Style Guide for Grooms

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Have a theme? Here's what to wear.

Theme weddings are popping up all over Central Ohio and grooms are getting on board. Whether it's conceptual or location-based, there are many ways to customize your theme and personalize your day. If you're looking to venture away from the traditional, your choice of attire is key. Here's look at some menswear style ideas to coordinate with your theme.


Rustic weddings are huge right now, with their country and garden locations combined with barn and farm backdrops. Think reclaimed wood and stone with wildflowers and Edison light bulbs. These settings allow for a personal flair that reflects the couple's values and interests.

What to wear: Earth tones for the groom and groomsmen are most appropriate. Consider tweed or wool-fitted vests, a la Mumford and Sons. Chambray shirts and suspenders work well here, too. The groom can wear a vest only or dress it up a touch with a jacket in addition to the vest. The no-tie look is OK, as long as it has one of the other two mentioned pieces. Pull it all together with cognac wingtips or oxford brogues.


The contrast to a rustic theme is an urban wedding. If cityscapes and metropolitan views are your scene, then a rooftop wedding probably suits you better than a garden. An urban loft space, with exposed brick and a view of the city, will give you that cosmopolitan feel you're looking for.

What to wear: It's time to class it up and keep things formal for this theme: traditional fitted black tuxedo and black tie all the way. Do your best impression of an international super spy. Stay with the bowtie and pocket square, with patent leather shoes and a sharp watch on your wrist.


Beach weddings are never going to go out of style and, if you live in Central Ohio, it probably means a destination wedding is in order. The warm temps, sea breezes, crashing waves and ocean sunsets call for casual island attire for the groom.

What to wear: Pale grays, whites, tans and blues have that iconic island flair essential to beach nuptials. You can dress up your day with a linen suit or an untucked linen shirt-and-pants combo. Silk and cotton can work, too, as long as they're lightweight. Avoid dark colors for this one. Slip-on shoes are great, or just roll those chinos up and go barefoot.


If you'd like something similar to a beach wedding, but need to stay in Ohio, consider a nautical theme. An outdoor setting on dry land or a dock can lend itself to a sailing theme, as long as there is water nearby. Green grass in the spring allows for brilliant colors worthy of tying the knot at a yacht club.

What to wear: Preppy seersucker suits and bowties are the perfect fit here, but a traditional navy suit works as well. Boldly colored ties and pocket squares conjure up images of signal flags and sails on Nantucket. Accent colors like salmon are great, too. Add an element of fun by stepping up your sock game to match the look. Pair it all with traditional dress shoes, boat shoes or even loafers. Just leave the captain's hat out of the equation, please.


A vintage-inspired wedding harkens back to styles from specific eras. The 1920s, '30s and '40s are popular vintage themes, but retro weddings fashioned in the style of the 1950s and even into the early '60s are becoming more popular. Anything from Downton Abbey and The Great Gatsby to Mad Men is up for grabs here.

What to wear: What's old is new, but there is a fine line between costume and classy with themes like this. What most people are drawn to about a vintage wedding is chic elegance and style, so consider a double-breasted or slim two-button suit for a formal period look. Dark or light fabrics depend on the season and the decade you're going for. Stick to one era and seek out appropriate heirloom fabrics like wool and cotton. Add some sharp accessories like antique pocket watches and fashionable hats from the time.


We're going to stretch a little with this one, but if you have Irish or Scottish family lineage you may contemplate a Celtic wedding theme. Break out the bagpipes, swords and fiddles for this one-of-a-kind wedding experience that is sure to stand out among this season's events.

What to wear: There are two ways to go with your attire. You can combine the vintage and Celtic themes by wearing a classic wool pants suit and vest, or you can go the traditional route. That's right laddie, a kilt. There are multiple variations of the wedding kilt. The most formal is the Prince Charlie jacket and 5-button waistcoat with tuxedo shirt, tie and sporran. The wool argyle jacket has a military look with its epaulettes. If you can pull it off, it's got regalia and panache written all over it.