You’ve heard “some rules are meant to be broken,” right? Well, we’re here to talk about some rules that are not meant to be broken: the accessory rules that grooms must follow at their wedding. Why must you follow these rules? Because they are long standing, and because they work.
As you’re likely aware, being knee deep in wedding research and all, weddings are following less of a traditional formula these days. People are getting married in barns as often as churches, and more and more men are opting for a bespoke suit or a casual outfit over a typical tux. But it’s easy to blow all the care you put into your suit-shirt combo with an overly blinged-out watch or a pair of colorful novelty socks.
Following best accessory practices will pay off in the years to come, when you’re a lot less that sunglasses-vacation-selfie guy and more the grown-man-holding-down-the-job-and-helping-out-with-the-kids guy. Your wedding photos will periodically resurface over the next ten, twenty, and fifty years and the choices you make now will determine how you view them. If you stick to these rules, we feel confident that you’ll look back and laugh at the good times, not cringe at the decisions you made.
Dress Code: Black Tie
Black tie is one of the most prescribed dress codes, but there is still room to personalize your look. Just keep a couple of things in mind:
If you wear a watch, keep it simple
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when wearing a watch with a tuxedo was just not done. That time has come and gone, if for no other reason than to let the Hollywood A-listers sell their watch deals while walking the red carpet. That said, there is no room for a chunk of steel on your wrist when wearing a tuxedo. Keep it slim, streamlined, and ideally a nice black band (nothing rubber) and white face (yes, analogue). This style has never looked bad and we trust it never will.
Don’t outsource your bow tying
Pre-tied bow-ties are just clip-on ties for adults (and if you’re still wearing a clip-on tie, well then we don’t know what to tell you). If you’re going with a bow-tie, you need to learn how to tie one. It’s as simple as that. Who cares if you forget how once the day is done? You can be proud looking back and knowing you didn’t take the cheap and easy route.
Keep your shoes in tip-top shape
You’re wearing a tuxedo, so polish your shoes. No, patent leather isn’t a must these days (although it certainly gets our vote) but the idea still holds true. The saying “you clean up nicely” doesn’t stop at the ankles. It’s your wedding, so invest in a few extra minutes to look like you’re the most important man in the room. Because you are.
Dress Code: Semi-Formal
So maybe you’re not going with the tuxedo–you still need to put some effort into looking nice. Whether it’s a summer suit with brown shoes framed by outdoor greenery to winterscapes anchored in rich textures and classic sartorial tailoring, you should follow the few tried-and-true rules that, unlike lapel widths, will never change.
Keep the tie classic so it doesn’t date
It’s funny how you can look at a lot of cultural icons through the years and pretty much pin down the year or era of their photo based on the width of their ties. Fortunately for you, we are living in a Goldilocks era of tie width. Most ties you can buy today are not too skinny and not too wide, so they all look reasonably classic. Hover around 2¾ inches, give or take a quarter of an inch, and you’ll be proud of your photos in the years ahead.
Crazy socks look, well, crazy
Don’t. It’s never as good of an idea as you think it is. There’s a reason why patterns like houndstooth, herringbone, and even polka dot stay around long after marijuana leaves, funky colored camo, and Santa Clause. There is a time and place for that kind of stuff, and it will never be on your feet at your wedding.
Matchy matchy isn’t modern
This should be basic wedding 101, but for some reason those rental places still think it’s a good idea to push this look on you. Don’t let them. Your tie and pocket square, for instance, don’t have to be the same exact color or pattern: it will make it look like you bought them as a set at Wal-mart. When in doubt, do this: white pocket square, solid or subtle pattern tie, and no vest. None of that shiny satin stuff either: it’s a look that doesn’t hold up over time.
Dress Code: Casual
Maybe the most varied and broad category to narrow down, the casualization of everything certainly applies to weddings. A simple courthouse affair to a tropical destination beach wedding – sometimes you just don’t want to wear a stuffy tux or even a suit and tie. But be careful what you wish for, as this is also the most dangerous when you consider how your tastes my change over time.
Please no sandals
We’re all for getting married at the beach, as long as you apply sunscreen and ditch the flip flops. Either get your guys to all wear a good casual shoe or clean sneaker (Vans and Converse are a good choice) or fully commit to the cause and go barefoot (and yes, you should get a pedicure). Sandals and flip flops just don’t look great, but well-cared for bare feet at a beach wedding will always make sense.
Say no to the shades
Let’s be clear here, we’re not saying you can never wear sunglasses if you’re getting married, especially in the great outdoors. We are saying however, that once the camera comes out, the shades come off. The reason sunglasses look cool is that they create a self-sufficient, unapproachable look. This is exactly what you don’t want at your wedding. You want to look happy, warm, and connected to everyone there.
The should only be one ring
OK fellas, not everyone is a fan of finger bling, but if you are, make your wedding day the one day you take all your rings off. You probably paid a lot for that wedding ring (if not for the ring, then likely the party to celebrate what it represents). Let it be the star. It’s the one and only day you’ll be making a big deal about a single ring on a certain finger. Show it off.