What Should I Wear To A Gay Wedding?
On June 26th, 2015, gay marriage became legal in the United States. It’s also legal throughout the United Kingdom including, more recently, Northern Ireland. While there’s still a long way to go, this has been a necessary, wonderful leap forward in terms of equality.
It also leaves many a groom scratching his head and asking, “Well, what do we wear?” This is understandable. The relative newness of “gay weddings” legality takes preceding codes and conventions and, to an extent, throws them out the window.
Therefore, the following guide will explore the different approaches and considerations when arranging the wedding outfits for the grooms. Nevertheless, it will be somewhat high-level with regards to how they dress similarly or differently.
Once you have decided on this consideration and want further detail on what exactly you’d both wear, we recommend that you check out our seasonal wedding guides. These will explore the suits and outfits you could wear according to the dress code and time of day depending on the season:
That being said, we suggest reading this guide first as a primer on the subject. We hope you find it valuable and we welcome any questions you have in the comments.
Editor’s Note: Although this article is aimed at men, the advice contained herein can also be used for women (or any other gender identity) who prefer to wear menswear to their weddings.
Setting A Dress Code
Although we cover this topic in much greater detail in our seasonal wedding guides linked above, it’s very important to first consider the level of formality you wish to set for the event. Not only will it be easier to decide on how to outfits work together but it’ll also set the tone for both the guests and venue.
More formal dress codes tend to follow certain rules regarding the time of day that they should be worn. For instance, black-tie tuxedos are typically worn after 6pm or sunset (whichever is earlier).
Meanwhile, you’ll have a greater level of flexibility with informal dress codes, which is anything including or more casual than wearing a suit. Furthermore, there are dress codes that seek to merge the two such as black tie optional and cocktail attire.
For an overview of some suitable dress codes, check out the following guides in order of most to least formal:
As mentioned earlier, the seasonal wedding guides cover these levels of formality specifically for the events and will touch upon them when appropriate.
Your choice in dress code is entirely up to you as a couple and it’s best to opt for something that you feel reflects your personalities. For instance, are you both “get married in a ballroom” people or more “have a wedding in a backyard” people?
Gay Vs Straight Weddings
First, let’s go over the differences and similarities between the average straight wedding and the average gay wedding:
Gay & Straight Wedding Differences
- Two grooms getting wed instead of a bride and groom
- Two groom figurines as cake toppers instead of bride and groom figurines as cake toppers
Gay & Straight Wedding Similarities
- You gith with parents (and each other) over planning minutiae.
- They’re harrowingly expensive.
- You have to invite Great Aunt Sheila even though you haven’t seen her in 15 years and she keeps calling your husband your “friend”.
- Your one vegan friend is like, “Is there gonna be a vegan option for dinner?”.
- Extreme nerves over making a commitment to spending the rest of your life with one person.
- Creating seating arrangements still literally the worst thing ever.
- You might have to cancel and rearrange the whole thing because of an international pandemic (ok, we admit that’s new).
As you can see, the similarities far outnumber the differences, which are incidental at best!
Grooms’ Suits For Gay Weddings
As with any wedding, dress codes rules should be mostly regarded as guidelines rather than inflexible dogma. After all, it is a celebration of the couple’s relationship and it’s entirely up to them on what they decide to wear.
Furthermore, given that gay weddings are relatively new, it’s easier to break away from what are regarded as traditional conventions. Indeed, it’s a great opportunity for experimenting, especially sartorially-speaking.
In this section of the guide, we’ll be discussing different ways same-sex grooms can dress for their weddings. We’ve broken these into three thematic options for selecting what you’ll wear on the big day:
- Matching Perfectly
- Variations On A Theme
- Wearing Different Outfits Altogether
Simply use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read them all.
1. Wear The Same Wedding Outfits
Among the most popular choices among grooms is to simply wear the same outfit. Depending on your choice of dress code, it can consist of the following:
- Identical Tuxedos
- Matching Suits
- Identical Combinations
- Matching shorts and Hawaiian shirts (if you’re super casual)
The benefit of this method is that it’s easy. Once a decision is made, you just buy two of the same thing. Even if you have different body types, this method can work well. It’s also easy to buy off-the-rack or made-to-measure suits that match, at least if you go shopping together.
