Choosing a wedding tie can often be a long and arduous process. In this ultimate wedding tie guide, we discuss how to choose a wedding tie based on venue, type of dress code, season, matching bridesmaids' gown colors and more!
The big day is around the corner. You braved the elements and your inner critic, and popped the all important, all consuming question that had been at the forefront of your consciousness for the better part of a year. It’s done – the hard yards have been completed and it’s time to move forward. Right?
Scratch that. As jubilations and celebrations wane and wedding day anxiety starts to creep in, you find yourself inextricably marching forward at what paradoxically seems like a million miles a minute, only to step back more every single time. While every detail is analyzed, meticulously planned and incessantly fretted over, decision fatigue sets in and you just want the damn day to come already.
Courtesy of www.hespokestyle.com
Well, you think? Surely ‘my decisions’ have to be the simpler of the bunch. Discerningly select an appropriate suit, and I’m good to go, you think to yourself. The venue has been set. The season has been approved of. Whether it’s that spanking new super 120 winter woolen suit you’ve forked out over, or a relaxed dapper seersucker suit for that summer wedding, you feel like you’re good to go. Except for one, glaring omission. Or a few.
How do you accessorize your suit for the big day? What tie goes with? Wait, what? You telling me I have to match this tie to not only the theme color of the wedding, but also coordinate it with the type of setting and season? As the questions mount, the indecision clouds your judgement like grey fog on a New England winter day.
Should you go with a silk, cotton or linen tie? What pattern works best with your suit. Will any of it coordinate with the theme and color palette of the wedding? In this detailed guide, we will cover all this and more.
Please note that while this guide is geared towards the groom & groomsmen, these general principles can also be applied to wedding guest attire!
Matching Ties to Bridesmaids' Gown Colors
Ok, so let’s get the most important consideration addressed first. When dressing for your wedding, matching or complementing your ties to bridesmaids’ gown color is extremely important. This helps to unify the theme color of the wedding.
Courtesy of www.weddingshoppeinc.com
If you so choose, the color of your tie can match that of the bridesmaids’ gowns, helping create a more cohesive look for the wedding. However, exact color matching isn’t a requirement.
Having a secondary color of your tie match or closely resemble the bridesmaids’ gown colors can work superbly, as long as the primarily color is at least complementing the bridesmaids gown colors (e.g a navy and turquoise floral silk tie would work perfectly with a teal themed wedding color – the secondary ‘turquoise’ color would match the teal themed wedding, with the predominant navy base serving as an ideal complement to the primarily wedding color (teal).
Featuring The Dark Knot's Berkshire Abstract Navy / Turquoise Silk Tie
An important, and often overlooked consideration when choosing a wedding tie, is the pattern and boldness of the bridesmaid and bride’s dress. A subtle dress is best complemented by subtle tie patterns, while a louder dress is best suited towards louder, more intricate tie patterns.
Similar to ascertaining which ties work best for the groom, groomsmen also have the luxury of either matching their ties to the bridesmaids’ gowns, or deciding on a tie that is more complementary in nature.
A unique way to mix it up is to have groomsmen select ties that are slightly different in pattern, but carry the same wedding theme color throughout (e.g turquoise repeating patterns, turquoise plaid, turquoise floral patterns, turquoise animal prints etc).
Alternatively, the groomsmen could all land on using the same shade of color, that also happens to be a few shades off of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Hence, lilac ties would perfectly complement deep purple bridesmaid dresses. The color of the groomsmens’ ties would also most likely be a few shades off from the groom himself.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Wedding Ties By Setting
City Weddings are best suited towards more formal attire. Hence, darker colored suits such as a solid, pinstripe or plaid charcoal grey or navy blue work best, preferably in a higher super count – super 100’s – 120’s work best, as a super 150 or above indicates a finer yarn, which is usually best reserved only for spring / summer seasons given the breathability of the fabric.
Pairing your darker colored city wedding suits with a white or light blue shirt and a darker colored, navy, burgundy, purple or olive green tie will usually work best.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Looking to add some pattern variation? Fret not! Simply introduce tie patterns that are different in proportion (ideally greater in proportion) that that of your shirt. It is of critical importance to note that pattern variation is MORE important than pattern differences.
