How to Dress a Man for a Tropical Wedding

Honeymoons & Destination Weddings
dress a man for tropical wedding

Photo: KT Merry

Choosing an outfit for a tropical destination wedding is a lot of fun for most women. You're not stuck with a palette of black, black and more black to choose from when you're looking for just the right dress. The possibilities — both in color and fabric selection — are endless. But it's not quite as easy for the guys.

Most single men (but not all, of course!) find themselves slightly stuck when it comes to packing an outfit to wear to a destination wedding reception. Back home it's easy, tuxedo or suit, depending on whether the event is formal or semi-formal. But tropical weddings introduce an entirely different climate and style.

If you decide to ask the couple for advice, ask the bride. No offense to the grooms, but the bride's probably the one with a specific vision of what she wants her wedding to look like in pictures. If she wants the Northeast beach look, with khaki shorts and button-downs, she'll be able to tell you that. If she says no to shorts, but that you don't have to wear a coat and tie, it requires a bit of creative thinking if you don't want to show up in the same old khaki pants and blue or white button-down shirt.

See more: Our Favorite Celebrity Engagement Rings

Here are some tips to help you pull your wedding outfit together:

Guayabera shirts almost always count as appropriate wedding attire in the tropics. Known more commonly as "Mexican wedding shirts," these short-sleeved, button-down shirts usually have decorative square pockets, and often have embroidery. They're available in a huge variety of colors and styles — just Google "guayabera" and see what you find. Most designer labels also have their own version of the guayabera, if you're looking for something a little fancier.

Although linen shirts and pants are fashionable, be cautious in selecting them when you're travelling. Linen usually wrinkles easily, and there may not be a drycleaner to press it back out in a more remote destination.

Light-weight, light-colored pants should be checked out in front of a mirror with a bright light behind you before you decide to wear them to a sunset wedding. Nothing is more hysterical — and horrifying — than having certain things highlighted and backlit. Oh yes, it does show in the pictures, too.

Don't wear shorts unless specifically instructed to do so. The "beach chic" look can be fun, but only if that's what the wedding couple wanted to see in the formal photos of their guests.

If you tend to sweat very heavily, choose a patterned shirt or a darker color for the main event. Sweat stains aren't attractive in wedding photos, and if you're someplace hot and humid, it might look worse than usual.

Remember, always err on the dressier side of caution. If you're not sure if what you're planning to wear is dressy enough, it's probably not. Upgrade it a notch and you're certain to be just fine.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.

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