Belvedere Castle in Central Park NYC

Living in the concrete jungle and dreaming of getting married in a castle? Wales may have the greatest number of castles per square mile in the world, but you don’t have to go to the UK for this dream to come true. If you live in New York City, you have a castle right in your backyard—well, Central Park’s backyard: Belvedere Castle. In this post, we’ll be discussing the history of the Belvedere, its location in the park, a newly completed multi-million dollar renovation, and how to book.

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The History of Central Park

We wouldn’t have the world-renowned Central Park we have today if it wasn’t for Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. In 1857, Vaux suggested that New York City hold a contest to design a large centralized park in the middle of the city. At the time, Olmsted was the Parks superintendent, and Vaux persuaded him to help create a design plan named “The Greensward Plan.” Their plan for a park with green spaces—as well as separated paths for carriages, horseback riders, and pedestrians—was a new concept. Vaux designed scenic bridges and underpasses that would alleviate collisions, which helped their joint plan win first place! Later that year, construction began, with most work being completed between 1860 and 1873. Today, the park is a whopping 840 acres and a gem in the heart of New York City.

Photo Credit:

The History of Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle was built from 1867 to 1869 and sits atop Vista Rock, which is the second-highest peak in the park. The terrace, pavilion, and miniature castle overlook the Great Lawn, Turtle Pond, and Delacorte Theater to the north, and the Ramble to the south. From the highest lookout, you have a bird’s-eye-view over the tree line to the towering buildings lining Central Park West, Fifth Avenue, and 59th Street. The castle is aptly named, as “Belvedere” means “beautiful view” in Italian.

The structure was designed as an open-air folly, to be purely ornamental and serve no purpose except for passerby enjoyment. However, in time, New York City had thought of a new purpose for the structure. Ever checked the weather in NYC and noticed Central Park is one of the listed locations? That’s because in 1919 the U.S. Weather Bureau transformed the castle into a weather station by adding scientific instruments such as anemometers, thermometers, and antennas. They also altered the original design by adding windows and doors to the previously open-air structure. Rainfall was also monitored just south of the castle.

Belvedere Castle was vacated in the early 1960s, and that began its fall from its heyday. Due to underuse, the castle fell into disrepair and unfortunately became victim to a disgusting display of vandalism.

The Rebirth

In 1980, the Central Park Conservancy was formed, and in 1983 they began a major restoration on Belvedere by removing graffiti and rebuilding the pavilions. Belvedere had its rebirth as it reopened as a visitor center and gift shop.

Then, in 2016, the Conservancy had a proposal for a $12 million renovation to the castle that would “address drainage, waterproofing, and climate control systems, along with deterioration that has occurred over the last 35 years.” Basically, the castle is going to be the most beautiful, perfect, and up-to-date it has ever been! In March 2018, those plans went into effect when Belvedere closed for a long overdue 15-month renovation. The castle just reopened to the public on Friday, June 28th, 2019, and it remains one of five visitor centers in the park.

During the work, contractors dug 400 feet deep into Vista Rock to add a minimally-visible, zero-emission, energy-efficient geothermal system for cooling and heating of the castle’s interior. Architects went back to Belvedere’s roots with a clear pane window design that evokes the original open-air look. This feature serves not only its function by keeping the new cooling and heating systems from working into overtime, but also its beauty because in the years prior to the renovation the windows were obnoxiously obstructed with bars and shutters.

Then all of the stonework was redone by rebuilding the walls enclosing the terraces; repaving the terraces with new bluestone pavers, appropriately positioning them in the historic and beautiful checkered design; and cleaning and repairing the interior stonework. A long-gone wooden tower that had originally (150 years ago) decorated the top of the pavilion on the northwest corner and balanced out the structure was also rebuilt. And for the first time in the castle’s history, it was illuminated. This is, by far, my favorite restoration, as it makes such a big impact on the evening look of the castle and allows visitors to see the castle from other vantage points within the park.