Hence, a wider proportioned regimental striped tie will pop off perfectly against a finely striped shirt, while a smaller patterned burgundy foulard tie will clash with a smaller checkered blue shirt. Notice that while the latter has a combination that features different tie and shirt patterns, the proportions of those patterns are similar, hence leading to a visually jarring effect.
Pattern proportion is of paramount importance when deciding on an appropriate tie. Featuring The Dark Knot’s Canterbury Regimental Stripes Navy / Red Silk Tie
Some of our favorite shirt and tie pairings for a city wedding include the following:
- A solid light blue shirt paired with a navy geometric foulard silk tie, for a crisp, monochromatic look.
- A solid white shirt paired with a grey tie for a neutral, elegant look.
- A solid light blue shirt paired with a foulard burgundy tie for a deep, rich contrasting look.
- A light blue shirt paired with an olive green tie for a harmonized, familiar look that blends cooler colors (light blue and green) together.
- A solid light pink shirt paired with a navy tie for a visually engaging, contrasting look.
- A finely striped shirt with a larger patterned polka dot or paisley tie.
- A finely striped shirt with a larger patterned / proportioned striped tie.
Given that these combinations are for a city wedding, we would suggest opting for a darker colored tie that juxtaposes exquisitely with a lighter colored shirt, while complementing the darker colored suit!
Seeking out ties that truly epitomize class & elegance? The Dark Knot’s Grenadine Ties are the perfect complement to your attire for the big day. Grenadine Ties are textured, woven silk ties that look extremely elegant. These ties are characterized by an open weave, featuring two warp yarns twisted around the weft, creating a strong, sheer fabric.
Grenadine Silk Ties can provide an extremely luxurious aesthetic for a city wedding. Featuring The Dark Knot’s Domaso Brown Grenadine Silk Tie.
TDK's Bottom Line: When strutting your stuff for a city wedding, opt for a darker colored tie, against a white or lighter colored shirt to generate maximum contrast and a highly elegant look.
Is your (really, her) big day set in the countryside or at a perfectly manicured lawn? Such settings are typically accompanied by dimmed down attire that is lighter in color. As such, a pale blue, cream or pale grey suit would work perfectly in this situation.
Given the generally lighter colors associated with weddings set in the countryside, we prefer to opt for lighter colored ties. A countryside wedding in the fall season could be accompanied by a lighter blue, cream or lilac colored floral or paisley silk tie.
Lighter colored ties working to great effect at a countryside wedding! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
For a more casual dapper look in the fall season, strutting a knit tie will contrast perfectly with a lighter colored suit, such as a pale grey suit.
If the countryside wedding is set in the spring / summer, which is a very real possibility, one could opt for lighter, more breathable suiting fabrics such as a linen or khaki cotton suit.
For country weddings in the spring / summer season, we advocate going for floral or novelty ties in a lighter weight of fabric, such as linen or cotton. Some of our favorite combinations include:
- A lighter colored suit and shirt with a darker navy or burgundy floral tie (casual connotations of a floral tie are one of the few exceptions that allow for darker colored ties in a more casual setting).
- A lighter colored suit and shirt with a lighter colored floral or synthetic (polyester) tie.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
TDK's Bottom Line: Country or rural weddings allow for the introduction of lighter and generally, more colorful tie options – ranging from floral prints on cotton and linen ties to paisley patterns to novelty, quirky designs that are bound to be instant conversation starters.
Nothing attests to a relaxed vibe like a beaching wedding. Calling for lighter, more breathable fabrics, beach weddings are best reserved for seersucker, linen or cotton suits – options that will have you looking relaxed dapper, without breaking too much of a sweat. While silk ties work great in a city wedding setting, the only variant we would opt for at a beach wedding are printed silk ties, (vs their woven silk counterparts that are formed from the interweaving of yarns to create specific patterns) that are a much lighter weight version.
