Do Groomsmen Usually Wear Ties?

This article will explore the rich tapestry of groomsmen's attire, with a particular focus on the pivotal question of whether to don a tie or a bow tie, and how this choice fits into the broader narrative of the wedding day.


Weddings are a celebration of love, commitment, and the coming together of two lives—and the attire worn on this special day is a reflection of the significance and solemnity of the occasion. During the wedding party, groomsmen hold a place of honor, standing beside the groom as he takes his vows. Their attire, therefore, is more than mere clothing; it is a symbol of their role and the unity of the group supporting the groom. But when it comes to choosing the right attire for groomsmen, one question often arises: do groomsmen usually wear ties?

The answer is not as straightforward as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The choice between wearing a traditional tie or a bow tie can be influenced by various factors, including the formality of the wedding, the time of day, the location, and the overall theme of the wedding. This article delves into the sartorial choices facing groomsmen today, exploring the nuances of wedding attire and providing guidance for those tasked with making these important decisions.

From the timeless elegance of the classic tie to the dapper charm of the bow tie, the options are abundant. Ties and bow ties come in a myriad of designs, colors, and materials, each capable of adding a distinct touch to a groomsman’s ensemble. But beyond aesthetics, these choices also carry with them considerations of tradition, cohesion, and personal expression.

As a purveyor of wedding attire, it is essential to understand the trends, traditions, and tastes that guide these choices. This knowledge not only informs inventory decisions but also enables the provision of expert advice to customers preparing for their special day. This article will explore the rich tapestry of groomsmen’s attire, with a particular focus on the pivotal question of whether to don a tie or a bow tie and how this choice fits into the broader narrative of the wedding day.

Wedding Bow Tie

Section 1: The Evolution of Groomsmen Attire

The role and style of groomsmen at weddings have seen a fascinating evolution over the years. This journey mirrors the broader trends in men’s fashion and societal changes. Understanding this evolution helps us appreciate the diverse styles we see today, including the decision between ties and bow ties.

Origins in Formality

Generally, groomsmen’s attire was heavily influenced by military and court dress codes. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, groomsmen often wore formal morning coats or tailcoats, reflecting a high degree of formality. These outfits were typically completed with a cravat or a traditional necktie, denoting elegance and social status.

The Mid-20th Century Shift

As societal norms began to relax, so did groomsmen’s attire. The mid-20th century saw a shift towards more practical and comfortable styles. The traditional morning coat was gradually replaced by the business suit, which offered a balance between formality and wearability. Neckties remained a staple, but they became narrower and less ornate, aligning with the broader trends in men’s fashion.

Bow Ties: A Nod to Tradition

While neckties dominated for a long time, bow ties made a significant comeback, particularly in formal and semi-formal weddings. This resurgence can be traced back to the desire to infuse weddings with a touch of classic elegance and individuality. Bow ties, with their varied colors and patterns, became a popular choice for adding a distinctive and sometimes whimsical character to groomsmen’s attire.

The Influence of Celebrity Culture

The rise of celebrity weddings and Hollywood’s portrayal of weddings also played a role in evolving groomsmen’s fashion. High-profile weddings often showcase groomsmen in designer suits, custom-tailored to perfection, influencing broader wedding trends. The choice between a tie and a bow tie often reflects the influence of celebrity style preferences, with some opting for sleek, modern ties while others prefer the classic charm of a bow tie.

Modern Diversity and Personal Expression

Today, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to groomsmen attire. The modern era celebrates diversity and personal expression. Groomsmen’s outfits are now chosen to reflect the wedding’s theme, the couple’s personality, and even the individual style of each groomsman. From rustic weddings with groomsmen in suspenders and bow ties to urban chic weddings with sleek silk ties, the options are limitless. This variety reflects a broader cultural shift towards individuality and personalization in weddings.

