While the bride and bridesmaids' looks tend to steal the spotlight on the big day, groomsmen's attire is just as important when pulling a wedding vision together. This is a monumental day, after all, and dressing to impress is the name of the game. So, with the help of two menswear experts, we’re answering the top groomsmen's style questions and making it easy for your best men to dress confidently.
Meet the Expert
- Barrett Dudley is the host of Club Cool, a style podcast covering various topics, from the latest men's fashion trends to pop culture.
- Terence To is the vice president of sales and marketing at Brooklyn Brigade, a menswear e-commerce website that focuses on individualism, style, and creativity.
“Groomsmen traditionally wear a suit or a tuxedo that matches or complements what the groom has decided to wear,” says Barrett Dudley, host of the "Cool Club" podcast. Matching with the style and feel of the groom’s look (and in corresponding looks with the entire wedding party) will help ensure that everyone is cohesive, especially in photos.
When selecting groomsmen's attire, consider the venue and formality of your event. If your wedding is in the warmer months, daytime, or outdoors, you can utilize lighter colors, more casual fabrics, and suits (or even jackets and slacks) instead of tuxes. If your event is in the evening, takes place in a high-end venue, or you want to create a generally elevated and formal affair, go with dark suits or get extra stylish with tuxedos.
Nonetheless, before we dive in and answer your burning questions, there are three important things to always remember:
- Everyone should be dressed in the same level of formality, in adherence to the dress code.
- The groomsmen's attire should complement the bridesmaid's attire.
- No outfit should take the spotlight away from the bride or groom.
Groomsmen Attire Questions
Though the groomsmen oftentimes take a backseat to the bridesmaids, they are an integral part of the wedding party and what they wear is of the utmost importance. Ahead, the experts break down everything you need to know when putting together ensembles for your closest guys.
Do the groomsmen have to match?
According to Terence To, vice president of sales and marketing at Brooklyn Brigade, groomsmen in a wedding party usually match in accordance with the designated dress code. Though today, there are new style rules when it comes to wedding attire and matching isn't a necessity anymore.
“At the very least, groomsmen should all be dressed in a similar color palette,” advises Dudley. “If you leave the dudes to their own devices, you [could] end up with two guys in navy suits, one in a tux, and the other wearing pinstripes.”
To avoid a look that clashes, select the same style for everyone to buy or rent, or set distinct guidelines (such as all-black suits) to keep things coordinated.
Who pays for groomsmen's outfits?
Traditionally, all attendants buy or rent their own wedding day looks. Be up-front with the expected prices and let them be a part of the selection process. If you’d like to let your guys wear their own suits (something they’ll be thrilled about), be sure to give them specific style guidelines. You can also ask them to submit a photo of their outfit a few months before the event, so if someone does need to rent or purchase a new ensemble, they have time.
"However, in some cases, the groom may choose to help cover some or all of the expense on behalf of his groomsmen. It really depends on each person’s financial situation and personal expectations," shares To. "The important thing is to be upfront about it either way so that each groomsman understands those expectations and can make an informed decision about signing up."
When should the outfits be ordered?
As soon as you’ve settled on a style, be sure everyone places their rental or purchase orders as soon as possible. "Leave enough time for something to go wrong because inevitably something will. There might be delays with shipping. Some items may not be in stock. Someone may get the wrong item or the wrong size. Someone will forget or procrastinate," says To. Regardless, all groomsmen's looks should be ordered no later than a couple of months before the big day.
Do groomsmen have to wear suits?
No, groomsmen are not required to wear suits. As To notes, couples are choosing to celebrate their nuptials in their own personal ways and that is usually reflected in the attire they choose for their wedding party. "You might see the groomsmen wearing a vest instead of a suit jacket. Maybe [the groomsmen] have open collars (no tie) and [are] wearing suspenders instead of belts. There are lots of options besides suits!" he adds.
Of course, this also depends on who you select to be in your wedding party and that person's gender identity. You will want to ensure that everyone standing by your side is comfortable with what they are wearing.
Does the best man wear the same thing as the groomsmen?
"It’s more common for the best man to wear the same thing as the groomsmen, though sometimes he may have one smaller detail (i.e. a different boutonniere or lapel pin) to distinguish him as the best man," shares To. However, this isn't a requirement, and the couple has the option to switch up tradition and do things differently.