The Perfectly Suited Groom

The Perfectly Suited Groom
Your bridal gown will turn heads as you walk down the aisle on your wedding day, but the groom, waiting patiently for you at the altar, deserves his share of the attention, too. The groom’s attire will be dictated by the ceremony’s time of day, since that dictates the wedding’s degree of formality. Proper attire falls into four categories, each with their own distinctive traditions and styles: very formal, formal, semiformal and informal.


Putting on the Ritz
Both very formal and formal men’s attire are governed by long held traditions. Morning weddings are considered very formal, calling for long-jacketed “morning suits” with gray waistcoats and pinstriped trousers, top hats, gloves and spats. The distinctive morning coat tapers from the waistline button to one broad tail with a vent in back. The groom and groomsmen may also sport walking sticks.

Very formal evening weddings require that the men of the hour dress in what’s known as white tie and tails: black swallowtail coats and trousers, and white vests, shirts and bow ties. Black top hats and white gloves are optional. The traditional swallowtail coat is cut short in front and extends to two tails in the back.

A formal afternoon wedding calls for classic black tie and tuxedos for the groom and his men. White dinner jackets are worn at a formal evening ceremony with black pants trimmed in grosgrain or satin ribbon and a black bow tie, vest and cummerbund.

Proper footwear choices are opera shoes or formal lace-ups, always in black. In both very formal and formal weddings, while the men are dressed identically, the groom is allowed to distinguish himself from his groomsmen by a distinctly different boutonniere.

A More Casual Elegance
With semiformal and informal men’s attire, tradition loosens and almost anything goes. While the groom and groomsman may still wear tuxedo or dinner jackets (double breasted or single-breasted), a dash of coordinated color in their ties, vests, cummerbunds and suspenders can be added to complement the wedding colors. Most men’s formalwear shops offer a colorful variety of jackets and vests in brocades, iridescent and other textures and patterns. The groom may even distinguish himself from the groomsmen by wearing a different colored jacket altogether.

Semiformal fashion allows the groom and groomsmen a bit more contemporary flair. While an everyday man’s suit is fine for an informal wedding, the groom and groomsmen should try to dress in the same color. Navy or dark gray suits or navy jackets with white pants are considered traditional informal wear, with white bucks or saddle shoes. The color of the men’s ties should complement the bridesmaid’s gowns.

Awesomely Cool & Funky Style Examples

The Bow-Tie Challenge
Unless you plan a morning wedding, which calls for ascots or elegant four-in-hand ties, the groom and groomsmen will likely wear bow ties. The bow tie is commonly rented or sold in a prettied version, so that a man need only adjust the strap length around his neck and fasten it with a clasp that is hidden behind the bow. However, buying a “real,” or untied bow tie, and taking the trouble to learn how to tie it is a gesture that will not go unnoticed. The hand-tied bow tie will be slightly imperfect, revealing the touch of a human hand, and the result will be a kind of authenticity and elegance not possible with the stiff, perfectly symmetrical pre-tied version. However, it’s really just a simple slipped square knot tied the same way shoes are tied. The salesperson at most formalwear shops will gladly give a tutorial, and with a little practice the groom and groomsmen will become experts. If you decide to go this route, the groom or at least one of the groomsmen should learn the procedure inside and out, ensuring that all ties are properly knotted prior to the ceremony.

Shopping Tips
When the men visit their formalwear shop they should have a firm idea of the women’s wedding attire, and bring color swatches from the bridesmaid’s gowns. Pictures from the pages of wedding and men’s magazines of the preferred formalwear styles will aid in the decision-making process.

The groom and groomsmen should reserve their rentals at least three months in advance of the wedding. Final measurements should be taken about three weeks before the ceremony, however be sure to come back a few days before the wedding for last-minute alterations.
Tradition says that groomsmen pick up the cost of renting their own formalwear, but the discreet groom might offer to cover the accessories such as custom cuff links and shirt studs.

