What do I wear to my evening wedding?
March 5, 2007 11:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm a Brit getting married in San Francisco in September (outdoors). My fiancee will have her wedding dress, of course, but what should I wear? I'm not a fan of the traditional American Tuxedo-look - I'm not going to a ball. Where I come from, it's the traditional morning suit/top hat, but the event will be after 5pm so technically that's out and we're back to black tie.

A lounge suit is out - It's not a business meeting
A white suit is definitely out - I'm not a pimp
A friend suggested white tie, but I'd look like an orchestra conductor (or about to be knighted by Her Majesty, some chance).
A nice dinner jacket/single stripe trouser with a straight tie in a pale blue or grey silk (and matching waistcoat) is the best I've found so far, but I'm still not totally happy with it.

Argh, I'm getting frustrated at my sartorial helplessness!
posted by xenoworx to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Frock coat!
posted by chrismear at 11:57 AM on March 5, 2007

If it's still light outside (which it should be till after 7pm in SF) or a well-lit venue, just wear the morning suit.

You know you want to, and you won't get many other chances, and there's not likely to be anyone from Harpers & Queen to tut at you. (Technically, it'll be morning in the UK. So it's absolutely appropriate.)
posted by holgate at 12:03 PM on March 5, 2007

It's your wedding, ya putz. If you want to wear the morning suit, wear the morning suit. Anybody who objects gets no cake.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:07 PM on March 5, 2007

And mazel tov, by the way.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:08 PM on March 5, 2007

(I was going to say frock coat, but you'd need to know a good tailor or costumier, or be very lucky with vintage finds or the eBay. Gotta be single-breasted, though: you don't want to look like a pirate.)
posted by holgate at 12:08 PM on March 5, 2007

You say you are from Blighty - but which bit ? Eng/Ire/Sco/Wales ?
I suspect you are English, because if you were north of the border you would have posted Scotsman and not Brit. Anyhows... How about hiring a kilt ?

I am an Englishman, but my grandmother was Scottish so I used the Fitba/Scotia granny rule/excuse to wear a kilt at my wedding.
posted by Webbster at 12:22 PM on March 5, 2007

I'm no fashion expert, but when I got married a few months ago, my nice black suit with a grey/silver tie went over very well. But no one's going to look at you askance for wearing a morning suit, if that's what grabs you. And of course, no one's really going to be looking at the groom anyway...
posted by svenx at 12:24 PM on March 5, 2007

Wear whatever you want, or whatever your bride suggests you wear. It's y'all's wedding.

And it's San Francisco, for God's sake. I don't think anybody would look twice if you wore a thick coating of Crisco, day-glo pasties, and a lobster carapace as a penis sheath.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:31 PM on March 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

If you just want a safe option, that's a dark business suit that makes you look as boring as a German central banker.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:33 PM on March 5, 2007

What would you wear to an evening wedding back home?
posted by caddis at 12:47 PM on March 5, 2007

Best answer: Where I come from, it's the traditional morning suit/top hat,

I'm afraid the very point of it is, you're not getting married in the UK. is your wife British? what about the guests?

if you're mostly surrounded by Americans, you don't want to be the only one who looks like a funny Brit in a top hat -- you might as well wear a bowler hat and walk funny like John Cleese.

I've seen some very nice black suits at Giorgio Armani recently (Valentino has some badass black suits too) -- I still think black suit/white shirt/black tie, if done properly, looks pretty good. did you see Peter Sasgaard at the Oscars? I think he looked good, certainly not like somebody who's on his way to a business meeting
posted by matteo at 1:16 PM on March 5, 2007

(you could also wear a pale grey tie instead of a black one if it's too much Reservoir Dogs for you)
posted by matteo at 1:18 PM on March 5, 2007

What would you wear to an evening wedding back home?

Evening weddings are as rare as dragons' teeth in England. I've never been to one.

