African-American Wedding Style: The Groom's Look

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Photo Credits:
Groom and Father -- Geoff White Photographers
Groom and Groomsmen -- Sara Remington of Anna Kuperberg Photography
Nervous Groom -- Isabel Lawrence Photographers
Smiling Groom -- Geoff White Photographers
Diver –- Maui Ocean Center
Ring –- Ann Sportun

African-American Wedding Style: The Groom's Look

As a wedding planner, most of my weekends are spent managing and directing these lovely events, and I can only watch from the sidelines as family and friends help to celebrate the beginning of a wonderful union. But this summer, I had the pleasure of actually being a guest at a wedding!

At the ceremony, I noticed the groom first. Perhaps it was because he was one of the first participants to enter the sanctuary. Or maybe it was because he was so immaculate and perfectly polished, it literally took my breath away.
As he made his way down the aisle with his best man, quite a few female guests (myself included) simply marveled at how good he looked. His tuxedo was fashionable yet undeniably classic. His satin shirt and matching necktie gave him a decidedly cosmopolitan, almost Hollywood look. He was handsome enough to grace the cover of any magazine. His dark hair, dappled with touches of silver, was impeccably cut, and reflected the lights above and around him. His skin, the color of café au lait, was smooth and freshly shaven. His well-trimmed mustache did little to conceal the huge smile on his face. He could have been the poster boy for "How a Man Should Look on His Wedding Day!"
Traditionally, a prevailing notion has been that the wedding day belongs to the bride. Radiant with love, sparkling in diamonds, her appearance is the most heralded and anticipated in the wedding. Grooms have been relegated to the rear -- their tuxedos a mere accessory to the yards of tulle and satin that adorn their brides. The idea of a stylish groom, a man whose cultivated look can match that of the bride, is rarely considered. In this new century, it's time we realize weddings belong to the groom, too.
Most grooms want to look their best on their special day. However, a requisite visit to the barbershop and formalwear boutique is usually the limit to what a groom does to prepare for his memorable event. My question is: WHY? There is no law (no written one) that says a man can't pamper himself in preparation for his wedding. Rest assured, his bride will spend the months before the Big Day making sure she looks and feels her absolute best -- so should he. The key is getting him to understand that. Let's take a look at how the real "best man" can get his act together for one of the most important days of his life:
Attitude is the first stop on the road to the making of a handsome groom. While you may appreciate your man's rugged good looks, his perception of himself needs to be reinforced. He may think that a simple shower, shave, and a dab of cologne will do the trick. You have to let him know you want him to be as "groomed" as you are. Have you ever seen a couple, out on the town for the evening, beautifully dressed and totally complementary? Wonderfully adorned and perfectly harmonized is how a bride and groom should look on their wedding day! And having the appropriate mindset is the first step towards creating this special look.
Attire. Most men think "tuxedo" when they think standard dress for grooms. But thanks to the influence of talented designers, that doesn't have to be the case. An elegantly cut, custom tailored suit can be just the thing to give your man that defining edge. If your wedding is held before 5 p.m., it's perfectly acceptable for him (and the rest of the male members of the bridal party) to wear a great suit. Add a finely stitched dress shirt, a wonderful knotted silk tie, and a matching pocket handkerchief and you are set! Trendy dressers migrate toward monochromatic looks in shades of blue, brown and burgundy. If you'd like to keep that "bridal" look, opt for a satin shirt and matching tie in ivory or white. Because, as a rule, tuxedos are not worn before 5 p.m., a morning suit or finely tailored dress suit are perfectly acceptable attire for morning or afternoon weddings.
If you are having a formal wedding, make certain the attire your groom chooses is in perfect concert with the type of event you are hosting. For a warm weather wedding, a white or ivory dinner jacket is a classic look on any man. For ultra-formal events, white ties and tails are appropriate. However, tails are not appropriate for every size and build. If your soon-to-be husband is a bit on the short and stocky side, tails may give him that "penguin" look. The same logic holds true for accessories. Traditional neckties and full back vests are not only comfortable and stylish for all male members of the wedding party, they are enjoying a wonderful resurgence in special event attire. And make sure the groom doesn't forget his footwear. Encourage him to splurge on a really well made pair of leather shoes. Accessories such as socks, cufflinks, and tie bars should not be overlooked -- they add the panache that is the hallmark of a well-dressed man.
Appearance. A shower and a shave is the extent of the grooming plan for most men. But why not include your man in your "countdown to gorgeous" regimen? He can benefit from facials, soothing saunas, relaxing massages and the decadent experience of a good manicure and pedicure, too. If he's never had any of these services, introduce them to him slowly, one at a time. Many salons and spas offer packages geared towards men. Book in advance, and enjoy manicure and massage services together. What a wonderful way to share "connecting time" with your beloved.
When you greet him on The Big Day, the inner beauty and love you share as kindred spirits will be enhanced by the outer glow you've nurtured and created together.

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