One of the biggest talking point with coordinating groomswear is how to distinguish a groom from his best man, his best man from the ushers, the groomsmen from any guests that may dress up.

As with most wedding issues, opinions, what the etiquette books say, what your sister did at her wedding and so on can all play a part in your decision making. I say just choose what you are comfortable with, take the professionals’ advice and don’t complicate your look. In fact, if you break it down it really isn’t that complicated.

Coordinating the Bride and Groom

Bride looking over her shoulder at groom wearing white waistcoat and cravat

To start, the groom is usually accessorised to coordinate with his bride, often with white or ivory. This is not only traditional (and gets you mega brownie points), it ensures you can choose any suit colour. It may sound a bit twee, but if you are fair haired or dark skinned, tall or short, these all play a part in what suit is best for you, so choosing neutral accessories really is a help.

Coordinating the Groom and Best Man’s Look

What about the best man is the next question? Not being ones to dictate to you, my staff have their own opinion, and I like that because they are not reading from a book or suggesting the same old thing to every wedding.

Groom and best man wearing matching groomswear

For instance I am a fan of the best man looking exactly like the groom. This way the best man stands apart from the other groomsmen and will be respected by the guests as someone who has an important role to play. My assistant manager however feels the groom should stand out in a subtle way, with all the other groomsmen dressed the same as each other. Both these scenarios and others can look very effective.

There is no particular right or wrong, so do what you feel is correct, but there is no need to overcomplicate the look.

Coordinating the Other Groomsmen

Groomsmen in coordinating suits and different ties

Ok, so what to do about the ushers, father of the bride and even pageboys? Some wedding parties think that the father of the bride should stand out in some way, but don’t want him to look like the groom. The same idea can be applied for pageboys. This can add a third or even a fourth look into the men’s group look, and this is when things start to look busy, disjointed, or like the shop ran out of a particular colour. Even if the bridesmaids’ colours are multiple, I suggest picking one colour that will suit the guys best, with of course the preferred suit colour and style.

To summarise, the typical (but by no means every) wedding that I look after consists of:

  • The groom or groom and best man in ivory/white accessories.
  • The other groomsmen in the same outfit but with a different neckwear (and possibly waistcoat) colour. Simple but effective and relevant.

Done well, changes can be big or small, but very effective.

Guest post by Stephen Bishop

Images from…

Bride and Groom: Helen Howard Photography

Groom and Best Man: Tom Biddle Design and Photography

Groom and Groomsmen: Rachel Joyce Photography