If there is one day in your life when you as a man want to look the best you ever have it is on your wedding day. The eyes of the crowd are on you from the moment you arrive through to the last drunken goodbye, and you no doubt want to impress your new wife with your suave James Bond-esq styling.
Then, there are of course the photos. These are the only wedding photos you will ever get and you will be looking at them for years to come. It goes without saying therefore that you want to make sure you couldn’t have scrubbed up any better or looked any more dapper.
Why is it then that so many grooms don’t seem to put the time and effort required into planning and executing their once-in-a-lifetime wedding outfit? We at the Groom List certainly don’t get it, which is why we have put together this neat little piece on what not to wear/do to make sure you avoid some of the bigger sartorial pitfalls.
The Bad Morning Suit
Perhaps the first decision that needs to be made by a groom when thinking about what to wear on his wedding day is whether he wants to go down the ‘traditional’ route (morning dress) or not.
Let us get one thing clear from the start – there are absolutely no groom ‘uniform’ rules. Anyone who tells you that you must wear tops and tails is lying; anyone who tells you it is traditional is lying; anyone who says it is wrong to wear a lounge suit or black tie is lying. It is your wedding and you can wear whatever makes you feel great.
Now, all that is not to say that wearing a morning suit on your wedding day is bad – far from it – but only if you do it properly. The morning suit forms part of an established code of formal dress, and as such there are clear rules that dictate how and when you should wear it. So many grooms however appear to be completely ignorant of these rules, choosing instead to adopt a look that has been perpetuated by bad formal hire shops and lazy salesmen.
The ill-fitting jacket
It seems that the default option for a lot of grooms is to head on down to their local formal hire shop and pick up everything they need within an hour. Whilst we understand that hiring a morning suit is a sensible option for many, why do such large numbers of men settle for the first thing they try on?
A well-fitting suit will hide a multitude of sins – turning any man, no matter how short, gangly, stout or lanky, into an Adonis – but a poor fitting one will have the complete opposite effect, and people will notice.
You don’t need to have a suit made bespoke for it to fit well, but you will most likely have to shop around a bit to find one that does. Visit a few hire shops, try on a few different styles and brands and find something you feel looks right. A good hire shop will be honest with you about a poor fitting jacket and some may even be able to do some minor alterations to get it hanging just right.
Just accepting the first thing you are given is lazy. It’s your wedding for goodness sake, put some effort in.
The garish waistcoat
This may sound a bit strong but who ever invented the shiny embroidered satin (or more usually polyester) waistcoat should be marched out back and… well… you know. These abominations to good styling are an invention of the wedding industry with no root in history or tradition at all. Some of the colours these things come in are more suited to a pack of highlighter pens than a piece of clothing.
Morning dress waistcoats should be grey or cream, but if you do insist on adding a little splash of colour then go no bolder than a light pastel blue, yellow or pink.
The matching cravat
Much like their awful waistcoat cousins, the brightly coloured cravat has no place in the dapper groom’s wardrobe. They are tacky and look cheap. What’s worse is that most of these heinous concoctions are ‘pre-tied’; it’s your wedding day, the least you could do is learn to tie your own!
It should be noted that the correct morning dress does not even feature a ‘cravat’ as we know it, but usually a straight forward neck-tie made up in a simple knot.
The wrong shoes
What’s the point in getting yourself the perfect suit only to go and ruin it by wearing the wrong shoes? As a simple rule of thumb black or grey suits need black shoes whilst navy suits can be worn with brown (not tan) or black shoes. If you are wearing black tie (a tuxedo) then you should really have black patent leather shoes on, but under no circumstances should you wear patent shoes with anything else.
Don’t just put on the shoes you wear to work every day as they will look tired and less elegant. It is really worth investing in quality formal footwear so why not check out our guide to buying the right wedding shoes for a bit of help.
The creased shirt
If you are not wearing a waistcoat under your jacket you need to make sure that you have at the very least ironed the front of your shirt. Creases are unsightly and can instantly devalue an outfit, making you come across as scruffy and lazy. Shirts should be ironed flat on both the front and back, whilst the sleeves should have a crease running along the top of the arm pressed firmly in.
If you are wearing your own suit make sure you have had it professionally cleaned and pressed before the wedding day. Nothing is worse than a pair of trousers that look as though they have been living in a pile on the bedroom floor for a month. Jackets should be completely crease free, whilst trousers should feature a line down the front of the shin and back of the calf.
The bulging pockets
We know suits have pockets but that doesn’t mean you should put anything in them! Nothing can ruin the clean lines and tailored hang of a fine jacket more than the unsightly outline of a wallet, set of keys or mobile phone. You are not going to need any of these things as you declare your love to your lady so leave them in the care someone else (mum’s handbag is a good shout).