It's true to say that the wedding shirt is far from the star of the show when it comes to the men's wedding outfits. However, it's perfectly possible to ruin a look simply by choosing the wrong shirt, so it's essential that Grooms and Groomsmen are aware of their options and make the correct decisions.
This article takes a closer look at each of the five main wedding shirts on the market and will help you avoid any potential fashion disasters!
Single Cuff Shirts
The single cuff shirt is one of the most common shirts in the UK. Just about everyone in the country will have worn a single cuff shirt at some stage in their life, whether it was part of their school uniform, when going to an interview or just turning up for work at the office.
The single cuff shirt differs from its double cuff sibling in one obvious way – you guessed it, the cuffs. Single cuff shirts have no turn-backs and are fastened via a single button on each cuff. They are ideal for most wedding outfits, more-so lounge suits than any other, but wearers should pay close attention to the collar and ensure that a rigid, as opposed to soft, collar is present.
Not as impressive as their double-cuff counterparts, unless there is a good reason, it may be wise to avoid single cuff shirts in favour of one their more executive rivals.
Double Cuff Shirts
Double cuff shirts feature a traditional rigid collar and normal-length sleeves. The cuffs on a double cuff shirt are twice as long as those on single cuff shirts, and the wearer needs to fold them back over one another and fasten them in place. With no buttons present, cufflinks are an essential addition to any double cuff shirt purchase. Whilst cufflinks will bump up the overall costs, most would agree that the overall look attained with a double cuff shirt is well worth the extra cash.
Double cuff shirts can be worn with most outfits, but are at their best when accompanying a traditional suit or other outfit in which a normal tie is the order of the day. If ruches, cravats or European ties are to be worn by the Groom or any of his Groomsmen, it may be best to consider an alternative wedding shirt, and if bow ties are the choice then a double cuff shirt is a definite no-no.
Wing Collar Shirts
The most popular choice when it comes to wedding shirts for the male wedding party members, the wing collar shirt soars head and shoulders above its rivals (apologies for the poor pun).
As with the double cuff, the wing collar shirt has fold-back cuffs and requires cufflinks, but the difference comes when we look at the collar. Whilst the double cuff has a fold-down collar that runs all the way around the neck, the wing collar shirt, put simply, has two little wings that fold over at the front but quickly taper back to leave the remainder of the tie around the neck exposed. From side or rear view, the tie around the neck is fully exposed and the only collar visible is that underneath the tie and against the neck.
Prince Edward Jackets, Frocks Coats, Tailcoats, Prince Charlie’s, Argyll’s, Tail Suits and Tuxedos all work wonderfully with a wing collar shirt - in fact it's only lounge suits that look a little odd.
With a look that complements virtually every style it is easy to see why wing collar shirts are so popular, and why most men's outfitters you visit will recommend that you plump for one.
Nehru shirts are characterised by their short (one to two inch) stand-up round collar with no lapels. Worn without a tie and sometimes left open, but more often than enough fastened and accompanied by a collar stud, Nehru shirts are contemporary and different. They could be worn with any jacket, although the result may sometimes look a little odd, therefore it's best to only consider one when looking for a wedding shirt to accompany a Nehru Jacket.
Short Sleeved Wedding Shirts
Short sleeved wedding shirts are the most informal of all the shirts that can be worn by a Groom and his Groomsmen. Available in both plain and patterned varieties, they vary from contemporary cream cotton shirts through to vibrant Bermuda shirts and vivid Hawaiian shirts. Ideal for a very informal ceremony or beach wedding where hot temperatures are expected, the short sleeved wedding shirt is often accompanied by either plain trousers or dress shorts. With a collar that is worn open collar, the shirt will often feature a single breast pocket – ideal for holding some designer sunglasses!
A Word on Wedding Shirt Colours
When it comes to wedding shirts, tradition dictates that the ones worn by the Groom and his Groomsmen will be either white or cream, though there's nothing to stop you looking elsewhere.
Whilst neckpieces, waistcoats and cummerbunds are often the coloured items used to connect the male outfits to that of the bridesmaid dresses and overall wedding theme, wedding shirts can be used to the same effect. Having the Groom in a different colour wedding shirt to the other male members of the wedding party is a trick that can also be used to help them ‘stand out from the crowd’.
Whatever coloured wedding shirts you plump for, make sure they are spotlessly clean and ironed, preferably on the morning, and that all buttons are in place and are fastened.
Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.