Spoiler alert: It’s your choice whether or not you want your groom and groomsmen suits to match. Traditionally, groomsmen’s suits match the groom’s, but everyone has their own preference. It’s common today for groomsmen to match one another, while the groom rocks a slightly different—but complementary—look.
Uniforms are popular for a reason—they are easy. When the groom and groomsmen match, there’s no confusion over who is part of the wedding party; their outfits clearly separate them from the guests. Everyone looks the same, meaning that there’s a level of cohesion across members of the wedding party. Matching groomsmen suits also mean that they can easily be coordinated with bridesmaid dresses, so that everyone looks good standing together. It also saves a lot of headaches knowing what everyone will be wearing and that they will match the wedding style.
Some grooms want their groomsmen to match one another, but will wear a different suit themselves. If you go this route, it’s still a good idea that the groom’s suit matches the style of the groomsmen, even if it’s a different color. If the groom wears dark grey, maybe the groomsmen wear a lighter shade. You want to look like you’re part of the same party, because you are. Remember, incorporating groomsmen accessories is a great way to make your groomsmen stand out from your other guests. Using a bow tie, suspenders, a patterned tie, or a boutonniere is an excellent way to incorporate a unique flare to your groomsmen attire.
An obvious con of matching groomsmen suits is the cost. If you’re going to expect all the groomsmen to wear the same outfit, you need to make sure that everyone has the financial means to do so. Buying a new wedding suit can cost hundreds of dollars—especially after alterations—so it’s important that everyone is able to spend money on a new groomsman suit. Keep in mind that your groomsmen have likely already spent a decent amount on your wedding, so you don’t want to push them overboard. (Make sure that you thank your groomsmen for all their work.)
Everybody also has their own style, and there’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in an outfit that isn’t you. Plus, people have different body types, meaning that what looks good on one groomsman may not look the same on the other groomsmen. Some men prefer single-breasted jackets, while others like double-breasted looks. Having the groomsmen match the groom doesn’t allow for individuality.
If the groom and groomsmen are going to match, make sure that you start shopping for suits early. It takes months to find a suit, get fitted, and wait for alterations. It’s often easiest to do suit fittings as a group at the same place so that there’s no confusion with timelines. Start this shopping process at least two to four months before the wedding to make sure that everyone gets their outfit back in time.
If you decide to have matching groom and groomsmen suits, coordinate with the bridesmaids, too. All members of the wedding party should be on the same page.
While making all the groomsmen wear matching suits, it’s important to make sure that the style looks good on everyone, and that all members of the wedding party are okay with their outfit. They don’t have to be in love with your style, but you want to ensure that they feel comfortable in the suit you’re asking them to wear.
There are certain colors and styles that are versatile and look good on nearly everyone. Navy, for example, is a classic suit color and looks fantastic paired with a classic, white dress shirt. You might also want all the groomsmen to wear the same suit, but have different colored ties. This is a fun way to match without looking identical.
If you decide that you don’t want the groom and groomsmen to wear matching suits, it’s still important that all outfits look good all together, and that they convey the same aesthetic or wedding style. Groomsmen wearing summery pastel suits will look odd next to a groom in a velvet tux. Set the tone and let your groomsmen know what color palette to choose from, and what level of formality they should adhere to. It’s a good idea to stick to the same fabrics, too. It helps to show photos and actively take part in the shopping process.
You’ll also want to outline what accessories are appropriate. It’s one thing to ask everyone to find a dark blue suit, but what about their dress shirts, ties, and shoes? Make sure that you clearly communicate the dress code. Again, photos are very helpful, especially for the less fashionably inclined.
Another reason why having a clear aesthetic is important is so that the groomsmen can coordinate with other members of the wedding party. If the bridesmaids are dressing in pale blue, you want the groomsmen to either match or dress in a complimentary color. It also helps if groomsmen are clearly identifiable as members of the wedding party, and not regular guests. Adding something like a boutonniere can help set them apart.
To avoid any unexpected fashion mishaps, make sure that you see—and approve—all groomsmen’s suits before the big day. The last thing you want is to be surprised by a buddy who thought semi-formal meant golf shirts with dress pants.
Regardless of whether you match with your groomsmen or not, accessories are fun ways to either bring you together, or set you apart. For instance, if you wear different suits, everyone can wear matching cufflinks or the same tie, so that there’s a uniformity across all outfits. Likewise, if the groom and groomsmen are not matching, you can all wear the same bow tie or socks.
Deciding if you want the groom and groomsmen’s suits to match is a personal choice, but as long as everyone follows a dress code, your wedding party will look stylish.