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The end of the football season means the start of wedding season. It’s that time of year when you’re zipping up and down the country – or occasionally out of the country – to celebrate your friends’ union by standing around sipping champagne in a marquee and buying them something from John Lewis.

Once you’ve RSVP’d and worked out where in the countryside you’re meant to be you, need to sort your outfit. Typically this means a suit, but modern wedding dress codes? The invitation will do half the work for you – if it’s black tie, you need to wear black tie – if it’s smart casual a suit is always a safe bet. You could just chuck on the navy suit you wear for work and hope no one will notice or care. But you shouldn’t.

A wedding is a happy occasion, a party to celebrate your pals and their (hopefully lifelong) union and your outfit should reflect that. It’s a joyful time and we’re sorry to say it but the navy or grey suit you wear every day for work does not spark joy. But look at every heavy weighted ivory card that drops through your letterbox as an opportunity, your chance to test the sartorial waters – people are much more accepting of bold outfits at weddings, something about all the love in the air – try some colour or a different cut of suit jacket, even switching up your shoes can make a difference. Anything goes, just don’t upstage the bride.

To suit, or not to suit?

Unless a suit is specifically specified on the invitation, you do not have to wear a suit. Well, at least not a full suit. A wedding is a great time to try out separates, which means you can be a bit more playful than a full suit allows. A rule for separates is to make sure your jacket and trousers are not too similar in colour, it needs to look intentionally different, not like a mismatched suit set. Chinos with a different colour blazer look great at a laid-back wedding.

Add a little colour

Returning to a grey, navy or black suit is the safe and easy option, after all, you know they work, but there’s no reason you can’t be more adventurous and embrace colour. If you wear a lot of navy branch out to other blues – royal blue or sky blue are both winners at weddings. Pastel jackets always look great for spring and summer weddings, just check that you won’t be wearing the same colour as the bridal party, you don’t want to be mistaken as part of the wedding. A full beige suit is tricky to pull off without veering into ‘man from Del Monte’ territory but going for slightly richer earth tones like tan or green can look great particularly for a wedding in a hot climate.

All about accessories

If you simply must wear your normal suit then don’t forget the accessories, they can liven up the plainest of outfits. A patterned can add a little fun, as can a pocket square – avoid anything matching and instead pick out similar tones. Cufflinks and a watch are another way to add interest to your outfit without drawing focus from your look. Brown leather is a little less formal and feels easier to wear than black but if you’re feeling summery enough to brave loafers, then go for it.

Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Photography: Andras Hari
Styling: Brooke Philips