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Dressing Your Bridal Party: The Groom and His Men

January 25, 2010

The wedding theme and bride's dress dictate the day's dress etiquette. The groom should have distinctive elements to his outfit to differentiate him from the rest of the bridal party.


Whether planning a traditional wedding or one that is modern, there are two determining factors when it comes to dressing the groom and his men: the overall theme of the wedding and the bride’s dress. 

For a traditional wedding, the groom should decide between a tuxedo or a black suit. In the case of a tuxedo, a white tuxedo shirt or a white formal shirt, always with French cuffs, are both appropriate and should be accessorized with a bow tie or long tie that is either black, silver or matches the bride’s gown. A bow tie is more traditional while a long tie is more modern but both are acceptable. If the groom opts to wear a black suit, then he should only consider wearing a formal shirt not a tuxedo shirt. However, the groom has more flexibility when it comes to selecting a formal shirt, which can be white or ivory. For a black suit, the same tie guidelines apply with one exception: when wearing an ivory shirt, the tie must also be ivory. 

Once the groom’s shirt and tie combination is finalized, he will need to pick between a boutineer and pocket square since they are mutually exclusive. A pocket square should match either the groom’s shirt or tie and a boutineer should match the bride’s gown. To round out the details, a pair of high gloss shoes, either slip-on or lace-up, will pair nicely with a tuxedo or black suit. On the other hand, black patent leather shoes should only be worn with a tuxedo. 

Much of the dressing etiquette, with a few exceptions, also apply to the best man and ushers. They can wear either tuxedos or black suits if the groom wears a tuxedo. However, if the groom chooses a black suit then the best man and ushers must also wear black suits.  Tie and boutineer colour for the groom’s men will depend on the bride’s maids’ dresses, and should never be the same as the groom’s. Just as the bride is easily distinguishable from her maids, the groom should also be easily identified from his men. 

For a modern wedding there are much fewer guidelines when it comes to dressing the groom and his men. Basically, the men must compliment the women and the theme. Also, the men of the bridal party must not dress more formally than the groom and there should be a clear distinction between the groom and his men. Contemporary weddings can run the gambit from tuxedos to linen trousers with an untucked linen shirt. Some of the more popular choices include: white tuxedo jacket with black trousers; navy, silver or pinstriped suits; blazer, shirt and trousers; shirt, vest and trousers; and all the beach wedding attire that we discussed in an earlier post, Tropical Weddings: What a Groom Might Wear for that Special Day.

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