If you both have groomsmen, it’ll also be easy to find attire for them that will separate them from you two while creating a sense of coherence. For instance, they could wear the same style of suit in a slightly different color. Alternatively, you could both wear waistcoats and they don’t.
The drawback of this method is that it doesn’t account for each groom’s coloring, assuming that it’s different. While one of you may look great in a grey suit, it may wash the other out. Be mindful of this when making your decision.
2. Variations On A Theme
For our second option, we take a common groom – groomsmen aesthetic relationship and apply it instead to two grooms. Varying a theme can happen in terms of color, style, and more.
Some examples are:
- Matching suits, but one as a three-piece
- Identical suits or tuxedos with different colored waistcoats
- Suits in the same color family, such as dark grey and light grey
- Same suit, different color shirts and ties
- Different suits, matching ties
- One groom in a solid suit, the other in a patterned one
- Same suits, one groom wears a tie, the other a bow tie or no tie
We’re quite partial to the variation on a theme method. It shows thought and skill in terms of maintaining a theme while also expressing the individuality of each groom.
Furthermore, it can be particularly interesting approach if you opt for a formal dress code. For instance, the grooms could wear different-colored waistcoats or cummerbunds with morning dress and black tie respectively.
Finally, just bear in mind that if you both have groomsmen, you may have to think of ways to differentiate them from both of you while still ensuring everyone is consistent. An approach could consist of each groom dressing differently with their best man and wedding party being a variation of that theme.
In this case, one set of groomsmen could wear blue suits while their groom would wear a waistcoat. Meanwhile, the other party would wear the same style of suit in grey and their groom would also have a grey waistcoat.
3. Different Wedding Outfits
As with any couple, you’re probably different in many ways. Our third option reflects those differences.
Still, dressing differently from each other should only be taken so far. It’s very important to have some kind of continuity as we hinted above, most importantly with your formality level. You don’t want one guy in a tuxedo while the other is in khakis and a blue blazer.
Some examples of it working well are:
- Two completely different suits with matching boutonnieres
- Odd jacket & trouser combinations in different colorways but in similar patterns
Another way to add a bit of continuity when you’re on different playing fields is to keep your wedding colors in mind. When you start playing around with making your accessories the same as your wedding colors, your looks become more thematic and thus more tied together.
Party & Guests Gay Wedding Suits
The rules for groomsmen, guests, and fathers of the grooms are just the same as they are for any wedding: respect the wishes of the two people getting married. If they throw a black tie affair, wear a tuxedo. If they throw a backyard barbecue at which they happen to get married, wear the shorts and casual shirts they’d expect.
One note for male guests: while there are no rules on this, try to avoid dressing in something too similar to the grooms’ outfits.
This is somewhat related to not out-dressing a bride. While this can be difficult if the grooms are wearing standard business suits, we want to steal as little thunder as possible from the happy couple.
Nevertheless, we’ve broken it down below depending on your role at the wedding.
Typically, each groom usually chooses somebody that will lead their respective wedding parties. In most straight weddings, the bride will choose a bridesmaid while the groom has his best men.
Needless to say, these rules aren’t set in stone. Although very rare in straight weddings, a bride may have a best man while a groom could have a bridesmaid. However, same-sex marriages tend to be far more relaxed with regards to preconceived gender roles.
If you’re the best man for one of the grooms, your role will be to support him in a number of different ways. On the wedding day, you will lead the party, make speeches, and offer some emotional support if needed. You may even be involved in some of the logistics.
Your attire will likely complement one or both of the grooms. You’ll want to wear an outfit with a similar level of formality and color without being the same. If you’re wearing tuxedos or morning coats, this is quite easy and you’ll likely help in planning it.
If wedding colors have been chosen, you may be asked to select them for yourself and the wedding party. The most important thing to remember is that you and the groomsmen shouldn’t overshadow the grooms.
If there’s another best man, you might want to work together in organising the outfits. Meanwhile, it will probably be worth coordinating your efforts with any bridesmaids who might be in the wedding party. Of course, follow the grooms’ lead and respect their wishes when working on it.
