Cocktail Wedding Attire Guide

Find out what to wear to a cocktail attire wedding, and get suggestions for creating both modern and classic cocktail wedding attire outfits.

group of men cocktail wedding attire blue suits
Photo by @emmastud

Planning cocktail wedding attire isn’t difficult—the only challenging aspect is learning what the cocktail attire wedding dress code actually means, and we’ve got you covered.

Generally, we’re talking about an outfit you could wear to work in a formal office setting, but that you’d still feel comfortable cutting loose in later on. We’ll get more specific about what cocktail attire means for weddings below, and show you examples of modern and classic looks for guests, grooms, and groomsmen.

WHAT DOES “COCKTAIL WEDDING ATTIRE” MEAN?

Cocktail wedding attire isn’t as formal as the tuxedo-level dress codes, but it sits higher on the ladder than a semi-formal or casual dress code.

You’ll need an outfit that could naturally transition from work to cocktail hour without feeling awkward in either atmosphere, but skew away from the business vibes for a wedding. For men, a dark suit with stylish accessories will give you the right mix for cocktail wedding attire. Both neckties and bow ties are good to go, but black shoes (or dark brown) are recommended.

Table of Contents

Cocktail Wedding Attire for Grooms
Cocktail Wedding Attire for Wedding Parties
Cocktail Wedding Attire for Guests

Cocktail Wedding Attire
for Grooms

Tuxedos are too much for the cocktail attire dress code, but grooms can still stand out and feel like a VIP with the right look. Dress the groomsmen in more conservative looks and give the groom a little more color.

MODERN LOOK

And by “a little more color,” we obviously mean a full burgundy suit—something anyone can totally pull off, and a look that has plenty of personality for a modern groom. Cap toe shoes add a little shine to the look, but keep everything else simple.

cocktail wedding attire suit for grooms
Burgundy Shawl Suit
Fly-Front Shirt, Navy Pin Dot Bow Tie, White Pocket Square
Cap Toe Shoes

CLASSIC LOOK

Navy suits are universally accepted as a more reserved color, but this blue suit has a little more oomph—it’s rich, and in natural sunlight, has a bright tone for a unique groom look. The vest keeps the look classic, as do the subtle accessories below.

classic cocktail attire wedding suit for grooms
Blue Suit, Blue Vest
White Dress Shirt, Black Wood Sole Shoes, Shoestring Pocket Square
Silver Knit Necktie

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Cocktail Wedding Attire
for Wedding Parties

Your crew doesn’t need to overdo it, but a pop of wedding color here or there can help liven up their look.

MODERN LOOK

The grey suit is a perfect blank canvas for a wedding outfit because it works so well with any color. For example, you wouldn’t dress groomsmen in full emerald suits—the groom would get lost in that human forest. Instead, choose accessories in the right shade and use color sparingly for a greater impact. Skip the vest for a modern look.

Grey Suit, Black Leather Shoes
modern cocktail wedding attire accessories
Olive Diamond Bow Tie, Fly-Front Shirt, Black Brass Knot Cufflinks
Circles Pocket Square

CLASSIC LOOK

This classic charcoal suit look won’t compete with the groom’s outfit, but definitely holds its own. This particular cocktail attire coordinates perfectly with our pick for a classic groom’s look—the shades of blue would complement the groom’s blue suit, and the vest brings a traditional feel.

classic wedding party cocktail attire
Charcoal Suit, Black Leather Shoes
Blue Quad Pocket Square, White Dress Shirt, Charcoal Vest
Navy Pinstripe Necktie

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Cocktail Wedding Attire
for Guests

Accessories are where it’s at when you’re a guest—you don’t want to overshadow the wedding party or groom, but you still need some attention on the dance floor. Let’s make it happen.

MODERN LOOK

Black suits are, basically, badass. They’ve been boxed in by society, but they’re breaking out with the help of some colorful accessories. White shirts are great, but for a modern look, try one in light pink or light blue, with complementary (but not matching) accessories.

suit for cocktail wedding attire guest
Black Suit
Grey Wool Bow Tie, Wood Sole Shoes, Ruby Polka Dot Pocket Square
modern guest pink shirt for cocktail attire weddings
Pink Dress Shirt

CLASSIC LOOK

Classic cocktail attire means black dress shoes, and in spite of what you’ve heard, you can wear them with a navy suit. Because you’re keeping the rest of your look fairly buttoned up, choose accessories that use color and pattern to make your outfit more personal and less business.

Navy Suit
Black Leather Shoes, Fly-Front Shirt, Scotland Forever Necktie
Cheers! Pocket Square

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The Right Fit for Your Wedding

Understanding the cocktail attire dress code can help you choose the right outfit, but it’s also important that the suit you choose actually fits you. That’s why we design suits and tuxedos with a modern cut (for a better fit), and make it easy for everyone to look their best on the big day.

Photo by @sloanephoto_

If you’re in the middle of wedding planning and need to make sure your look is perfect, you can check out the style and fit of our tuxedos from the comfort of home (it’s free). Start your home try-on here.

You can also visit us in-person, or answer a few simple questions to find your sizes entirely online.

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