Many, many articles indeed complete books, have been written about ‘The Wedding Dress’, possibly due to the fact that it is the one dress that many girls fantasize about from an early age.
Unfortunately, it is sad but true to say that there is not much advice available for the groom, regarding what he should wear on his special day. I know many cynics will maintain that the lack of information is due to the fact that the poor guy just wears what the bride tells him to! While this might well be true, there are certain hints and tips that should help him choose the appropriate outfit.
Complement, don’t match, the bride
According to Colin Cowie, our local boy who has now become a celebrity style-maker and wedding guru to the stars in the USA, this is one day on which you want to look confident and completely at ease, and he warns that you can’t do this if you are decked out in some costume that just isn’t ‘you’.
He also mentions that, whilst it is a nice touch to match the colours of the men’s accessories to the wedding colours, he advises against being talked into having all the groomsmen wearing matching pink cummerbunds and bowties simply because the bridesmaids are wearing pink. He maintains that dark shades of blue, green or grey look better on men.
It is important, though, that the groom’s outfit complements that of the bride, so it is advisable to delay his choice until the bride has decided what she is wearing. Of course we all know the groom shouldn’t see the bride in her dress before the day, but she is allowed to give him some clues as to the choice of outfit that would tie in with what she is wearing.
Tradition has always dictated that the groom, best man, ushers and fathers of the bride and groom should dress in similar fashion. Their outfits need not be identical, but should reflect the same theme and colour scheme.
It would be inappropriate, for instance, to have the groom wearing a morning suit and his attendants dressed in tuxedos. The fathers of the bride and groom are, sadly, often overlooked and it is important to ensure that they also know exactly what the dress code is and what is expected of them, to ensure that they are appropriately dressed.
Obviously, when trying to dress a large number of men in a similar fashion, it is usually easier to hire all the outfits. If you are planning to follow this route, it is a good idea to obtain them from one hiring company, to ensure that they are all the same shade. Also, to guarantee that your choice will be available, don’t leave it too late to book the outfits you require. (This applies particularly if you are marrying during the busy summer months.)
Over the years, companies that hire out men’s apparel have increased their selection and now offer a much bigger choice, ranging from white and charcoal lounge suits to single- or double-breasted tuxedos, mandarin suits, frock-coats, morning suits etc.
However, you do have to bear in mind that you are limited by what is available for hire and if you are wanting a particular colour or style, you might have to resort to having it made up for you.
The general rule regarding what is appropriate to wear is as follows:
- Tuxedos – suitable for the more formal evening wedding, as are frock-coats
- Lounge suits – appropriate for a day wedding or a less formal evening event
- Morning suits – worn for formal morning weddings and not evening affairs
- Blazers and chinos – suitable for a less formal morning wedding, or a casual wedding on the beach.
One way to differentiate the groom from his entourage is to provide him with a buttonhole of a different colour. His tie could also be a slightly different colour, but still tone in with those of the rest of his party. (It is advisable, though, to buy the ties at the same time, to ensure that the colours match and do remember to include ties for the fathers). All of this should prevent being faced on the day with a plethora of multi-coloured neckwear on display – definitely not what you need on your wedding photographs!
If you are investing in a new pair of shoes for your wedding, it is wise to spend a bit of time ‘breaking them in’ around the house before the day. Remember that if you are having an evening wedding, you are going to be on your feet for at least eight hours and if your shoes are uncomfortable, it will show on your face.
If you are having a church wedding, in which case you will probably have to kneel, remember to check the soles of your shoes to ensure that there are no forgotten price stickers lurking there.
We’ve also heard a story about a groom who, unbeknown to him, had ‘HE’ written on the left sole and ‘LP’ on the right, causing much mirth among the congregation when he knelt at the altar! Be warned – although this is an old practical joke, it still reappears from time to time.