If you thought choosing bridesmaid dresses was difficult, here come the groomsmen – and they’ve got even more accessories to consider! With John Tellis, director of Germanicos Bespoke Tailors, Lucy Mackey discovers ways to personalise your groomsmen’s blazers, bowties, boutonnieres and more.
Image Credit: ATEIA Photography & Video
While presenting the groomsmen in identical attire creates a uniform look that harks back to tradition, there’s always the risk that they will appear regimented, or the chosen outfit will suit some better than others. These are the same challenges that bridesmaids face when picking their dresses, and often, brides will offer them a range of coordinated styles to pick from. Now the same trend is taking over groomsmen attire, as more groomsmen are stepping out in suits tailored to match their individual personality and style.
The Main Event
When it comes to dressing your groomsmen, “Always select the groom’s suit first”, Tellis says. “After all, the groom is the king of the day.” Once this is decided, Tellis recommends choosing your groomsmen’s suits in one shade lighter or darker than the groom’s. “This shows that thought was put into your selection and guarantees continuity throughout the wedding party,” Tellis says. It also creates a strong visual appeal while ensuring the groom stands out.
While the traditional tuxedo is still a popular choice for weddings, especially those that take place in the evening, recent years have seen a shift from the ultra-formal choice. Many groomsmen feel more comfortable in simple, elegant suits – not unlike what they might wear to the office. Tellis suggests a three-piece suit including a waistcoat for the groom, and a two-piece suit for the groomsmen. Charcoal greys and hues of blue are always popular choices and will look great with a white dress shirt and a colourful accessory.
But some care does need to be taken when giving instructions about the colour of your groomsmen’s suits; Tellis says it’s not enough just to ask them to buy a navy suit. “We have more than 7000 fabrics to choose from – at least 600 of which are navy blue – all very different from each other!” Enlisting the help of a bespoke tailor will ensure everyone matches and stands out for the right reasons.
Allowing groomsmen to opt for a different cut of suit also means it’s more likely everyone will be wearing something they feel comfortable in that flatters them, which will lead to much better photos.
Another popular choice is to select jackets and trousers in different colours or have them alternate between groomsmen.
There are lots of small touches to personalise each suit, too. Tellis suggests utilising different coloured lining inside each jacket, because they can be revealed or hidden as needed for photos. Another stylish touch is elegant embroidered initials on the cuffs of the groomsmen’s jackets.
Vest Is Best
A great opportunity to create some variation in groomsmen attire is to replace the traditional cummerbund or plain vest with something more interesting. ‘Fun’ patterns are in vogue this year; florals and paisley are growing increasingly popular for men. Provided the colours are planned so as not to clash with the colour scheme of the wedding, a patterned vest can look fantastic. While suits of the same hue will give consistency to the formal parts of the wedding, a variance in vests is an excellent way to express each groomsman’s individual style, as well as keep things looking classy at the reception when jackets are likely to come off.
Mix And Match
Jacket, pants, shirt, vest, tie, pocket square, belt, boutonniere, shoes – there are so many elements that need to be considered to ensure your groomsmen are looking sharp. Traditionally, they have remained the same for each groomsman, with only a small alteration to denote the groom, such as a different coloured boutonniere or bowtie. The best way to inject a touch of personality is to change these elements, but doing so while also retaining a cohesive look between the groomsmen, groom, bridesmaids and bride can be a difficult balancing act.
One way to do so is to consider the instruction often given to bridesmaids, which is to pick a dress from a set selection of styles and colours. Amazing outfits can be created by selecting one or two elements of a groomsman’s outfit that are easy to change, and then offering a palette of colours and styles for your bridal party to choose from. For example, they may be given the option of a cravat, bowtie or tie, but it must be in a certain colour. With ample and clear conversation before the wedding, it’s easy to organise.
Though patterned or textured blazers can look fantastic if you want to make a statement, suits are often a plain colour and simple cut. As such, the accessories become all the more important. Individualised bowties, ties and pocket squares can add a dash of style, while switching a belt for suspenders, a tie for a cravat, or wearing a hat can add a touch of old-fashioned flair. Depending on the level of formality you require, cheeky socks are a fun touch, and can always be hidden and uncovered as needed.
No outfit – bridesmaid or groomsman – is complete without flowers. Individualised boutonnieres are a simple and elegant way to give each outfit something different. Selecting the blooms from the same colour palette as the rest of the floral arrangements will provide a pleasing balance between consistency and variation.
In The Mo
With barber shops cropping up everywhere, it’s clear that moustaches and beards are on trend. It’s an established tradition for the ladies to get ready together and be pampered while getting hair and makeup done, so consider the same for the groomsmen with a luxurious wet shave at a barber shop. Instead of opting for similar hairstyles and shaving for the occasion, embrace the facial hair trend and sport a well-shaped beard and waxed moustache. This allows everyone to express their style, and won’t interfere with the colour scheme at all. A style chosen by each groomsman will also mean that there’s a better chance it suits their facial structure as well.
While groomsmen wearing matching outfits creates a classic, cohesive look, there is the risk they’ll look like a group of bodyguards surrounding their mark. With myriad elements that make up a smart outfit, there are so many ways to add a touch of personality and individuality while keeping things photogenic. By selecting one or two elements to vary between the group, the whole bridal party can look their best on your wedding day.