Lori’s question from last week (about what to wear with bridesmaid dresses) started Katharine’s and my wheels turning about all of the different options out there for wedding day attire.
In this day and age (which makes me sound like a grandmother, but oh well!), there are SO many options, from super formal to just-rolled-out-of-bed casual.
With all these options, we thought it might be nice to do a brief overview of the many possibilities. (Okay, we won’t be covering just-rolled-out-of-bed. But you know what I mean!) You can use our guide to heed sartorial etiquette, or to gain general awareness of which rules you’re breaking :) Let’s begin!
The most formal option for daytime wear (anytime before 6pm) is a black or Oxford gray cutaway coat, black or gray striped trousers, a pearl gray waistcoat, stiff white shirt, stiff fold-down collar with gray-and-black striped four-in-hand tie or wing collar with ascot, gray gloves, black silk socks, and black kid shoes. Whew! This is NOT a common look for weddings today, but we did manage to turn up a few examples:
Image credit: Jen Huang. See more from this wedding here!
The most formal option for traditional evening attire consists of a black tailcoat and trousers, a white pique waistcoat, a starched-front shirt with a wing collar, a white bow tie, white gloves, black silk socks, black patent-leather shoes or pumps or black kid smooth-toed shoes. Tuxedos are also acceptable. Not as elusive as the formal daytime option, and more popular in the South than other regions of the country, but still fairly rare.
For a semiformal daytime wedding, the groom might wear a suit-style dark gray or black sack (straight-backed) coat, matching trousers, a soft or white pleated shirt, a four-in-hand tie, and black smooth-toed shoes. For all of you non-menswear experts, that’s basically your standard “nice suit.” A dove gray waistcoat was the traditional pairing with this look, but grooms are switching things up left and right these days. A very popular option!
For a semiformal evening wedding, the attire options are split by seasons. For a winter wedding, a black or midnight blue tuxedo is most appropriate. Here, Katharine’s groom Kyle models the look with aplomb:
In the summer, a white dinner jacket and black cummerbund can be substituted.
Either can be paired with a pleated or pique soft shirt with attached collar, a black cummerbund and black bow tie, and a pair of black patent-leather or kid shoes. No gloves.
For informal day or evening weddings, it really starts to get loose. Lighter-weight suits or jackets and trousers, white suits, seersucker suits, khaki suits, khakis and navy blazers, trousers and suspenders… the sartorial options are almost limitless. Just remember to keep whatever you do choose in good taste and in keeping with the ceremony and reception location and time of year.
So, ladies: what will your men be wearing on the big day? Leave us a note in the comments!
Lastly, let’s have a big round of applause for Mr. Bryan Johnson! I turned to A Bryan Photo for the lion’s share of these images. If you’re ever looking for wedding inspiration (and great photography, of course), look no further than their galleries!