Alternatives to tuxedos

I’m having a 1:00 p.m. wedding in a Catholic church in May. We’re trying to be *casual* and stay away from matching bridesmaids dresses and tuxedo rentals for the groomsmen.

My question is, since the groom is planning to wear his navy blue Air Force tuxedo, what are my best options for the groomsmen?

I suggested a shirt and tie with khakis and a navy blue blazer, and the groom’s response was “well, what if they don’t have navy blue blazers?” My bridesmaids will not have *matching* dresses, but they will be of similar styles and coordinating colors.

Would it be sufficient to just ask the groomsmen to wear a sport coat and tie? I’m worried about clashing outfits, and since all the groomsmen live out of town, the difficulty is compounded.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Alternatives,

Your bridal party may look like people you just pulled in off of the street if they are all dressed differently.

Your fiance is setting the bar pretty high wearing his mess dress. That is the equivalent of the tux. All the groomsmen are supposed to be dressed in the same formality, which for this time of day would be the morning suit or cutaway. All of this would make your wedding formal instead of casual.

Because your future husband will be the only person in uniform, the groomsmen may be able to ‘get away with’ wearing suits. But, it would look too unbalanced for them to wear khakis and sportcoats.

Then you have the problem with your attendants being underdressed next to the groomsmen. They should be dressed in semi formal also, which means tea length dresses in quality material.

Hopefully you can find something in the middle to help you blend all of this together.

Best wishes,


Thanks so much for the advice. You confirmed my fears about looking like we pulled some people in off the street to stand in our wedding.

If the groom decides to forego the AF tuxedo to keep the feeling more casual, how do I handle coordinating suits for the groomsmen? I can already hear the argument, “we can’t make them wear a suit they don’t have.” It would be so much easier to rent tuxedos, but we really would like to keep it casual.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Actually to ask someone to wear a suit is not much to ask. Eventually, these men will have to wear a suit somewhere– like to a job interview. It really is a ‘good thing’ for a man to have a suit in his wardrobe.

Perhaps you will be doing them a favor 🙂