Protocol Prompt: Proper “Man”ners

Most of the information on wedding etiquette you see is slanted toward the bride. This certainly makes sense, since many brides take on the majority of the planning duties.

However, today I thought we’d focus on some wedding protocol tips for the men in the party (feel free to pass on to the guys in your life — these tips apply for many situations!).

First, the question I hear most often from grooms and other men is “does that mean I have to wear a bow tie?” A super-quick guide, since you’ve probably seen this before, but he may not have…

{Brooks Brothers}

If the reception card says “Black tie” or “Formal attire” (because you’re not technically supposed to put information about attire on the ceremony invitation), then yes, he does have to wear a tux. Other variations, like “creative black tie” mean that he can have a little more fun — still formal wear, but that’s the time to break out a black shirt/no tie with his tux.

I’ve seen a lot of cases where guys equate “dressed up” with “black suit.” Which is fine, if you’re going to a winter wedding, but guys, please — don’t wear a black suit to an early afternoon garden wedding!!! T and I once attended a wedding where he and two other guys were the only ones wearing summer suits…which made them feel out of place! Ladies, please don’t let the men in your life wear a black wool suit to a summer wedding when there are so many wonderful options for summer (check out this great look, via Snippet & Ink):

{Photo: Union Photography; Dress: Amsale; Suit: Jil Sander}

And a word on/for ushers: Make sure your ushers know what their job entails! I’ve found this is one of the most neglected elements of the rehearsal. We spend hours making sure everyone walks (which they do every day) into the ceremony space properly, and never have the ushers rehearse escorting people (which they don’t do every day!). More ushers than you might think don’t realize they they actually escort people to their seat, not just point them in the right direction!

Traditionally, the bride/wife wrote the thank-you notes, but now more and more grooms are getting into the task. If your fiance’s handwriting makes people think he’s a doctor (or maybe he is!), have him help you with other tasks — maybe he’d be willing to develop a spreadsheet to track gifts/notes, seal & stamp envelopes, or has graphic design skills and wants to actually design the stationary himself! For a look at an amazing groom-designed invitation suite, check out Liss & Tyler’s wedding, featured on 100 Layer Cake.

Other than the guidelines we’ve discussed above, the great thing about guys and weddings is that there are very few hard and fast rules. If he wants to get involved, let him! If not, figure out where you can use his help/input in a way that works for you. If you want to go with the traditional rules, check out information on duties and expenses from the Emily Post Institute. The list I like better is their “Honey-Do” list!

For a guy’s-perspective resource, share Groom Groove with your fiance; it has a wealth of information on the various groom & wedding party duties, along with a number of helpful “how-to” articles. Finally, check out How to Be a Gentleman, by John Bridges (just $5 from Amazon!).

Published in: on March 13, 2009 at 11:14 am  Leave a Comment  

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