The wedding dress code guide - The Inside Pocket

Wedding season is here – and with it all manner of dress codes to get your head around.



Wedding season is here – and with it all manner of dress codes to get your head around. As the groom, you’ll set the dress code, but you should also be the brightest example of it. Going as a guest? You’ve got it a little easier, but you’ll still want to make an effort worthy of the couple’s big day.

And on that note, as couples get more creative with their big days, so do the dress codes (‘woodland casual’, anyone?). If you’re faced with a cryptic dress code, your best bet is to simply ask the couple or someone on the wedding party for advice. Otherwise, here are a few of the most likely dress codes you’ll be faced with, and what to wear for each.


If you’ve seen this word on an invitation and it’s thrown you, you should know you’re not alone. So much so, that we’ve written a whole post on what on earth a lounge suit actually is. In short? Despite how it sounds, this is not what you wear to lounge around at home, but actually just a one-name-suits-all term for any smart suit that’s not tails or morningwear.

If you’re given this dress code, it really just means the couple want you to make an effort but the overall tone of the day will be relaxed. A crisp blue three-piece suit will cover you for almost any venue or wedding style, and you can mix in different coloured accessories to suit your mood or the occasion. And if you’re the man of the moment? There’ll be no missing you in boldly checked tailoring.

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Ok, so this one is kind of a cheeky extension of what we’ve talked about above, but it’s worth adding because a summer wedding is one of the best opportunities you’re going to get to embrace colour. Whether you’re part of a slick city do or more of a garden gazebo affair, a three-piece lounge suit in a light, bright shade is both on-trend and a stylish nod to the romance of the occasion. Oh, and it’ll look amazing in photos (which is really all that matters, right?).

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If you’re asked to dress in morningwear, the likelihood is you’re going to a pretty grand daytime wedding. Think sprawling country estate or the pristinely manicured lawns of the bride’s family pile. Meaning morning suits or tails, this is the most traditional dress code and is really all about timeless elegance. You’ve got two options. You can go all the way with a grey or black morning coat, pinstriped trousers, a contrasting waistcoat and maybe even a top hat, or you can take the more streamlined route with a tone-on-tone morning suit. Either way, you’ll need to wear a white double-cuff shirt and polished black Oxford shoes. Your accessories should err on the refined, but feel free to work a soft colour or pattern into the mix – our pick for this year’s weddings is a double-breasted waistcoat in pastel blue or pink.

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And finally, we reach black tie weddings. Also formal, but usually a sign the event’s more of an evening do, or at least taking place late in the afternoon. It’s also relatively strict, in that you’ll need to wear a tuxedo or dinner jacket and accessories traditionally stay within the black bow tie plus white pocket square camp. But while there are rules, there’s also space for a little personality: an on-trend double-breasted jacket, peak satin lapels or skipping the bow tie in favour of a silk scarf are all small but impactful ways to stand out. There’s a chance your invitation will have the word ‘optional’ next to ‘black tie’. While this might sound like you have a choice, it’s really more that the couple would prefer you to wear this, even if they don’t want to strictly enforce it. In other words: if you can, you should.

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