Choose them, match them, wear them, say ‘I do’ – round off your wedding-day look with our comprehensive guide to groom’s accessories.
Wedding accessories can have even the most dapper of gents feeling uneasy about the big day. Dressing for the office isn’t the same as dressing for the first day of forever.
Here at Trendhim, we love a good wedding! Helping a guy and his groomsmen get suited up for one of life’s biggest decisions is important to us. For this guide, we asked Emily Burton of Emily Burton Designs for her take on must-have suit accessories for grooms. A successful wedding event planner, Emily has the education, experience, and style that we’re happy to trust.
As we started our list of extra touches for the groom and groomsmen, this question came to mind… is there such a thing as too many accessories for a husband-to-be? Emily was quick to reply, “Yes, sometimes. My rule of thumb is to allow one statement piece. One looks polished and put together, whereas multiple suit accessories compete with each other and make your overall look feel cheap.
Keep an eye on the formality of the event and always discuss with your partner. You don't want your bride to walk down the aisle to discover you’re in a video game lapel pin when she expected a white rose. Not the best prelude to the marriage vows.”
Choosing one statement item is key. To help, we’ve curated our favorite wedding-day suit accessories below. Which one will you use to make a statement? Or will you stick to a traditional, subdued look and let your bride have the spotlight?
Ok, we know that ‘face’ isn’t the first thing you’d expect to see on a list of suit accessories, but let’s be honest… it’s important. “Your wedding is not the time to try something new or go for a wild, unkempt look. The goal is to look like an elevated version of yourself.
Whether it’s a beard to make every lumberjack jealous, a dapper mustache or a clean shave, the key is to make a plan. “Don’t use your trimmer for the first time on the morning of your wedding or attempt a new style you saw on social media. If you’re going to try something by yourself, make sure you’ve practiced and your partner likes the result! The last thing you want is to have your bride not recognize the man at the altar.”
The same goes for a good shave. While you don’t have to practice in advance (hopefully it isn’t your first shave), you do have to properly prepare your skin with a warm shower and make sure your products are ready for the task.
The knot you tie on the day you ‘tie the knot’ should fit the formality of the event. “A classic go-to is the Windsor knot. Sure, you can get creative and try something like a Truelove Knot, but there’s a reason why the Windsor survived decades of trends. It always looks fantastic.”
“Your wedding is meant to reflect you and your partner’s personality. It should tell your story through dress and decor, food and drinks and even the entertainment you choose… all without you having to say a word. This doesn’t mean an outgoing personality should have crazy colors.
It’s not about being matchy-matchy but rather finding colors and patterns that coordinate with the ceremony. Purchase your tie, and those of your groomsmen, in advance and check with your partner to see if the color matches with her ideas.
Just because the bridal party is wearing blush pink doesn’t mean you need a solid-color blush pink tie. Instead, wear a darker shade in the same color story but not an exact match. If you’re after a more casual look, opt for a patterned tie with shades of pink that coordinate and join you with the bridal party.”
Adding a tie bar or tie clip elevates your already polished look and, when matched with other metals you’re wearing, brings cohesion and class to your overall vibe… not to mention it’ll keep your tie from falling in the main course at the reception.
The key with tie bars or clip is to keep the metal in silver or gold-tone depending on your other metal accessories. Exchanging wedding bands or rings? Keep this in mind as well. “Matching metals – belt buckle, watch, cufflinks, etc. – is an excellent way to create a clutter-free look and will always be in style.”
Bow ties are less common than neckties and set you apart from the crowd. “Pulling in a fun bow tie with similar but not matchy-matchy colors to those of the bridal party is a unique way to elevate your look and still maintain cohesion.”
There are also some situations where a bow tie is mandatory. “If you’re in a pleated shirt – wear a bow tie. Pleated shirts are reserved for formal situations and designed to be worn with button studs. A necktie would hide the studs and defeat the point of the shirt.”
Another situation is if you’re in a tuxedo. You do have options with a tux, but typically wearing one means the event is formal and may even have a dress code. Black tie means a black bow tie is required. “If you do forgo tradition and wear a tie with your tuxedo, choose a solid-colored black silk tie.”
Are you the guy who wears a tie to work every day? Maybe a bow tie will give you an extra boost of confidence and style on your wedding day.
Looking for something different? A cravat gives a stylish touch to more formal occasions. However, a cravat worn inside the neck of a shirt (referred to as an ascot) can completely change the look and give a relaxed vibe to the occasion.
