Hey, y’all! We’re back, brimming with inspiration from another reader email! (Did you catch our answer to Stephanie’s boot query yesterday?) This time the reader is Lori, and she’s got a slightly different fashion question. She writes:
First of all – I love the Southern Weddings blog! I found it shortly before my fiance and I were engaged and have been a loyal follower since. It’s been my go-to for inspiration the past few months.
On to my question: My wedding colors are navy blue+apple green. I would really like my bridesmaids to wear navy dresses, which brings me to the dilemma… Navy blue dresses and black tuxes?? I realize this may seem a silly question but I have been stuck the last few days. I originally planned to dress the guys in either khakis+navy blazers or navy suits (because I felt black tuxes + navy dresses would clash/not coordinate) but my mom continues to urge me toward exploring the tux option. What do you think about navy and black? Also, with a black tux are colored/detailed bow ties a go? Think Southern Proper/Vineyard Vines…
A little more info: My fiance and I are planning a wedding in October. The ceremony and reception will be held in Nashville, TN at Belle Meade Plantation. It is an evening wedding with a simple, outdoor garden ceremony and an indoor/outdoor reception in the carriage house and surrounding outdoor area.
An excellent question, Lori, and I’m SURE you’re not the only one struggling with this dilemma!
Forgetting the particular details of Lori’s wedding, let’s review all of the possible options for her formality and color scheme:
Charcoal gray suit
Classic tuxedo or a midnight blue tuxedo (with a black bow tie)
Navy blazer with khaki or linen pants
A few we can knock out immediately, if we’re sticking with classic etiquette. Since Lori’s wedding is in October, a linen or seersucker suit would be a faux pas (only don one of those between Memorial Day and Labor Day!). It is a lovely look, though, isn’t it?
Photo by Jill Thomas. See more of this gorgeous wedding here!
The season-appropriate option that’s the least formal is the navy blazer + khaki pants + fun bow tie or tie look.
Top photo by Eleise Theuer (see the rest of this wedding here and here), middle photo by Jenna Cole (see more of this wedding here, here, here, here, and here), and bottom photo by Soli Photography
Lovely! The next step up in formality would be a charcoal or black suit (you could also do a navy suit, but I think that might be a bit too much navy when the girls’ navy dresses are taken into account). I love the look of a charcoal or gray suit, and I think it would look fabulous against navy dresses. As a bonus, the gentlemen could simply wear a gray suit they already own, since a range of hues looks quite dapper. It would be easy to add a fun bow tie to this look, and gifting the guys a common pattern would help pull the range of suits together.
Photos by Melissa Musgrove
Finally, we have the classic tux option. You heard it here first: navy and black do NOT clash, and a tuxedo looks smashing with almost everything. Your bridal party will look fabulous together! However, we would recommend sticking with as classic a tux as possible to keep the look clean-lined: no vest, a black bow tie, and a black cummerbund.
Top photo by Bryan Johnson — see the rest of this wedding here! Bottom photo by Clark+Walker Studio — see more from this wedding here!
In sum, Katharine and I conclude that your best options are:
1) Khaki pants, a navy blazer, and a fun patterned tie
2) A charcoal or lighter gray suit with either a navy or patterned tie
3) A classic black tuxedo with a black bow tie
From there, Lori, the choice is up to you! Each option will definitely create a feel of its own, so think hard about what sort of mood you want to set. Rest assured, however, that whatever you choose, the gents will look exceedingly dapper.
Readers, weigh in: Are your girls wearing navy dresses? If so, what will the men be wearing? Would you pair navy and black? Have another option we haven’t thought of? Leave it in the comments below!
I personally love navy with a classic black tux! It’s stunning!
I love this post! I am getting married in July and I am also doing apple green and navy, but my girls are wearing the green. I had already decided to go the midnight blue suit route, but I still love all the suggestions!
I am doing navy blue dresses with the khaki pants and blue blazer. I am also getting married in a plantation type house with indoor/outdoor reception. Hope this helps :)
Could not agree more. One of my best friends is marrying this October, and the girls are wearing navy dresses, and the guys will be sporting the classic Tux. I’m quite excited over it – and definitely think they do not clash, but actually look quite classic!
