Photo: Bella OC/Rachel Jane Wise
We all know groomsmen look great dressed up in a perfectly tailored tuxedo. But sometimes, that level of formality just doesn’t fit into your wedding.
Whether you’re making the call to break away from tuxedos based on your venue, the climate, your theme, or simply personal preference, there are plenty of other ways to dress your groomsmen to the nines.
After all, you want attire that perfectly suits your special day.
Below, we’ve provided you with five alternatives to the traditional groomsmen tuxedo that will give you the flexibility you need without sacrificing style.
1. Classic Suit
Photo: Bella Baton Rouge/Elyse Hall Photography
A three-piece suit is a natural step down from a full tux. They give you a wild variety of options for your groomsmen outfits without taking away from your elegant, formal wedding.
Your groomsmen don’t have to channel James Bond to look sharp as a tack.
This jacket, vest, and pants combo will let you mix and match to your heart’s content. And there are so many different looks you can go for just by choosing the right suit.
Choose light blue, light grey, or navy suits for the classic wedding look. Deck your groomsmen out in pinstripes to match your retro wedding theme. Or, dress them up in your favorite shade of brown for a natural look that pairs with a bohemian dream ceremony.
If you’re feeling wild, there are suits available in all kinds of bright colors and bold patterns for a look none of your guests will soon forget.
This is definitely the path to take if you want to keep the boutonniere, cufflink, and pocket square level of formal without having the complete tuxedo look.
Check out our collection of modern bridesmaids dresses!
2. Just the Vest
Continuing down the ladder of formal wedding attire, the next rung is as simple as taking off a jacket.
This look is perfect for a slightly more casual feel while still keeping things pretty formal. It’s a great idea if you’re having an outdoor wedding somewhere hot where full jackets just don’t make sense.
Not that it’s unreasonable to ask your wedding party to bear the heat for the sake of your big day.
A pair of slacks with a matching vest on top of a shirt and tie will still impress. They’ll look just as dapper without being overdressed.
You can even add a bit of flair to this alternative by letting them open up their collars and roll up their sleeves.
3. Shirt and Tie
Another wonderful alternative to a tuxedo or suit is a nice set of dress slacks and a button-up shirt with a tie.
This look is in its element at the more casual wedding or if you’re dead set on your groom being the best dressed by far.
There are tons of ways to make this option your own, from the choice between bowtie and necktie to the color of the shirts your groomsmen wear.
Put them all in the same color to match your wedding theme. Create an aesthetically appealing gradient with different shades of the same color going from light to dark down the line. Or, pick out a printed shirt to bring a bit of whimsy to your wedding.
The rules around tucked and untucked shirts let you adjust how casual the outfits are even more.
Related: What Do Female Ushers Wear?
Photo: Bella Minneapolis/Love Big Live Small
Once you decide on your base outfit, you can upgrade your shirt-and-tie combo with a snazzy set of suspenders.
You can really never go wrong adding suspenders to a groomsmen outfit.
This 19th-century undergarment is great for so much more than holding your pants up. They function as fashion in this day and age, making them feel right at home in any wedding setting from formal to casual.
And they look good on everyone.
When picking out the perfect suspenders, match the fabric they’re made of to the clothes your groomsmen are wearing. Or, in the case of leather suspenders, match them to their shoes.
Suspenders go with literally anything.
Put them on under a suit jacket for vintage class. Pair them with rolled-up sleeves for a rugged vibe. Snap them on slacks, khakis, or even blue jeans (for a rustic wedding).
They’re the perfect go-to accessory for your groomsmen when you want to do away with the black tuxedo. Not only do they look nifty but, yes, they will also keep anyone’s pants up while they dance the night away.
5. Beach Wear
Now, this alternative groomsmen outfit obviously comes down to circumstance.
If you’re not having a beach wedding, it might not be the most appropriate way to dress your wedding party.
But hey, you do you!
Walking through the sand on a hot day makes even a suit feel clunky, nevermind a whole tuxedo. Your groomsmen will thank you for letting them wear something a little more forgiving for your destination wedding.
Put them in lightweight pants like linen khakis and match it with a short-sleeved dress shirt to really beat the heat.
Go very casual and vary on theme with dressy shorts and a beachy button down.
You can even skip the loafers and give them sandals or have everyone go barefoot to make walking across the sand nice and easy.
You don’t want any falls when everyone is walking down the aisle!
Things to Keep in Mind When Picking Groomsmen Attire
Photo: Brooke Erin Photography
While you’re shopping around for the perfect style to put your groomsmen in for your wedding, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Consider your venue and choose your groomsmen’s wedding day looks accordingly.
Everyone in the wedding party should be the same level of formal. Make sure your groomsmen and bridesmaid attire is on equal footing and that everything looks nice together.
And perhaps the most important rule of all: they shouldn’t upstage the bride's wedding dress or the groom's attire in any way.
Mix and Match
Putting all your groomsmen in the same outfit looks clean and crisp, but it’s not the only way to do it.
You can change up each outfit from groomsman to groomsman with varying cuts of suits, shades of colors, and unique ties (or socks!). The maid of honor is often set off by an added accessory or a different cut or color of dress. Consider doing the same for the best man!
You’re only limited by your imagination. Just make sure everyone has a common thread to tie them together, such as a similar color palette.
Groomsmen traditionally pay for or rent their own wedding outfits, so it’s a good idea to take that into consideration from the start. It’s only polite to keep their budgets in mind when you’re putting together their style.
You may even want to give out the bowties, neckties, or suspenders they’ll be wearing as groomsmen gifts.
When it comes to styling your groomsmen, bridesmaids, or any other member of your bridal party, there is no box you have to put yourself in.
Your groomsmen don’t have to wear tuxedos if you feel they don’t fit your idea of how your wedding should look. They don’t even have to dress in formalwear if you don’t want them to.
What really matters is that you’re happy with the outcome.
So, take the time to look around. These five outfit ideas are a great start when searching for an alternative to the classic black tux.