Photo Credit: Zach Nelson

This video sums up perfectly the scope of work and detail that went into the restoration:

Video Credit: Central Park Conservancy


If you were interested in checking out this venue on a tour, the Central Park Conservancy hosts two public tours: the Belvedere: Beautiful View Tour and the Discovery Walks for Families: Turtle Pond Tree Walk.

Or, you can visit on your own in the Summer (June 7th to August 9th) from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Fall, Winter, and Spring from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Keep in mind that the castle is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Or, if you are reading this on a rainy day and just can’t wait to get out there, check out these 360-degree views by dragging the video below:

Video Credit: Central Park Conservancy


Being that this venue is located within a City of New York park, the castle is actually public space. Your certified wedding planner will need to apply for a Special Events permit with the NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Office if 20 or more people will be in attendance. The permit takes 30 days to process, so ensure that you are ahead of deadlines in case there are any hiccups.

As to not distract from the park’s already spectacular scenery, the permit prohibits decorations, although handheld chuppahs are allowed. It also prohibits amplified sound, but you can get around that with acoustic music which is acceptable. Applicants must apply online here. There is a $25 non-refundable application fee, payable by credit or debit card via the online application. NYC Parks has a handy one-pager on their website.

This venue can accommodate a ceremony but not a reception. Nevertheless, you could still have the most spectacular day with an early ceremony in the park. Follow that with a few hours of couple and family photos in the most scenic and historic park in NYC. Then you could make your way to one of the park’s few restaurants or venues that could host your reception (Tavern on the Green, the Loeb Boathouse, or the Central Park Zoo), or you could leave the park entirely and head to a local reception hall or hotel to meet guests.

The romantic beauty of Belvedere Castle is undeniable. The history of the castle and the rebirths it has gone through over the past 150 years are remarkable. The site changed from a park building to an official weather station, to an abandoned structure, to a welcome center and gift shop, and now (after its most recent renovation) it has been brought back to a modern state of its original prime. This site receives approximately one million visitors each year and plays matrimonial host to proposals and wedding ceremonies, bringing joy and wonder to all who experience it.

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

Picking the Perfect Wedding Dress

Once you’re engaged, the “Great Pinterest Hunt” begins for the perfect dress… but where to start? You end up liking parts of this dress and other parts of that dress, so you Pin them both. While you’re still having difficulty nailing down exactly what style and cut you like, your Pinterest board quickly begins to look like a hodgepodge of all the white dresses you can find. And when your Pinning frenzy ends, you still can’t make heads or tails of the results.

Well, take a break from all those Pins and read on to learn about dress silhouettes and necklines. Once you nail down the options available for neckline (top of the dress) and silhouette (bottom of the dress), you’ll be able to narrow down your internet searches and find the perfect dress.

It’s a lot of pressure to find “the one” dress that is supposed to make everyone cry of happiness, and TV shows like TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” at Kleinfeld’s amp up the pressure. Sure, every now and then they have a bride leave the store empty-handed, but nearly every episode ends with the bride making a purchase. I’d like to begin by saying that leaving the store having picked your dress on day one is the stuff of fairytales. I did NOT find my dress at the first store I went into. I live in New York City, a fashion design and bridal mecca, and I visited four stores before I found the perfect dress. For my entire life, I envisioned I would wear a ballgown. Lo and behold, they looked awful on me! I was swallowed up by every single one that I tried on. It took four stores and pushing myself out of my mental comfort zone before I realized my body looked best in a fit and flare. It was at that moment I realized the best way to find your perfect dress is to understand your body type and style.



This silhouette name comes from the A-shape the dress provides on your body as it creates a fitted bodice, a cinch across your waist, and a fuller skirt. The A-Line is versatile, not quite as full as a ballgown but fuller than the other cuts, can be cut into most fabrics, and handles embellishments such as beading and embroidery with ease.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Ball Gown

I am sure everyone has heard of the ballgown dress cut by now. But if you are unsure, think back to Cinderella’s blue dress with a full skirt. This dreamy fairytale look will give any bride the princess vibe. Typically, the bodice of this dress is sleek, with a defined waist and a full skirt hiding the hips and belly. Those factors make the ballgown extremely flattering for many different body types.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Dropped Waist

As funny as it sounds, the dropped waist is to wedding dresses what the mullet is to haircuts: it’s a fitted top through right below the waistline, then a flare from just around the hip area. The dropped waist is for the bride that wants to show off their figure but also wants a full skirt. The best of both worlds (so maybe it’s not like a mullet then haha).