Groom’s bow tie

Section 2: Ties vs. Bow Ties: Making the Right Choice

When it comes to dressing groomsmen for a wedding, the debate between choosing a traditional tie or a bow tie is an age-old question. Both options have their unique charms and can significantly influence the overall look of the wedding party. Here’s a deeper dive into each option to help you make an informed decision.

The Classic Tie

The traditional necktie has been a staple in men’s formal wear for centuries. Its long, narrow form lends a sense of elegance and professionalism to any attire. When selecting ties for groomsmen, consider the following:

  • Style and Fabric: Neckties come in various styles, from skinny to wide, and in materials like silk, satin, or polyester. The choice of style and fabric should complement the formality of the wedding and the suits worn by the groomsmen.
  • Color and Pattern: The tie color should harmonize with the wedding theme. For a more traditional look, solid colors or subtle patterns like stripes or paisleys are ideal. For a modern twist, consider bolder patterns or textures.
  • Knot Varieties: The knot of the tie is another aspect where personalization can come into play. From the classic Windsor knot to the more intricate Eldredge knot, each type offers a different look and can add an element of individuality.

The Charm of Bow Ties

Bow ties, with their distinct shape and style, add a touch of personality and whimsy to groomsmen’s attire. They are particularly popular in semi-formal and formal weddings. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Formality and Occasion: Bow ties are often associated with more formal, black-tie events, but they can also be worn in less formal settings. They are perfect for adding a sophisticated yet fun element to the attire.
  • Variety of Styles: Like neckties, bow ties come in different shapes and sizes, including the classic butterfly, the slim batwing, and the diamond point. Each style offers a unique look.
  • Patterns and Colors: Bow ties offer an opportunity to incorporate vibrant colors and playful patterns. They can be a focal point for groomsmen’s attire, especially when paired with a simpler suit.

Factors Influencing the Choice

  1. Wedding Formality: The overall formality of the wedding should guide your choice. Neckties are versatile for both formal and semi-formal weddings, while bow ties lean more towards formal or whimsically themed weddings.
  2. Groomsmen’s Comfort and Preference: Some groomsmen may feel more comfortable and confident in a traditional tie, while others might prefer the distinctiveness of a bow tie.
  3. Consistency with the Bridal Party: Consider how the groomsmen’s ties will look alongside the bridesmaid dresses and the bridal gown. The goal is to create a harmonious aesthetic.
  4. Personal Style: Reflect on the personal style of the groom and groomsmen. A more traditional, conservative group might lean towards neckties, while a more fashion-forward party might prefer bow ties.
  5. Season and Location: The time of year and location can also influence the choice. Lighter, brighter bow ties might suit a summer garden wedding, whereas a silk or wool necktie could be more appropriate for a winter church ceremony.

In conclusion, whether you choose a classic tie or a bow tie, the key is to ensure that it complements the overall theme and style of the wedding while also respecting the preferences of your groomsmen. Remember, these accessories are not just about following tradition; they are a way to express personality and add a special touch to your special day.

Section 3: Factors to Consider When Choosing Groomsmen’s Ties

Wedding Theme and Venue

The theme and venue of your wedding are paramount in deciding the style of ties for your groomsmen. For a formal, black-tie event, classic silk ties or sophisticated bow ties in darker hues are ideal. If your wedding theme is rustic or outdoor, consider more textured ties, like those made from linen or tweed, in earthy tones. For beach weddings, lighter fabrics and playful colors or patterns can add to the breezy, casual ambiance. The key is to ensure that the groomsmen’s attire complements the setting without clashing with the overall aesthetic of your wedding.

Color Coordination

Color plays a crucial role in wedding aesthetics, and the ties of your groomsmen should align with your chosen palette. If your wedding has a specific color scheme, ties are a great way to incorporate these hues. For a harmonious look, the ties can match the bridesmaids’ dresses or the wedding decor. However, it’s also fashionable to opt for contrasting colors that still blend well with the overall theme. Patterned ties can add a layer of sophistication, but it’s important to ensure that the patterns are not too overwhelming and maintain a certain elegance.

