When it comes to weddings, the bride’s dress gets all the attention, but wedding attire for the groom is important too! Here’s what you need to know about groom style.
Tuxedo or Suit?
When it comes to wedding attire for men, you have three basic options: tuxedo, suit, or something more casual. A tuxedo is your most formal option and is best for indoor weddings and those taking place in the evening. Traditionally, tuxedos were only appropriate for ceremonies being held at 6 p.m. or later, but that “rule” is bent more often than not these days.
A suit is suitable (no pun intended) for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and any time of day. If your wedding is taking place in the morning or early afternoon, you probably want to go with a lighter color—blue or grey. Late afternoon or evening weddings can handle darker colors like navy, charcoal, and burgundy.
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But if a suit or tuxedo is not your jam, then you still have other options. A light-colored pair of trousers with a navy blazer is a classic “New England country club” look. Or maybe you want to do trousers with vests or suspenders, but no jacket. This is a great alternative for really hot summer months. If you’re getting married on a beach, consider linen pants and shirts.
Ties & Vests
For neckwear, you have two main options: long necktie or bow tie. It used to be that bow ties were always worn with tuxedos, but long ties are becoming more common. You can get custom ties in any color, pattern, or print that you want. Etsy is full of shops offering custom neckwear.
Vests are another way to bring color to the menswear. They can be worn with or without a jacket. Generally speaking, the vest and tie should match each other. They should either be the same color or the same pattern.
When selecting ties and vests, this is a good opportunity to set the groom apart from the groomsmen. Even if everyone is wearing the same color tux or suit, the groom should have a different color tie and vest than the groomsmen. It indicates that he’s special.
When there are two grooms in the wedding, they can either match each other, while keeping any groomsmen in a different color. Or each groom can do something different with his accessories.
One thing to keep in mind with two grooms is that if they are both dressed in the same color tux or suit, they can blend into each other in photos. If you think about a bride wearing white and a groom wearing black, they create contrast in photos.
But with two grooms wearing black, it’s hard to see where one ends and the other begins when they are embracing or otherwise standing very close to one another in photos. So you might consider dressing one groom in a lighter color and the other in a darker color—but still complementary to one another.
Cufflinks & Pocket Squares
Two other relevant accessories are cuff links and pocket squares. Cuff links are always worn with tuxedos but are optional with suits or jacket/trouser combos.
Men’s shirts come in two different cuff types: barrel and French. A French cuff shirt is more formal than a barrel cuff. The barrel cuff is probably what you picture when you think of a button-down shirt. The sleeve has buttons on it, and the sleeve closes by overlapping one edge over the other.
A French cuff sleeve doesn’t overlap—rather, the two ends pinch together to form a bit of a peak that juts out from the sleeve, and they are held together by cufflinks or silk knots.
Pocket squares are exactly what they sound like: squares of fabric that are folded and tucked into the breast pocket of a tuxedo or suit jacket. There are a wide variety of pocket square folds.
The pocket square is another good opportunity to work in the wedding colors to the attire. It should match or complement the tie or vest being worn, and again, the groom should be different from the groomsmen.
Lastly, you need to think about shoes. Tuxedos require the fanciest of shoes, shiny tuxedo shoes. If you don’t already own a tux and are renting, you can rent shoes at the same time.
With suits, the color of the suit guides the color of the shoes. Black or charcoal suits call for black shoes. With a navy suit, you can wear either black shoes or cordovan, which is a very rich brown/burgundy color. A grey suit looks best with either black or light brown shoes. And if you choose a lighter blue (i.e., not navy) suit, light brown shoes will also look best.
Rent vs. Buy
If you think you’ll have any future opportunity to wear a tuxedo, buying one for your wedding can be a smart play. Otherwise, they are easy to rent, and you don’t have to worry about styles changing.
Every guy should own at least one good suit, so if your groomsmen don’t already own suits, this can be a good opportunity for them to invest in something they will need for everything from job interviews to other weddings. But suits can just as easily be rented.
One last thought: if a groom has female attendants (“groomswomen”), they have more latitude in attire. They can wear dresses that match any bridesmaids. They can wear dresses that are different but complementary to the bridesmaids’ dresses and the groomsmen’s ties/vests/pocket squares. They can wear rompers, which are a nice hybrid between feminine and masculine style. Or they can wear menswear-style suits to match the groomsmen. So many options!
If you’ve ever been a groomswoman, let me know in the comments what you wore!
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