Wedding planning can be tremendously time-consuming and expensive, and sometimes is met with a groan and some loathing. However, the gettin’ dressed part can be incredibly creative and a time to let your individuality shine. We spoke with Nish de Gruiter, Vice President of Suitsupply, about how a groom can get the most out of his shopping experience for the big day and tap into his inner gentleman.

How can a groom best prepare for formal wear shopping?
In the wedding industry, everything tends to go through the bride and the groom gets left out, so we try to make it a little special at Suitsupply. We have private shopping rooms where first, you make an appointment, and then we make it just as much fun as for brides; we have beer and we go over all your options. If you don’t know what to do, come with a swatch of the bride’s dress and then determine what you’ll be most comfortable in. That’s the most important part: comfort.

Tuxedo or suit? Bowtie or tie? What are the best looks per event?
There are two different types of guys we see – the man who wears a suit everyday should get a tuxedo for his wedding. The casual guy who never is seen in a suit, there’s more leeway to wear a dressy casual suit—you don’t necessarily want a tuxedo because it’s a big expense and you’ll probably never wear it again. So if you’re a casual type of guy, you can buy a nice suit and can possibly wear it again!

So it really depends on personality. Classic, traditional guys will wear a bowtie and tuxedo. We are seeing a lot of navy tuxedos with a skinny knit tie and a play on color in the lapel. So you can complement the bride’s dress, for example an off-white dress would look incredible with a navy tuxedo, it’s very elegant and it works with a lot of personalities.

Ties with loud colors will take away the attention from the bridal party, though. A bright tie will distract people from your face—all they will see is the tie, so don’t go overboard. If you’re not wearing a tie at all, the focus will be completely on the bride.

For the rehearsal dinner, you’ll want a very casual suit. We see grooms picking light colored suits and khakis since it’s just so much more dressed down and laid-back.

What are the groom and groomsmen trends for 2016?
Large collection of vests and waistcoats this year! We love the wedding party in charcoal suits with a different vest. The outfit has more personality, plus if you don’t have the money for a new suit, you can just get the vest and work with it. More and more men are choosing waistcoats.

How does a groom select accessories and cufflinks?
People are buying less and less cufflinks these days! They really love to wear suspenders, a nice lapel pin, a pocket square to match the bridal bouquet, a sharp loafer—or if they’re on the beach, no socks. We see braided belts for casual weddings as well. Plus, a little trick: after dinner, you can take your tie off and use it as a pocket square. So when it’s time to dance, you’re ready to go and still look sharp. We really encourage our grooms to play around with accessories, you’ve got to have a little fun! Our most important piece of advice: skip the watch. It’s a timeless day! You simply don’t need it. 

Tips for dapper grooms on a tight budget?
If funds are tight, there are a lot of ways to save some money. If you already have a navy suit, pick up light gray pants to change up your wedding day outfit. Change out the waistcoat or vest on a suit you already have, get a really nice tie, or get your existing suit tailored properly. We have alterations in-store (we do all our alterations in-house within 30 minutes while you wait); a nice fitting suit makes all the difference in the world. You don’t want baggy pants, big shoulders; make sure you’re advised on a proper fit.

Suitsupply is open 7 days a week at 1331 5th Ave at Union in downtown Seattle (206-212-0100).

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