Some of our favorite beach wedding shirt & tie combinations include:
- Light pink shirt with a blue animal / leisure motif printed silk tie
- Light pink shirt with a blue floral linen or cotton tie
- Light blue shirt with a pink or coral animal / leisure motif printed silk tie
- Light blue shirt with a pink, coral or cream floral linen or cotton tie
Novelty Printed Silk Ties are often a great option for beach weddings! Courtesy of www.vineyardvines.com
Some of our favorite printed silk tie designs are motif driven – whether its sports, leisure or travels – these designs entail repeating patterns of golf clubs, tennis racquets, palm trees, sea life etc…
By hopefully being emblematic of some of your hobbies and pursuits, they are an instant conversation starter and point of focus.
Alternative tie options include lighter colored floral cotton or synthetic (polyester ties), that are often available in a range of quirky patterns and colors!
TDK's Bottom Line: Strut a pastel colored printed silk, linen or cotton tie at a beach wedding!
The Dark Knot’s Bonita Springs Floral Skinny Polyester Tie!
In addition to being comprised of fabrics that differ from traditional silk ties, these options also tend to come in narrower lengths, further accentuating the more informal nature of the setting.
The venue that most epitomizes the seriousness of the day’s events, a church wedding warrants the wearing of a solid colored or subtly patterned silk tie. Burgundy, Dark Purple, Olive Green or Navy ties all work superbly, as do smaller foulard patterned ties in preferably darker tones such as dark purple, burgundy, navy or brown.
Some of our favorite church wedding shirt & tie combinations include:
- White shirt with navy, burgundy, dark purple or olive green ties
- Light blue shirt with navy, burgundy, dark purple or olive green ties
- Light pink shirt with navy or burgundy ties
An olive green tie can provide for any incredibly polished look at a church wedding. Courtesy of www.artofthegent.com
These ties offer a traditional, polished look, making you look appropriately dressed for the big day.
TDK's Bottom Line: Church Weddings are best accompanied by a solid or subtly patterned darker colored navy, burgundy, dark purple or olive green tie!
Wedding Ties By Dress Code
Now that we have covered filtering through ties based on the type of wedding you will be hosting, we will cover how to select a tie based on the type of dress code you’ve assigned to the big day!
The most formal of dress codes, black tie attire is highly specific and should therefore be strictly adhered to. This comprises of a black tuxedo, white tux shirt and a black bow tie. While a necktie should be strictly avoided, a plain white pocket square with a black or navy trim could work wonders here.
Courtesy of www.weddingwire.com
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s Tuxedo White Pocket Squares, ideal for a black tie event.
TDK’s bottom line: Avoid wearing neckties for your ‘Black Tie’ wedding, and strictly stick to a black bowtie.
Black Tie Optional
Black Tie Option is where the dress code gets more interesting. While a tuxedo is still preferred, it is not mandatory. However, darker colors should be adhered to. This could include a black or dark navy wedding suit. As such, a black silk tie or deep navy tie can be worn in lieu of your traditional black bowtie.
A black silk necktie can work within a black tie optional setting. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
TDK’s bottom line: A black silk tie or deep navy tie can be worn versus the conventional black bowtie.
Cocktail Wedding Attire
The moniker ‘Cocktail Attire’ often tends to generate mass confusion and ensuing panic. Fear not, we’re here to help break down the connotations with said dress code. Cocktail attire is arguably the leading wedding dress code, and is meant to bridge the gap between day and night.
Cocktail attire is meant to characterize an elegant look, while being highly versatile. So what does this translate to? Think your traditional 9 to 5 attire, but with more punch. A deep navy or charcoal grey suit, with a colorful patterned tie could help you really stand out.
Cocktail Wedding attire is often complemented by a more striking tie combination! Courtesy of www.manofmany.com
However, cocktail attire can be delineated between night and day time events. The key, however, is that a jacket and tie must be worn at all times. Cocktail wedding attire doesn’t absolve your responsibility to dressing dapper for the big day. It merely allows for more flexibility, personality and punch. Not such a bad trade off, eh?
Night time cocktail attire can be complemented by a darker colored tie, such as a burgundy or olive green foulard silk tie.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of geometric, foulard silk ties.
Day time cocktail attire can be accompanied by lighter colored patterns, such as a light blue or pink paisley or floral tie.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of paisley ties.
TDK’s bottom line: Cocktail wedding attire allows for a bolder tie with more personality. Opt for a darker, geometric foulard tie for a nighttime cocktail attire wedding, or a lighter colored, paisley silk tie for a day time wedding with cocktail attire. Just remember – keep that jacket & tie on all day!