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


The bodice of the empire ends right under the breasts, and the skirt begins to flow down from there, covering the waist and hips. Although this dress does not provide you with a very feminine waist-hugging shape, it is forgiving and provides you with a lean and tall shape.

Photo Credit: David’s Bridal

Fit and Flare / Trumpet

A sexy cut, but not as dramatic as the mermaid, the fit and flare hugs the body until the skirt begins to open up mid thigh. You achieve a little derrière attention, without it being the star of the show. As I mentioned above, this was the cut I chose because I was finally able to see my body.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


Here comes the sexy siren! The form fitted bodice, waist, hips and bum lead to a puff of skirt from the knee down, imitating a mermaid’s tail. The mermaid is the most bootiliscious dress there is! If you are petite, consider that you won’t be able to hem the dress from the bottom; you may have to shorten before the mermaid tail, and that could potentially change the look of the dress if it was beaded or embellished.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


This cut is very form-fitted and hugs the body at its every curve, from bodice to a straight drape down from the knee. I see this style worn often for beach ceremonies. This dress is lighter weight and won’t be as affected by sand or wind. Sheath gowns are also excellent options for petite and slender brides who don’t want to be swallowed up in their dress.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Tea Length

A very 50’s inspired dress is the shortened tea length that ends the hemline mid-calf or at the ankles. This style may work for a daytime wedding, a themed wedding, or if your style is a little retro.

Photo Credit: David’s Bridal


Bateau / Boat

This shape follows parallel to your shoulders, cutting slightly rounded but almost straight across, showing less of the décolletage (the upper chest where the collarbones appear). Due to the semi-straight high line, it is often seen as a modest cut.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


This cut has the most fabric because there is a draping layer that hangs over or above the bust.

Photo Credit: Nordstrom


Also known as the T-shirt neckline, due to its similarity to an actual crew T-shirt, the crew neckline is round and sits at the base of the throat.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


A halter style wraps around the neck, leaving the shoulder and back bare. This style is practical for women with a larger bust, as it helps to hold in “the girls.”

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

High Neck

A modern high neck style narrows at the neck in the front and back of the dress leaving only the shoulders bare. Meghan Markle’s second wedding dress that she went to the party in was a high neck cut. Older or more traditional full coverage high necks will look more Victorian with a high neck fabric and full sleeves.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


A sheer fabric with embellishments on top creates an illusion of bare skin with floating designs. This style is very chic. Illusion necklines can be seen in the front as well as the back of the dress and can be sleeveless or have long sleeves. You can also find a sheer illusion top with no design, which creates a classy look and provides support without the heaviness of a full fabric top.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


A pear or marquis shape cut into any neckline creates a keyhole effect neckline.

Photo Credit: David’s Bridal


The jewel neckline is similar to the crew, except the round scoop sits below the collar bones.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


Like the name, this neckline sits just below the shoulders to showcase the décolletage. Sleeves typically drape over the upper arm. Off-the-shoulder necklines make for stunning bridal portraits and are flattering on nearly all body types.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

One Shoulder / Asymmetric

A one shoulder can range from a strap on top of your collarbone to a strap draping on the arm like the off-the-shoulder style. The asymmetric style is a little edgy and modern.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


The deepest of the V-shaped necklines is the plunge. Get your sticky tape ready, my friends, because there are few undergarments that can work with this cut! No matter the size of your “girls,” you will most likely be taping the front in place to have piece of mind. That being said, it is very sexy.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Queen Anne

The Queen Anne is a sweetheart with straight lines up and around the neck and usually has some degree of sleeve. If you think of the pointed bottom of a tie, that is the shape the neckline creates on this cut.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


The scoop, a U-shaped neckline, is a universally flattering classic. It can be cut low, and quite often the scoop will continue on the back of the dress. This is the most extreme and deep cut of the rounded necklines (crew, jewel, and scoop).

