Wedding Bow Tie Ideas for Grooms & Guests 2023

If you’ve decided to wear a bow tie to a wedding, be that your own wedding or someone else’s, the question now becomes which bow tie?

There’s quite a lot to consider, so if you’re feeling the pressure, read on for some useful style tips…

First of all, you need to assess the kind of wedding you’re attending. Is it a formal affair or a more relaxed event? This will have a big impact on the bow tie you choose.

For a formal black tie wedding you will be required to wear a black bow tie and suit or tuxedo. Show up in anything less and you’ll look under-dressed. You might think a dress code of this nature will limit your choices but that’s not the case; you certainly don’t have to settle for something plain or boring just because the invite says ‘black tie’.

A beautiful black silk bow tie will always look extremely smart, but you could also go for black velvet which will add a touch of decadence. Alternatively, you could think a little outside the box (whilst still respecting the rules) and go for a black silk bow tie in a non-standard shape, such as a diamond, diamond point, oversized or narrow bat design. All of these options perfectly conform with a black tie dress code whilst simultaneously allowing you to show off a bit of personality and your own unique style.

If you want to add a real touch of elegance to your look, you should opt for an adornment on your bow tie, such as a minimalist gold or silver stud. Or, if you’re looking to wow the crowd, go for a crystal encrusted black velvet bow tie.

The bow tie you choose will also depend on the season. In the summer months, you should consider lighter coloured bow ties, floral designs and cotton fabrics. Whereas a winter wedding is well-suited to darker fabrics, indulgent paisley patterns and rich silks.

If you’re the groom or another member of the wedding party your bow tie will likely need to either match or skilfully contrast with the colour palette of the wedding. It’s a good idea to pick out a particular colour from the flowers, decorations or the bridesmaids’ dresses and utilise that for your bow tie. This will help bring together all the various colour elements of the wedding, creating balance and harmony in the overall look and feel of the day.

As a guest, you can really create a striking impression by matching your bow tie to an element of your partner’s clothing or accessories. You could even match your bow tie to your own socks! If your suit is anything but black, you should either wear a bow tie that complements that colour or contrasts with it. Avoid a clash of colours/patterns, you don’t want to look too ‘bizzy’ or mismatched at a wedding.

You may want to invest in a pocket square in order to add the finishing touch to your outfit. You could either match it to your bow tie or use a contrasting design. However, if you go for non-matching items, I strongly recommend that you don’t have two different patterns. Different colours that complement each other will work well. Likewise, a Paisley bow tie and a plain pocket square or visa versa will look good. But two different patterns will undoubtedly be too much.

One final word of advice; if you’ve never tied a bow tie before, don’t leave it until the last minute. It takes a bit of practice to get perfect, and what’s the point of cutting a dash with a bow tie only for it to look like a strangled dishcloth? Put aside 20 mins to watch our ‘How to Tie a Bow Tie’ video and get it perfect BEFORE the big day!

If you’d like any bow tie style advice, get in touch, I’d be happy to help!


Other useful resources...

  • If you’re interested in the history of bow ties and the different shapes and designs available, you may like to read our ‘Types of Bow Tie Styles’ article.
  • Have you ever wondered when’s a good time to wear a bow tie? Try our ‘When to Wear a Bow Tie’ article to get some inspiration.
  • If you're uncertain whether you should opt for a pre-tied or self-tie bow tie, have a read of our 'Pre-tied Vs Self-tie bow tie' guide.
  • Are you attending a wedding this year? You might be a guest or a groom wondering whether you should wear a necktie or bow tie. If so, our useful ‘Bow Tie or Tie?’ guide might help you make up your mind.
  • For style tips and advice on choosing the best bow tie to wear to a wedding, for grooms and guests, try the 'Wedding Bow Tie Ideas' guide.
  • For 9 ways to fold a very handsome pocket square, try our 'Dapper Ways to Fold a Pocket Square' guide.
  • And for the ultimate guide to bow ties try our 'Definitive Bow Tie Guide'.
  • Bamboozled by pocket square rules? Take a look at our comprehensive 'Pocket Square Rules' guide.