It's normal for very hands-on brides to want to have control over every aspect of their wedding. Since this is an event they've likely been dreaming about for years, it only seems natural for them to have the final say on every decision that needs to be made. For some couples, this may also mean that the bride decides what the groom is going to wear. And while some grooms may be more than okay with handing that power over, others may want to choose their own looks for such a special day.
Whether the groom is proactive in the planning process or they have a distinctive everyday style, they may want a final say on what they choose to sport down the aisle. However, for brides who have a very specific vision in mind and are concerned about the choices their partner might make, giving them control over their attire can feel extremely nerve-wracking. With all this in mind, is it ever okay for brides to choose what the groom is going to wear? Or is that taking planning a step too far?
Ahead, we spoke with three experts to get some insight on whether or not this request is out of line. While everyone agrees that it's not entirely appropriate for brides to have full control over the groom's attire, they do note that every situation is different and the answer can vary based on a variety of circumstances. Read on to learn more.
Meet the Expert
- Ashley Pate Newkirk is the owner and lead wedding planner at Ash Events.
- Hovik Harutyunya is a wedding and event planner, and owner of Harutyunya Events.
- Erika Cartledge is a personal stylist, style educator, and founder of Your Chic Is Showing.
Is It Appropriate for a Bride to Decide What the Groom Wears?
Whether or not it's okay for a bride to decide what the groom should wear typically depends on two things: the dynamics of their relationship and how much input the groom actually wants. If you fall back on traditional gender stereotypes, it's easy to assume that grooms don't care about what they're wearing. But, that's not always true. "Some grooms are present for every meeting and have an opinion on every detail and option presented," says Ashley Pate Newkirk of Ash Events. "Others aren't present throughout the planning process and we don't even meet them until our 'Month of Meeting' and that's because we require both parties to be present at this final meeting."
If the groom shows an interest in the wedding planning, then Newkirk says he probably wants to choose his own outfit. And if he has a specific look planned out in his head (one that's in alignment with the dress code, theme, venue, and season), it's not appropriate for anyone, even the bride, to tell him that he's not allowed to wear what he wants. It's his day too, and he can decide on his outfit if it's truly important to him. "It's not appropriate for a bride to dictate that he wear something that he doesn't like, or in which he feels uncomfortable/out-of-place," says Hovik Harutyunyan, wedding and event planner.
That said, he might want or need some help in the styling department. Maybe he's not interested in planning anything, or maybe he just isn't really into fashion at all and doesn't know what to wear. In these cases, it's okay to offer some help—in the right tone, of course. "I think it's appropriate as long as it's coming from a place of collaboration and effort to create a cohesive fashion look for the wedding," says Harutyunyan. "More often than not, I find that grooms want this type of help."
It's also important to note that, with many weddings, what the groom wears is really only one of the decisions they get to make. "So much of the wedding is about the bride and what she wants; wedding day attire is a great way for a groom to express himself and his personality," says personal stylist Erika Cartledge of Your Chic Is Showing. While Cartledge thinks it's fine for a bride to help a groom choose an outfit, she encourages brides to let them have some control too.
How to Effectively, Peacefully, and Respectfully Choose the Groom's Outfit
If you want a say in the groom's outfit, you need to start by having an open and honest conversation with your partner. Find out if he wants to make the decision himself, if he wants you to help him choose specific pieces, or if he just wants you to take total control. Don't just assume you know what he wants, as this can lead to resentment or an argument.
You should also focus on finding a suit that works best with your dress. "Brides have an advantage here because they know what they themselves are wearing, so they can help grooms pick out an outfit that matches their dress," Harutyunyan says. Explain that you want your outfits to be cohesive and on par with the rest of the wedding party, as this is a good way to make it more about the overall wedding than just about your personal preferences.
Lastly, be sure to ask your partner about any specific style must-have, like small accessories or certain colors. What's more, try to be open-minded about these elements, even if it's not something you would pick on your own. "Allowing the groom the opportunity to have input and personalization can really help a bride when choosing the groom's wedding-day outfit," Cartledge says. "For example, perhaps you can incorporate the groom's favorite color into his tuxedo by choosing a lining in that color or socks that have that color."
Additional Etiquette Tips
Maybe you're in a situation where you really want to pick the groom's outfit, but they also want complete control over their own look. In this case, you might be wondering: How can I get my way? Unfortunately, you can't, and you'll need to work with your partner to find a look that suits everyone's taste. "It's not accurate to say that every little girl grows up dreaming about her wedding, just like it's not accurate to say that every guy doesn't care about a wedding and just wants to show up to party," Newkirk says. "We love a couple who respects each other's opinions enough to listen to their partner's wants and wishes, in order to make this day special for both of them."
As mentioned above, always start the process by having an honest conversation about your wedding day fashion desires. Then go out and look around together. "It's helpful for brides and grooms to go shopping together," Harutyunyan says. "They can try on different colors and styles to see what not only looks best but also resonates with their preferences." Cartledge also notes that, "Wedding day attire is a great time to practice those compromise and communication skills that are so important for successful marriages."
And if they absolutely want to make the final decision, Harutyunyan notes that you can at least give your suggestions, like the color palette, style, formality level, and accessories you were thinking about, which can ultimately steer your partner in the direction you were imagining. However, Harutyunyan does follow up by saying, "Don't force him to wear something he doesn't like. A good, well-curated couple's look is not just about good-looking clothes—it's also about feeling good and comfortable. The last thing you want is for the groom to feel self-conscious or out of place on the wedding day. It won't yield good photos and will result in unnecessary conflict."