I am also using Navy blue for my bridesmaids this August and plan to put our groomsmen in a classic black tux. I was unsure at first, but after reading this post I think we will stick with out first choice and go the classic route. We are getting married in south Alabama, both the ceremony and reception are indoors. My only question is, with the bridesmaids in short, knee-length LulaKate dresses will the black tux look to formal?
Hi Britney! Katharine and I agree that black tuxes with the shorter bridesmaid dresses will look fabulous — kind of a modern update on classic elegance. And, as KTW points out, the only time women “need” to be in long dresses is if the attire is white tie.
The only time we think this might not work is if the fabric of your bridesmaid dresses is super informal, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
My Bridesmaids are all wearing this cotton dress from Modcloth.com. We are having an outdoor ceremony and reception. My fiance and I are completely on the fence though about what the men should wear. Though the bridesmaids dresses are sweet and flirty, my dress is old Hollywood glamour all the way. Would a tux or a suit coordinate better with both of these looks? I personally love the look of a suit, but is it ok for a brides gown to be more formal than the rest of her bridal party??
Hi Jennifer! I took a look at your bridesmaid dress — beautiful choice! I think tuxedos would look too fancy with the bridesmaid dress you’ve picked out. My recommendation would be to put the men in a navy suit, or perhaps a white dinner jacket (which is oh so Old Hollywood!). And I wouldn’t worry about looking fancier than everyone else — it’s your day to shine! :)
My girls are wearing short navy Amsale dresses and we are pairing them with boys in med to light gray suits with patterned navy ties. Of all the looks.. this is my fav. If your wedding is a bit more formal than my outdoor spring one, then I also love the look with black tuxes!
PS: Is navy not SO HOTTTT right now? :)
That sounds gorgeous, Megan! I think Amsale’s bridesmaid dress designs are so chic (much like her wedding gowns!) and I love the look of a patterned navy tie (perhaps a tiny white swiss dot?) with a gray suit. Congratulations on your engagement!
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Emily Ayer, Helena and Marissa Kloess, Southern Weddings . Southern Weddings said: Southern Etiquette with @EmilyAyer: The dilemma… navy blue dresses and black tuxes. Don't worry, she's got the answer! http://su.pr/2OMEKz […]
I’m getting married next month and my girls are wearing knee length navy bill levkoff dresses. The guys are wearing the light grey tux from Men’s Warehouse with a navy patterned tie. Since my wedding is at the end of March I was afraid navy and black would be too dark for a spring wedding. It does look super classy but I felt like the grey made it more “springy.”
I am so glad to know that I am not alone in my love of navy!! My bridesmaids are wearing a navy silk dupioni dress by Jim Hjelm Occasions and I, like so many above decided to go with a very traditional black tux. We are having a classic traditional wedding with vintage touches at the reception and I know it will all come together perfectly!
Thank you, Emily and Katherine, for answering my question and providing some great options and pictures! I am definitely between the khakis+navy blazer and tux options, though I really like the gray suits, too. Decisions, decisions! Thanks for all the reader suggestions, too. I am glad to know I am not the only bride pondering this. And I will be calling my mom tonight to let her know she was indeed correct and that navy dresses and tuxes look are not only acceptable but look great together. Thanks again, ladies!
Lori: I’m with you…I like the Navy blazer and khakis. I just love the unique bow tie!! PS- love your color scheme!
You’re so welcome, Lori! As you can see, you weren’t the only one who was wondering :) And too funny about your Mom — what a good daughter!
My bridesmaids are wearing navy jcrew dresses and my fiancee and the groomsmen are wearing navy blazers and khakis. We’re having an outdoor summer wedding, so this works best for us! Plus, I love the preppy look!
Jillian: I love the preppy look, too! I haven’t decided on the exact bridesmaids’ dresses yet but am leaning toward a dress by J.Crew, too.
We’re another navy-dresses and navy-blazer-and-khakis outdoor garden wedding – glad to see I’m in such good company…
Also wanted to share another alternative, in case Lori’s mom’s pro-tux stance was motivated by something similar to my future folks-in-law – they’re usually super-easygoing, but they blanched at the idea of their son getting married in a pair of khakis!
So our solution was to do groomsmen in khakis and navy blazers to coordinate with the bridesmaids’ informal J.Crew navy sundresses, and my fiance in a full navy suit with the same tie… I figure if I’m going to stand out from my wedding party, he can/should, too, right?
