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Casual Wedding Attire for Men: A Guide to Effortless Elegance

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Written by Tanya Zhang

So you just got your friend’s wedding invitation in the mail and notice that the wedding dress code says not formal wedding attire, but casual wedding attire. That might seem confusing at first. After all, weddings are normally considered formal events, so what does casual wedding dress code mean?


For the most part, casual in the context of a wedding means business casual. That usually means that things like jeans, tank tops, and flip-flops are off-limits. Things like khakis, button-ups, chinos, and blazers are in though. For men's casual wedding attire, you have a lot of flexibility to pick outfits for a wide range of venues and times of the year. 


Every wedding has a dress code though, and it’s always unique - from cocktail attire to semi-formal vs formal wedding attire to smart casual attire to even being a black tie wedding. Even when you might have some ideas about what to wear, it can be hard to make a final decision.

The most important thing when it comes to a wedding is to show respect to the venue and the bride/groom with your outfit and poise, like we explained in our what to wear to a wedding for men guide.

 

What is Appropriate for Casual Wedding Attire?

mens business casual attire

In a nutshell, casual wedding dress code equates to business casual attire and can be considered the level below shirt and tie formal. It’s somewhat formal attire, but not incredibly formal like black tie optional attire.

You might think of it as the kind of clothing that one might wear in the office or other professional environments. That doesn’t mean you would wear to work but clothing that is inspired by this kind of office semi-formal look. 


The definition gets a bit muddled through, especially with the use of the word ‚Äėcasual‚Äô which brings to mind pictures of t-shirts and baseball hats. In some cases,¬†this dress code can incorporate jeans, but only if they are a nice pair of jeans. In the context of a casual wedding, jeans probably do not fit the bill for suitable attire and wedding guests should avoid it.¬†


When it comes to what you should wear, the classic image is a pair of chinos or dress slacks, a button-up collared shirt, and nice shoes. Ties are optional for business casual attire but the lack of a tie needs to be made up for with style and fashion sense. Loafers, oxfords, and derbies are all good options for male wedding guests in a casual wedding environment such as a beach wedding or backyard casual wedding attire. 
groom wearing chino pants and white shirt for beach casual wedding attire dress code

Since the 90s, the style has consistently evolved to incorporate more styles and trends. In the 2000s, you start to see a loosening of the standards and an embrace of more diverse colorings and clothing articles. As such, business casual has evolved far past its origins in just casual office wear and is now the de facto dress code for a lot of places. 

 

Casual Wedding Guest Attire

Blazer or Suit Jackets are Optional

mens business casual blazer

One thing you'll want to wear is a good blazer. By good, we mean well-fitted and tailored. A blazer can always be taken off to look more casual or put on to for a more sophisticated casual look.

Blazers should have a slim, fit cut around the chest and a square look to the shoulders. The sleeves should stop just before the shirt cuffs and the lapel should go down to just above your butt.

The best materials for a blazer tend to be single materials like wool and cotton. Darker neutral colors are also the better choice, colors such as blues, navy, browns, and tans. These are the 7 best suit colors for men to have.


winter casual wedding attire for men

A blazer is a good idea for a casual wedding during the autumn or winter, although it can still be a good choice for a summer wedding. If you are planning for a winter wedding, we would recommend going with a thicker material like wool. In the summer or spring, a lighter material like linen or cotton is a sure thing. 

 

Collared Shirts or Polos

mens oxford button down shirt

As far as shirts go, the gold standard is a tasteful Oxford button up dress shirt like this one. Even for men's casual wedding attire, you want to mostly stick to solid, light colors like whites, light blues, pinks, and the like.

Patterns are ok as long as they are simple and only utilize about 1-2 separate colors. The fit has to be right too as we discussed in our fit guide. 

Instead of a blazer, you could also opt for just wearing a slim fit shirt or adding a cardigan or sweater. Here's how you can wear a sweater over dress shirts. These two options make a good alternative to a blazer when the weather calls for it.

You can pair a button-down shirt with a wool vest while wearing a tie under the shirt. This combination gives a fun but professional vibe that is perfect for casual dress code weddings. Here are the other dress shirts for weddings we'd recommend.