Season and Time of the Day

The season and time of the wedding can also influence your choice of ties. For summer or daytime weddings, lighter colors and fabrics work well. Pastels, light blues, greens, or even floral patterns can add a fresh touch. For winter weddings or evening events, darker shades like navy, burgundy, or deep greens are more appropriate. These colors lend a sense of formality and warmth to the attire. Also, consider the fabric of the ties; lighter materials like cotton or silk are suitable for warmer months, while wool or velvet can be perfect for cooler weather.

Formality of the Event

The level of formality of your wedding should also guide your choice of groomsmen ties. For very formal weddings, traditional tie styles in solid colors or subtle patterns are most appropriate. If the event is semi-formal or casual, you have more freedom to experiment with bold patterns, textures, and colors. It’s also a chance to showcase some personality and uniqueness in your wedding party’s style.

Groomsmen’s Personal Style and Comfort

While uniformity is often desired at wedding parties, it’s essential to consider the personal style and comfort of your groomsmen. Some might feel more comfortable in a classic tie, while others might prefer the uniqueness of a bow tie. When selecting ties, consider the body types and personal styles of your groomsmen. A tie that looks great on one person might not suit another. Offering a couple of options or varying the tie styles within a cohesive color scheme can ensure that everyone feels comfortable and confident.

Future Use and Practicality

Lastly, consider choosing ties that your groomsmen can wear even after the wedding. This not only makes the investment more worthwhile but also provides them with a cherished memento of your special day. Opt for styles and colors that are versatile and can be easily incorporated into regular wardrobes for work or other formal events.

Section 4: The Role of Groomsmen in Wedding Aesthetics

When planning a wedding, the aesthetic appeal is paramount, and groomsmen play a crucial role in this visual symphony. Their attire is not just about looking good; it’s about contributing to the overall story the wedding tells. Let’s explore how the choice of ties and overall groomsmen attire influences wedding aesthetics.

Uniformity vs. Individuality

The traditional approach has been to dress groomsmen in identical attire, creating a sense of unity and symmetry in photographs and during the ceremony. This uniformity signifies solidarity and support for the couple. However, modern weddings often lean towards showcasing individuality. Allowing groomsmen to choose their tie style or color can add a unique charm to the wedding. It reflects the personalities of each groomsman while still maintaining a cohesive look. This choice can depend on factors like the size of the wedding party, the theme of the wedding, and the personal preferences of the couple.

Complementing the Bride and Groom

Groomsmen’s attire should complement, not compete with, the bride and groom’s outfits. If the groom opts for a classic black tie, groomsmen might wear a different shade or a subtler pattern. This distinction ensures the groom stands out while maintaining a harmonious look. Similarly, if the bride’s dress has specific color accents, these can be echoed in the groomsmen’s ties, creating a cohesive color palette. The goal is to enhance the visual appeal of the couple, framing them beautifully within their wedding party.

Balancing with the Bridesmaids

The interaction between the groomsmen’s and bridesmaids’ attire is another critical aspect. Coordinating the colors and styles of their outfits can create a stunning visual impact. For instance, if bridesmaids are wearing pastel dresses, groomsmen can wear ties in a complementary pastel shade. It’s all about finding the right balance that aligns with the wedding’s color scheme and theme.

Reflecting the Wedding Theme

The choice of ties and attire should also reflect the overall theme of the wedding. For a beach wedding, lighter fabrics and brighter colors might be suitable. In contrast, a formal evening affair might call for silk ties in darker hues. The groomsmen’s attire can play a significant role in setting the tone for the wedding, whether it’s casual, formal, rustic, or avant-garde.

Photographic Harmony

From a photographic perspective, groomsmen’s attire is essential. Photographers often use the colors and styles of the wedding party’s attire to create visually appealing compositions. Well-coordinated outfits can make group photos stand out and add an extra layer of elegance to the wedding album.

