Summer Wedding Guest Attire: 6 Tips for Men to Look Sharp & Stay Cool

Standing under the blazing sun in a heavy suit can be a gentleman's nightmare at a summer wedding. The right attire not only speaks volumes about one's fashion sense but ensures comfort during those warm, festive hours. In a season when the mercury rises, the sartorial stakes do too, especially for someone aiming to look sharp and stay cool.

Summer weddings call for a delicate balance between formal elegance and practical adaptability. Selecting the perfect ensemble requires knowledge of fabrics that offer breathability, and designs that cater to the sun-kissed festivities.

The move towards lighter materials, such as linen, could make all the difference in your summer wedding experience.

This article aims to help you craft the perfect summer wedding attire. From understanding the nuances of a summery dress code to pairing the right shades and shoes, prepare to dive into a tailored strategy for celebrating in style without succumbing to the heat.

1. Choosing the Right Fabrics

Summer weddings call for cool composure, and selecting the right fabrics is key. Think lightweight, think breathable.

Linen takes the lead, with its champion moisture-absorbing qualities and airy vibes — perfect for a beachside 'I do' or a garden soiree.

Cotton follows close behind, versatile and comfy, it's your go-to for a non-stuffy, sharp look.

If you're planning to nail that summer wedding attire, pair a linen blazer with some dapper lightweight trousers. Whether it's a smart pocket square for that dash of dandy or a full linen suit for a sun-drenched destination wedding, the fabric choice can set you apart. And for those beach vows or barefoot receptions, breezy linen is a must.

The Importance of Breathable Fabrics

Breathable fabrics are your secret weapon against the summer sizzle. Let's break it down:
  • Linen: The VIP of ventilated wear — trust this for a luxe look that breathes. It’s natural, provides a beautiful finish and is one of the best fabrics to wear when it’s hot.
  • Cotton: It's classic for a reason. Low maintenance, yet it screams class and, like linen, can be naturally cooling.
  • Seersucker: Fancy a textured touch? This puckered pal keeps its cool, literally.

Remember, you're aiming for moisture-wicking fabrics that escort sweat away, keeping you comfortable from ceremony to last dance.

Embracing Lightweight Materials

Here are some particularly lightweight fabrics that won't weigh you down:
  • Merino Wool: Surprised? It's not just for winter. This wonder wool is a champ at regulating heat.
  • Chambray: Denim's breezier cousin that delivers a casual yet buttoned-up charm.
  • Silk Blends: They deliver the sheen minus the sweat — a smart cocktail attire.

And don't forget looks that last; durable yet delicate fibres like cotton and linen add finesse with feel-good flair. Throw on a light, linen suit, and you've got a summer suit of armour against the swelter.

Exploring Linen Shirts

Now let's zero in on linen shirts — both comfy and incredibly chic. Crafted with Italian know-how or accented with mother-of-pearl buttons, a linen shirt can elevate your ensemble with an effortless elegance. Want to go a more casual route? Light colours or hints of tropical prints can dial down the formality while keeping your fashion sense on-point for those casual beach canapé gatherings. Pair a breezy shirt with a linen suit for a look that says, "I’m here to celebrate and I know how to stay cool doing it."

Remember, gents, summer weddings don't have to be a sweaty affair. Dress smart, stay cool, and who knows, you might just upstage the wedding cake, looking every bit of the summer sensation that you are!

2. Dressing for the Occasion

So now you know, the secret's in the fabric — think linen, seersucker, and cotton. It’s time to match these breathable champions with the wedding's tone.

For a laid-back lawn affair, you can't go wrong with a crisp cotton shirt tucked into sleek chinos. Top it off with brogues or loafers for that smart-casual look.

If you want to demonstrate a bit more flair, whip out those eye-catching accessories. How about a pocket square and tie or bow tie in pastel tones? They're your ticket to a refined yet refreshing look. And don't forget to layer on a smart, tailored jacket when the sun dips — lightweight, of course.

Decoding the Dress Code

Understanding wedding dress codes is crucial to avoid turning up in all the wrong threads.

Navigating Formal Weddings

If you’re hitting a formal summer wedding, step right into sophistication with a tuxedo in a breathable wool blend, married perfectly with a white dress shirt and traditional leather Oxford shoes. A black silk bow tie finishes your ensemble and it's top marks for tidiness.