Finally, someone should be designated to return all formalwear to the store on time in order to avoid late fees, which can get quite expensive adding up the per day, per outfit costs.

The Perfect Fit
Whatever the style and degree of formality you choose for your wedding, there are a few key points to keep in mind regarding fit when ordering formalwear for groom and groomsmen. Shirts, whether with pleated front panels or traditional smooth-fronted ones, should fit snugly around the neck. The bottom hem of the pants should touch the top of the shoes. Jackets should fit snugly, but comfortably with some room at the waist. Sleeves should end at the wrist bone with the same number of shirt buttons showing. Vents on the sides of the jacket should lay smoothly and follow bodylines. The collar should hug the neck and the lapels shouldn’t buckle.

Grooming the Groom
With all the attention given to the men’s clothes, an important detail that is sometimes overlooked is the groomsmen’s hair. Men are generally more casual about haircuts than women, but they should be sure to get a trim two weeks before the wedding to add the finishing touch to their wedding finery.

A Groom’s Glossary
Tails: The ultimate formal attire, which should only be worn after 6 p.m., this ensemble features a winged-collar tuxedo shirt, ascot or bow tie, vest, tuxedo trousers and tailcoat. The full-dress ensemble comes in black, midnight blue, or grey, with a white shirt and matching or all white accessories.

Tuxedo: Either single or double-breasted, this formal suit has satin shawl or notched lapels. Matching pants sport a satin stripe down the pant-legs. Tailored in silk, mohair, wool or blend, in black, grey, ivory or white, tuxedos come in a range of styles sure to suit any taste.

Vest: This is often referred to as a waistcoat and comes in single- or double- breasted styles easily worn with nearly any tuxedo ensemble. With the open back vest, a band goes around the neck and another is fastened across the back. Tails, strollers, white-tie and director’s suits require a different style of vest.

White tie: Worn only to the most formal evening weddings, this ensemble consists of a black tailcoat and black tuxedo trousers with a white bow tie, winged-collar shirt and white vest.


Don’t stress out.
WEL-COME – “Wedding Essentials List:  Communicate/Compromise, Organize, Manage and Exercise.”  During the engagement period, work on these everyday.  You’ll reduce your stress during the hectic and emotional months ahead.

Gain strength.
Use the engagement time wisely.  Pre-marriage counseling is meant to weed out potential problems and strengthen your communications.

Get organized.
Right after the engagement is announced, create a wedding binder with plastic sleeves.  Any items or documents you find can be organized immediately.

Tell the world!
Make your engagement public by placing a formal announcement and black and white photo in local newspapers, alumni and professional publications.  Before sending in your written spec. sheet (parents of bride and groom, career information, etc.), have someone proof it for accuracy, and put your names and phone number on the back of the photo.  Most often, this is a free public service.

Get help.
The pre-wedding phase is crucial planning time.  Make a list of things you want to delegate and create a support system from the start.

A reflection of you.
What’s your wedding style?  After you’re engaged and before you’re knee-deep in wedding planning, take some time with your sweetie and discuss your unique wedding vision. Maybe it isn’t the large, formal, Saturday evening affair. Or, maybe it is. Either way, it should ultimately reflect the two of you.

Get licensed!
The most critical part of the wedding: the marriage license. Without it, you can’t get married. Call the office in your county that handles marriage licenses, and get all of the important details, such as when you need to apply, how much it costs, and what types of payment are accepted. Do this far in advance of the wedding!

Get the proper coverage.
Is your ring insured? As soon as bring your engagement ring home, make sure that you your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy is updated to offer adequate protection in the event of a loss or theft. Take the time needed to learn the details of the coverage – what is and is not covered, etc.
Party girl.
Be a happy bachelorette. Be clear and articulate with your bridesmaids about the type of bachelorette party you would like to have. You don’t have to dictate the details, but if you want an intimate gathering of friends to talk’ and they’re planning a ‘wild night at strip clubs’ you may feel a wee bit disappointed, not to mention uncomfortable.