A groomsman’s job is simple enough. On the wedding day, you just need to look your best for the photos and be there for your groom. When it comes to attire, you’ll either follow instructions on what to wear or be supplied with the clothing in advance.
If the grooms or best men have organised fittings, respect the appointments and be there on time. They’re under plenty of stress and could do with the peace of mind!
As described above, you’ll either wear something identical to the best man and the wedding party he leads. Alternatively, both sets of wedding parties may wear the same outfits while the grooms wear something different. There are a number of variables but you just need to go with the flow.
Accessory colors (socks, ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, etc.) will typically be dictated by the wedding color scheme.
Fathers Of The Grooms
If you’re a father of one of the grooms, you’ve likely invested a fair bit into the special day. Fortunately, it comes with some privileges. For a formal wedding, you’ll be expected to wear a tuxedo or morning coat, depending on the time of day.
However, informal weddings offer many opportunities to sartorially express yourself! Don’t wear a suit like another day at the office as it’s a party, after all. As a father of one of the grooms, you don’t have to follow the color schemes unless they have specifically ask you.
Therefore, feel free to dress up with bright colors, a nice bow tie, and some elegant accessories. It’s also a great opportunity to put on that double-breasted suit that has been hanging in your wardrobe all these years.
Although it can be stressful to decide what to wear when attending somebody else’s wedding, take a moment to think about the poor couple! Indeed, it’s not that big of a deal in the end.
If this invitation indicates a dress code or colors to wear, simply follow those instructions as best as you can.
Meanwhile, if nothing has been indicated in terms of the dress code or color scheme, simply wear a suit in a way that won’t overshadow the grooms and their wedding parties. Feel free to accessories but don’t go overboard!
Finally, dress according to the weather as we describe in the seasonal wedding guides linked above and below.
Where To Buy Suits For Gay Weddings
If you’re one of the grooms or involved in organising the event, you may be aware that a number of people will need suits! At least two may be needed for the grooms but if there is a wedding party, it may need some, too.
Fortunately, many brands have caught on to the stress involved. As such, they have created dedicated wedding services that cater to acquiring a number of suits in bulk.
Occasionally, they may offer discounts or free accessories. At the very least, you can expect a streamlined service for easier logistics.
We’re particularly fond of made-to-measure brands like Indochino and Black Lapel offer deals for weddings. Furthermore, you can enjoy a 10% discount from Indochino with our exclusive code “BESPOKEUNIT” or $25 off your order from Black Lapel with “FTOBESPOKEUNIT“.
They’re both quite affordable but Indochino is the cheapest of the two. Similarly, it has physical stores where you can book and appointment to all get measured together.
Its in-store tailors can provide guidance on the free customisation options available for ensuring the continuity or individuality for all those involved as we described earlier.
Just be mindful that made-to-measure suits require time to be produced. You may also need alterations when they’re ready, which are usually reimbursed by both brands. However, you’ll just need to take this into account when organising the event.
Alternatively, check out our guide to the best online suit brands, which also includes fantastic ready-to-wear options.
Gay Wedding Suit Accessories
Even if you have decided on a formal dress code, remember that it’s your wedding so you may do as you please! Therefore, feel free to accessories to your heart’s content. Indeed, cufflinks and pocket squares are all fair game.
An excellent accessory for weddings is the boutonnière. This floral bouquet can be worn on the lapel by the grooms as well as the wedding party. It’s a great way to unify the group if everybody is wearing different suits. It also adds color and makes it easier for guests to identify the people of interest.
If you’re on a budget, you can also consider synthetic lapel flowers for the same effect. As they’re much cheaper, you can consider distributing them more freely among the guests.
Speaking of which, feel free to take a lapel flower with you if you’re a guest. After arriving, just check that it won’t make you inadvertently blend in with the party before you put it on.
No matter how you choose to dress on your big day, make sure that it’s reflective of you and your partner as people. Part of your wedding day is to declare your love for each other to the world, and looking like your best self is the only way to do it.
You can also learn about what to wear to a wedding based on the season by visiting our wedding attire guides below:
Of course, feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or queries!