Grooms…This one’s for you!
It’s the day of your wedding and you have an hour before you see your bride for the first time. You’re just about to get into your suit, when you realize it was creased in the car on your way over…your boutonnières have also just arrived and your groomsmen aren’t sure how to tie a half windsor. Some people would panic, but not you, because you’ve read this blog post and you’ve prepared yourself for this to happen!
Unlike other Friday Fives – where I’ve written about my current experiences as a bride – today I’ll be drawing from my own experiences as a wedding photographer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a groom’s getting ready room, only to see the above scenario unfold. With so much going on leading up to the day, it’s easy to overlook the fact that you may not be familiar with some of the techniques involved in dressing for this formal occasion.
Let’s be real, most people don’t pin boutonnières or tie an ascot every day, and some of these techniques aren’t easy! My first piece of advice? Save yourself the stress of having to YouTube these techniques on the morning of your wedding and practice them in advance! Here is my list of ‘5 things every groom should practice before their wedding day’:
1. HOW TO PIN A BOUTONNIERE.
Did you know that ’boutonnière’ is the French word for ‘buttonhole’? This gives you a pretty clear indication of where the boutonnière should be placed: directly over the buttonhole on your left lapel. The flower should always points upwards, and the stems should be angled to follow the direction of the lapel.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how to how to use the pins (you usually receive two pins with your boutonnière), but you definitely want them to stay hidden. Start by placing the boutonnière where you want it (remember to angle the stems), then begin pinning from the back of the lapel. Weave one pin diagonally through the back of the lapel, into the lower half of the flower stem, then back to the underside of the lapel. Repeat with a second pin, but this time, weave the pin into the upper half of the flower stem and then back out of the lapel.
2. HOW TO TIE YOUR KNOT OF CHOICE.
Neckties, bowties, ascot ties, bolo ties, cravats and clip-on’s. There are simply far too many ties and variations on how to tie them to include them all here.
My best advice is to narrow down exactly which tie you prefer + keep in mind that different knots may look better on different ties (depending on the width of the tie). Also, practice, practice, practice! This goes for your tie, and the one your groomsmen will be wearing.
3. HOW TO FOLD A POCKET SQUARE.
There’s more to a pocket square than simply tucking a piece of fabric in your pocket…in fact, these squares can add huge impact to the look of a suit jacket and are easy to master with a bit of practice.
Keep in mind that the size of the pocket square should fill the entire horizontal width of the pocket + should fill the vertical width without slipping down.
Want to know how to fold a pocket square? Check out the following link to see ‘9 Different Ways to Fold a Pocket Square‘.
4. HOW TO IRON.
Remember to always check the garment tag before ironing to determine if it can be ironed and the recommended ironing settings. If the garment cannot be ironed, consider hanging the clothes on the back of the bathroom door (away from splashing) while you take a hot shower; the steam may be enough to work out creases.
For a traditional and well put together look: jackets should be entirely crease-free; shirt sleeves can have a crease running along the top of the arm; and trousers should be ironed to have a line down the front of the shin and back of the calf.
5. HOW TO BUTTON YOUR SUIT JACKET.
The Rule: “SOMETIMES. ALWAYS. NEVER.”
SOMETIMES: button the top button.
ALWAYS: button the middle button.
NEVER: button the lowest button.
Sitting. It’s well accepted to undo your buttons while sitting down. Not only will this be more comfortable, it will also reduce creases; just don’t forget to do up those buttons again once you stand up! (Watch any James Bond movie. You’ll notice he does this every time).
It’s quite common for bridal parties to ask me for assistance with these techniques on a wedding day; and while I absolutely don’t mind, it does cut in to your photographic coverage. This is why I recommend that you refresh yourself and your Groomsmen on how accomplish a few of the much needed skills before the big day. Do the research now, so that when it comes time to your wedding day you can relax with your buddies + look awesome for being prepared.
Stay classy, A.