Wedding planners would not have such a full-time career if the marriage involved the wedding ceremony.
Even though the ceremony is the focal point of practically every wedding, it is only part of the celebration. Usually, there are at least two or three other events to plan and dress for. At the most extreme, you may look at a week’s worth of meals and entertainment; for most men, it’s more like a weekend. That brings the topic of how to dress for wedding events other than the ceremony.
A typical “wedding weekend” schedule, including the ceremony on Saturday, would look something like this:
- Earlier in the week: Bridal shower (if it hasn’t already occurred)
- On Friday, there will be informal receptions (as guests arrive)
- Rehearsal dinner and rehearsal
- Bachelor/Bachelorette celebrations
- Saturday – Family breakfasts (often separate for the bride and groom)
- Wedding photographs (before the ceremony)
- Marriage ceremony
- Dinner for the reception
- Dancing, drinks, and so forth at the reception or after the wedding.
- Post-wedding breakfast on Sunday
It might be scary when you stay in a hotel and don’t have access to your entire wardrobe. That is why we will discuss the concept of the interchangeable groom: how to pack one bag for a dozen different occasions.
But don’t be alarmed. Whether you’re the groom or a guest, a little planning and a few versatile, interchangeable pieces may provide the clothing you need to get through a busy weekend, even if you pack everything in a single suitcase.
What to Wear to a Wedding Shower
Bridal showers have traditionally been restricted to the bride and her female relatives and friends. You do not need to be directly involved as the groom.
But bear it in mind if it’s happening near your house or where you’re vacationing. As the attendees for the shower arrive, you may come into contact with them.
If shower attendees see you, you should dress nicely for them. Wear comfortably but stylishly. Instead of jeans, wear trousers and a blazer or elegant sweater over a collared shirt or turtleneck.
This is primarily for the advantage of your wife. In passing, she makes a favorable impression on the guests she has to deal with all day. Wearing sloppy, around-the-house attire increases the likelihood that she may get criticism (veiled or direct) from her future husband. Why put this on her, besides all the other shower pressures?
You don’t have to worry if you and the bridal shower aren’t going to cross paths. Yet, if you look great when she arrives home, she will probably appreciate it. Why not just get smarter?
Dressing for Casual Receptions and Greeting Visitors
The extent to which you participate in greeting guests depends on the circumstances. In rare cases, the groom will not be there at all. You can delegate the work to other family members or wedding guests. In other circumstances, you will be traveling to and from the airport.
If you personally greet visitors, remember that they expect to see a bridegroom.
It’s not quite a time to put on the wedding gown. Nonetheless, it would help if you did not appear the same as you do daily. Learn the distinction between a blazer and a sports jacket, although any with a tie is appropriate for this occasion. If you and your guests are casual, you may get away with a sports jacket and open collar.
The reception sets the tone for the rest of the wedding. The better you look, the more courteous and “groom” they’ll remember you for. Make an excellent first impression and look beautiful in any images taken!
Dressing for Rehearsal Dinners
Grooms are in an unusual location for the rehearsal and rehearsal supper.
No convention prevents you from being seen in your groom’s outfit, as there is with the bride. But, if you wear something particularly fancy and she wears something more casual, you risk making her appear underdressed. Additionally, you won’t have something more impressive to wear the next day for her.
A great suit that isn’t your wedding suit is an excellent choice for the rehearsal dinner.
Of course, that is only sometimes a viable alternative. A traveling groom may need more room for a wedding suit and a second one. Sometimes, a groom may decide that a complete case needs to be more formal. This is especially true if the rehearsal dinner is a casual family gathering rather than a mini-ceremony.
Even among close friends, though, this is a warm-up for the significant event. Private toasts are common during rehearsal dinners. The bride and groom’s parties get gifts, as do other semi-ceremonial gestures. You should dress nicely.
Every man should own a business suit and tie in a classic necktie color, and they are your best bet here. A simple case (one with a lighter color, a pattern, or both) is an appropriate option for casual occasions. Usually, trousers and a blazer are preferable to jeans and no jacket.
Like anything else, there will always be a few weddings when the advice does not apply. What you’re going for doesn’t work with formal attire. Nevertheless, go with the suit unless you’re sure it’s excessively formal. Be confident in your ability to be the best-dressed man in the room. You ought to be.
What to Wear to a Bachelor Party
The location determines the outfit for a bachelor party. In most circumstances, it will be informal.
