Should the Groom and Groomsmen Match?

We answer your top questions.
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
by
Tres Dean
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
Tres Dean
Associate Menswear Editor
  • Tres writes and edits articles for The Knot, with a specialty in menswear and suiting.
  • He brings over a decade of expertise in the field garnered as a writer, editor, copywriter, and trend specialist.
  • Before joining The Knot he covered menswear for publications including GQ, AskMen, Men’s Health, Sharp Magazine, Highsnobiety, and Spy.
Updated Mar 29, 2024

Grooms and groomsmen have a lot to worry about ahead of a wedding ceremony. From making sure the best man remembers which pocket he put the ring in to locking in those reception toast scripts, there's a lot on the to-do list. Worrying about how the gang will be getting dressed for the big day can bring with it a lot of undue stress. We're here to help. Here are all of your most pressing questions about grooms and groomsmen answered.

In this article:

Groom and Groomsmen Attire Etiquette 101

Are you putting together your wedding party? Did a loved one just ask you to serve as best man? Have you, a humble groomsman, already lost the info your groom sent you on what to wear for their upcoming wedding? Fear not–we have all the answers on groomsmen etiquette you need.

Should the groom and groomsmen match?

Groomsmen shouldn't wear the same suit as the groom. Wedding parties tend to have some sartorial uniformity (in the case of groomsmen it's often everyone wearing a suit of the same color) but the people getting married are going to wear their own unique outfits. It should be clear at a glance which of the folks at the altar (or wherever it is that vows are being exchanged) are getting married.

Do the groom and groomsmen need matching ties?

Not necessarily. There's no wedding tradition dictating that the groom's tie should match that of their groomsmen (anecdotally, I've seen it happen but that's the groom's call). It's far more common for the groomsmen's ties to be the same color, or at least some sort of coordinated palette.

Can the groom wear a tux and groomsmen wear suits?

Absolutely. This is a particularly common decision grooms make when putting together their outfits and those of their groomsmen. A groom wearing a tuxedo while his groomsmen are in suits gives them the chance to stand out in their wedding party, elevating their outfit a bit above that of their loved ones (as they should–weddings are about the couple first and foremost).

The one hitch is that grooms shouldn't have their groomsmen in suits if the wedding has a black-tie dress code. Black tie dictates that no suits are allowed, only tuxes. Groomsmen wearing suits while the groom wears a tux is a viable option starting with a black-tie optional dress code. You also may not want to implement this approach if you're hosting a semi-formal wedding or anything more casual than that (in those cases it'd be strange to be the only person wearing a tuxedo at your wedding).

When should groom and groomsmen get their suits?

There's a big difference between when grooms and groomsmen can get their suits and when they should get their suits. In terms of the former, there are retailers and rental services that can get your wedding fit delivered right to your door less than a week before the wedding. I mention that not because you should get your suit that close to the occasion but because sometimes accidents happen, and when you're in a tight bind it is an option. Keep in mind that if you're forced to take this route you almost certainly can't get alterations made to the suit you wear.

In terms of when you should have your suit, if you're a groom or a groomsman I would advise having it in hand a month before the wedding. If you do need alterations made to it, that allows ample time for a tailor to fix the sleeves or hem the pants, whatever it is you need to get your suit fitting a little better. You don't want to be stressing about alterations or even having your suit a week or two before the wedding, so aim for a month out to be safe and save yourself the stress.

Does the groom pay for groomsmen's suits?

Rarely if ever is a groom going to pay for their groomsmen's suits. Buying or renting the appropriate suit will fall on each groomsman. Keep in mind that while buying or renting a suit is certainly no small expense, hosting a wedding is a bigger one. In some cases a groom may have his groomsmen dress in suits they already own and instead have them buy or rent coordinating accessories, though this is likely only going to occur with slightly more relaxed dress codes (think semi-formal and anything more casual).

That said, it's generally courteous for grooms to select an affordable suit for his groomsmen to purchase. Something accessible and easy to procure in a wide range of sizing is going to be the sweet spot here.

How to Differentiate Groom and Groomsmen Outfits

Grooms and groomsmen aren't expected to wear the same outfit to the wedding. Rather, the former should wear an outfit to make the groom stand out. Sometimes this involves a stark departure from the suits the groomsmen are wearing and other times it's a bit more of a subtle differentiation. However you prefer to approach it, here are some ways to differentiate the groom's outfits from the groomsmen.

  • The groom wears a tux: As previously mentioned, this is a simple, elegant way to ensure the groom stands out. Putting the groom in a tux and the groomsmen in suits makes it immediately clear which person is the man (or woman) of the hour.
  • Different colors: Because the tux/suit route is a bit confined in terms of the dress codes for which it's appropriate, suit color is another easy way to differentiate the groom from the groomsmen. Having the groom wear a suit a different color than the groomsmen helps them stand out and also allows for the groom to have a more adventurous outfit if that's what they want. Groomsmen suits tend to be simple single-breasted cuts and usually rely on neutrals like navy, gray, or tan. The groom is then free to go a bit more outside of the box with theirs–think burgundy, baby blue, or green. A groom can even go with a wild pattern for their suit if that's more their speed.
  • Single-breasted/Double-breasted: The style of a suit's button closure can also provide a way for a groom to stand out from their groomsmen. Most groomsman suits are going to feature a single-button closure. A groom can set their suit apart from their wedding party by opting for a double-breasted suit instead, a suit with a slightly (but only slightly) more dressed-up feel than a standard single-breasted one. It should be said that technically there's no rule of etiquette that this can't be reversed–groomsmen in double-breasted suits with the groom in a single-breasted one–but it definitely wouldn't look quite right.
  • Contrasting Fabrics: Like colors and button closures, grooms and groomsmen can also set their suits apart from one another with visibly contrasting fabrics. Most groomsmen suits are going to be made of a simple wool blend. A groom can then stand out by wearing a suit of tweed, corduroy, seersucker, or linen. As with the prior option, it would look a bit strange for a groom to be in a wool suit while his groomsmen wear something visually dynamic like corduroy. Additionally, the contrasting fabrics should have some visual differentiation to them. To the untrained eye, flannel and wool don't look all that different. Tweed and wool, however, are unmistakable.
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