For more than 70 years, thousands of brides have traveled to Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City to find their wedding day looks. From the moment you walk through the doors, you’ll feel the magic of Kleinfeld. Not only does Kleinfeld have 30,000 square feet filled with the largest selection of wedding dresses in the world, it also has the greatest professional staff of over 200 employees who are dedicated to finding and perfecting your bridal look.
While it might come second nature to envision what your bridesmaids and mom will wear walking down the aisle with you, it may not come as easy to think about what dad will wear on your wedding day. Should he match the wedding party, or stand out on his own? Do you set the guidelines, or let him decide? We spoke to Guerdy Abraira of Ocean Flowers and Events and Meena Lee of 5th Avenue Weddings and Events to get their take on father fashion, so you can be prepared to help the father figure in your life (or whoever you choose to have a special job in your wedding party) stand out in a special way.
Suggest that the fathers work together to find their outfits.
“I’m a big believer in the “One Team, One Dream” motto and that applies to seamless styling for the bridal party, including parents,” says Guerdy. While fathers don’t have to match exactly, she suggests that their suit styles should complement each other to look great in family portraits. Plus, dads coming together to discuss their outfits makes a great bonding experience, explains Meena. “Take a day and go out together, pick a suit or tux and go get drinks after,” she says.
Fathers don’t have to match the groom.
Don’t stress if their suits, pocket squares, and ties don’t match exactly—the key is dressing in the same formality as the groom, explains Guerdy. “Put it this way, by looking at the photos, one should assume that everyone in that photo is attending the same ‘party’—so if the attire is black tie, wearing a dinner jacket won’t make the cut!” The groom should always stand out a bit anyway; after all, it’s his special day.
Give parameters for what dads should follow.
For those who are unsure about how much freedom they should give their dad, consider guidelines. “Giving parameters is a good way to ensure that there will be consistency throughout the entire bridal party,” explains Guerdy, “These guidelines should be specific to avoid any misunderstanding,” For instance, if your wedding formality is cocktail attire and your color palette for the wedding party is navy blue and black, suggest to Dad that he can choose either a navy or black suit with a white shirt, black shirt or navy shirt and a coordinating tie and pocket square. And don’t stress about setting a few rules—your parents are here for you, says Meena. “Most parents just want to make the day as special as possible for their children and in the end will do what you ask of them,”
No need to dress exactly like the wedding party.
Both planners agree that the key is complementing the wedding party, not matching. “For instance, if the groomsmen are all wearing navy, the father can choose navy as well, but maybe with a peak lapel which is a little more mature style or a dark blue to compliment the groomsmen,” says Meena.
Have him match the formality, not the climate.
Just because a wedding is taking place in a hot climate doesn’t mean it can’t be formal. While you might think that sun and sand means tropical bridesmaids dresses, bare feet, and linen suits, you would be surprised at how chic a black-tie, affair can be against the moonlit ocean! With that, always prioritize formality over climate. “You may be having a very formal beach wedding, which in this case [Dad] should wear a tux for the wedding ceremony and can always change into something a little cooler for the reception,” explains Meena.
Let Dad show off his personality—in subtle ways.
Little details on Dad’s suit can make all the difference in customizing his look just for him. “We have made everything from specialty ties and socks to funky custom cufflinks,” explains Meena. Custom suit linings are also a great way to show off a father’s unique taste and personality as well. “My favorite has been a custom embroidered pocket square with a special message to his daughter tucked in his suit,” Meena says. If you’re planning an after party, this is another great arena to let Dad show off his style, says Guerdy. “We give ‘carte blanche’ to the fathers and groom should they opt to change for the afterparty—fun printed t-shirts are popular; I’ve seen many wear shirts that have their nickname on it or that simply said ‘father of the bride’,”
Plan to shop a few months ahead.
If you’re looking for a bespoke, custom look, or want time to really browse with Dad, shop 6-8 months prior to the big day, suggests Meena. For traditional retail shopping or renting, 3 months prior is a safe bet, says Guerdy.
When in doubt, stick to the classics.
Unsure about which route to take? Timeless, traditional pieces are timeless for a reason. “A traditional classic suit or tux always wins,” explains Guerdy. She suggests to keep in mind how you’ll look back on your wedding photos 10-20 years from now—if a timeless feel is important to you, stick to the classics and you can’t go wrong. And in some cases where a tux may feel too formal in the moment, you may actually thank yourself later for choosing it, explains Meena. “I had one father who insisted on walking his daughter down the aisle in a tux. It didn’t necessarily match the formality of the wedding, but that is how he always imagined walking his daughter,” At the end of the day, parents just want their children to be happy—so don’t sweat the small stuff and go with that feels right!
Learn more about Guerdy Abraira of Ocean Flowers and Events and Meena Lee of 5th Avenue Weddings and Events.
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