In some circumstances, the groomsmen (or other party guests) will have chosen an outfit for you. It’ll most likely be a dumb one. Wear it with a grin unless there’s a compelling reason not to – after all, you’re meant to be having fun during your bachelor party. Exceed everyone’s need for excess and novelty.
Specific venues (including high-end “gentlemen’s clubs”) may have dress restrictions that include “no jeans” and “no sneakers,” as well as “jacket required” in some situations.
Aside from those restrictions and whatever your party planners have chosen for you, you can wear whatever you want to your bachelor party.
Anything celebratory is an excellent option. You can be as boisterous, party-themed, and tasteless as you like. But remember that the photos will almost certainly end up on Facebook!
A man who wishes to avoid the novelty will always look good with dark trousers, a shirt, and a sports jacket (corduroy, patterned cotton, etc.), with casual dress shoes and a great belt. For everyday events, it’s always a safe bet.
What to Wear to Family Breakfasts
This one may or may not be imposed on you. Most couples are left to fend for themselves on the morning of the wedding.
Light colors and dress-casual clothes are appropriate for a morning appearance. A khaki or light grey suit, trousers, and a navy jacket are fit. In any instance, wear a collared shirt and a necktie.
Please do not wear any of your wedding dress components to pre-wedding dinners or parties, no matter how convenient it may appear! Even if you don’t spill on them (which Murphy’s Law predicts you will, no matter how careful you are), you’re releasing the balloon too soon. You want your wedding gown to stand out when you walk down the aisle, which is difficult if everyone has been staring at it for hours.
It is good male etiquette, as with many things, to be well-dressed (and not in your wedding gown) for these family breakfasts and similar functions. Looking calm and elegant will assist put her in a good mood for the upcoming dress arrangement. The last thing you will do is appear flustered or imperfect in your wardrobe – that kind of thing is contagious, and she’ll already be under a lot of dress-related pressure.
Excuse yourself as early as necessary to change from your morning/breakfast attire to your wedding attire. They are often light, quick dinners to fit schedules, and everyone expects you to be busy on your wedding day.
What to Wear for Wedding Pictures
Nowadays, it’s common for photographers to capture numerous posed images of the bride and groom and their wedding party.
This is usually best done before the wedding. The only problem is that the groom and the bride end up fighting each other in their full wedding attire before the ceremony, which is a departure from tradition and a loss of one of those “remember it for a lifetime” moments as the bride begins her journey to the altar.
If you intend to perform a photo shoot before or after the ceremony, it is customarily done in a full bridal gown. The only exception is that shoes are occasionally removed (particularly for ladies, but men can as well) when shooting on possibly muddy grass or near water.
Instead of concentrating on what you’re wearing (which has already been decided), focus on how you’re wearing it during photo sessions — make sure everything is crisp and calm before the camera starts clicking, and if the ritual hasn’t yet occurred, resist any arrangements or poses that could tear, stain, or otherwise damage your attire before the wedding.
If you and the bride are taking photos before the wedding but need to wear your attire, wear something simple, formal, and easy to change into and out of fast. Talk with the bride-to-be about the portrait style she prefers, but keep easy-on-and-off choices in mind, such as loafers instead of lace-up shoes, turtleneck or crewneck knits rather than button-fronted blouses, and so on. It will make the transition from photographs to ceremony much smoother at a time when your brain is already overworked.
What to Wear to a Wedding Ceremony
Most of this advice was about what to wear to your wedding ceremony.
Hopefully, you’ve figured it out by now – make sure you know when you’re changing into it, where you’re changing, and how all the essential bits are getting there.
Expect you’ll be out of shape by the time you put on your wedding suit, and make sure your best man or assistant has a detailed list of what you need to look like before you start walking. Of course, you’ll scrutinize yourself in the mirror, but it’s anyone’s guesses what thoughts — if any — will run through your mind as you do so.
What to Wear to a Reception Dinner
Like most of these occasions, the reception supper can vary significantly in formality.
Grooms generally come in their wedding attire, but this is not compulsory. If you and your wife wish to change before the reception, choose costumes similar to the wedding attire but are a little more dressed down, such as a dark business suit instead of a tuxedo.
Make sure your ensemble contains a jacket, whatever form it takes. This is both good form (you should be wearing at least that level of formality on your wedding day), and a valuable signal to your guests – the groom removing his jacket is a traditional indicator that others can do the same, usually after the first or second dance or two.