 

Slim or Straight Legged Pants

mens tan chino slim pants

You do not need to wear suit pants so you have a lot more options than a traditional wedding. In our opinion, the best pants for  this setting are either slim-fitting or straight leg. These two fits of pants leave a good through line on the leg, slimming your profile and making you look taller. In that sense, a neat pair of flat-front chinos will never be the wrong choice. 

As far as jeans go, they are usually not allowed. However, you might be able to get away with wearing jeans in some environments, provided that they are a very nice pair of jeans. It is pretty easy to tell bad quality denim from high quality denim, so if you are going that route at least make a concerted effort. 

 

Dark Colored and Clean Shoes

mens brown oxford brogue dress shoes

Shoes have a lot of flexibility in this dress code and for casual wedding attire you can even get more fun with it. As long as you stay away from athletic sneakers and casual sneakers then you should be good.

A nice pair of loafers of Oxfords is a great choice, especially when you stick to dark, earthy colors like brown, tan, and dark blues. 

We have a few guides on how to wear brown shoes with a blue suit, grey pants, and black suit for various wedding attire.

 

mens tan chukka boots

Chukka boots are another popular shoe alternative that goes great with virtually any kind of wedding attire. If the vibe is right, you may be able to get away with a pair of leather sneakers. Make sure that you have a good grip on the dress standards though.

 

Men's Casual Wedding Attire - The Groom

For a casual wedding dress code, the casual groom attire has the opportunity to embrace a more relaxed and comfortable yet still stylish outfit. One excellent choice is a light-colored linen or cotton suit, which exudes a breezy and laid-back vibe, making it particularly suitable for a beach or outdoor wedding setting.

Opt for shades like beige, light gray, or pastel tones to enhance the casual feel.
groom in casual wedding attire wearing light beige tan pinstripe suit blazer

Another option for a groom at a casual wedding is pairing a well-fitted blazer with dress pants. This combination strikes the perfect balance between polished and casual, making it versatile for various settings. Earthy tones like navy, olive, or tan can complement the overall casual aesthetic.

For a more laid-back yet refined look, the groom can opt for a button-down dress shirt with chinos. Soft colors or fun patterns work well for the shirt, and the chinos provide a comfortable and stylish bottom option. Here's a white button down collar shirt with a subtle pattern we recommend:

 

white collared button down dress shirt

 

If the weather permits and the wedding setting is particularly casual, dress shorts can be a suitable alternative to pants. Pairing dress shorts with a dress shirt creates a comfortable and summery ensemble for a relaxed wedding affair.

 

Attire for Wedding Party - Groomsmen

For a casual wedding dress code, the groomsmen can embrace comfortable and stylish outfits that perfectly suit the relaxed ambiance of the occasion.

One fantastic option is to don light-colored linen or cotton suits, as these exude a breezy and laid-back vibe that complements the casual setting. Beige, light gray, or pastel colors work particularly well, and for a more informal touch, they can opt to skip wearing a tie.

Here's an example of casual wedding outfits for the wedding party:

groomsmen wedding party wearing casual wedding attire outfits

Dress shirts combined with chinos offer a comfortable and stylish ensemble for groomsmen. Choosing button-down dress shirts in soft colors or fun patterns adds personality while maintaining the relaxed ambiance of the event.

Ultimately, groomsmen in casual wedding outfits have the flexibility to embrace open-collar looks and forego ties, allowing them to express their individual styles while contributing to the overall relaxed and joyful atmosphere.

The key is to ensure their outfits align with men's casual wedding attire and maintain a cohesive and well-coordinated look with the rest of the bridal party.

 

 

What Should I Avoid Wearing at Casual Weddings? 

Casual wedding attire might have "casual" in it but this is still a wedding. That means that certain clothing articles will be off limits no matter what.

This includes things like shorts, t-shirts, sleeveless shirts, flips flops, open-toe shoes, and a shirt with graphic imagery, words, or icons on it. You should also not wear anything that should not be worn with a suit and not a casual suit jacket as well. 


Another thing to keep off for the wedding is hats. Most of the time, you will be required to take hats off for the ceremony, and hats are not generally considered appropriate.