Casual Wedding Attire
While the dress code ‘casual wedding attire’ could easily conjure up images of rocking up to your own wedding in pink seersucker shorts, please refrain from doing so. Even if it’s a beach wedding. Instead, opt for a lighter colored suit (such as a light blue or light grey) and a lighter colored tie. This could be an opportunity to experiment with more playful ties such as floral cotton ties, or a unique, quirky tie such as a novelty or animal print tie.
Novelty Ties can make for striking casual wedding attire finishing touches! Featuring The Dark Knot’s Marco Island Fish Polyester Tie, Navy / Pink / Silver
While a necktie is not a pre-requisite for a casual wedding, we do highly recommend wearing one. At most, you can dress down your look by going sans tie and opting for a pocket square.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s stunning range of floral cotton ties.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s extensive range of novelty polyester ties.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s extensive range of stunning silk & linen pocket squares, with contrasting hand rolled edges for added effect!
TDK’s bottom line: While a necktie is not required, we do highly recommend wearing one. Experiment with something more playful, such as a floral print tie or unique novelty tie that will add some fun, flair and intrigue to your ensemble on the big day.
No Dress Code
Gulp! What is one expected to do now? When there is a clear absence of a dress code for the big day, we suggest opting for something along the lines of cocktail attire – not too formal & not too casual, helping set the tone for the big day. As such, we would go with a patterned, geometric foulard silk tie that adds some visual interest to your attire.
TDK’s bottom line: Even with the absence of a clear dress code, we suggest opting for a patterned, foulard silk tie that will help you stand out and set the tone for the big day. It also represents clear intentionality, an underappreciated aspect of dressing to the nines for your wedding day.
Skinny vs Regular Width Ties
Once you’ve decided on the type of tie that you would like to wear, should you go with a skinny or regular width tie? As a general rule of thumb, the less formal the dress code, the more of an opportunity you have to strut a skinnier width tie.
Floral Ties are an ideal complement to a more casual wedding setting! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
However, skinny width ties do look best and most proportionate with slimmer lapels. And so, a slimmer tie worn by a slim framed gentleman could look effective and formal for the big day!
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of Skinny Ties!
If, however, you are opting for a slimmer tie to take the formality level down a notch, we would suggest wearing such pieces for less formal settings – for example, floral print cotton ties to a beach wedding, or knit ties for a casual themed wedding.
Regular width ties carry a more formal connotation, and so should absolutely be worn to a cocktail attire or more formal themed wedding.
Choosing Ties based on Season
Fall & Winter Seasons
Fall & Winter Seasons are associated with earth tones, and so as a general rule of thumb, we suggest deciding on earthy, darker colors such as olive green, mustard yellow, burgundy & brown.
The Dark Knot’s Beverly Foulard Olive Green Silk Tie, perfect for Fall & Winter Season Weddings!
Given the more formal colors associated with fall & winter seasons, we therefore also suggest going with silk or grenadine ties, given their more formal nature (more on that below).
Spring & Summer Seasons
Spring & Summer seasons are typically associated with lighter, pastel colors, and so we recommend going with lighter blue, pink, lilac or light green ties for the big day!
While you can opt for a silk tie during spring & summer seasons, one can also choose a printed silk (less formal connotations), linen, cotton, knit or even a novelty polyester tie. The more casual nature of these ties make them perfect candidates for a spring or summer wedding.
Courtesy of www.mrkoachman.com
Different types of tie fabrics
While we have alluded to different types of tie fabrics above, it is worth discussing them in a separate section.
Tie fabrics should largely be chosen based on formality of the venue, wedding dress code and the time of year.
Woven & Printed Silk Ties
Silk Ties work best with more formal settings, such as a city wedding, or with more formal dress codes, such as cocktail attire. Silk works best with formal settings, given the overall sheen of the fabric and its aesthetic appeal. Woven silk is in particular more formal than printed silk, given that designs are formed from the intricate weaving of yarns.
Printed silk ties, by comparison, can carry casual connotations. While certain printed silk designs, such as a geometric foulard design (small, repeating patterns) can work in a formal setting, animal printed / motif silk ties or printed floral ties work best in more casual settings, such as a beach wedding with a casual dress code, during the spring / summer months.
