A Guide to Groom Wedding Accessories: What to Wear & What to Leave at Home
7 min read
We know a lot of men and women are clueless about men’s wedding accessories, so we’re going to make it easy for you to decide what to wear and how to accessorize on your big day.
We’re going to cover the difference between men’s and women’s wedding accessories, accessories for groomsmen, how to coordinate, do’s and don’ts, what to wear, and what not to wear.
While there are thousands of guides for brides on how to dress and how to accessorize, the other side of the equation - what men should wear to a wedding - is lacking. That’s why we decided to step up to the plate and make your big day that much smoother and happier!
By the time you finish this guide you’ll have a clear idea of which rules to follow, which rules to break, and how to express your personality - and have fun doing it.
Do’s and Don’ts of Groom Accessories on Your Big Day
Before you accessorize or pick outfits, you need to understand the context of weddings in general and your wedding in particular. If you’re a rebel or a rule breaker, that goes double.
Have you ever heard that “you need to know the rules to break them?” That old saying is also true of men’s wedding accessories.
A lot of these decisions depend on other choices you’ll make. If you haven’t finalized your wedding plans yet, you’ll need to do that to make smart decisions about a wedding outfit and accessories for the groom and groomsmen.
Here are the main wedding decisions you must make together before you start to accessorize:
Is the wedding formal or informal?
Are you alternative or conventional?
Is it indoors or outdoors?
Once you figure out the answers to those questions, the decision of what to wear will get much easier.
The “Dos” of Groom Accessories
To make your life easier, let’s start with the five most important things you need to know about accessorizing for the wedding day.
Most rules are made to be broken, but you don’t want to break these rules. Ever.
Get the tux or suit right.
Get the tie right.
Get the shoes right.
Communicate and coordinate with the bride.
Coordinate with the groomsmen.
Tux vs. Suit
Everything starts with the tux or suit. When it comes to what to wear on your wedding day, the outfit you choose is the most crucial decision. Tuxedos carry an association with formal events and traditional weddings.
Suits can also be formal, but people do consider them to be less conventional than a tux. Match your decision to the formality of your wedding.
The fit, fabric, and color of your tux or suit need to be impeccable. The origin of impeccable means “not liable to sin.” Think of the perfect tux or suit as flawless, and focus most of your attention here initially. Until you make this vital decision, you will have no idea what else to wear on wedding day.
You need to dress to flatter your body type. If you’re tall and slim, you can wear most styles of tuxedos and suits and look good. If you’re skinny, a double-breasted suit will broaden you up.
If you are hefty but prefer to look slimmer, go with a fitted suit with darts to pull in the waist. Darker hues will also help you look trim. If you want to add some height visually, a two- or three-button jacket with low button placement is your best bet.
Proper fit is more important than the cost or “quality” of the tux or suit. A premium off-the-rack tux that doesn’t fit right will look bad and feel miserable, no matter what the price tag says. To test any tux or suit before you buy, get physical: twist, turn, raise your arms, and see how it feels.
If you need to spend some extra money on tailoring, it’s worth it, even if you spend less on renting or buying the tux or suit. Most shops are willing to tailor your outfit, whether you rent or purchase.
Here’s what to look for to achieve a perfect fit:
Jacket sleeve hem below your wrist bone
A quarter to half an inch of cuff showing beyond the sleeve
Bottom hem of the jacket covers your butt
Jacket vent stays shut
Shirt and jacket collar lie flat
Pants are comfortable both standing and sitting
Pant hem covers the top third of your shoes
Now you know the most important things about fit, but there are a lot of intangible qualities that also matter. With all things, but especially with the tux or suit decision, go with your gut feeling in the end.
Using Ties To Your Advantage
Now that you’ve got an idea of the differences between tuxes and suits, it only gets easier from here.
You’ve got three main tie options:
Bowtie (most formal)
No tie (least formal)
Most men opt to wear a bowtie with a tux, but some guys can pull off a necktie and tux combo.
Going without a tie can look great - especially for less formal weddings or outdoor weddings - but if you choose to go tieless, make sure you have a shirt with a nice crisp collar that will hold its shape.
The Shoes Make The Man
Shoes are like ties in that you must coordinate them according to your overall look. If you chose a formal tuxedo, go with a high-end black leather shoe. We prefer a matte finish to gloss, but it’s your decision.