Stylistically, the groom should stand apart from his groomsmen and other members of the wedding party. “Wearing a cravat or ascot will distinguish him from his groomsmen in ties of the same or coordinating color. The look is still coordinated but sets the groom apart as someone special… because he is.”
We suggest 2 ways to tie your cravat. Both of these are worn with a formal shirt with wingtips.
A great way to bring personality and color to your wedding-day ensemble is with a pocket square. “Pulling in a fun pocket square that shows a bit of who you are is fun, acceptable and can be a conversation starter!”
“The square you choose will get noticed. It will be a talking point of the day – everyone likes to talk about what the bride and groom are wearing – and it will live forever in photos. With the cost and time spent getting your bride ready, don’t you deserve a bit of attention as well?”
“Do not wear a matching pocket square and necktie unless you're going for a more unified and formal look. It’s important to consider the colors of the ceremony – is there one your bride has chosen for flowers or for her attendants’ dresses? Take this color and choose a shade darker or lighter than that color. You can also choose 2 complementary colors or colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. This gives a super sharp and polished look… instead of wearing an exact match.”
“A final note about pocket squares is that if you’re wearing a boutonniere or flashy lapel pin with your pocket square then aim to keep the square a flat color such as white and with a conservative fold such as the Presidential Fold. The boutonniere or lapel pin will stand out with color and placement. By keeping it simple, you ensure you have an elegant finish.”
A groom doesn’t need to wear a lot of jewelry on his wedding day as the bride is the visual star of the show. That doesn’t mean you have to be completely void of shine or character either.
“Remember – you want your appearance to be an elevated version of yourself. That’s what the right pair of cufflinks can do… give you a certain air of sophistication and style that sets your day apart from the usual.
These small items also make great groomsmen accessories. Is there a certain hobby or movie that you guys are all into? Incorporate it into your look.”
Choosing cufflinks starts with the cuffs of the shirt. French cuffs, to be exact. “They are almost mandatory when wearing a tuxedo but the rules are more flexible with a suit. Just be sure they match the other metals in your look and work with the bride.”
Neckwear is a must if you’re in cufflinks and a suit. “French cuffs are too dressy to wear with an open collar.”
Whatever pair you choose, “having them engraved with the wedding date is a sweet reminder of the big day. And, if any brides are out there reading this… engraved cufflinks make a great gift for your groom!” We couldn’t agree more.
“Lapel pins are the ultimate decorative touch.” With all the choices out there, this accessory can be as extravagantly loud or as subtle as you want. For most weddings, you’ll be faced with a boutonniere – a fresh flower with history dating back to the 16th century.
Boutonniere is French for “buttonhole flower”. Initially, the purpose of wearing a boutonniere was to ward off bad luck and mask the unfortunate smells of the time. Hopefully, you’ll only wear one for aesthetic reasons and not because you forgot to shower.
There’s one golden rule for lapel pins – wear them approximately where the lapel buttonhole is or would be. That’s the upper part of the left lapel.
The pin itself should run parallel to your lapel instead of straight up or across. This is particularly important for longer stems, where the wrong angle can ruin the effect.
While not complicated, there are certain principles to follow so your boutonniere looks as good as possible:
“Make sure your florist has the right boutonniere pin – black for darker suits and white for lighter suits – not all florists can or know how to attach a boutonniere so the pin is invisible. Check with them in advance.”
Let’s start with belts as this is where it gets tricky. Whether or not to wear a belt depends on the formality of the event and the fit of your suit. “If your suit is tailored perfectly, then you won’t need one. If your pants are a bit loose, a belt should be used so they don’t end up down around your ankles. Note that a tuxedo does not require a belt.”
“Suspenders, on the other hand, can be worn either for functionality or for a bit of vintage or retro flair.” Pairing braces and suspenders with a bow tie and no jacket gives an old-school individuality that works for weddings which aren’t so formal.
“A word of caution. Despite what you may see on Pinterest, do not wear a belt and suspenders at the same time. They are designed to do the exact same job, so wearing them both at the same time is redundant. Decide on one and work with it.”
We asked Emily for an easy-to-follow set of guidelines:
If the ceremony is taking a bit too long, you can’t pull out your phone and check the time or play a quick game of Candy Crush. The same is true for the groomsmen. If you’re not already wearing a watch, your wedding is the ideal time to invest in one.