You get a few opportunities to carry a top hat and wear a morning coat unless you're a regular at Royal Ascot: best man, groom, father-of-the-bride is about it. So take the one you've got. And I'm with you on black-tie weddings: from the British perspective, they just look wrong. Cravat is where it's at.
posted by holgate at 1:19 PM on March 5, 2007

posted by jeanmari at 1:24 PM on March 5, 2007

What most people in the US don't realize is that Tuxedos (ie, black tie) are not formal wear. They are, in fact, more casual and for dining. White tie and tails are formal wear.

That said, we're talking about human reality and shifting tradition rather than historical fact. In the US, wearing a tux is considered formal. Wearing fine clothes for a wedding is also traditional. A tuxedo is a set of fine clothes, therefore it is considered acceptable as would any other set of fine clothing.

Dress well and dress to suit yourself and your bride. Damn the spectators because they probably don't know the difference between a tux and tails anyway. I wore tails with morning pants on my wedding day because I liked the cut and the outfit was already in my closet.

You might also consider this: those who would comment negatively on your choice of attire - as long as you made an attempt to look appropriately presentable, as opposed to wearing a clown suit - says more about them than about you. Your wedding should be about the joining of two people and the commitment of their friends and family to support and help them for their lives. Only in royalty or Hollywood events is it even vaguely about the clothing.
posted by plinth at 1:33 PM on March 5, 2007

Not sure how wedded to tradition Brit ceremonies usually are, but the current practice in the US is that you can wear pretty much whatever you and your future spouse like to your own wedding. Over half of the weddings I've been to have involved entirely untraditional dress.
posted by yohko at 1:44 PM on March 5, 2007

Response by poster: mmm. Some really good stuff here, thanks everyone. Turns out matteo's suggestion to check out the Oscars is what might break my analysis paralysis. Who'd have thought? I've been looking at pictures of weddings, duh!

Thing is, I'm very English (pale blue skin, Barbour in July etc.) and like things to be "proper", classy, you know what I mean. BUT if I go the black suit route, I might even get to wear it again, so that's a plus.

Ta everyone, I'm very close to calling this "answered". Any more lateral-thinking? I'm also tempted by the Crisco thing btw. But for later in the evening ;-)
posted by xenoworx at 2:07 PM on March 5, 2007

suit of armour ain't bad
posted by Salvatorparadise at 4:16 PM on March 5, 2007

Evening weddings are as rare as dragons' teeth in England.

By law, evening weddings in England and Wales are not permitted unless you are being married by a Jewish synagogue or the Society of Friends, or you have a special dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury (for any reason) or the Registrar General (because you are homebound).
posted by grouse at 4:52 PM on March 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

Thank you, grouse: I've learned something today.

xenoworx: cravat, cravat, cravat. Think: What Would Stephen Fry Wear? (If he were straight and getting married, that is.) And being able to wear the suit again isn't necessarily as good as having an excuse to wear something you'd never wear otherwise.

And if you've got a photographer picked out, ask which colours or shades work best for late afternoon / early evening light.
posted by holgate at 6:12 PM on March 5, 2007

You should still have the tails, just not in 'morning suit' grey. Black or white, whichever suits your style better. That would be much more formal than just a dinner suit. Since the event is outdoors you will still need the hat.
posted by nowonmai at 6:47 PM on March 5, 2007

Examples here, here or if you like a more retro look, here and here.
posted by nowonmai at 7:12 PM on March 5, 2007

And it's San Francisco, for God's sake. I don't think anybody would look twice if you wore a thick coating of Crisco, day-glo pasties, and a lobster carapace as a penis sheath.

ROU, you owe me a keyboard.
posted by zardoz at 5:23 AM on March 6, 2007

I think you should dress as a Victorian gentleman, with top hat, in burgundy velvet, with frilly sleeves. It's the only way to go if you're Brittish. Trust me.
posted by noir at 4:58 PM on March 6, 2007

ohmy. Those suits from Paul Smith. Purrrrrrr....
posted by jeanmari at 5:17 PM on March 7, 2007

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