Another type of tie that works particularly well in more formal settings are grenadine ties. While these ties are technically comprised of silk, their composition almost makes for a different type of tie fabric. A grenadine weave comprises of an open weave, involving two warp yarns twisted around the horizontal (weft) yarn to provide a durable, sheer fabric. Additionally, grenadine ties are self-tipped, indicating that no other material has been used.
During the winter season, where colors closely follow that of nature and where textures are naturally thicker, woolen ties become an ideal substitute for conventional silk ties. Textured ties such as woolen ties are heavier, provide greater insulation and simply add character to your ensemble. They are therefore almost exclusively geared towards more formal wedding settings & dress codes.
Courtesy of blog.trashness.com
While woolen ties perfectly complement textured jackets such as tweed, they also happen to work well with traditional suits. When strutting a woolen tie for your wedding, forego suits with stronger sheen, as woolen ties are more subdued. Woolen ties are fully in body, provide exquisite drape and tie rich, thick knots – making them the perfect neckwear for a formal setting during the winter months.
While Knit Ties appear to closely resemble grenadine ties from afar, they differ quite significantly upon closer examination. For a start, while they appear texturally and compositionally similar, knit ties are manufactured through (surprise!) knitting, while a grenadine tie is constructed through a loom.
Knit ties tend to be manufactured with a square base (versus grenadine ties which are constructed with conventional pointed ends, result), resulting in a more casual aesthetic. As such, knitted ties are best worn to weddings with a more casual dress code or within a more casual setting. Examples would include a casual beach or countryside wedding.
Linen & Cotton Ties
The two most common types of summer fabrics, linen & cotton ties are often offered in lighter pastel colors. While these ties can add textural variation to a typical woolen suit, they work extremely well with a spring or summer linen, cotton or seersucker suit. Linen & Cotton ties help accentuate the relaxed vibe of your spring / summer wedding day, whether you are dressing up for a countryside or beach wedding.
With contemporary wedding attire, floral printed cotton or linen ties have proven to be extremely popular, helping inject the groom’s attire with extra color & flair!
It is worth noting that a con of wearing a linen or cotton tie is that they tend to wrinkle easily. It is therefore imperative that these ties are adequately lined, so as to maintain their shape.
Ok, that was a lot of information to digest! Here’s a recap of our article:
- The most important consideration is matching the grooms tie to bridesmaid gown colors. Alternatively, ties can be complementary instead of being a direct match. The best way to accomplish this is to have a secondary color of the tie match or complement the bridesmaids gown color (e.g a floral tie with turquoise as a secondary color, complementing a pink bridesmaid grown or matching a teal or turquoise bridesmaid gown).
- For groomsmen, we suggest opting for ties that are a few shades away from the bridesmaid gowns and the groom’s tie. Another alternative is to choose different patterns of tie – with a unifying color theme.
- With respect to occasions, city weddings are best suited towards more formal ties (solid or geometric foulard patterns in darker colors such as navy, burgundy or olive green).
- Beach weddings are best suited towards lighter pastel colored ties, such as light blue, light pink or light green printed silk or cotton ties (given that they are lighter in nature).
- A country side wedding in the fall or winter season is best accompanied by darker ties, while during the day time or spring / summer seasons is best complemented by lighter colored ties.
- Church weddings are best accompanied by darker colored ties such as burgundy, darker purple or olive green ties.
- While a black tie wedding dress code requires wearing a black bowtie, black tie optional allows for a solid black or deep navy silk tie.
- Cocktail attire calls for an elegant tie, such as a solid or geometrically foulard, repeating pattern silk tie.
- Casual wedding attire allows for more informal ties such as knitted silk tie, animal or recreational motif printed silk tie, or a floral linen, cotton or polyester tie!
- Slimmer ties are best suited towards more spring / summer or casual wedding attire. However, slimmer silk ties can suit men or a narrower build.
- Fabric selection is of paramount importance when choosing a wedding tie. Silk or grenadine ties are best suited for more formal weddings, while knitted, printed silk, linen or cotton ties work with more casual wedding settings.
And that’s a wrap for this one! We hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as we did writing it!