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Wedding attire for Grooms

While brides spend days finding their perfect dress, choosing a suit for the groom, the best man, the usher and any page boys can be a bit of an afterthought. The choice of suits is huge, from Highland dress to a casual lounge suit, with morning coats remaining the most popular for traditional weddings. Hiring a suit is quick and easy, and while most good menswear hire shops will insist that they measure you themselves for the best fit, some will allow your best man and ushers to order online if they live a distance from the shop you choose, and will give you guidance on getting the right measurements. Don't forget the other essentials, which may need to coordinate with the bridesmaids dresses or the wedding colour scheme; waistcoat, cravat or tie, shirt, shoes and socks. Unless your bridal party already have suitable suits it is usual for the groom to pay for the suit hire, and certainly to cover the costs of any coordinating waistcoats and cravats.

What options are there?

Morning Suits are traditionally worn for weddings taking place before 3pm. A blue, black or grey tailcoat is worn with plain or pin-striped trousers, white wing-collared shirt, coloured waistcoat, cravat, top hat and gloves.

Frock Coats, are available in a variety of colours and fabrics, with plain black trousers, a wing-collared shirt and a coloured cravat.
Lounge Suits are suitable for less formal weddings and are the usual choice for Registry Offices. Single or double breasted, two or three piece with a plain shirt and coloured tie. A quality lounge suit in light wool or even linen can look effortlessly elegant - and also represents a good investment. Unlike the bridal gown it can be worn again and again.

Black Tie, or Dinner Suits, are a suitable choice for late-afternoon weddings with a formal reception. A black dinner jacket is teamed with tapered trousers and braces, a shirt with a pleated front and turn-down collar, and a black bow tie.

Highland Dress consists of a kilt, a Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket or doublet, a sporran, laced brogues, socks, jabot (frill), cuff and skean dhu (a small dagger in the sock). It is unusual to wear highland dress unless you have strong Scottish connections.

Should you hire or buy?

Do you hire or buy? The decision is usually dictated by your budget and the number of people in your wedding party. If you plan to wear an unusual morning suit or 'top hat and tails', it is more appropriate to hire as few men wear them other than on their wedding day. You can find the occasional bargain second hand morning suit that has only been worn once for exactly that reason. A suit that can be re-worn, for work perhaps, can be a good investment, and many grooms feel that their wedding is the right time to invest in a really good quality suit to last for many years. If you have hired any suits, top hats or shirts, arrange for someone to return them after the wedding.

Coordinating cravats, waistcoats and buttonholes

Cravats and waistcoats can be bought off the peg or made to measure. As your colours may need to compliment the bridesmaids' dresses, get as much information on those as possible, a sample of the fabric would really help you out. Don't go over the top with matching your waistcoat, tie and handkerchief - the general idea is to choose a patterned waistcoat, in-keeping with the general colour theme of the wedding, and then highlight the main colour - usually worn by the bridesmaids - by wearing a plain cravat or tie, and handkerchief.

If you are wearing a Morning Suit, then cravats should only be worn by the Groom and Best Man. A high necked waistcoat will stop the cravat from 'escaping'. And remember that it is traditional for the bottom button on your waistcoat to be left undone.


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