt the night before or the morning of the wedding to avoid wrinkles. The last thing you want is to show up looking like you grabbed your dress shirt out of the hamper. 


semi formal attire men wedding

Semi-formal attire for men at a wedding typically means you’ll wear a tie. However, this dress code is not always the case. Some weddings may tell you ties are optional. When in doubt, grab a tie anyway because you can always take it off if nobody else wears one.

The rule of thumb for ties is to make your tie darker than the shirt but lighter than your blazer, but you can change the style at will. For example, suppose you pick a charcoal gray suit and a white dress shirt. You’ll have flexibility with the color, so opt for a navy or burgundy-colored tie. 

Dress Shoes

Semi-formal and formal attire converge when picking shoes. Get a pair of dress shoes for the wedding because they look nice and are more traditional than tennis shoes. This footwear typically contains leather or suede to ensure you look your best.

Weddings can last long, so picking a comfortable pair is essential. Are you going to an Indian wedding for the first time? These ceremonies last around three days, so it’s wise to get insoles if you have flat feet. 

Personal Picks

A man adding accessories to his outfit - semi formal attire men wedding

We’ve covered the primary semi-formal attire for men and a wedding, so let’s finish with the personal picks. Here, you’ll add the finishing touches to your outfit with fashionable accessories. These last few items may include a belt, cufflinks, pocket handkerchiefs and more. Did you recently put a nice Rolex on your wrist? Now is a fantastic time to show it off. 

What Semi-Formal Attire Men Should Not Wear to a Wedding

Semi-formal attire lets you look stylish without going overboard in your dressing room. Still, there are some articles of clothing to avoid. Avoid these four items that take semi-formal too far. 

Blue Jeans

There’s nothing wrong with wearing blue jeans at the bar or on a casual day at the office. You can make a pair of jeans look terrific with a button-down shirt or flannel in the fall. However, they’re unsuitable for weddings. You don’t want to be the only one in blue jeans, so pick a pair of black or khaki slacks.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the groom may request his groomsmen to wear blue jeans so everybody matches. However, leave the jeans at home if the groom doesn’t say it. 


T-shirts are another piece of casual clothing that goes a bridge too far. Some shirts can look nice — you may even wear a plain T-shirt on dates if it’s stylish enough. Trade in the top for a long-sleeve, button-up shirt. Don’t be the only guy at the wedding with short sleeves on. Also, the last thing you want is to wear a tuxedo T-shirt, giving away you’re an avid Reddit user. 

Tennis Shoes

We can hear your groans from here. Your favorite tennis shoes are too casual, even for semi-formal attire. Dress shoes should be your top pick for the ceremony and reception. If you find dress shoes too uncomfortable, you can make them more comfortable by wearing inserts and thick socks or stretching your shoes. Also, ensure you get the right size.


The previous clothing items get deductions for being too casual, but is there such a thing as being too formal? At a semi-formal wedding, you shouldn’t wear a tuxedo. Tuxedos distinguish themselves with satin suits with velvet, wool or linen fabrics. Tuxes are lovely, but you should leave yours at home unless the wedding requests them. Overdressing is almost as bad as underdressing.

Considerations to Make Before Picking Your Outfit

Weddings are a massive deal for the couple getting married and their families. You’ll want to show up in your best attire, requiring thoughtfulness in your outfit. Before you pick up your suit, use these three considerations when picking your outfit.

Bride and Groom Requests

A newly wed couple dancing - semi formal attire men wedding

Weddings are as unique as snowflakes, each being different from the next. The rules of each ceremony change from one to the next, so you must follow the bride and groom’s requests. For example, they may specifically ask everyone to wear vests instead of blazers or jeans instead of slacks.


Some couples plan their wedding in the spring or fall for better weather. Unfortunately, it can still get hot in some locations. Have you been to a Southern wedding on an October afternoon? The sun still makes you sweat through your suit. Dress for the weather, selecting lighter colors for daytime weddings and darker colors for nighttime or indoor weddings. Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol while you’re outside — even if they have an open bar.   


The wedding industry doesn’t have an affordable reputation. Nice clothes require forking over cash, but you can still stay within your budget when picking men’s semi-formal attire for a wedding. Try these budget-friendly tips:

  • Discounts: Check the local department stores for discounts, sales and good deals. You might get the tie, cufflinks or dress shirt for free when you buy a blazer. 
  • Thrifting: Who says you have to get a brand-new suit? Head to the thrift store to get four-figure suits much cheaper than the department stores. You may get lucky and find a perfect-fitting coat that’s your favorite color.
  • Renting: Do you go to weddings often? If not, you may be better off renting your suit. The entire suit could cost hundreds of dollars and be above your budget. On average, renting suits costs between $100 and $200, making this option more affordable. 

What Semi-Formal Attire Men Should Wear to a Wedding

Weddings are on the Mount Rushmore of special occasions. Your next ceremony could be for yourself, your friends or your family, saying vows and expressing love. You’ve made plans, and now you must decide what to wear. Use this guide on semi-formal attire for men to determine what you should wear to a wedding. 

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