Influence on the Ambiance

Finally, the groomsmen’s attire contributes significantly to the overall ambiance of the event. They are often the first to interact with guests, setting the tone for the ceremony and reception. Well-chosen attire that aligns with the wedding’s aesthetic can create a welcoming and harmonious atmosphere, contributing to the overall success of the event.


Section 5: Practical Considerations

When selecting ties for groomsmen, it’s not just about style and color. Practical considerations play a crucial role in ensuring that the groomsmen not only look good but also feel comfortable and cater to the wedding’s overall budget and logistics. Below are key aspects to consider:

Comfort and Wearability

  • Fabric Choices: The fabric of the tie impacts both its appearance and comfort. Silk ties offer a classic, upscale look but can be more expensive. Polyester or a polyester blend provides a cost-effective alternative with a wide range of styles and colors. For outdoor or summer weddings, consider lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen for better breathability.
  • Tie Length and Width: The size and build of each groomsman should be considered. Standard tie lengths may not be suitable for very tall or short groomsmen, and the tie width should be proportional to the wearer’s body type and the style of the suit.
  • Ease of Tying: For those not accustomed to wearing ties, consider pre-tied options or provide a quick tutorial on tying a traditional tie. Bow ties can be especially tricky, so opting for pre-tied or clip-on varieties could save time and hassle on the wedding day.

Budget and Accessibility

  • Cost-Effective Solutions: Weddings can be expensive, and adding the cost of high-end ties for all the groomsmen can add up quickly. Look for bulk purchase discounts, or consider more budget-friendly brands that still offer quality and style.
  • Renting vs. Buying: Depending on the formality of the tie and the likelihood of reuse, renting might be a more economical option. This is particularly relevant for unique colors or styles that match the wedding theme but might not be practical for future use.
  • Online vs. In-Store Shopping: While in-store shopping allows for a hands-on approach to matching colors and fabrics, online stores often provide a wider range of options and better prices. If purchasing online, make sure to do so in advance to account for potential shipping delays and the need for any exchanges.

Durability and Maintenance

  • Longevity of Use: If groomsmen are investing in buying their ties, consider choosing styles that are versatile and can be worn at future events. This not only provides value for money but also makes the choice more sustainable.
  • Care and Maintenance: Inform the groomsmen about the care instructions for their ties. Delicate materials like silk may require professional cleaning, while others can be easily ironed at home for a crisp look.

Group Considerations

  • Uniformity Across the Group: Ensure that all groomsmen have their ties well in advance of the wedding day to avoid last-minute discrepancies in style or color.
  • Size Variations: If the wedding party has a wide range of body types, consider choosing a universally flattering tie style. Some ties come in different lengths or widths, which can be matched to each groomsman’s stature.

By keeping these practical considerations in mind, you can choose groomsmen ties that are not only stylish and in harmony with the wedding’s theme but also comfortable, budget-friendly, and suitable for all involved. This careful planning will contribute to a smoother, more enjoyable wedding experience for everyone.

Section 6: Customization and Personalization

Customization and personalization in wedding attire are not just about creating a unique style; they’re about adding a personal touch that resonates with the couple’s story and the bond they share with their groomsmen. When it comes to ties and bow ties for groomsmen, there are several ways to infuse these elements, making each piece special and memorable.

Monogramming and Custom Designs

  1. Monogramming: Monogrammed ties add a sophisticated personal touch. You can opt to have the initials of each groomsman embroidered on the tie or even include the wedding date or a short message. This not only makes the tie a cherished keepsake but also a reminder of its role in your special day.
  2. Custom Patterns and Colors: Working with designers or specialty stores, like our online wedding store, you can create custom ties that match your wedding theme or color scheme. This ensures a perfect match with other elements like bridesmaids’ dresses or venue decor. Custom patterns could include motifs significant to the couple, such as a print of a favorite flower, a meaningful symbol, or even a pattern that tells a story.
  3. Unique Fabrics: Exploring different fabrics can dramatically alter the look and feel of a tie. Luxurious silk, rustic linen, or even eco-friendly materials can be used to reflect the wedding’s vibe and the couple’s values.

