Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Menswear Dilemma

Jerry Seinfeld fans may remember his joke about why the groom and his groomsmen traditionally wear the same suit at a wedding: “So that, if the groom doesn’t show up, the rest of the men can just slide over to fill his spot and the bride is still married at the end of the day.”

Ha! Wait….um, you probably want to marry your groom though, right?

The tradition of men wearing the same outfit to the celebration derives from Scottish clansmen standing up next to the groom during the ceremony. By wearing their same-patterned kilts, they displayed solidarity and support for the couple as well as their willingness to defend the couple should another clan attempt to disrupt the ceremony. (As a side note: this is also why the bride stands on the left side of the groom – so that the groom’s right arm is free to grab his sword or other weapon and defend her at a moment’s need).

Since the days of riotous ceremonies and needing to display solidarity for defense reasons are long gone, many grooms are now asking just what, exactly, they can do to spice up their own and their groomsmen’s outfits.  

The answer is simply said, but maybe not so easily implemented: whatever you want, as long as there’s cohesiveness among the group.

This means that grooms can wear the same exact suit and tie as their groomsmen, as is tradition, or that they can mix it up. A groom can wear a tux and the groomsmen black suits, the entire wedding party can wear shades of gray suits (see above photo), the groom and best man can wear suits and the rest of the groomsmen only vests or the groom can wear a suit and the groomsmen a nice shirt and tie combination. With these options, the colors, fabrics and the general feel of the outfits should blend, but not necessarily match.

The complex part of dressing the room and groomsmen non-traditionally is identifying the groom in photos. For example, “Who’s the groom?” 

Even though guests know which gentleman is the groom, it may not be so obvious in photos. The bride, after all, is distinguishable from the bridesmaids, and so, too, should be the groom. Overcoming this issue can be as simple as his wearing a larger or different boutonniere, a different shade of tie, or even a different pair of shoes (red sneakers, sir?).

Because weddings are no longer cookie-cutter affairs, groom and groomsmen’s attire is a hot topic in wedding planning right now. So go ahead and let your groom’s personality shine, just make sure that he stays in the spotlight. However, please don’t do this:

Visual guidance: 

 Different ties and suspenders for groomsmen; white tie and boutonniere for groom.

The groom's lighter-green tie and khaki pants set him apart.

Not all groomsmen need to wear suits.

 This groom stands out with his lack of color, in his wearing a black tie.

Same trousers, but a different tie and vest set this groom apart.