Wedding season might officially run from April to August but, according to statistics, autumn weddings are actually the most popular – with 2019’s top wedding date falling on 12 October. And, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing many who had opted for spring weddings to push their date into the autumn, the 2020 fall wedding season is set to be busier than ever.
Which begs the question: what to wear to an autumn wedding? The good news is, the general dress code requirements still stand – but you’ll need to make a few tweaks to account for the unpredictable autumn weather. Read on for our essential guide to autumn wedding attire…
Dress code: Formal
The full shebang. Even if you’re not part of the wedding party, a formal dress code calls for tails, a waistcoat, a dress shirt and a bow tie (we like to use it an excuse to give our white ones some use) – top hat optional. Simple right? Well, yes – as long as you take weather into account. It can be hard to predict how warm an autumn wedding will be so invest in a mid-weight morning suit but pair it with patent lace-ups rather than loafers and have a silk scarf on standby should the weather take a turn for the worse. Pair Ede & Ravenscroft’s wool morning suit with finishings from Turnbull & Asser for a timeless look that will serve you well for many weddings to come.
Ede & Ravenscroft morning coat
Turnbull & Asser pleated dress shirt
Turnbull & Asser cotton-piqué bow tie
Dress code: Black Tie
Despite its formality, black tie is actually probably the easiest of the autumn wedding dress codes to master. Black tuxedo, white dress shirt, black bow tie, black patent leather loafers. The good news is, if you’re partial to a black tie event during the festive season, you can repurpose your existing tuxedo for weddings – just leave your overcoat at home, it’ll be much warmer than the December events you usually pull it out for. If it’s time to invest in a new tux we recommend this classic design from Richard James (Hackett’s silk bow tie is the perfect luxe accessory to go with it) – and you can’t go wrong with a pair of Crockett & Jones loafers.
Richard James wool and mohair tuxedo
Hackett silk bow tie
Crockett & Jones Alber slipper
Dress code: Cocktail
An American import that’s becoming increasingly common on British wedding invites, a cocktail dress code falls somewhere between black tie and semi-formal – i.e. look sharp but don’t overdo it. You’ll need to wear a two or three-piece suit in a dark colour; buy the latter (we’re fond of this navy style from Z Zegna) and you’ll have the option to leave off the waistcoat on the day if it’s unseasonably warm. When it comes to accessories, leave the bow tie at home in favour of a neck tie, add a pocket square from Kingsman for a bit of personality and finish with your favourite leather Oxfords. Ours are from Edward Green.
Thom Sweeney wool suit
Kingsman + Drake’s silk pocket square
Edward Green Chelsea Oxfords
Dress code: Semi-formal/Smart Casual
Thanks to the rise of festival-themed weddings and more informal ceremonies, you’re now more likely than ever to be presented with a semi-formal or smart casual dress code. And, while we appreciate a couple that tries to take the pressure off their guests, smart casual is often the most confusing dress code of all. Is it chinos or trousers? Do you need a tie? Which shoes are appropriate?
The key here is to remember that it is still a wedding. We’d suggest a mid-weight suit (feel free to experiment with unusual colours and patterns – jewel tones are perfect for autumn) or trousers and a blazer paired with a more informal suede brogue or desert shoe. Wear a tie for the ceremony but feel free to take it off during the reception – just please refrain from tying it around your head. Paul Smith, New & Lingwood and Crockett & Jones have the perfect options.
Paul Smith Soho wool and mohair suit
New & Lingwood textured shirt
Crockett & Jones Newquay derbys