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Spaghetti Strap

A delicate strap that provides function to assist in holding up your dress can also be decorative. When I was looking for my own dress, I noticed several designers that bedazzled the spaghetti straps to look like a chain of crystals.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Split / Notched

A split or notched neckline is a V-cut away from a rounded or straight neckline.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

Strapless / Straight

A strapless or straight neckline is one of the most popular styles, especially for brides with a larger bust. The straight-across square bodice gives you the strapless look with more support and coverage than deeper V-cuts such as sweetheart.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


Surplice neckline is in the V-cut family but can be commonly found in wrap dresses where one layer of fabric crosses over the other at the front bust area.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


The sweetheart—which is actually shaped like the top half of a heart—is a great option for brides with a fuller bust, because it accentuates the décolletage (like an off-the-shoulder neckline). The sweetheart is often designed with an overlay of sheer material that rises higher than the heart shape, making the neck and torso look longer.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


A square neckline is straight across the chest with some degree of sleeve (cap, mid, or long), and the upper shape turns into a square.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


Dresses can have turtlenecks too; they aren’t just reserved for sweaters. This is a very Victorian vibe with a modest and classy covered-up look.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal


You guessed it—this neckline dips down in the front into the shape of a “V.” It draws the eye downward creating the illusion of length and is very flattering on petite and narrow frames but also on a larger bust when fitted properly.

Photo Credit: Kleinfeld’s Bridal

After reading about all the different silhouette and neckline options, you should have a better understanding of the elements that make up a wedding dress and what parts of those pinned dresses you fancy. In case you wanted to take it a bit farther, David’s Bridal has a wedding dress quiz that you can take to help further narrow down the dress options.

Happy shopping, Brides!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

Men’s Suit Styles and Accessories – Part 2

This week’s post is for the grooms and was written by the Amarvelous Event “hubby” and guest-blogger, Mikael. Last month, we discussed men’s suit jackets and pants, plus a few important questions that need to be asked before the men in a wedding party can choose the style, formality, and colors of their outfits. Click here to read Men’s Suit Styles and Accessories – Part 1. This month, we’ll be covering the rest of the outfit and accessories that complete a man’s look on the most important day of his life: his shoes, belt, socks, dress shirt, tie or bowtie, and watch—plus others like his cummerbund or vest, handkerchief, cufflinks, shirt studs, tie bar, and suspenders.


If you’re getting married on a beach in the sand, then you may be barefoot during the ceremony. Otherwise, you’ll most likely be wearing shoes at your wedding, and in most cases they will be the nicest pair that you own. This post will cover dress shoes only, so if you’re wearing cowboy boots, sneakers, or any other casual styles at your wedding, then scroll on down to the Belts section!

Selecting men’s dress shoes can get surprisingly complex. If you’re wearing a tuxedo or other formalwear, then you’ve got it easy, because patent leather is the most common way to go in those cases. Otherwise, you’ve got a few important decisions to make: Do you like closed lacing or open lacing? Do you prefer an oxford, a derby, or another style? Do you want cap-toe, plain-toe, or wing-tips? And more! The infographics below summarize the traditional dress shoe styles, colors, and matching to suits pretty well:


While there are certain color and style combinations that are generally accepted, as seen above, a fashion-forward groom knows that you can choose a traditional dress shoe and change out the laces for a splash of color, or the dress shoe itself could be a unique color or design.

Whatever you pick, your shoes will be among the most visible parts of your outfit (more so than cufflinks, let’s say), and in some cases shoes are the first thing that people notice about a man, so although the sky’s the limit here, don’t take the decision too lightly.


The sky’s the limit here, too, but you’ll generally want to match your belt’s material and color to the material and color of your shoes, as well as your belt’s buckle metal to the metal of your cufflinks, shirt studs, tie bar, watch, and/or other metal accessories. It probably goes without saying, but you wouldn’t want to wear a brown belt with black shoes, or a silver-buckle belt with a gold watch.