My bridesmaids are also wearing navy blue dresses. My wedding is outdoor as well, and my groom is wearing a navy suit and the groomsmen are wearing khaki suits. All the men have the same bowtie to coordinate.
My suggestion: If you are still wanting to keep with the formality of a tux, I suggest the Calvin Klein Grey Suit offered at most Men’s wearhouses/tux rentals.
If formality isn’t an issue and you want to play up the outdoor, plantation feel. Go for a Khaki suit with a darker colored bowtie.
Either way, it will look fantastic!
Can anyone tell me who makes the navy dresses in the second picture??? I am also going for navy with the bridesmaids, but am keeping it more casual for the guys. We live in farm country, and are having our wedding/reception at a farm/barn, so the guys are wearing dark jeans, a button up shirt (khaki) and their cowboy boots. But I loooove that dress!
Hi Hillary! The dresses in the second photo (by Eleise Theuer) are from J. Crew. We featured that wedding on the blog about a year ago (http://iloveswmag.com/real-north-carolina-wedding-allie-jonathan-part-i/ and http://iloveswmag.com/real-north-carolina-wedding-allie-jonathan-part-ii/). Best of luck with your search!
I was in a wedding a few years ago that was a an evening, black tie wedding. We had floor length navy dresses and the boys wore tuxes….with tails!! It looked great! Very sohisticated and regal. Although, if you’re wedding is going to be a garden style, don’t go with the tails ;)
oh my gosh! I’m having the same colors at my wedding. A bunch of people have cringed when I’ve told them, so I’m glad I’m in good company! Anyway, I’m doing navy lela rose dresses and the classic black tuxedo with a long tie and my fiance is wearing his ray bans :) I though it might clash but its sort of avant garde, in my opinion anyway!
Ahhh, Gina, who would cringe when you told them that?! Love the navy + black!
I’m also doing navy dresses for my july wedding in northern mi, overlooking lake MI.
here is my question with navy dresses -what color shoes should the girls wear? the guys will be wearing black or grey. my flowers will be deep yellow. i was considering black or gold?
Hi, Kara! That sounds beautiful! I think black shoes might be a little too formal for an outdoor July wedding. I’d suggest they wear the metallic shoes of their choice — platinum, gold, or silver. It will look great! Or, if you’re going for a little more of a casual/preppy vibe, you could ask them to wear yellow, as we did at my sister’s wedding this past summer!
I LOVE yall’s blog!! Its the BEST! I’m wondering if its ok to pair the classic black tux with a short silk tafeta dress in matisse/tealish blue? Our wedding is at 5:30 at the Jekyll Island Club in the Crane Garden and I don’t want it to be black tie or black tie optional. Is it ok for the groom and the groomsmen to wear tuxes and the attire not be black tie?
Thank you sooo much for your help!!
Hi Stephanie! You can, of course, do whatever you’d like (within reason!), but I think that if the groom and groomsmen will be wearing black tie, the dress code should at least be “black tie invited” or “black tie optional.” I hope that helps! Other readers, feel free to chime in!
I’m not sure if anyone else mentioned this, but when I think about this conundrum I think of it as woman being the parrot on the man’s shoulder, or the eye candy for the rest of the party. When you think about it, men have been wearing tuxes for hundreds of years, and they are all pretty classic and standard “penguin suits, but women have been dressing up for formal events just as long and have never had a standard “uniform,” meaning we can wear whatever we want and get all eyes on us as the man’s armcandy. So, be it navy or sky blue, plum or periwinkle, all eyes are essentially on what the woman is wearing while the man is in the standard “uniform.” So, when it comes to a wedding, if the men are wearing suits, feel free to put your girls in anything you want!
Hi – I was wondering if you can tell me where these bridesmaid dresses are from? I love them and would love them in my own wedding or something similiar. Haven’t been able to find what I like. Please help : ) thank you
Hi Cierra! The dresses in the top three photos are all from J. Crew. Don’t know where the last one is from, but I hope that helps!
