When you have too many choices, life gets complicated. Luckily for the groom, there are 4 types of outfits you are most likely to wear on the day of your nuptials.
(1) The tuxedo. Hands down, the absolutely most popular choice of outfit for the groom is the ol’ penguin suit. You know, the tuxedo. Going “black tie” in the tuxedo means you’ll want to stick with a black jacket. It can be single-breasted or double-breasted. A “white tie” affair is the absolute ultimate in glamour and sophistication and typically calls for a tuxedo with tails. Tuxedo tails are for the most extremely formal special nighttime occasions. Tails are part of the jacket and reach down in the back until about the back of the knee. Occasionally, the inside of a tuxedo tail jacket will even have a pocket that is for holding men’s formal wear gloves. So, you can see, a tuxedo with tails would be for a supremely extravagant wedding that would most likely have a guest list that contains 100’s of people, most of whom you probably don’t even know.
Depending on the time of year and the temperature, or the level of formality you are trying to reach, your tuxedo may or may not have a vest. If you have a vest, you’ll most likely want to walk around or sit with the tuxedo jacket unbuttoned. You’ll want to show off that vest. If you’re not wearing a vest, your tuxedo will look best buttoned while you are standing about. While you are sitting, you’ll want to unbutton it so you are more comfortable and it doesn’t bunch up funny in the front.
Usually you’ll have black pants that match your black tuxedo jacket. Often times, the outer seam of both pant legs will have a black satin stripe down the outer seam of each leg. This definitely makes the pants look better and fancier than any other nice suit pants you’ve ever worn. It is just an added decoration that adds a touch of class. A bow tie is a standard accessory of the tuxedo. Yes, you could wear a regular tie but that seems so ordinary. If you’ve watched enough Hollywood shows on tv, you’ve seen practically every male celebrity wear a bow tie with their tuxedo when they attend an event such as the Oscars or something really formal. Go with that. It’s a great look and you’ll be sure to look fantastic. You can go with a classic black tie for a timeless look.
A standard shirt to wear with a tuxedo would be white. It’s not a normal dress shirt you’d wear to the office by any means. It’s will have vertical pleats on the front of it or it could be plain. Disco ruffles went out of the style in the 70’s so steer clear of those entirely. The thick-in-front fancy horizontally pleated belt you’ll be wearing is called a cummerbund. The pleats are worn facing up (i.e. you’d be able to catch breadcrumbs in them when pointed the proper direction). Standard shoes are black patent leather.
These are the basic guidelines above for your tuxedo, if you go that route. You certainly can change it up a bit. Other popular color choices, besides black, are white or silver for the jacket and/or pants. Wear a classic bow tie or something else like a lucky tie if it’s meaningful to you. You can even add a top hat and tails if you’re so inclined. Add a pair of cufflinks and a nice watch if you want to accessorize even further.
(2) A suit. Those that opt for a suit are typically on a stricter budget and are most likely having a small, intimate affair. You may have an aversion to tuxedos and think “it’s not you” and that a tuxedo would make you feel uncomfortable. You want to look as presentable as possible and truly dress in the best that you can afford. A wedding day is special, no matter how big or small the event is.
The key is not to look like you’re going on a job interview. The tie is critical. An amazing tie will turn your wedding day suit into a winner. You can incorporate a wedding theme color into your tie. You could match a major color scheme in the decorations, a prominent color in the bridesmaid dresses, a dominant color in the flowers or perhaps even your fiancee’s favorite color. You can ask your bride-to-be. Don’t be surprised if she asks you to wear pink or lavender or something you would never ever have thought was a possibility. She’s probably thinking of the overall look of the color scheme of you, her and the whole wedding party combined and trying to get the right combination of colors for pictures. Whatever she wants, go with it. She’ll have ideas on your groomsmen’s ties as well. In fact, a great idea is to purchase ties for all of them so that everyone matches and there are no last-minute mishaps or tie problems in the minutes leading up to your wedding ceremony.
If you and your groomsmen already own several suits, you might be able to merely provide new matching ties for your entourage. Navy, blue, gray or charcoal are classic standards that are always in style. Everyone having similar suits that will all look acceptable for your wedding would be like winning the lottery. The odds are against you. You’ll have to gather up the gang and use your bulk purchase to negotiate the best price for a local suit salesman at a men’s clothing store. The great thing about suits is that you and all the men in your wedding party will get a lot of use out of them over the years. If this value aspect is appealing to you, suits are a wonderful way to go. But you’ll want to also double-check the cost of renting a tuxedo and accessories. It might be a wash and you can actually afford to rent a tuxedo that you initially thought was out of your league. In fact, it may be most cost effective to rent a tuxedo and even purchase matching cufflinks as gifts for the groomsmen. Do the math to see what works.
(3) Military formalwear. If you are currently enlisted in the military, you’ll want to check with your local base as to what is available and appropriate wedding attire. For most branches, this would be a dark-blue uniform. In the summertime, army or navy men have the option of white pants. If you think you’ll immediately get these dirty, dark blue or something non-white is a better choice. Usually the groom and best man would not wear gloves since they handle the wedding rings. Ushers would wear gloves. Military decorations supersede boutonnieres. Military dress always looks sharp.
(4) Costumes. For a non-traditional wedding or perhaps an uninhibited second wedding, sometimes, anything goes. The bride and groom throw caution to the wind and indulge in their own vision or fantasy wedding. Forget about what everyone expects. This wild bride and groom are doing it their way. Don’t be surprised to see a Star Trooper or Star Trek uniform here. You might even go with the Renaissance Fair theme and dress as a king and queen. You might be wearing parachutist gear. This is for the brave bride and groom that want to be different and have a few surprises for their guests.
Be sure to discuss your attire possibilities with your bride-to-be. She may have a picture in her head of exactly what you’re going to wear. Defer to your bride. She’s guaranteed to have spent more time thinking about her dress and your wedding wardrobe than you know.