Even more subtle, though, if you can match the exact grain, color, contrast, hue, and tone of leather between your belt and shoes, and if you can match the exact polish of the metal (meaning how shiny versus how brushed), then these are the small details that can make an outfit go from good to outstanding. Some high-end brands sell exactly-matching belts and shoes, but you also have the option of bringing your purchased shoes from store-to-store to compare them to prospective belts in person.

Some wedding suits do not require a belt: With certain tuxedos, for example, you may notice that your pants don’t even have belt loops, and in that case you may wear a cummerbund instead of a belt (important note for tuxes: if your pants do have belt loops and you are wearing patent-leather shoes, then try to get a patent-leather belt to match the shoes).

The Art of Manliness website has a comprehensive Guide to Men’s Belts here.


Here’s where we get funky. While it’s always acceptable to defer to the traditional solid-color, crew or knee-high dress socks, modern grooms are using this piece of the outfit to express their interests and fun side. You could have yourself and your groomsmen in different colors…

Source: Bold Socks

Or you could have the colors match another part of the outfit or match the bride and bridesmaids…

Or you could wear socks depicting your favorite superheros, sports teams, or another passion of yours…

At my own wedding, for example, I decided to be a huge nerd and wear matching Darth Vader socks and cufflinks, while my awesome and supportive groomsmen wore Stormtrooper socks.

Source: Dreamlife Photography

Believe it or not, socks are optional! While I sometimes think about that skit where the comedian makes fun of people who don’t wear socks with dress shoes (“What, are you never planning on wearing those shoes again?”), it is a conscientious but increasingly acceptable fashion choice to go with the sock-less look.


In addition to the suit and the shoes, your shirt is going to be one of the most visible parts of your outfit, especially if you plan on taking off your jacket later in the evening to dance. While your socks allowed you plenty of creative freedom, there are some general shirt shape and cut tenets that should be followed for a clean and cohesive look: the collar, the buttons, the cuff, and the cut of the shirt generally change to match the formality of the event and the shape of your face but also your personal preference.

A tuxedo with a bowtie will allow the wing-tip collar, an altogether different type that only bends at the front in order to allow the bowtie fabric to show around the circumference of the neck. Note that a bowtie can also be worn with the other collar types however.

In the two images above, you can also see the pleated (left, above) and bib-front (right, above) shirt cuts on the chest, both of which are only really appropriate for a tuxedo or other formal suit. The stud-style buttons down the front and on the cuff are also visible on the above two images, though tuxedos do not require the shirt to have these features. The reason why shirt studs are a good option for tuxedos, though, is that wing collars should be worn with a bowtie only, leaving the chest exposed, while a necktie will cover the buttons on the chest. If you do have stud-style front and cuffs, then you now have the option of customizing the studs and cufflinks. Additionally, the above two shirts have French-cuff sleeves, which is required if you want to wear cufflinks.

A regular white dress shirt will have visible and sewn-in buttons on the chest and the cuff (left, below). However, for a more formal event like a wedding, you might opt for the hidden placket look (right, below), where the buttons are hidden below a layer of fabric.

You’ll also want to think about what fit of shirt looks best on your body type:

Source: Macy’s

And although all of the images above were white cotton shirts, various shades of off-white are also fairly common, and even colorful shirts are increasingly seen. Cotton, however, is still the tried and true fabric, but it is admittedly not the only option at your disposal either.

The white or off-white cotton shirt is probably the way to go, though, since there are plenty of other ways to get some color and personality into your outfit. One way, for example, is your tie or bowtie…

Ties and Bowties

Ties and bowties come in a dozen different materials (even non-fabrics) and millions of colors and patterns. Just make sure to choose a material, color, and pattern that match the rest of the outfit, the bridal party, or the theme of the wedding while also representing your own tastes.

