Here’s What You Need to Know About the Men’s Wedding Dress Code

Have you ever gotten an invitation, looked at the attire specified, and wondered what Black Tie or Semi Formal or Cocktail meant? It’s kinda confusing, especially if you don’t really go to a lot of events. But don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for! Today, we’re cracking the men’s wedding dress code, and breaking it down for you. From the most formal of dress codes to the most casual, I scoured the depths of Pinterest to show you some examples of each wedding dress code, and I’ll even tell you what it means in the Filipino context too! Ready to finally unravel what they really mean? Keep on reading!

Here's What You Need to Know About the Men's Wedding Dress Code

 

White Tie
Left: Balayi Men, Center: Town & Country, Right: Shopify

What to wear:

  • Black tuxedo with tails
  • White collar shirt (usually pleated or bib-front design)
  • White pique vest or cummerbund
  • White waistcoat
  • White bow tie
  • Studs and cufflinks (usually white)
  • Black trousers or dress pants
  • Black patent leather dress shoes
  • White gloves (optional)
  • Top hat (optional)

White Tie formal is the most formal dress code of them all. Think state dinners, the Met Gala, and events with the queen. Since it’s the dress code with the highest formality, it also has the strictest dress code. Quite literally, White Tie formal means you’ll be wearing a white tie. Add a black tuxedo, white vest and waistcoat, and even white gloves and a top hat, and you’ll definitely be fit to see the queen!

 

Black Tie
Left: GQ, Center: Sartoria Rossi, Right: The Black Tux

What to wear:

  • Tuxedo
  • Dress shirt with French cuffs
  • Cummerbund
  • Studs and cufflinks
  • Black trousers or dress pants
  • Black bow tie
  • Shiny black leather Oxfords
  • Pocket square (optional)

This dress code is the second most formal one after White Tie. It’s associated with formal evening events, and usually also means a rather strict way of dressing. While the attire mentioned above is the appropriate etiquette for most Western countries, here in the Philippines, when wedding invitations mention Black Tie Formal, it usually alludes to a black suit and tie. Easy peasy, right?

 

Black Tie Optional
Left: Camargo Alfaiataria, Center: Black Lapel, Right: D’Marge

What to wear:

  • Tuxedo or formal suit (usually dark in color, e.g. black, navy, dark gray)
  • Dress shirt (usually white)
  • Cufflinks
  • Black trousers or dress pants
  • Bow tie or neck tie
  • Black patent leather shoes
  • Pocket square (optional)

I know what you’re thinking, Why give optional if there’s a certain way you’re supposed to dress anyway? Well, it’s actually for those hosts who want to be considerate of the fact that some of their guests don’t have tuxedos. It is slightly less formal than the black tie dress code, but you can also certainly opt to go for it as well (hence, the word optional). With this dress code, you can use accessories to express your personal style. You can opt for a necktie with a classic tie bar or a signature lapel pin or flower, instead of a bow tie. Or you can even experiment with patterns in your bow tie! In the Philippines, you won’t necessarily see a wedding invitation with this type of dress code, but if you do, now you’ll know what it means!

 

Black Tie Creative
Left: Models.com, Center: Tailor Made London, Right: ASOS

What to wear:

  • Dinner jacket
  • Dress shirt
  • Bow tie or neck tie
  • Cufflinks
  • Trousers or dress pants
  • Pocket square
  • Patent leather shoes or velvet loafers

If you’re a bit of a fashionista (yes, guys can totally be fashionistas too!), then you will love this dress code. Black Tie Creative is a lot less stiff than Black Tie and Black Tie Optional, and allows you to express yourself even more in terms of fashion and style. You can still wear a tuxedo or a suit, but you can now experiment with different and bold colors. You can also opt for patterns and prints for your ties, and even wear velvet loafers (because, why not?)! Keep in mind though that this is still formal attire, so dress appropriately.

 

Barong Tagalog/Filipiniana
Left, Center, Right: Barong Warehouse

What to wear:

  • Barong tagalog
  • Inner/under shirt (or camisa de chino)
  • Black trousers or dress pants
  • Black leather shoes

Here’s one dress code that is unique to the Philippines. And lucky for you, it’s pretty simple and straightforward too.

P.S. – If you’re wondering what you can do to help make you look extra good in your Barong Tagalog, read this for some helpful tips!

 

Semi Formal
Left: Hawes and Curtis, Center: The Black Tux, Right: Jay C Sands

What to wear:

  • Suit
  • Dress shirt
  • Neck tie
  • Trousers or dress pants
  • Dress shoes

This dress code isn’t as formal as the others mentioned above, and depending on the time of your event, you’ll want to dress somewhere between formal and casual. In other countries this would usually mean that if it’s a day wedding, men  go for lighter colored fabrics like light blue, light gray, and beige, and if it’s an evening event, they go for darker and heavier looking ones like navy, royal blue, and dark gray. You can also up your style game by choosing classic accessories like a pocket square, a lapel pin, and cufflinks. In the Philippines, while it doesn’t hurt to wear a suit and tie, semi formal can also mean a long sleeved button down shirt with slacks. If you’re unsure where to go with your outfit, you can always ask your hosts.

 

Cocktail
Left: Dolzer, Center: Moda Para Homens, Right: Dolzer

What to wear:

  • Suit
  • Dress shirt
  • Neck tie
  • Trousers or dress pants
  • Dress shoes

Cocktail attire is very similar to semi formal attire, but there’s more freedom when it comes to accessorizing. A colored blazer, colored pants, lace-up shoes, a tie with a pattern or bold design, and even a tie clip are things you can consider when thinking about your outfit. You can definitely lean towards a more creative style with this dress code, and away from the more business or office looking attire.

 

Beach Formal
Left: Mango, Center: Massimo Dutti, Right: Zara

What to wear:

  • Summer suit (optional)
  • Linen shirt
  • Tie (optional)
  • Pocket square (optional)
  • Khaki or light colored dress pants
  • Shoes you can wear sock-less

Since the Philippines is home to many beautiful beaches, beach formal is definitely something that you shouldn’t take lightly. Because of the nature of the venue, beach formal is a lot more relaxed so as to suit your surroundings. A suit isn’t strictly needed (as we all know how hot it can get here), so a linen shirt will do fine. Pair that with some khakis or light-colored dress pants, and you’re good to go! Oh hang on, let’s talk about shoes. Is it okay to wear sandals or sneakers to a beach wedding? I’d say preferably, no.

 

Smart Casual
Left: Massimo Dutti, Center: AVVA, Right: Mango

What to wear:

  • Blazer or patterned suit (optional)
  • Polo or button-down shirt
  • Dress pants or chinos
  • Dress shoes

Just because there’s the word ‘casual’ in the attire, doesn’t mean you can go in just anything. Shorts and sneakers are a definite no-no! (Sorry guys!) Opt for a polo, button-down, or even a chambray shirt. You can pair that with colored dress pants and chinos, and even layer it with a comfy blazer or patterned suit. And brown dress shoes can help finish off your look. If you’re unsure about how casual you can go, it’s always safest to be overdressed than underdressed. Or, you could also just double check with the couple as well. Nothing wrong with that!

 

At the end of the day, while these dress codes do provide guests with a certain direction when it comes to attire, don’t forget that it’s also about style. Stick to what you’re comfortable with, and what makes your outfit truly you!

 

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