“A gentleman’s watch is practical and makes a stunning addition to the groom’s look.” For a more dapper option, consider a pocket watch. "Pocket watches are another fun way to inject personality, style and a bit of old-world charm into the wedding party. Gifting matching ones to your groomsmen isn't a bad idea either.”
“It’s important that any jewelry you wear coordinates with the bride. Think of this as the first step you will make toward coordination and compromise as a married couple. And it’s something you’ll be glad you took the time to do when you see the wedding photos.”
Wear a silver-tone timepiece if the bride is wearing silver or white gold and wear a gold-tone watch if she’s wearing gold. “Also consider the style of her jewelry. Is she going for a classic look with simple pearls, perhaps? If so, make sure the watch you choose is equally understated.”
Cummerbunds are reserved for tuxedos. Wrap on one of these with your suit and you’ll look crazy.
Originating with the British in India, the primary purpose of today’s cummerbund is to cover the waist. The result is that you look taller and thinner and your shirt doesn’t bunch up as much – not a bad reason to wear one, eh? The traditional rules for formal attire dictate that all working parts of the outfit must be covered or dressed. This is also why cufflinks are used to replace shirt buttons.
“The number one rule with cummerbunds is that they should be worn at your natural waist with the pleats facing upwards. This means your trousers should be worn around the navel with half of the cummerbund covering your shirt and half covering the pants. Wearing one too high or too low can ruin the slimming effect and end up looking silly.”
Other rules of rocking a cummerbund include:
Sunglasses aren’t really relevant for most weddings. Unless you’re getting hitched on a beach in Maui in the middle of the afternoon.
Some guys like to give matching shades to their groomsmen for photos. The choice is up to you and your bride. “I couldn't agree more. Yes, you want to have fun at your wedding, but do remember to ask your fiancé her thoughts on you and your friends wearing sunglasses. She may have an idea completely different to yours… it’ll be the first of many compromises you make as a couple.”
If you do wear sunglasses, “make sure you get a handsome pair that you won’t mind looking at for years to come in your wedding pictures.” Polarised lenses reduce glare from water and are great if you are actually getting married in Maui… or next to a pond filled with choreographed swans. And don’t forget UV protection.
“A pair of browline shades with frames that match your shoes and metal accessories is a classic, stylish alternative to a plastic pair from the supermarket.” Go for a black and gold pair if you’re wearing black shoes and gold cufflinks. Or a silver and brown pair if your watch is silver and shoes are brown.
Whether you’re standing alone at the altar or you’ve got your best mates next to you, the guidelines for looking your best still apply. You want to make sure they look as good as you do… or at least pretty close.
“It’s always easier if a groom and his groomsmen use the same company to buy their tailored suits from, this alleviates the problem of ‘matching’ and allows you to be cohesive. The same is true with the extra touches – find a company you like and shop amongst their selection.”
And lastly, “Your bride has a lot to do – help her out by dressing yourself.” You’ve now got the know-how and confidence to do just that.
“Best practice is to begin 3-4 months before the date. This gives you time to have your suit tailored, order the extra touches and rehearse things like a Windsor knot or figure out which cufflinks look best with your tie bar.”
“Depends on the formality of the wedding. Dressing in uniform looks polished, but it isn’t mandatory. If you do wear the same suit, consider distinguishing visually through the suit accessories you choose.”
“Again, this depends on the overall look you’re after. I suggest the groom to always have something that makes him stand out and look different from the men beside him – a different tie, boutonniere or even a pocket square can do the trick.”
We’ve got 2 words for this... shirt stays. Your shirt will stay neatly tucked in no matter how many toasts you raise or how many times you dance the YMCA.
“This is different from country to country and region to region. In my experience, I’ve noticed all-white suits and even flip-flops have started to creep into some weddings. Yours is about showcasing who you are as a couple… make your day your day!”
Emily Burton is the owner, lead designer and visionary of Emily Burton Designs. Her inspirations come from nature, fashion and her clients. She enjoys being a special part of a couple’s story and understands that it’s the smaller details that make a day seem perfect.
Her experience as a Senior Designer fueled her desire to start her own business in 2008. Since then, Emily and her team have been featured on national television and countless magazines and have grown to be one of the most sought-after wedding planning agencies in the south-east United States. Emily Burton Designs is located in Brunswick, Georgia, USA, and travels worldwide.