You also have non-traditional options when it comes to bowties:

Setting colors and patterns aside for a moment, there are still a few basic rules regarding what type of tie to wear with each collar style…

Source: Tie a Tie

…as well as a few basic rules regarding how casual or formal, trendy or traditional, certain tie styles are…

Source: Tie a Tie

…and of course there are several ways to tie the knot:



Your wedding day is going to fly by. Before you know it, you will be officially, legally married to the love of your life and heading up to your room, and your watch won’t be lying: it’s the end of the best day of your life. There’s not much to say in this section except that time is the most precious resource of all, so the watch that you wear on your wedding day should be meaningful to you or at least a watch that you love. On my own wedding day, I wore my father’s watch. If your watch’s band is leather like your shoes and belt, then you can try to match the color and grain for all three accessories, ensuring to also match the metal of the belt buckle to the watch’s metal frame.

Cummerbunds and Vests

Cummerbunds and vests are worn below your jacket but above your shirt. As mentioned under Belts, the cummerbund can take the place of the belt for formal suits like tuxedos, especially if the pants lack belt loops. Cummerbunds should be worn only if you are wearing a bowtie, not a long necktie, and the material should match your jacket lapel if possible. Unlike a cummerbund, a vest can be worn with a belt. You would not wear a vest and a cummerbund together however. Here’s a useful guide on when and how to wear cummerbunds.

Vests are also a great option to dress up or dress down your wedding. A three-piece suit (pants, jacket, and vest) can make a look more elegant, while a vest and pants combination, with no jacket, is a more casual look. You may choose to have the groom wear a full suit while the groomsmen wear only vests and no jackets, as the below photos show.


Handkerchiefs are a subtle but necessary accessory for your wedding day. They can be worn in your jacket breast pocket or your vest breast pocket–either way, it’s strongly recommended that you wear one.

Source: Tie a Tie

Cufflinks, Shirt Studs, and Tie Bars

Cufflinks are worn on your wrist to hold together a French-cuff style sleeve cuff. They used to indicate that the event was formal, but because they come in a variety of novelty and funky designs now, they have started to become more common even in casual weddings. They are also an opportunity for a groom and his groomsmen to subtly wear a themed or fun matching outfit accessory that won’t be obvious to the larger wedding guest list without close observation.

If you opt for a more traditional cufflink and your shirt also has studs, then luckily those accessories can match to create a more cohesive look:

In the photos above, you can see the two types of cufflink backs or fasteners: the swivel and the fixed back. My personal recommendation is fixed-back, since this type is more durable. You can also personalize cufflinks with initials that are meaningful to you.

As mentioned above, shirt studs are worn with, usually, tuxedo shirts, and can also match your cufflinks. The shirt studs that come by default with your shirt are usually cheap plastic and not meant to be worn during the event, so it is recommended to get a set of your own.

Finally, tie bars are accessories that add a bit of form to your outfit while also serving a function: a tie bar can up your look while also holding down your tie from lifting off of your chest. Below you will see a matching Batman tie bar and cufflinks.

Credit: Kenneth Wood Design on

And, as with everything else, there are some basic rules to follow with tie bars:

Source: Tie a Tie
Source: Tie a Tie
Source: Tie a Tie


Suspenders can be worn in lieu of a belt to keep your pants suspended on your hips. Interestingly enough, even though a cummerbund replaces a belt for a formal outfit (in form, not in function), suspenders can be worn together with a cummerbund because they take over the “suspending” function of the belt, whereas the cummerbund is only meant to conceal your waist. There are a few options when it comes to suspenders style and countless options when it comes to patterns and colors. If you choose leather, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to match the material and color of your shoes with your suspenders, as you would have done with a belt.


There are two ways that suspenders connect to your pants: buttons (left, below) and clips (right, below).


And there you have it: You’re now able to select and customize the components of the outfit that you’ll wear on the happiest day of your life! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

Men’s Suit Styles and Accessories – Part 1

This week’s post is for the grooms and was written by the Amarvelous Event “hubby” and guest-blogger, Mikael.