 

Seasonal Considerations for Casual Wedding Attire

Summer Casual Wedding Attire
casual wedding attire for bride and groom on beach during summer

For a spring or summer wedding, lightweight and breathable fabrics like linen or cotton are ideal. Light colors and short sleeves can also help beat the heat while looking dapper.

Try a lightweight khaki or linen trousers paired with a short-sleeved dress shirt in a light color. We also recommend pairing chino pants with a casual button-down shirt or a well-fitted polo shirt for a beach wedding or spring wedding.

 

Winter Casual Wedding Attire

casual wedding attire for winter wedding dress code

For a winter wedding or fall wedding attire, layering is key. Opt for a stylish overcoat or a well-tailored wool blazer over your shirt to stay warm and fashionable.

Try wool dress pants with a cozy sweater or a cashmere turtleneck for warmth and style. Another option is dark-colored jeans or twill pants matched with a sophisticated knit cardigan or blazer.

Remember, for both seasons, you can complete the look with leather or suede shoes, such as loafers, brogues, or Chelsea boots, to add a touch of refinement to men's casual wedding attire.

 

Wedding Themes and Dress Codes

Beach Weddings

casual wedding dress code for beach wedding outfits

Beach weddings call for relaxed and breezy attire. Light-colored linen shirts and pants, paired with sandals or loafers, are suitable choices. Here a few other casual wedding outfit ideas for beach weddings:

  • Light-colored linen or cotton pants with a short-sleeved button-down shirt in a fun print or pastel color, and comfortable sandals.
  • Casual white or light-colored linen shirt left untucked, worn over tailored shorts and comfy slip-on shoes.
  • Open-collar short-sleeved shirt in a breezy fabric like seersucker, combined with comfortable chino shorts and canvas sneakers.

Rustic or Country Weddings

rustic country casual wedding attire dress code outfit inspirationRustic weddings provide an opportunity to showcase a more laid-back and rugged style. Consider earthy tones and textured fabrics for an authentic mountain casual wedding attire look. Here are a few rustic outfit ideas to try:

  • Earth-tone chinos or jeans with a checkered or plaid button-down shirt and leather boots or loafers.
  • Chambray or denim shirt with casual khaki pants and suede desert boots or moccasins.
  • Casual blazer or sports coat with a solid-color tee or henley underneath, paired with dark jeans or chinos and comfortable leather shoes.

Urban and City Weddings

City weddings allow for a blend of sophistication and casualness. Opt for a classic dress shirt with tailored trousers and polished leather shoes.

  • Tailored blazer or sports coat worn over a neat t-shirt or polo, paired with well-fitted chinos or dress pants and leather loafers or clean sneakers.
  • Modern slim-fit trousers with a stylish button-up shirt (short or long-sleeved) and fashionable slip-on shoes or dressy sneakers.
  • Monochrome outfit with tailored dress pants and a black or white button-down shirt, complemented by classic leather dress shoes or sleek Chelsea boots.

 

Conclusion

Weddings are excited but it can be frustrating when you don’t know what to wear. That goes double for weddings with a casual dress code. As long as you keep the general rules of casual dress and you should be fine.

Wedding casual dress needs to toe the line between casual and formal and there are a lot of options for men in this sphere. If you are having trouble thinking of outfits, then take some time to look things up online and pick your favorites.

You might find inspiration from browsing the internet and keeping tabs on things that you find interesting. It can also be helpful to ask your friends and family for advice as well. You never know who might have a good idea.

 groom wearing button up dress shirt and chino pants for casual wedding attire

Frequently asked questions about casual wedding attire

What is casual attire for a wedding men?

A collared shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes are appropriate for a casual wedding.

What do you wear to a very casual wedding?

Opt for a well-fitted button-down shirt or polo, khakis or chinos, and loafers or casual dress shoes.

What is smart casual wedding attire for men?

A tailored blazer, dress shirt, dress pants, and leather shoes strike the perfect balance for a smart casual wedding look.

What does casual attire for a wedding mean?

Casual wedding attire refers to relaxed and informal clothing that is still presentable, typically avoiding suits and ties in favor of comfortable yet stylish outfits.