[…] + I had to smile when we saw today’s adorable navy bridemaid dresses from Monique Lhuillier. Last week’s post on the coveted blue dress revealed that y’all think, as one reader so eloquently put it, that […]
[…] question from last week (about what to wear with bridesmaid dresses) started Katharine’s and my wheels turning about […]
We are having a wedding this August and was so happy to see this article! Our colors our navy, yellow, and white. Our conundrum is: our ceremony is in a fairly formal catholic church but our reception is at a casual indoor/outdoor B&B. Ladies are in a short navy dress….we were thinking these great yellow Brooks Brothers pants, with navy jacket and fun Southern Proper bow tie for groom and groomsmen (girls will have yellow flowers). We thought this would be fun/ great option for the hot weather. But heres my question:
A) Is that groom/groomsmen outfit not formal enough for a church?
B) Should the Groom wear something more formal, like a navy suit with the same bow tie as the groomsmen so that he’s a bit elevated when standing next to me in my wedding dress? (my dress is simple, lace, small train, almost vintage Jackie O style, so not like a sparkley ballgown…but still) OR would he look out of place, or older, like the father of the bride with a different outfit than the groomsmen on? My thought was that he IS the Groom:)
Emily, what do you think? I love your articles and would appreciate your opinion on the subject!
I love your blog!!! My fiance and I are doing a preppy chic wedding at The Ribault Club (Fort George Island). I want my bridesmaids to wear seersucker (blue) dresses, but my fiance and I are having a hard time figuring out what type of suit/tux to match. At first we thought khaki, then we thought maybe he could incorporate seersucker pants for his groomsmen (thinking a whole suit would be too much). Now he is thinking about wearing a navy suit or tux himself. The question is, should the groomsmen also wear navy suits/tuxes with seersucker bow ties or Vineyard Vines bow ties? Or should they wear seersucker pants with a navy blazer. I’d appreciate your thoughts! Thanks!
Hi Crystal! If it were me, I’d put the men in navy suits. That will look so sharp next to the ladies in seersucker, especially if the men wear seersucker bow ties! The VV bow ties might make things a little too “busy,” since that pattern might visually clutter the seersucker already going on. Hope that helps! xo
For our October wedding in Virginia the bridesmaids will be wearing Coren Moore one-shoulder navy dresses (short) and the guys are wearing tuxes – we’re already committed to this so no turning back now! Couple of questions:
1. The groom is planning to wear a normal tux with a white bowtie to stand out a bit. Does he need to wear a white cummerbund or can he wear black?
2. Bowties for the groomsmen – my fiance wants them to wear black cummerbunds with mostly black bowties but with a subtle bit of white in them (think black bowtie with small white polka dots…you wouldn’t even notice the white from a distance). Would this work or do we need to stick with plain black?
[…] she’s a regular around these parts! (In fact, her Ask the Experts question was featured here, and I know it’s helped many people since!) I hope you enjoy getting to know Lori and her […]
So, since I’m the Southern one of our couple and I’m doing a lot of the planning, let me tell you that navy/midnight and black do not clash. We’re doing the exact same thing (our colors are midnight blue, gold, silver and a splash of garnet) and my groomsmen are wearing custom midnight blue/silver ties. If I wasn’t going the custom route, i’d keep every one in black.
This article is a bit older but I am having a conundrum as well with my navy/champagne/pink color scheme. We are going for a rustic chic look- we are getting married at a catholic church and then having the reception at an indoor/outdoor venuewhich has beautiful views of rolling hills and mountains. Our wedding is early Summer (June 1). The bridesmaids are all wearing long navy chiffon Bill Levkoff dresses and I was planning on putting our ring bearers in navy blazers, khakis with striped navy blue bowties and perhaps brown cowboy boots, and then our flower girls in ivory tutus with pink cowboy boots. I wanted to put our groomsmen in classic black tuxes but will the groomsmen and ring bearers clash?
Thank you so much for covering this issue, this was the EXACT same issue that I am running into, and now I have a picture to show everybody of what I am talking about!
As usual Southern Weddings has come to the rescue!
I want my bridesmaids to wear navy and my FH wants black tuxes. I am fine with it but have been struggling because I wasn’t sure how it would look. And so many people have said black and navy don’t go together. Thank you so much for confirming what I thought, that they would be fine together. We are having an evening wedding in October and wanted an elegant pallet. I can’t wait now to see it all come together.
[…] Southern Etiquette: Tuxedos with navy dresses? – She writes: First of all – I love the Southern Weddings blog … My fiance and I are planning a wedding in October. The ceremony and reception will be held in Nashville, TN at Belle Meade Plantation. It is an … […]