To my fellow grooms: You got the ring, you popped the question, and now you’re planning the most important day (thus far) of your life with your blushing bride-to-be—picking locations, and dates, and colors, and menus, and so much other stuff that it suddenly makes total sense why weddings are a $50-plus billion-dollar industry in the United States. No doubt, it’s a lot of work (this is why many couples happily choose to invest in a wedding planner), but admittedly it’s usually fun work, especially the food and cake tastings, and at least you don’t have to do anything regarding your bride’s dress. You do, however, need to worry about your own outfit, and that’s where this week’s post comes in.

In a traditional American wedding (or let’s even say most Western weddings), the groom generally wears a suit or a tuxedo with all of the accessories for a business or formal event: your nicest shoes, a matching belt, fancy or funky socks, a dress shirt, a tie or a bowtie, and your best watch—plus sometimes a cummerbund or a vest, a handkerchief, cufflinks, shirt studs, a tie bar, suspenders, and perhaps even more. Counting them out, it’s almost like the groom’s outfit has more decision-points than the bride’s outfit does! Kidding, kidding…

Before you choose any of these items, though, let’s start with two questions about the event itself.

How formal is your event?

Is your wedding a formal black-tie affair? Is it a hyper-casual beach wedding? Or is it something in between, like a business-casual or business-formal event? Before you decide anything else about your outfit, the question of how formal your event is needs to be answered. A bride can wear any sparkling, white dress and almost always still fit in with her wedding’s vibe, be it casual or formal, because, let’s face it, she’s the bride. However, a groom who wore a tuxedo for a casual wedding, or who wore slacks with no tie for a formal wedding, will stick out like a sore thumb.

These groom-focused posts will cover everything from business-casual to formal black-tie outfits. For casual weddings where you and your fellow male guests might be wearing short sleeves, no ties, and denim, check out this post on The Knot: Tuck the Tux Away: Casual Groom Styles Are In!

Image Credit: Catering on the Move

What is the color scheme of your event?

The decision of the color scheme(s) for your wedding is usually something that the bride will have strong opinions about, but if you’re lucky like I was then your bride might be flexible. My wife (at the time, my bride) said that I had total control over the color of my own suit (gee, thanks), irrespective of the color scheme of the rest of the wedding. Our wedding was supposed to be white and gold, and her bridesmaids were supposed to wear gold or champagne-colored dresses.

When my wife saw and loved the color that I had picked for my suit—a pale shade of blue-teal to match the ocean and the sky (we were married on the beach)—and probably aided by the fact that she couldn’t find the perfect shade of gold for her bridesmaids, and by the fact that our venue’s color scheme was mostly shades of blue and teal, my wife decided to incorporate more blue and navy into our wedding.

Long story short, my wife apparently would have been okay with whatever colors I chose for my outfit, but it could also look really good if everything is cohesive. Here’s us and our bridal party in shades of blue:

Image Credit: Dreamlife Wedding Photography

Now that you’ve chosen the color scheme and how formal your wedding will be, you’re ready to start choosing the details of your own outfit. This week’s post will cover the basics: the pants and the jacket.

The Suit: Pants and Jacket Options

Your pants and jacket will comprise the majority of what people will see you wearing for the day. Yes, the shirt’s important, and the socks and shoes are an opportunity to make a statement or show your fun side, and little details here and there can make or break the outfit when observing it close-up. Realistically, though, the suit itself will cover more than 90% of your body during the wedding ceremony, which will likely be the most-photographed segment of the day, so it’s one of your more important choices for the outfit.

As far as the style of your pants and jacket goes, you have four basic options:

1. Mismatching Informal Pants and Jacket

The least formal* of the four options (not a bad thing), this is when your jacket and pants mismatch each other in either color or material or both. You could have a green tweed jacket, for example, with burgundy corduroy pants, like in one of the images below. Although you’re not wearing a matching suit, you can still look like you’re well put together by dressing-up the outfit with a bowtie or a vest. I’d say that this style can be pulled off at certain weddings only though, maybe something outdoors and rustic in the woods.
*Least formal unless you’re royalty—see below.