Dressing Smartly for Casual Weddings

If you’re attending a casual wedding, try a lighter, dapper look. Here, we're pairing a tasteful shirt with some crisp chinos, walking that line between comfortable and stylish. Shoes matter — no sandals or trainers — think brogues or deck shoes. To weather the warmth, opt for breathable cotton, finishing touches like a tie, self-tie bow tie or a playful pocket square — even sunglasses can ace your look.

And if it’s a beach wedding, reach for that summer blazer and linen pants combo, skipping the tie for a business casual-Caribbean blend. Slide into loafers — no socks necessary.

3. Stylish Attire for Summer Weddings – Think Colours

Keep it cool and suave under the summer sun at wedding celebrations by making sure your colour palette is spot on.

Aim for shades that whisper rather than shout. Think beige, light grey, and soft pastels. They're your allies against that bright summer glare.

Embracing Pastel Shades and lighter shades

When the sun's blaze is at its peak, lighter shades and pastels are your best bet for staying and looking cool. Besides the practicality of beating the heat, they send off the perfect summer vibes.

Colours like light blue, mint green, and blush pink infuse your attire with a gentle charm. These hues show you've put thought into your outfit without stealing the show.

Pastel-coloured suits are a very smooth move. They scream sophistication and let you stand out with subtlety. And don't worry—they're practical too. Pastels reflect sunlight, keeping you as cool as you look.

The Versatility of White Shirts

A white shirt in your wedding getup is like the bass line in your favourite tune—it holds everything together. Fresh, adaptable, and endlessly stylish, it's the perfect base for ties of all varieties. A silk tie or bow tie for formals or a chambray piece for the more laid-back; a white shirt complements them all.

Adding a Pop of Colour with Pocket Squares

Let your pocket square do the talking. This minor detail packs a major punch. A pop of colour peeking from your breast pocket elevates your outfit, making it unmistakably yours.

It doesn't just add character—it's a statement of style. Go bold with a vibrant hue or match it with the day's mood. Opt for a colour/pattern that complements your tie and watch your suit transform into a bespoke marvel.

4. Outfit Ideas for Different Wedding Venues

Slip into the right outfit and watch the venue's vibe work in your favour. Whether it's beachy waves or formal hall glamour, your attire should echo the mood of the place.

For formal spots like country clubs, think classic. A lightweight navy blazer, beige dress pants, and brown dress shoes align perfectly with the setting. And if the summer heat is cranking up, don’t forget, it’s fabrics like linen or seersucker that will keep you cool.

Semi-formal events? A dressy casual look with a light-coloured sports jacket and chinos might be your jam.

Remember, balance is key. Earthy neutrals or warm olive match a summer palette well and add a touch of elegance to your dress-up game.

Beach Wedding Attire

For that sandy soiree, you'll need to merge comfort with style. A linen suit in a light neutral shade, say sand or pale blue, promises you can enjoy the scenic backdrop without wilting.

Ditch the socks, partner loafers or deck shoes with your ensemble, and feel the breeze.

Casual invite? Dress down with style—pair a crisp white linen shirt with khaki trousers. You'll stay cool while looking hot.

Dapper Looks for a Destination Wedding

Doubling as a getaway, destination weddings crave a mix of fun and finesse. A shorts suit can dish out a young, spirited look, so why not try a sharp blazer and tailored shorts. Lean on light fabrics and vibrant colours for afternoon nuptials, shifting to sleeker styles for evening dos.

Seersucker suits span the smart spectrum, ideal for those semi-formal vows. And for those sultry nights? Glide in a tux with some shiny leather tuxedo shoes—style quotient, maxed.

What to Wear to a Black-Tie Wedding

Here, tradition reigns supreme. A dinner jacket with clean satin lapels, slim black trousers, and a self-tie bow tie craft the quintessential black-tie silhouette. Skip the cummerbund if you fancy, but keep the poise.

Maybe you like pre-tied bow ties, but if not, you definitely need to tie your own —it's easier than you think. And if you’re not sure, try our ‘How To Tie a Bow Tie’ tutorial for a super clear, step-by-step guide on how to do it. Polish off (literally) with lustrous dress shoes or brogues and stride into that celebration with confidence.

Through all these venues and dress codes, stay true to summer's call for lighter shades in the day and embrace materials that speak of both luxury and comfort. Be the guest that everybody—not just the photographer—can't help but notice.


