"Well, we got off easy. Let’s not forget the groomsmen have to wear kilts." - CARRIE BRADSHAW
The traditional attire for the Groom and his Men is a Tuxedo. They are typically rented, but some men will opt to purchase instead. Especially if they have other occasions that will require them to wear a tux. There are many designers who make tuxes, and there are many style differences, some being more formal than others. There are even tuxedos with western styling.
The Tuxedo itself, which can run the gamut from the less formal morning tux to tails, consists of pants and jacket. It is usually accompanied by a tuxedo shirt with French cuffs, cufflinks, cumberbun, vest, tie, and shoes, although some of these items are optional.
Wedding tuxedos are usually selected by the bride and groom together, beginning with the selection of the Groom’s tuxedo. Most important is to find a tux that will match the degree of formality of the Bride’s wedding dress. The tux, shirt and vest need to compliment the style and color of the Bride’s gown. See our page on which types of tuxedo are suggested for different times of day and different degrees of formality.
What do you do about the Groom or his Men if they live out of town? Because of the Internet, ordering tuxes long-distance is easier than ever. Men who wear suits regularly will know their sizes, but most need to be professionally fitted. Many local formalwear specialists are glad to help men determine their sizes as a courtesy.
The Groom’s tux may match the Groomsmen, or his may be different to distinguish him from the other men in the wedding party. In some cases the men all wear the same tuxedo, but the Groom is distinguished by using different accessories (or colors) such as the tie, vest, cumberbun and boutonniere.
Some formal wear shops recommend registering and getting measured for tuxes at least 2 months before the wedding. It is not a good idea to wait until the last minute, although there are some suppliers that offer same day tuxedo rental. Whatever you do, be certain to try on all of the clothing as soon as you pick up your order. This way there will be time to make corrections. We have seen Grooms panic because they discover too late that their coat has arms a foot too short. Finding out your order is wrong an hour before you walk down the aisle is not a good thing.
Rentals (often all inclusive, including the tuxedo, tux shirt, tie, cufflinks, shoes, vest-the works) start at about $60 for specials. They seem to average about $150 to $200 depending upon the designer, fabric, and location. Some large bridal salons offer a free tuxedo for the groom with a minimum purchase from the Bride. Some formal wear shops offer a free tuxedo rental to the groom with the rental of several Groomsmen’s tuxedos.
Whatever you decide to rent, make certain that you know exactly what is included for the price you are quoted. For example, if you spot an ad for a $60 tuxedo rental, make sure you know whether the shirt, tie, shoes, and everything else you need will be an additional charge.
A rule of thumb is that if you rent a tuxedo 3 times, you could have paid to purchase one. Tuxes, like men’s suits, can run from $200 to $2,000 or more to purchase. They seem to average out at around $300 - $600. Keep in mind that alterations will usually add additional cost and time.
The Guys can also wear suits instead of tuxedos. Suits are more likely to be purchased since there will be more opportunities to wear them later. But suits can also be rented. The Groom and his attendants can wear suits they already own rather than purchase new ones for the occasion. Especially if they all wear a basic black suit and coordinate shirts and ties.
INFORMAL WEDDING WEAR
Of course there are no rules requiring the men to wear tuxedos OR suits. Couples often opt for more casual attire. Especially if the wedding is informal or if the ceremony or reception is out of doors. One option we have seen is slacks, vest and tie, all of which can be rented or purchased.
If the groom is in the military, he may choose to be married in one of his dress uniforms. Any groomsmen also in the service will likely follow suit. Officers or enlisted personnel in the bridal party should wear uniforms in accordance with the formality of the wedding and seasonal uniform regulations. For commissioned officers, evening dress uniform is the same as civilian white tie and tails. The Dinner or mess dress uniform is equivalent to civilian "black tie" requirements. (The choice to attend the wedding in uniform as a military guest is optional.)
In the case of non-commissioned officers and other enlisted, dress blues or Army green uniforms may be worn at a formal or informal wedding. A boutonniere is never worn with a uniform. No additions or modifications to the uniform are allowed. See our section on military weddings which have traditions and protocols all their own.
If there is Scottish, Irish or Welch heritage, the couple may opt for the guys to wear Kilts. Many formalwear shops rent kilts. Minsky Formal wear rents the entire Kilt package for just under $200. Of course, they can also be purchased, and start at around $350. The best kilts are custom made to fit. Count on at least 4 to 6 weeks. We found options beginning at about $1,200 to purchase a quality Kilt Package. Regardless of heritage, all are welcome to embrace Gaelic themes. There are 4 Universal Tartans that can be worn by someone who does not have any association with a clan or district tartan.
Formal kilts are made using 5 to 8 yards of fabric, traditionally from wool featuring a tartan design-what we, in the US refer to as plaid. Some or all of the following traditionally accompanies the kilt:
- A short jacket, sometimes called a Prince Charlie Jacket
- Tuxedo type shirt and bow tie
- A vest
- A sporran (bag for holding things and chained round the waist)
- Flashes-garters to hold up the socks
- Brogues-shoes which lace up above the ankle.
- Kilt Pin which may or may not feature the family crest
- Sgian Dubh-Knife tucked into the sock
If you are considering a Celtic theme for your wedding, you might enjoy looking through www.scotwebguide.co.uk. The site has volumes of info on all things Scots, and even has a video on how to put on and wear the entire highland ensemble. From undergarments (if there are any) to sporran to kilt pin. It is not quite as easy as you might think!
FUN FACT ABOUT GAELIC THEMES
Part of the recent popularity of Scots attire and culture may be due to the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon. (No, not the sci-fi movie of the same name.) This is a series of 7 books featuring the story of Jamie MacKenzie Fraser and Claire Randall. And time travel between the 18th and 20th centuries. Check out www.dianagabaldon.com for info on her novels. They are part historical fiction, part sci-fi adventure, and part romance. Personally, we LOVE Outlander.
COSTUMES FOR THEMED WEDDINGS
As with everything wedding-related, the possibilities are endless. There are Halloween-themed weddings. Princess Bride weddings. Renaissance inspired celebrations featuring knights and ladies. There are Pirate weddings, Egyptian and Roman weddings. Austin Powers weddings. Even Alice and Wonderland and Star Wars weddings. There are weddings inspired by the Vampire craze encouraged by recent books, movies and television shows. Especially after Twilight’s Bella and Edward were married in a fairy tale romantic outdoor setting.
If the couple opts to marry as Robin Hood and Maid Marian, the Groom might find himself wearing tights, a cap with a feather in it, and a belted tunic. You get the idea. If the couple agrees to a themed wedding, there is not much telling what any of the wedding party will be wearing.
SEE ALSO OUR SECTION ON THEMED WEDDINGS FOR MORE INFO.
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