Dressing for Reception Dancing
Plan on dancing in the same clothes you got married or the same clothing you attended the reception supper in unless you’re determined to slip away and change.
There is only one thing to note: have a change of shoes ready for you. Assign it to a groomsman or a relative; you’ll need them. Many brides and female guests may remove their shoes, but you don’t want to do the same. Socks are dangerous on dance floors, and you’ll be in charge.
Of course, if the location changes completely, you can change your clothes in the car (or another mode of transportation) on the way. In that instance, as with other events, be directed by the venue and the performance. Once the ceremony and immediate celebration are complete, there is no particular expectation of formality on your behalf.
What Should You Wear To Your Honeymoon Suite?
We won’t tell you how to behave with your new bride in the bedroom, but we will advise you on making it a little more classy.
Have some bathrobes ready for both of you. Make them as seductive, plush, or vintagey as your (and your bride’s) tastes require, but having something unique to slip into after you’ve finished with your actual clothing is a lovely touch. Make it extra special — incredibly relaxing for your sore feet — by wearing matching slippers for him and the woman.
And, to be blunt, wear some very pleasing underpants. The honeymoon suite (or other destination) deserves better than the same pair of boxers she’s seen before or something with holes and stains.
You don’t have to go out and get a Chippendale’s thong, but a beautiful, closely-fitted pair of boxer briefs or anything like that will leave her wondering what she’s gotten herself into by marrying you…
What to Wear to Post-Wedding Brunches
Brunch the morning after the wedding is usually a family occasion, though it has recently become more common for the entire wedding party and guests to attend.
Fortunately, your presence is typically optional. The bride and groom are expected to have already left on their honeymoon — or are still in bed together — the morning after their wedding.
If you go, treat it as you would any other conventional, churchy type of brunch. Try wearing a light-colored suit with a necktie. Instead, pants and a blazer with a collared shirt and tie.
It is permissible to wear the same suit if you are scheduled for breakfast/brunch gatherings on the day of the wedding and the day after. To avoid looking monotonous, change up the shirt, tie, and, if possible, shoes.
How To Dress For Wedding Events With Only One Bag
Going through the list, a groom can find himself hosting nearly a dozen events during a wedding weekend.
Of course, you will only have some on this list. Even if you fill up most of the bingo card, you can fit it all in one suitcase or hanging bag. (But be prepared to check your stuff. Unless your wedding and all associated parties are relatively informal, you’ll need two or three jackets, which should be clear from a carry-on.) What should you have that you may interchange to create the required clothes?
How to Dress for Wedding Events with a Reusable Wardrobe
- The Wedding Costume: Whatever it is, it must be included. Items from it should not be used for anything else – there is too much chance of pre-ceremony damage. Pack it, hang it neatly in a zippered bag when you arrive, and leave it alone until it’s time to get ready for the wedding.
- One Dark Navy or Charcoal Suit: This is your outfit for the most formal events. It also includes a pair of dark pants and a dark “blazer” for more casual occasions. You could, for example, wear the outfit to the rehearsal dinner. The jacket can be worn with khakis at a breakfast/brunch event. The trousers look fabulous with a shirt for casual greetings and pre-wedding receptions.
- One plain white dress shirt – To be worn with your suit or jacket on the most formal occasions. It will need to be revised.
- Two light-colored dress shirts – Ideal for brunch (combined with a light suit or blazer/slacks combo) to a wild bachelor party (untucked and sleeves rolled up).
- One pair of light-colored trousers (or a light-colored suit) – For the morning festivities. Khakis are entirely OK. However, if you have a tan, light grey, or another simple case with room for it, it makes a beautiful complement.
- One pair of black lace-up dress shoes – goes with everything, as long as you have a black belt. If you have room, add a couple of more casual shoes in brown leather (with a belt to match), but you can get away with only black.
The last touches
- Five Neckties in Different Colors – Five ties in three days? Yes. This is how you transform one or two jackets into various ensembles. Get a diverse choice of colors and patterns.
- Five-pocket squares in various colors can be used to accent neckties but avoid matching pairs. At least one pocket square should be white and properly pressed for your most formal attire.
- Sundries – All your socks, undergarments, belts, suspenders, cufflinks, and other little accessories.
You can save a lot of space (and thought) by bringing a pair of essentials that can be swapped in and out and worn with other things.
Switch jackets and trousers in and out, and mix the colors you have. Everything from your shirts and pocket squares to your belts and neckties is included. Suddenly, your one bag of clothing covers every function you might attend.