1. What should I register for? 

Obviously your needs and wants as a couple will influence your decision. . Before you begin the registry process have a heart to heart with your fiancé. Discuss you tastes, style, priorities, and your vision of your future home. Also be sure to take into account what items you already have as a couple.  Your selections will be easier and more focused when you have a game plan and you are working towards common goals!

If you are an established couple that has most of the household basics, you may want to consider registering at specialty stores such as art galleries, hardware stores, sporting good stores, or even travel agencies. No matter where or what you choose, make sure you register for gifts in all different price points so that your guests can choose gifts within their budget.

2. Where should I register?

Choose your stores wisely! Make sure that your registry offers you and your guests what you need. Consider the stores selection, locations, online abilities, shipping abilities etc. Are they hassle-free?  Figure out what is important to you and your guests and make sure that the stores you choose meet these needs.

Couples today usually choose 2 to 4 different registries. This gives your guests more options and locations. Consider department stores, online stores and, or specialty stores.

3. How do I let guests know where I am registered?

Although it is usually considered impolite to ask guests to buy gifts at certain locations, putting your registry information on your wedding website is perfectly acceptable and in this day and age, probably one of the most effective and polite ways to aim people in the right direction. Word of mouth is also a great tool! No matter what, people are going to ask your closest friends and family what would be best to get you, so just make sure they are well informed.

4. When should I register?

Make sure to register BEFORE the first bridal celebration but not early enough that many of your items may become discontinued. It is typically recommended that you register 4 to 6 months prior to the wedding. The majority of the gift purchases are made two weeks prior to the wedding and two weeks after the wedding. Due to this, make sure to do a thorough check two weeks before the wedding for any discontinued items.  This would also be the time to add items if necessary. You may also want to consider adding seasonal items at this time as well.

5. How many items should I register for?

Request more items then the number of people on your guest lists to account for showers and engagement parties. In this case more is better. Make sure you “over-register.” This will insure that your guest have many options. They will appreciate this!


Long range planning.
Consider your engagement as the beginning of your lifelong commitment; it’s the perfect time to create a healthy foundation for your marriage. As you plan your wedding, focus on your financial future by sharing dreams, savings, and debt issues, and start making a joint plan.

Photo provided by Ros-Lynn Studios

Magnetic personality.
For weddings that fall around holidays such as New Year’s Eve, to reinforce the date, create personalized, magnetic save-this-date cards, and send them out at least six month’s in advance.

Get professional help.
If you’re a disorganized bride, the stress will show at every turn.  Use the pre-wedding time to organize and weed-out conflicts, clutter, and emotions.  Enlist expert help to support you by hiring a financial advisor, wedding planner, organizational consultant and personal trainer. The extra time and money invested will result in a successful wedding and good-to-go marriage.

Photo provided by Ros-Lynn Studios

Choose your friends wisely
Once the engagement is announced, choose the bridal party carefully. Yes, it’s an emotional time, but use logic when you make important decisions. Consider: emotions, personalities, dependability, affordability, and your relationship with him/her. Once you make the offer, you can’t take it back, so use your best judgment.

Photo provided by Ros-Lynn Studios

Group Discounts.
Host your engagement party at a restaurant that caters to celebrations and ask whether they might give you a discount on catering, etc., if you also book your shower or rehearsal dinner with them at the same time.

Make arrangements.
Don’t put off discussing premarital agreements – get it out of the way, right away.  Yes, it’s awkward, but it’s part of our culture.  If you try to slide the issue on the table a month before the wedding, you’re not only asking for disaster, but it might not hold up in a court of law because it can be considered an agreement made under pressure.

Anniversary Gifts-Traditional & Modern


Your anniversary is a special day to reaffirm your love, to say you’re glad you married each other and you’d do it all over again.

Whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, the gift you choose celebrates the years you’ve spent as husband and wife and looks forward to many happy anniversaries to come. Each year together is a reason to celebrate. Through the years, choose gifts that say how much you still love each other. Consider starting a memory book. Each year, collect a few mementos of special times you have enjoyed together.



Wrap them in luxury.
A really plush gift idea for your bridal party – have monogrammed robes made.

Quote your parents.
Your parents will most likely invest some of their life-savings in your big day.  Acknowledge their generosity with a personalized gift in return.  Find an eloquent quote about parenting or the relationships between fathers/mothers, sons/daughters,and have it engraved on a special plague.

Rock on!
Polished stones carry special meaning.  Find a local boutique that sells “love rocks,” and give one to each of your guests.

Photo opportunity.
Consider making photo books with old photos of you and your friends.  Spend some time thinking of all the things you’ve been through and give these cherished, personalized gifts to your maid of honor and best man.

Picture your friends.
When making a video that will be shown at the wedding, include photos of family and friends – not just of the bride and groom.  Your guests will be pleased that you thought of them.

The write stuff.
The thank-you cards are more meaningful than your invitation!  Yes – by acknowledging guests with hand-written, personalized notes, you are saying that it mattered that they came to your wedding and/or sent a gift.  Spend more time on this end of things and the time invested will return with gracious measure.

Refresh your guests.
If you have out-of-town guests who are staying at nearby hotels, acknowledge them by arranging to have a refreshment package, along with a personalized note from you, in their room!

Welcome wagon.
Wedding sheets are an extravagant keepsake.  When approached by family or a close friend, ask them to consider this as a meaningful gift, and ask them to have a set of luxurious sheets monogrammed or embroidered with your initials.

Dance the night away.
If your mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandfather, friend, et al, said something insightful, write it down.  As an extra special and meaningful touch, pull together a small book of personalized quotes and give this to them on your big day.

Bubble heads.
Use the buddy system for out-of-town guests. Try to assign a friendly, outgoing family member or close friend to any out-of-town guests, to act as their ‘ambassador’ for the wedding weekend. The ambassadors can greet guests at the airport, take them to the hotel, and suggest things to do. This makes out-of-towners feel welcome.


1. Before you begin the registry process have a heart to heart with your fiancé. Discuss your tastes, style, priorities, and your vision of your future home. Also be sure to take into account what items you already have as a couple.  Your selections will be easier and more focused when you have a game plan and you are working towards common goals!

2. The key is timing. Make sure to register BEFORE the first bridal celebration but not early enough that some of your items may become discontinued. Also take into consideration the fact that some items are seasonal and may not be available when your guests are making their purchases.

3. You know not to go to the grocery store hungry, so don’t rush the registry process and try to accomplish this in one day.
Allow yourselves plenty of time to make good decisions. You can always add to the list later.  Instead take your time and consider all your options before completing.

4. If you already have most of the everyday ware, think of registering at specialty stores – art galleries, hardware or luggage stores, sporting good stores, or even travel agencies!

5. Although it is usually considered impolite to ask guests to buy gifts at certain locations, putting your registry information on your wedding website is perfectly acceptable and in this day and age, probably one of the most effective and polite
ways to aim people in the right direction.

6. The individual throwing your shower can certainly make it “themed” based. If you and your hubby to be love to do outdoor entertaining, the shower and gifts can be based around this theme. Or perhaps you really enjoy cooking and need kitchen items, why not a Recipe/Kitchen based shower. Theme showers can be fun and practical!

8. Word of mouth. No matter what, people are going to ask for your closest friends and family’s input into what would be best to get you, so just make sure they are well informed.

9. Mix it up! Make sure you register for gifts in all different price points so that your guests can choose gifts within their budget.

10. Keep your registry up to date. Many stores offer a computerized system that will allow you to look at your registry and make sure purchased items have been removed. It will also allow you to add items as you choose.

