Brides have so many choices for their wedding dress that the options for grooms may seem to pale in comparison. Here is a simple guide to the basic options available for the grooms, and the questions every groom should ask himself before choosing a tux or suit for himself or his groomsmen.
Questions to ask yourself before you shop:
- What level of formality is our wedding?
- What style do I want?
- Do I want the traditional black and white or do I want to add color?
- Do I want to differentiate myself from my groomsmen? If so, how?
- If choosing a tux, do I want to rent or buy?
- What are our wedding colors? Do we have samples available to take to the tux or suit shop?
- Is my bride’s wedding dress white or off white? Is there a sample of the color I can take with me?
- What accessories do I want to wear? Do I want a vest or a cummerbund? Will we use pocket squares? How about cufflinks?
Many of these questions a groom will need to discuss with his fiancée. Here is a basic rundown to help you choose.
Formality – Generally a wedding will take on a certain level of formality. Sit down dinners, long trains and a strict adherence to tradition are often attributed to formal weddings. Generally tuxedos are worn by the groom and groomsmen in a formal wedding. More casual weddings may have buffets, sassy bridesmaid dresses and fun, quirky elements. Grooms may choose to wear a suit instead of a tuxedo to a more casual wedding.
Styles – Tuxedos come in a few basic styles. Grooms need to decide if they want tails, double or single breasted jackets, the size of their lapels and the color of their tux to start. Cuff styles and shirt fronts and collars will also need to be decided. Once you have decided you are wearing a tuxedo the rest tends to be a matter of personal preference.
Colors – The most formal of weddings will probably stick with the groom being dressed in black and white or off-white. Most grooms add a bit of the wedding colors into their attire. Vests, pocket squares, cummerbunds and ties are often chosen based on the colors of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Be sure to know what shade of white the brides dress is when going with white. If the tux is a true white and the gown is a bridal white, the dress may look dirty or ivory next to the tuxedo. The best way to deal with all things color is to take swatches with you when shopping for your suit or tuxedo.
Groomsmen – The groomsmen can match the groom exactly or they can be different. Groomsmen’s vests may be a wedding color other than the one the groom is wearing. Simple touches like different boutonnieres can also help differentiate the groom from his groomsman.
Rent or Buy – A tuxedo rental is usually a third of the cost of purchasing a tuxedo. If it is likely you will use the tuxedo at least two more times while it still fits then it may be worth it to make the purchase. Be sure to choose something traditional and classic if you purchase so it stays in style. You can always vary your accessories for variety and trending. In most cases the groom and his groomsmen will rent their tuxedos.
Accessories – Many men will cringe at the mere mention of accessories but even these are pretty simple. Suits and tuxedos with pockets may benefit from a pocket square. Many brides will have ordered a flower for the lapels of the groom and his friends or a full boutonniere. French cuffs will require cufflinks. Many grooms wear either a vest or a cummerbund. A cummerbund tends to be paired with a bow tie while vests can be paired with either straight ties or bow ties. Dress shoes are always worn but you may have a choice of styles and colors. Spectator shoes that are both black and white are a classy combination of traditional black and white dress shoes. Tie clips for straight ties are another accessory you may want to consider.
Choosing bridal attire can be a complicated and lengthy process. Luckily for men, once you have a general idea of what you want, it is really just a series of choices and color selections.