5. Neckwear: Tie or Bow Tie? (or nothing at all?)

When the summer wedding bells ring, gentlemen, it's time to tie the knot—around your neck, that is. But what's the perfect choice for the occasion?

  • Black-Tie Wedding: Embrace the timeless sophistication with a black silk bow tie. It's the gold standard for formality and refined style.
  • Cocktail Attire: Here's where you can show a bit of flair. Whether it's a tie or a bow tie, pick what reflects your personal taste while adhering to semi-formal expectations.
  • Country Wedding: The vibe's more relaxed. Still, your neck shouldn't go naked. Choose a tie or bow tie to dial up your outfit's charm without overdoing it.
  • White-Tie Wedding: It's the pinnacle of elegance. Think royalty, and don your best white bow tie. Non-negotiable for utmost class.

Remember, accessorising smartly is key!

Event Type Neckwear Choice
Black Tie Black Silk Bow Tie
Cocktail Tie or Bow Tie
Country Tie or Bow Tie
White Tie White Bow Tie


6. Shoes for a Summer Wedding

You've got the invite and nailed the neckwear; now let's journey south to your soles. Summer weddings aren't just about the suit – it's crucial to put your best foot forward, quite literally, with the right shoes. Whether it's a black-tie affair or a casual beach bash, the trick is to keep comfort, style, and venue in mind.

Choosing the Right Shoes

Digging through your wardrobe for wedding shoes can be perplexing, but fear not! For formal summer shindigs, tuxedo shoes like sleek monk straps in a glossy leather finish will have you stealing the spotlight. But if you're gearing up for a casual vibe, think brogues or crisp loafers – they're the epitome of laid-back luxe.

Heading to a beach where the ocean breeze is your plus one? Go for dressy sandals, they're your wedding rendezvous BFFs. And for those 'knotty' moments when the dress code errs on the refined yet relaxed side, why not pair tidy trousers with white sneakers and a linen sport coat? It's the cool, collected look that says 'I do' in style.

The Magic of Dress Shoes

Now, let's talk classics. Derby shoes and brown brogues don't just show up; they make an entrance. Take, for example, a suave pair from Mr. Guild – they radiate finesse and craftsmanship perfect for exuding that regal summer wedding charm. And remember, the colour matters! While black is ever the gentleman's hue for ultra-formal vows, brown brings the warmth of summer to any ensemble, especially for those gatherings flirting with a more relaxed dress code. Step into true sartorial splendour by picking dress shoes that spell out timeless elegance.

Styling Tips for Brown Shoes

Now, let's bring out the flattery for the feet with brown shoes. They're the unsung heroes for light-shaded suits, lending an air of sophistication with every stride. Picture a navy blue suit paired with chestnut monkstraps – the harmony is almost musical.

And let's debunk an antiquated fashion myth: "Don't wear brown in town." Toss that aside, because a dark brown brogue or Derby harmonising with a blue suit can uplift your wedding guest game to style maestro level. For a modern twist, those chocolate-coloured shoes can walk the delicate line between earnestly elegant and effortlessly cool when paired with a sleek, tailored double-breasted suit.


Suit Color

Shoe Color

Wedding Type

Light Shades



Dark Blue

Chestnut Brown

Country Chic

Formal Black

Glossy Black



White Sneakers

Casual/Summer Vibe



Remember, it's not just about the suit or the tie—it's about completing the canvas with the perfect base. So, dance, mingle, and strut down that grassy or sandy aisle with confidence. With these shoe tips in your arsenal, you'll not only feel great, but you'll also have the photos to prove it. Now, go forth and become the summer wedding guest everyone remembers – for all the right reasons.


Other useful resources...

  • Are you attending a wedding this year? You might be a guest or a groom wondering whether you should wear a necktie or bow tie. If so, our useful ‘Bow Tie or Tie?’ guide might help you make up your mind.
  • For style tips and advice on choosing the best bow tie to wear to a wedding, for grooms and guests, try the 'Wedding Bow Tie Ideas' guide.
  • For 9 ways to fold a very handsome pocket square, try our 'Dapper Ways to Fold a Pocket Square' guide.
  • And for the ultimate guide to bow ties try our 'Definitive Bow Tie Guide'.
  • Bamboozled by pocket square rules? Take a look at our comprehensive 'Pocket Square Rules' guide.