Wedding planning can be tremendously time-consuming and expensive, and sometimes is met with a groan and some loathing. However, the gettin’ dressed part can be incredibly creative and a time to let your individuality shine. We spoke with Nish de Gruiter, Vice President of Suitsupply, about how a groom can get the most out of his shopping experience for the big day and tap into his inner gentleman.

Nish de Gruiter, Vice President of Suitsupply

How can a groom best prepare for formal wear shopping?

In the wedding industry, everything tends to go through the bride and the groom gets left out, so we try to make it a little special at Suitsupply. We have private shopping rooms where first, you make an appointment, and then we make it just as much fun as for brides; we have beer and we go over all your options. If you don’t know what to do, come with a swatch of the bride’s dress and then determine what you’ll be most comfortable in. That’s the most important part – comfort.

Tuxedo or suit? Bowtie or tie? What are the best looks per event?

There are two different types of guys we see—the man who wears a suit everyday should get a tuxedo for his wedding. The casual guy who never is seen in a suit, there’s more leeway to wear a dressy casual suit—you don’t necessarily want a tuxedo because it’s a big expense and you’ll probably never wear it again. So if you’re a casual type of guy, you can buy a nice suit and can possibly wear it again!

So it really depends on personality. Classic, traditional guys will wear a bowtie and tuxedo. We are seeing a lot of navy tuxedos with a skinny knit tie and a play on color in the lapel. So you can complement the bride’s dress, for example an off-white dress would look incredible with a navy tuxedo, it’s very elegant and it works with a lot of personalities.

Ties with loud colors—like over the top colors—will take away the attention from the bridal party, though. A bright tie will distract people from your face—all they will see is the tie, so don’t go overboard. If you’re not wearing a tie at all, the focus will be completely on the bride.

For the rehearsal dinner, you’ll want a very casual suit. We see grooms picking light colored suits and khakis since it’s just so much more dressed down and laidback.

What are the groom and groomsmen trends for 2016?

Large collection of vests and waistcoats this year! We love the wedding party in charcoal suits with a different vest. The outfit has more personality, plus if you don’t have the money for a new suit, you can just get the vest and work with it. More and more men are choosing waistcoats.

How does a groom select accessories and cufflinks?

People are buying less and less cufflinks these days! They really love to wear suspenders, a nice lapel pin, a pocket square to match the bridal bouquet, a sharp loafer—or if they’re on the beach, no socks. We see braided belts for casual weddings as well. Plus, a little trick: after dinner, you can take your tie off and use it as a pocket square. So when it’s time to dance, you’re ready to go and still look sharp. We really encourage our grooms to play around with accessories, you’ve got to have a little fun! Our most important piece of advice: skip the watch. It’s a timeless day! You simply don’t need it.

Tips for dapper grooms on a tight budget?

If funds are tight, there are a lot of ways to save some money. If you already have a navy suit, pick up light gray pants to change up your wedding day outfit. Change out the waistcoat or vest on a suit you already have, get a really nice tie, or get your existing suit tailored properly. We have alterations in-store (we do all our alterations in-house within 30 minutes while you wait)—a nice fitting suit makes all the difference in the world. You don’t want baggy pants, big shoulders; make sure you’re advised on a proper fit.

photo copyright by Travis Dubreuil

photo copyright by Travis Dubreuil

photo copyright by Travis Dubreuil

photo copyright by Travis Dubreuil

Suitsupply is open 7 days a week at 1331 5th Ave at Union in downtown Seattle (206-212-0100).