11. Make sure you register as a couple. You will want gifts that you both enjoy! You may want to assign categories in advance. You can make the china choices and he can choose when it comes to the kitchen gadgets.

12. Don’t worry about matching your tableware exactly. It’s actually stylish to mix several patterns in the same place setting to personalize your table.  Think about choosing 6 settings from one style and 6 from another style. It will be fun to have options and have the ability to mix and match!

13. In this case more is better. Make sure you “over-register.” This will insure that your guest have many options.
They will appreciate this!

14. Choose your stores wisely! Make sure that your registry offers you and your guests what you need. Online abilities?
Shipping abilities? Hassle-free?  Figure out what is important to you and your guests and make sure that the stores
you choose meets these needs.

15. Do NOT underestimate the power of a thank you. Make them personal and make them timely.

Setting The Tone

Setting The Tone
If any one element is crucial to setting the appropriate tone and atmosphere for your wedding it’s the music. The music played during your wedding should do more than just entertain; it should evoke the deep emotion of your ceremony. The right music takes the right kind of planning, and by following a few guidelines you can ensure perfect harmony between your ceremony and the music you choose for it.
Prior to selecting your music, it is best to decide if you want to use religious songs only or a combination of religious and popular tunes. Once you’ve decided, set an appointment with the director of music for your church or synagogue. This person will be able to make recommendations for music suitable for the acoustics of the building and complement any of your wedding’s religious or cultural themes. Music for your ceremony should be divided into four parts: the prelude, the processional, interlude(s) and the recessional.

The Prelude
Prelude music typically begins 20 to 40 minutes prior to the ceremony. These selections set the mood for the coming event. Since the prelude provides an acoustic backdrop for your guests, it’s best to choose pieces that will be familiar.

A string ensemble creates an elegant mood, while a vocalist singing love ballads evokes a more romantic atmosphere. Because prelude selections are played during the seating of the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom, you might choose songs with special meaning for them, perhaps the piece that was played on their own wedding day. Generally, your prelude selections should be played at a volume that will create a background for light conversation and reflection. These might be appropriate:

• Piano Concerto in C, 2nd Movement (Schubert)
• Violin Concerto #8 (Vivaldi)
• Air from Water Music (Handel)

• Rondo for Flute and Orchestra (Mozart)
• Hornpipe in D from Water Music (Handel)

The  Processional
The processional announces the arrival of the wedding attendants and, ultimately, the bride. The music for the bridal party’s entrance should have a definitive rhythm so that the attendants can easily keep time as they walk down the aisle. It should begin at a soft volume, then slowly increase until the bride’s entrance.

Organ music is the typical choice for the processional, but you can opt for a string quartet, a trumpet solo, or even a vocal solo. Whatever your selection, the music should be dignified and splendid and should also be the right length to accompany all of the attendants from the back of the church to the altar. Typically, there are two selections played during the processional: one for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and a different selection for the bride. If you decide to play the same selection for both, there should be a pause for the guests to stand and a noticeable increase in volume upon your initial entry into the sanctuary.

Attendants’ Entrance
• Canon in D Major (Pachelbel)
• Air on a G String (Bach)
• Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies (Tchaikovsky)

Bride’s Entrance
• Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin (Wagner)
• Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
• Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)

Throughout the ceremony, you should accentuate key moments with music, which makes a impact on your guests and breaks up the solemnity of the occasion. You might want to include music just before or after a reading, during communion or at the signing of the register. These selections may be performed by your musicians or sung by the congregation, but either way they should be slow paced and softly played to give your guests a moment for contemplation or reflection.
• Panis Angelicas (Franck)
• The Wedding Song (Stookey)
• Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod)

The Recessional
The recessional is the grand finale of the ceremony and should reflect the jubilant nature of the occasion. The selections played should be uplifting, possessing a quick, majestic tempo that proclaims the joy of your new union. Music should play as the wedding party leaves the church and continue until all guests have departed.
• Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)
• Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
• Sonata Prima (Vivaldi) B