If you read bridal magazines or blogs, you might think the wedding is all about the bride and the puffy white dress. The groom is pretty much just an honored guest, or a cute accessory for the bride to pose with. But in real life, the groom is as much a part of the wedding ceremony as his more sparkly counterpart, and it only makes sense that he be dressed just as well.
Before you rent your tuxedo, cut your hair and call it a day, here are the five crucial steps that you need to know before showing up to your own wedding. Of course, you want to have a talk with your fiancée about the style, formality and theme of the wedding. If you have your heart set on wearing a tuxedo-print t-shirt and your bride is planning a fairytale wedding in a castle, one of you might have to compromise.
Once your bride has chosen her dress, you can use that as your cue for how formal your wedding attire needs to be. If she’s wearing a classic ball gown, you will want a tux—if she chose a simple slip dress, you can get away with a sharp blazer and a nice tie.
1. The Basics
Unless you’re having an extremely casual beach party, you will want to wear a suit or tuxedo for the wedding. A tuxedo with tails is the most elegant and formal option, but you can scale it back with a simpler jacket if you feel more comfortable.
If you choose a tuxedo, you will probably need a bow tie and cummerbund as well. A sharp three-piece suit is another good option, and then you can wear a black tie or a tie in a color that matches the wedding theme. For a more casual, but still put-together, look, opt for a white shirt with a khaki suit—bonus points if you wear a linen suit to a beach wedding.
2. Tuxedo Rentals
If you don’t go to many black-tie affairs, renting a tuxedo is an affordable and smart option. Before you rent, however, check online reviews to make sure the shop is reliable and trusted. Double-check the dress code with your bride to make sure you are going to be dressed just right for the occasion. Don’t just ask for a size medium and walk out—you want your rental tuxedo to fit like it was made for you.
Get a proper fitting. You want your wedding look to be personalized, but save that quirky touch for the accessories. Keep the tux itself classic and elegant, and you won’t have to burn the wedding photos in ten years. Last but not least, order the tux well before the wedding date, and read the fine print to make sure you won’t get tripped up on cleaning fees or return dates.
3. Personal Grooming
Before you start complaining about the amount of working out or personal grooming that you are doing for the wedding, take a look at the intense regimen of fitness, skin care and prep that your lovely fiancée is doing to make sure she looks her best.
Luckily, your to-do list is a lot shorter. Set up a plan to shed those last few pounds if you need to, and hit the gym in those last couple weeks to beef up for that rented tux. Take an honest look at yourself in the mirror—and then set up an appointment to take care of any lingering skin or facial hair issues.
And speaking of facial hair, don’t try any unusual or creative styles the day before the wedding. Whether you go clean-shaven or rock a beard, pick one style and stick to it. A week before the wedding, get your hair cut and you’ll be all set.
4. Wedding Bands
No, we’re not talking about your college buddy’s rock band that you’ve convinced your fiancée to hire for the reception. Your wedding band is one of the most important and most overlooked elements of the groom’s wedding ensemble.
After all, when the cake has been eaten and the tux is returned, that will be the one reminder of the most special day of your life. Don’t feel like you have to get a ring that matches your fiancée’s engagement ring or wedding band. If she like sparkling diamonds and you like matte yellow gold, that’s fine.
Keep your lifestyle in mind—platinum is more durable than gold, and a shiny finish may hide scratches better. Modern men’s wedding bands come in curved, ergonomic shapes that are both stylish and comfortable, and some even feature subtle but elegant diamonds in flush settings.
5. Standing Out
It’s your big day, and you want to look like the star of the show. Whether that means a tux and tails or a dinner jacket, there are many ways to personalize the look and stand out—in a good way. If your groomsmen are wearing similar suits or tuxes to you, you will want to change one design element to make your wedding day ensemble stand out.
Have them wear black jackets and wear a white dinner jacket with a bow tie. Ask them to wear vests in the wedding colors and wear a white vest with a white tie. Don’t forget the power of accessories—your tie, cufflinks, tie pin and cummerbund are all ways to express your unique identity. Cufflinks are a great way to add a little irreverence to a serious penguin suit, and bold grooms may even want to rock a classic fedora hat for the photos.