Individualized Selection

  1. Personal Style Consideration: While maintaining a cohesive look, each groomsman’s personality and style can be considered. Some might prefer a bold, patterned tie, while others lean towards a more subdued, solid color. Providing a range of options within the wedding’s color palette allows for individuality while preserving uniformity.
  2. Different Ties for Different Roles: Distinguishing between the best man, ushers, and other groomsmen can be subtly done through varying tie designs. This adds layers to the wedding aesthetics and honors the special role each person plays.

Interactive Design Experience

  1. Design Workshops: Offer an experience where the groom and his groomsmen can participate in a tie-designing workshop. This can be a memorable pre-wedding activity where they choose fabrics, colors, and patterns, making the ties much more than just an accessory.
  2. Virtual Design Tools: Utilize online tools to allow the wedding party to participate in the design process remotely. They can mix and match patterns, and colors, and see a virtual representation of their creation, making it an inclusive and fun part of the wedding planning.

Incorporating Sentimental Elements

  1. Heirloom Fabrics: Using fabric from a family heirloom, such as a parent’s wedding attire or a grandparent’s cherished garment, to craft ties, adds a layer of sentimental value and continuity.
  2. Themed Embroidery: Embroidering small, themed icons related to how the couple met or their interests (like a tiny book for avid readers or a musical note for music lovers) can add a playful yet personal element.

After the Wedding

  1. Repurposing: Encourage the groomsmen to repurpose their ties in their everyday lives or on future special occasions. This not only makes the accessory sustainable but also lets the joy and memory of the wedding day live on.
  2. Keepsake Packaging: Provide the ties in special keepsake boxes or bags that groomsmen can use to store their ties and other mementos from the wedding.


As our exploration of groomsmen’s attire concludes, we find ourselves reflecting on the delicate balance between individuality and unity in wedding fashion. Customizing and personalizing groomsmen’s ties is not just about adhering to aesthetic norms or following trends. It is a profound gesture, signifying the special bond between the groom and his groomsmen and the unique role each person plays in the couple’s life.

In weddings, where every detail is imbued with meaning, the choice of a tie or a bow tie goes beyond mere accessories. It becomes a symbol. Whether through monogramming, custom designs, or carefully selected fabrics, each tie tells a story – of friendship, of shared memories, and of the journey that led to this momentous day. By incorporating elements that resonate with the groomsmen’s personalities and the couple’s story, these ties become more than just pieces of fabric; they transform into cherished keepsakes, tangible reminders of a joyous celebration.

The process of selecting and customizing these ties also opens up avenues for creativity and collaboration, making the journey to the wedding day even more memorable. Interactive design experiences, whether in-person or virtual, not only contribute to the visual harmony of the wedding but also foster a sense of camaraderie and involvement among the groomsmen.

Moreover, the emphasis on personalization in groomsmen’s attire speaks to a broader trend in modern weddings – the celebration of individuality within the communal joy of marriage. Today’s couples are increasingly seeking to infuse their weddings with touches that reflect their narratives and values. In this context, the thoughtful customization of groomsmen’s attire becomes a powerful expression of the couple’s personality and their appreciation for the unique individuals who stand beside them on their special day.

As we wrap up this comprehensive guide, let’s remember that the choices made in groomsmen’s attire, particularly in ties and bow ties, are not just about creating a visually stunning ensemble. They are about honoring relationships, celebrating shared histories, and making a statement about the importance of each person’s role in the couple’s life. In every stitch, pattern, and hue, there is a story, a memory, and a token of gratitude.

So, whether you opt for classic ties, charming bow ties, or a mix of both, remember that each selection is an opportunity to add depth and personalization to your wedding. Embrace the chance to make your wedding attire as unique and meaningful as the love you’re celebrating. After all, at the heart of every wedding, beyond the glamour and the festivity, are the connections and the stories that bind us all in the beautiful tapestry of life.

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