Brown leather shoes are less formal than black leather shoes, but they can look great with blue suits or other colorful suits. Brown also holds an association with the outdoors, so it’s an excellent choice if your wedding has an earthier vibe.
Leather soled shoes, in general, look better than rubber soles; they’re classier, and they won’t squeak. No matter what shoes you choose, be sure to break them in at home before the big day.
Depending on your style and what type of wedding you have planned, you may want to make a statement with shoes. Some guys wear Converse Chuck Taylors, and others wear black-and-white Oxfords or accessorize with colorful socks.
Make sure the groom’s shoes don’t clash with the groomsmen’s shoes.
Communicate and Coordinate Groom Accessories Across The Wedding Party
If you’ve started making decisions about your suit, tie, and shoes, congratulations! Things only get easier from here - now you get to make some fun decisions like accessory details, and how to coordinate with the groomsmen.
Everyone will agree that the bride and groom should have the final say about how the wedding party dresses, but if you don’t maintain proper communication it’s going to be challenging to make everything work correctly.
What About Watches?
If your groomsmen are wearing simple attire that loosely matches the groom’s apparel, which is fine for less formal weddings, one easy way to coordinate a match is with an accessory like awooden watch.
We suggest classic timepieces if you and your bros are conventional, or wooden watches for a more unconventional look. If you want to go the extra mile, think about tailoring your groomsmen gifts to this end.
Buying your groomsmen matching, personalized watches, likethis one, is a great way to ensure you’re all on the same page. Plus, it’s an affordable, awesome gift that will make your groomsmen love you and keep your all of your wedding accessories on point.
The “Don’ts” of Groom Accessories
Repeat after me: weddings last a day, wedding photos last forever.
Now that you know what to do, we’re going to tellyou what not to do, so you don’t commit a wardrobe faux pas that will haunt you or lead to teasing by your kids or grandkids.
Anyone who’s already married should probably skip this section.
In the spirit of ripping the band-aid off quick, here’s the “don’t” list:
Don’t match the bride
Don’t clash with the bride
Don’t wear a belt and suspenders together
Don’t wear a belt with a tuxedo
Don’t wear the same ties as the groomsmen
Don’t wear the same outfit as everyone else
The groom’s accessories and attire should coordinate with the bride, but not directly match her. If she wears a white wedding dress, don’t wear a white suit!
You also shouldn’t clash with the bride. The worst cases of clashing involve things like two different hues of blue, or different levels of formality (like jeans on the groom and a white wedding dress on the bride). Now that we mention it, just don’t wear denim to your wedding, period.
Belts are good, and suspenders are good, but belts + suspenders = bad. Both are designed to hold your pants up, so don’t wear them together.
Belts also do not go with tuxedos. You can wear nothing with a tuxedo, or you can wear suspenders if you need to hold your pants up, but steer clear of combining a belt and tux!
If you’re wearing a tie or bowtie, it needs to be different from what your groomsmen wear. Your groomsmen can wear matching ties, or not, depending on your preference. If you’re wearing a bowtie, an excellent way to coordinate without matching is to have all the grooms wear neckties.
The groom should stand out from the groomsmen. The rule here for suits is “similar, not identical.” You can still match and coordinate in different areas like tie color, type of fabric, suit color and cut, and accessories like cufflinks or pocket squares.
Speaking of pocket squares, if you’re wearing a formal tux, white is your safest color bet. Otherwise, you can be bolder and more experimental with your color selection.
Other Suggestions for A Grooms’ Wedding Accessories
Now that you know the major do’s and don’ts of wedding day accessories for grooms and groomsmen, we’re going to share more of our favorite suggestions that can make your wedding day outfit pop.
Men’s Accessories That Go The Extra Mile
A buttonhole (boutonnière) for the groom to match the bride’s bouquet
A classy watch
Leave these decisions for after you’ve made your most significant decisions - suit, tie, and shoes. One or more of these accessories will show that you have excellent attention to detail and can visually tie together the whole wedding ensemble.
Other than not making regrettable decisions, the most important takeaway of this guide is to let your personality come through and experiment with your wedding wardrobe and accessories. Coordinate, communicate, and make sure you don’t make any last-minute decisions during crunch time!
One last thing!
If you still haven't got your Groomsmen Gifts in order, make sure to check out some of the great options from Swanky Badger. Don't leave it too late!