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First Published: 13th August 2014

Tying the knot – A Groom’s Guide to Wedding Ties

We’re untangling the basic rules of wedding tie etiquette.


It’s harder than you think- bridal party neck ware is a complicated business so we’ve compiled a Groom’s Guide to Wedding Ties

Most men probably think the most difficult thing about the humble necktie is learning how to do a Windsor knot but have you been shopping for your wedding suit yet? If so, you’ll be sniggering at just how wrong this is.

So, if you don’t know black tie from white tie, or can’t tell your cravats from your cummerbunds, sit back as we untangle the basic rules of wedding tie etiquette.

1. Necktie

Guide to Wedding Ties 2
Marks and Spencer

This is probably the tie you’re most familiar with. The one you slung around your neck for school and the one you tie half asleep in the morning for work.

What kind of wedding? Plain neckties are mainly only worn at less formal wedding celebrations. They suit most body types and kinds of suits, but as they are a part of men’s day-to-day fashion, the trend changes often, so you run the risk of looking dated.

2. Black tie

 Guide to Wedding Ties

A black tie wedding suit is a semi-formal suit or tuxedo worn with a black bowtie – basically what James Bond wears when he’s at fancy parties wooing the ladies.

What kind of wedding?  Black tie is popular as it’s classic and easy to wear for formal or semi-formal evening weddings. For weddings abroad, switch your black or midnight blue jacket for a white one and always ensure your bowtie is an authentic hand tied one.

3. White tie

Guide to Wedding Ties 3
Classic Frack from Wilvorst

A white tie wedding suit should be complete with a tailcoat, a white formal shirt, a white formal vest waistcoat and white or grey gloves.

What kind of wedding? White tie is ultra-formal wedding wear and worn at the most sophisticated evening wedding celebrations. Generally, if the groom wears white tie, a similar dress code should be in place for all the wedding party and guests, to maintain consistency.

4. Cravat

Guide to Wedding Ties 4
Javier Arnais

The cravat is the original form of wedding neckwear; which neckties and bowties descended from. It’s tied with a slipknot and the knot is normally ruched or scrunched up. Cravats are usually made from silk, which makes them a tad more expensive than neckties.

What kind of wedding? Cravats are slightly more formal than conventional neckties, but can be worn to most kinds of weddings. An Ascot tie is a casual version of a cravat which is more relaxed looking and sometimes even tied underneath the collar.

5. Bolo tie

Guide to Wedding Ties 5
Ben Blood Photography

The bolo tie is a cord or shoe-string  necktie with an ornamental fastening, most famously  worn by cowboy Clint Eastwood types in western films and Teddy Boys in the 1950s.

What kind of wedding? The bolo tie has been reinvented as the ultimate contemporary wedding accessory for the fashion forward groom. A quirky bolo tie would be a stylish add-on at any modern non-traditional wedding.