Navigating Wedding Photo Shoots: Cocktail Attire For Men, Decoded

Navigating Wedding Photo Shoots: Cocktail Attire For Men – Wedding outfits for men, contrary to common notions, are more complicated than one would imagine. Most stylists and fashion experts discuss appropriate outfits for women, for different events like a wedding photo shoot, or a reception. However, seldom is men’s attire a topic of serious discussion.

cocktail attire for men

Starting from black tie to black tie optional to creative black tie, cocktail, and casual, there are multiple styles of dressing up commonly considered for weddings for men. And there are very few resources available to guide men through these complex outfit selection and styling processes.

In this article, we will be decoding one of the most commonly requested dress codes for wedding events, an optimal style for wedding portraits, and perfect for reception parties – cocktail attire for men.

What is cocktail wedding attire?

Cocktail wedding attire, considered by many as the leader of all dress codes, is a broad term that describes a style of dressing that sits in the middle, between business casual and formal. Conventionally, it covered outfits worn by both men and women during social events dedicated to relaxation and leisure, held in the afternoon or evening. The idea was to create a style that would help the wearer easily transform from a “daytime look” to a “nighttime look”. For the same reason, it is often considered a style that bridges the gap between day and night.

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In the spectrum of dress codes in general, cocktail attire for men would sit at a sweet spot between formal and business casual. Practically put, it is slightly more elevated in sophistication than casual, business casual, or semi-formal, but less sophisticated than formal or black tie. It leaves enough room for creativity while still maintaining a certain level of sophistication, which makes it perfect for a wedding photo shoot.

In essence, it seeks to combine the refined and cohesive vibe of a formal look with the creative and free self-expressive vibe of casual.

Outfit choices and colors in cocktail attire for men

Cocktail attire, being a harmonious mix of casual and formal, is a versatile and comfortable dress code for men. In terms of outfits and colors, typically medium to darker-hued suits with ties are considered optimal. Darker shades of blue are also acceptable during warmer months or daytime events. The footwear is meant to be classy; with the ideal being dress shoes that match with the belt.

A good example an of appropriate outfit choice in cocktail attire for men includes a black, navy, or blue suit, a dress shirt in a solid color such as white, a patterned necktie (can also be a bow tie), and black or brown dress shoes in leather. You can further elevate the look with accessories like cufflinks, a pocket square, and a tie clip.

Misconceptions in cocktail wedding attire for men

Owing to its name and a lack of clarity, cocktail attire has sparked many misconceptions and confusion, more so in the case of wedding photo shoots. The idea is to look put together and sophisticated enough for a personal event, however, many people mistake the idea and improvise, leading to misleading trends.

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One of the first misconceptions related to cocktail attire is a result of its name. As cocktails are typically colorful, extravagant, and good remedies to break the ice in a formal environment, people take cocktail attire to mean the same. Men choose vibrantly colorful and printed suit sets to go with more colorful ties, indicating a casual vibe. Additionally, the length of the blazer would also be short, much like business casual.

Some other men, in keeping with the leisurely vibe would opt to pair jeans with blazers, which once again, does not count as appropriate cocktail attire.

Another misconception that men tend to follow is that all events where champagne cocktails are served, call for suits with black ties. However, a black tie would be considered too formal for cocktail attire for men.

Dos and don’ts of cocktail attire

Here are some useful dos and don’ts to follow for men when wearing cocktail attire for photo shoots or reception parties.


·        When in doubt about the colors or silhouettes to choose, go for dressier styles. Choose solid colors over prints or patterns, darker hues, and tailored fits, as opposed to extra darts, top stitches, cutouts, or edgy shapes. It is always better to overdress for a cocktail photo shoot than appear out of place or underdressed.

·        Don’t be afraid to add accessories; classy details like cufflinks or a pocket square are excellent ways to elevate a look without hitting a black-tie level.

·        Consider the colors on your partner’s outfit to give more direction to yours. Try to match subliminally to give your portrait pictures a non-obvious and beautiful sense of symmetry.

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·        Avoid wearing white or other lighter-colored suits. Even if you are having a daytime photo shoot, stick to the basic etiquette when it comes to cocktail attire for men and choose darker hues including Navy; this will make your wedding pictures look well put together.

·        Don’t make footwear an afterthought. Choose from your wardrobe or make the effort to purchase dress shoes if you do not already have them. Trying to make it work with existing styles that are not considered dressy, will take away from your entire look.

·        Avoid matching exactly with your partner. A slight sense of symmetry would be an excellent way to tie your wedding album together, however, overdoing it, will end up making your pictures look trashy and amateur.

Wrapping up

Cocktail attire is an exceptional style of dressing for men; perfectly balanced between casual and formal. Being versatile, it is appropriate for an array of events including weddings, wedding receptions, and portrait photo shoots. While the style has been around for quite some time, there are many misconceptions and ambiguities related to cocktail attire for men and the etiquette it follows. Use the mini-guide above with tips to dress appropriately for your wedding, and make the most of the occasion.

For theme-oriented pre-wedding photo shoots, save-the-date shoots, and full-coverage wedding photography packages, contact Shan Photography.

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