What Does the Father of the Bride Wear?

Bride and Her Father

PHOTO BY RACH LOVES TROY 

A lot of thought goes into what the mother of the bride should wear, but what about dad? What should the father of the bride wear to his daughter's wedding? It's a huge event in his life: His little girl is getting married and chances are he'll be front and center giving her away. If ever there were a time to help dad plan an outfit, this is it.

We tapped the experts at Men's Wearhouse to find out exactly what the father of the bride (and the father of the groom, for that matter) should consider when planning their wedding attire. Read on for their insight on what the father of the bride should wear and how to coordinate.

What Does the Father of the Bride Wear?

The father of the bride's outfit should generally fall in line with what the groom and the groomsmen are wearing. This isn't to say that the father of the bride or groom needs to be a carbon copy of the groomsmen, but he should complement their attire. "A great start is determining what the groom and groomsmen will be wearing so the father of the bride looks in sync with the rest of the group," advises Men's Wearhouse. "You want the father of the bride to feel comfortable in what they’re wearing and it should feel connected to what the groom is wearing in terms of fabric or formality." For example, if all the groomsmen are wearing light-colored suits, dad should opt for a lighter-hued suit, too. Or if the groom and bridal party are wearing tuxedos, the father of the bride or groom should also wear a tuxedo.

In no case should the father of the bride (or groom) overshadow the groom. If the groom is wearing upscale beach attire, dad should follow suit and reach for his best Tommy Bahama button-down.

Father of the Bride Attire Tips

Talk About Attire Early On

As soon as you've set a dress code and have a vision for the groomsmen's attire, you should chat with each dad. Let them know what you're planning and what you'd ideally like for each of them to wear. The dads might have their own ideas, but chances are they'll appreciate the guidance and want to go along with the vision. "The father of the bride can absolutely choose his own attire but should confer with the to-be-weds to make sure it aligns with their aesthetic," adds Men's Wearhouse. "Often, the couple will help the father choose his wedding look to ensure he and they are happy with what he will wear."

Include Him When Ordering the Groomsmen's Attire

Oftentimes, suit stores will offer a discount when you're renting or buying several suits for members of the bridal party. You can definitely include suits for the groom's father and bride's father in that order, which gives everyone a welcome discount. The groom always has the option of inviting his father and/or future father-in-law along when he goes to choose his suit and his groomsmen's suits. The dads can pick out their own, and the newlyweds-to-be can be there to offer some helpful guidance. "This is also a fun event for the wedding party and inviting the FOB will make him feel included!" notes Men's Wearhouse.

Men's Wearhouse advises ordering bridal party suits three months prior to the wedding if renting, while custom suits require about four weeks. Suits purchased at one of their stores, with alterations from in-house tailors, can be turned around fairly quickly.

Don't Forget About Accessories

"The easiest and most subtle way to inject some extra personality is with accessories," says Men's Wearhouse. "Think of it as the extra ten percent. Whether a lapel pin or boutonniere that might have meaning to the wearer, a pocket square in a fun pattern, or even playful socks, there are numerous ways to inject some fun and character into a formal look without sacrificing the respectful presentation to the ceremony. Just be sure the accessory does not overpower the suit or tuxedo."

The father of the bride and the father of the groom don't necessarily have to match the groomsmen's accessories. Dad can wear a tie, bow tie, and/or pocket square that complements what the groomsmen are wearing, or he can choose to coordinate his accessories with his partner's attire. "The father of the bride should feel free to experiment with accessories," continues Men's Wearhouse. "If he is a bow tie wearer, he should choose a bow tie that goes with the overall color scheme. If he has a favorite pair of dress shoes, see if he can incorporate those into his look. If he favors three-piece suits, allow him the freedom to wear a vest." If, however, you foresee a sartorial disaster—speak up sooner rather than later, and gently nudge dad in a better direction.

As for the belt and shoes, dad doesn't need to match the groomsmen, but particularly detail-oriented brides might opt to set a single color for the fathers and the groomsmen to stick to (i.e. black or brown).

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