The Groom Wears What? It’s Summer in the South!

By Irene Conlan

Let’s talk about what the groom wears when the temperature is sizzling and you have an outdoor wedding. Men, do I have your attention? Brides, pay attention, too.

Traditionally (don’t you sometimes resent that word?) the groom appears in a tuxedo with a cummerbund and perhaps a bow tie and vest that matches the brides colors or the theme of the wedding. And, yes, it is elegant. A man who lives in Levis or in shorts and T shirts is completely transformed in appearance when he puts on a tux and people are wandering around looking for the groom because they don’t recognize him.

Even if you’re used to seeing him in suits, there’s something exceptional about the way he looks in a tuxedo. We have to admit that a man in a tux looks awesome.

But let’s get real. Let’s talk about weddings held outside in the summer on the Southwest dessert – or anywhere in the south where the humidity races with the temperature to determine which can go the highest. Putting him and his attendants in a tuxedo is like putting them in a sauna, turning up the heat and leaving them there to cook.
Of course everyone is uncomfortably hot. The bride in those yards and yards of fabric at least can go strapless as can the bridesmaids. But the groom and groomsmen have a long sleeved shirt, a vest, a cummerbund and a jacket that could keep them warm in Alaska. The air flow is completely cut off at the neck because he’s strangled with a necktie that is uncomfortable even in winter.
So what can you do about it?
Show me the rule written in stone that says the groom has to wear a jacket. There are some wonderful shirts that can be worn without a jacket and still look quite elegant. Or you can have shirts made to fit the theme of your wedding. A white tuxedo shirt with wonderful studs and cufflinks and a bow tie – and perhaps suspenders – can be quite elegant and make a statement that weddings are as much about setting your own style and being comfortable as about trying to out-dress those whose ceremony is held in the air conditioned comfort of a church. Another idea is to let the groom and his attendants wear a vest that matches the bridesmaid’s color and go without the jacket – or wear the tuxedo shirt and black vest with a tie that matches the color or the bride’s attendants.
If you want to get creative, you can choose a themed wedding that allows everyone to be comfortable. A Hawaiian theme, for example, allows the bride to choose something beautiful and elegant and the rest of the wedding party to come in loose fitting, Hawaiian type shirts and dresses. The guests can also come dressed Hawaiian if they wish. I once officiated at a wedding in a muumuu, at the bride’s request. The wedding was on the 4th of July, the temperature was still 112 degrees at 6 p.m. and the wedding was wonderful. Everyone was comfortable and stayed to party long after the ceremony was over. The bride wore a beautiful, cool long dress as did her attendants. The groom wore an elegant Hawaiian wedding shirt and the groomsmen were in flowered matching Hawaiian shirts. They had the traditional wedding leis flown in from Hawaii and lei for each of the guests. It was a memorable wedding.

No one missed the tuxedos.

About the Author: Irene Conlan is an ordained, non-denominational minister in Scottsdaale, AZ and the Phoenix metropolitan area. She delights in designing unique, custom weddings that are personal and spectacular for each couple.