The wedding will always be about the bride, the dress and the event. The bride oversees the details and makes every last arrangement to suit her style and taste.
But how much jurisdiction does she have over the groom?
Usually it’s understood that the groom will take care of the minimum. In other words: showing up on time, getting a good haircut a week before, finding a pulled-together wardrobe (or even a tux), and helping her stay organized. And that’s generally where it ends.
So my fellow males, this column is for you. And I proudly announce that it is OK to focus on you. Especially if you feel you are “just along for the ride.” You know who you are, you amazing men who relinquish your opinions to please your beloved, allowing the bride to govern supremely over the biggest day of your lives.
That said, there are ways you can stand out and show your personality and style with little effort and without upsetting her plans.
Sock it to them. Consider a bold patterned sock or a fun argyle. Last spring, we decided on a bold orange color for my friends’ wedding, as this was their favorite color. The pumpkin color was such a hit they showed it off during the reception in photos of all the men lined up showing their ankle socks. What a hoot! This is one of the best wedding photos I’ve ever seen because it shows personality. This also makes for a great male bonding experience.
Next, upgrade those rental shoes, as even a rental tux will benefit from your own stylish shoes. Don’t buy patent leather unless you know you’ll wear them again, but do splurge.
Cufflinks are one of the best accessories a man can have. Some cufflinks are expensive enough to qualify as jewelry, but it’s best to think of them as you do a good belt - an accessory that completes an outfit. Shirts with French cuffs, which fold over and require a cufflink, have made a comeback, especially as part of casual Friday and date night wardrobes. If you are wearing a tuxedo shirt, go with a matching set of shirt studs and cufflinks or mix and match for more flair. Keep all your shirt studs matching of course but when it comes to the cufflinks – go to town! You’ll be surprised how many choices you have. I have even seen a set that was a ball on one sleeve and a chain on the other — get it? All the men noticed it but the women were too busy fawning over the bride’s dress that they missed it. No matter. Cufflinks also are a great groomsmen’s gift.
My dad would never eat a cake that was too pretty, so at my parents’ wedding he insisted on a second, simpler cake the men would prefer. That was in the 1950s but I think he was on to something.
Today it’s not unheard of for the groom to have his own cake, so if you’re so inclined, downsize the one giant cake and opt for two. You can have a sports cake, a cake in the shape of a car or my all-time favorite, a four-legged friend cake. Having a cake that represents you and your lifestyle is an added bonus for your guests. If your guest list isn’t too gigantic, put the cake in a place where guests can serve themselves. When guests take their own slice of cake they are symbolically celebrating the rituals of daily life.
Casual or formal, a pocket square is a must-have, making the ordinary extraordinary. You can match your wedding theme color or go with a bold statement. One caution however: Please, no satiny fabric finish. This shouts “novice,” “prom date,” or worst of all, “I rented it.”
For me, the "power hankie" can replace a tie. The pocket square is a welcome addition to any tux or wedding attire regardless of whether you are the groom, a groomsman or a guest.
I took a recent poll of all my married friends and surprisingly I kept getting the same answer time and again. Five out of five guys said their wives buy their underwear. Come on guys — what’s up with that? Are married men just too busy to buy their own underwear? If this is destined to be your future, you better stock up on what you like. Why not go crazy and discover underwear that represents your style and playfulness. Besides, how boring would it be to wear the same-old-same-old on your wedding day? Maybe even treat yourself to some of the good stuff — and by that I don’t mean silk boxers. (Dreadful!) I mean quality cotton items that don’t come in a five-pack.
Consider trading in the classic white shirt and boring black bow tie for a more contemporary look. Discover the endless options such as pinstripes, floral or even something less bold such as navy or paisley. Now, because this is a part of your wardrobe that will be visible, unlike your socks, it does need to match the color theme of the wedding party.
Last but not least, add a hat or a cap. The style and location of your wedding will determine what will work. For example, you would not even consider (I hope) wearing a top hat with shorts on the beach. But a fun straw hat could be creative and fun for you and your buddies. Because I’m “follicle challenged,” I look for opportunities to protect my head. That’s why I love Jewish weddings, as my yarmulke covers just the right spot. Of course, no hats ever in churches. You might consider wearing a hat for an outdoor reception, or while you are traveling from location to location. A hat will set you apart from other grooms, and give your bride something to look up to.
And there you have it.