Black Tie Wedding Outfit Dos and Don’ts: How to Dress Impeccably as Father of the Bride or Groom
Your child getting married is a highlight for any parent. It is one of life’s most special moments, celebrating a milestone, surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones.
As the father of the bride or groom, you may not be the centre of attention on the day, but you are certainly in the spotlight. You will be in countless photos, at the front of the ceremony, walking down the aisle, and giving a speech. It is one of the most important days to make sure your tuxedo is perfect.
As experts in bespoke and made-to-wear tuxedos at Artefact London we draw on years of experience to help you get the right look for your child’s black tie wedding. In this guide you’ll find out how to choose the right style for you, the best colour, and which accessories are essential vs optional.
Here is what you need to know as you prepare for the wedding of the year.
- What makes a black-tie wedding dress code different to other wedding dress codes?
- Do: consider investing in a new tuxedo for the wedding- black vs midnight blue
- Do: check with the groom regarding wearing a shawl lapel or a peak lapel tuxedo
- Don’t: forget to get your tuxedo altered before the big day
- Do: consider a double-breasted tuxedo as your option
Do: keep it simple when accessorising your tuxedo
What makes a black-tie wedding dress code different to other wedding dress codes?
Most weddings are formal events, but the level of formality changes depending on the couple’s preference.
At one end of the spectrum is a casual wedding, with a simple ceremony. You might wear a more relaxed outfit to this wedding, such as an open shirt and chinos.
A traditional wedding dress code might be smart casual, or smart, depending on the venue. Women generally opt for day dresses or cocktail dresses, and gentlemen wear business suits, or three- piece suits.
At the more formal end of the spectrum is black- tie. It is expected that female guests wear formal, floor length gowns and gentleman wear tuxedos or dinner jackets.
The most formal weddings have the most formal attire. This consists of morning coats for the gentlemen and formal tailored dresses for women.
Do: consider investing in a new tuxedo for the wedding- black vs midnight blue
You may have tuxedos in your wardrobe from various events over the years, however your daughter or son’s wedding has much greater significance than any other event you attended previously. Now is the time to look your best and check if your existing tuxedo still fits you well and is in good order.
See our guide on how a suit/tuxedo should fit.
You have two colour options; black, and midnight blue. Both are equally acceptable for a black- tie wedding. The one you choose depends on your preference- and that of the couple getting married.
Black tuxedos for weddings:
Black is a traditional option for tuxedos. It is probably the first colour you think of. Convention deems tuxedos only be worn after 5pm, although this rule is not so strictly adhered too now.
Midnight blue tuxedos for weddings:
Midnight blue was once considered to be more contemporary than black, but as of the last decade became a traditional alternative to black. Often referred to as navy blue, the midnight blue colour is darker than navy. Under artificial light midnight blue appears to be pure black, whereas black tuxedos can appear charcoal.
Both options should be accompanied with black shoes & bow tie.
Do: check with the groom regarding wearing a shawl lapel or a peak lapel tuxedo
Depending on the bride and groom’s preference there are a few outfit options for the men of the wedding party. The groomsmen and father of the bride/ groom could wear matching tuxedo styles while the groom wears a different tuxedo. Alternatively, the whole wedding party could match with each other and vary their accessories.
A shawl lapel on a tuxedo is a sophisticated option, reminiscent of Victorian smoking jackets. A wide panel of silk circles the collar and sweeps down to the buttoning point of the jacket.
Remember if you are planning on wearing a boutonniere which requires a buttonhole, the shawl lapel does not traditionally have one. A boutonniere is a small bunch of flowers which match the bride’s bouquet and is fixed to the lapel of those in the wedding party. Without a buttonhole, some might pin the flowers to the lapel. It is not advised to pierce silk with a pin as it may be damaged.
As the name describes, each lapel has two triangular peaks which point out from the jacket towards the shoulders. The peak lapel can make your shoulders appear broader as the peaks point to the widest point of your torso.
Unlike the shawl lapel, the peak lapel does traditionally have a buttonhole on the left side, which you can use for the boutonniere.
Don’t: forget to get your tuxedo altered before the big day
The impact of a well- fitting tuxedo cannot be understated.
Many gentlemen opt for a bespoke tuxedo to ensure it fits perfectly to their body. Having something tailor- made allows for the concealment of “problem” areas of the body, such as narrow shoulders. It also allows the tailor to highlight features such as the gentleman’s trim waist or height.
It takes around 2- 3 months to create a bespoke tuxedo.
If the wedding is sooner than that, your best option is to purchase a high- end made- to- wear tuxedo. You should also arrange for professional alterations before the big day. Even seemingly small tweaks, such as shortening the cuffs, or taking in the waist can dramatically alter the overall effect of the tuxedo.
Do: consider a double- breasted tuxedo as your option
Both single-breasted and double-breasted tuxedos work well for weddings.
Double-breasted tuxedo jacket
The double- breasted tuxedo jacket speaks of authority.
If you want to achieve the look of a slimmer waist, or you would appreciate more support in that area, a double- breasted tuxedo jacket will provide just that. The front of the jacket crosses over and is secured with an extra row of buttons which can give the appearance of a flatter stomach.
The downside of a double-breasted tuxedo jacket is that it is more difficult to buy in retail and this is where the correct cut plays an ever-greater importance. Another potential downside is that you must always keep the buttons of the jacket fastened to maintain the shape of the silhouette.
Single-breasted tuxedo jacket
When it comes to single-breasted tuxedos, there is only one button, never two, giving a simple yet sophisticated silhouette. The jacket button should be fastened during the formal parts of the event, and you may unbutton it when you hit the dance floor later in the evening.
Do: keep it simple when accessorising your tuxedo
The rules of wearing a tuxedo have been formed over many decades. In some cases, there is a “right” and a “wrong” way to wear an accessory. In other cases, you have an option to choose.
Non- negotiables in tuxedo accessories:
- Wear a dress shirt
- Match the metal of the studs and cufflinks
- Wear a dress watch
- Wear a white pocket square
- Wear black patent shoes, or leather shoes such as Oxfords
- Wear a black, hand-tied bow tie
- Wear black or midnight blue dress socks
Where you can express your personality when it comes to black tie wedding:
- If you are having a bespoke tuxedo made, you can experiment with the colour of your lining
- Choose cufflinks and studs with a coloured inlay
- Wear a cummerbund or waistcoat, or go without one altogether