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Wedding Etiquette Wednesday: Wedding Party Attire

April 25, 2012

We are asked a lot about what attire is appropriate for the wedding party. Do the men wear a tuxedo or a suit? Should bridesmaids wear short or long dresses? Just like many other decisions related to weddings, it all depends on the formality you are trying to achieve for the event.

Tuxedo vs Suit: For the groom and groomsmen, there are many different options to choose from when it comes to attire. Typically, you see most choosing between wearing a tux or suit, but depending on how formal or informal you want the wedding to be will determine what style, fabric, and overall look you choose. If you are going for a more formal feel for your wedding, then you may want to consider a tuxedo. Tuxedos tend to have that formal look because they have extra satin details on the jacket and trousers. In addition to tuxedos, a more traditional formal look for the men, you may want to consider are jackets with tails. This is not seen as much as typical tuxes, but it is another option for your formal wedding. For a more casual/less formal feel you may want to look into suits. Although suits are still considered formal for weddings, they do have a simpler feel to them.

Shoes: Don’t forget that shoes complete the look of the groom and groomsmen attire. The type of shoes you choose for the men should be based off your decision of having them wear a tux or a suit. Typically, if you have decided to go with a tux, a patent leather or shinier shoe is appropriate. If you have decided to go with a more casual/less formal feel with the men wearing a suit, then a matted shoe finish is appropriate.

Long vs Short Bridesmaid Dresses: One piece of advice that we always give to our brides when it comes time for them to choose bridesmaids’ dresses is to have their wedding gown picked out first. We believe that your gown should be the focal point and everything else should be based off it. Once you have chosen your gown you can pick bridesmaids’ dresses that have a similar material or style. Whether you decide to choose a long or short bridesmaid dress depends on the formality of your wedding. Formal, late evening weddings typically will have the longer style dresses.  For more casual weddings, like a summer outdoor event, a shorter style dress may be more appropriate.

Denoting Guest Attire on Your Invitations: Usually guests understand that if they are invited to a wedding, then they need to dress up. Another way guests will recognize what attire is appropriate for your wedding is by the time of the event and the location. Putting the time and location on your invitation tells guests that if it is later in the evening, it will be a more formal event and if it is on a farm, it is a laid back/casual event. Wording is also another key for guests to determine appropriate attire. If it says “Black Tie” on the invitation then they know it is a very formal event.

Just remember that this is your wedding and it should reflect your personal style. Whatever that style may be, don’t be afraid to throw in some fun and excitement to the wardrobe or keep it elegant and classic.

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