Image Credit: Esquire
Image Credit: Chic Vintage Brides

2. Matching Pants and Jacket

Probably the most common style for modern American weddings, this is when your pants and jacket match in both color and material. This is the type of suit that you might wear to work in an office environment—still completely acceptable for your wedding, of course, and I personally encourage this option out of the four. It’s probably also the most versatile option out of the four, since it would not look out of place whether your wedding is outdoors, indoors, casual (as long as the outfit is dressed down), or semi-formal (as long as you also wear a tie or bowtie).

Image Credit: The Knot
Image Credit: SLR Lounge

3. Mismatching Formal Pants and Jacket

We’re getting slightly more formal here. Think James Bond’s infamous white dinner jacket with black tuxedo pants. This option is a good combination of classy and smart while still remaining fun and interesting. This option would not really be worn outdoors but is totally appropriate for a cocktail-style wedding and after-party. It’s different than the 1. Mismatching Informal Pants and Jacket option and more formal than the 2. Matching Pants and Jacket option in that the jacket and pants, on their own, are each one half of a tuxedo-style suit. If you’re going for the James Bond look, then the jacket should be white, but there are a range of color and material combinations that this option can utilize.

4. Tuxedo

The most formal and classic out of the four suit styles, tuxedos are traditionally black but do come in a variety of colors if that’s what you’re looking for. They are notable by a satin or silk (or any other shiny material) lapel on the jacket, with a matching material on the buttons, on the waistband, and down the outseam (the exterior sides) of the pants. Keep in mind that tuxedo does not automatically equal bowtie, since a silk or satin necktie that matches the lapel material can be worn instead. Tuxedos are also the option where you will more commonly find rounded (“shawl”) lapels and single-button jackets, which you can see in one of the images below.

Image Credit: GQ
Image Credit: Heather Jowett

Other Considerations

Other than one of the four suit styles, you will also need to consider your suit’s material, pattern, thread count, color, lapel shape, lapel width, jacket button quantity, jacket exterior pockets, sleeve length, pant length, and a few other items. Each of these aspects of your suit has a range of options of their own, ranging from hundreds of options (in the case of suit color) to only three or four options (in the case of button quantity). Each of these choices can change how formal your outfit is overall—so be sure to ask your tailor or sales associate when purchasing or renting your suit.

Image Source: Style Sample Mag

You’ll also want to think about whether your groomsmen match your suit identically or whether your own suit, as the groom, will have any defining characteristics such as a different:

  • Color (I personally wore a lighter shade of blue than my groomsmen did)
  • Cut or style (I wore three-piece matching, while my groomsmen wore two-piece matching)
  • Lapel style (my groomsmen had a more modern cut, while I had an older-style cut)
  • Level of formality (maybe you wear James Bond-style while your groomsmen wear tuxedos, or maybe you wear matching jacket and pants while your groomsmen wear mismatching)
  • Material (maybe your groomsmen wear a more affordable material, while you wear a nicer one)
Image Credit: The Unstitchd

If you do diverge from your groomsmen on any of these options, then it’s strongly recommended that your outfit have the nicer, higher-quality (albeit possibly more expensive) choice between the two suits.

And there you have it! You’re now able to select and customize the basic components of the suit—the jacket and the pants—that you’ll wear on the happiest day of your life! You might choose to take off your jacket after the ceremony, later in the day or evening, especially when you are eating or dancing, and in that case you might be wearing a vest, a cummerbund, or suspenders underneath (I personally chose the vest option, making my outfit a matching three-piece suit). While this week’s blog post only discussed the jacket and pants, check back in a few weeks for Amarvelous Event’s style guidance on shirts, shoes, socks, ties, and all other accessories and outfit components.

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How to Create a Colorful Wedding

New York City celebrated World Pride yesterday, and seeing all of those colors and festivities inspired this post! White, cream, champagne, and blush are all classy colors, but if you are over the uber-neutral wedding palate, then this post is for you! If you enjoy color, don’t feel like you have to tone down your taste in order to have a wedding like everyone else’s. Embrace your creative side and spread color throughout outfits, accessories, hair, makeup, paper goods, food, flowers, tablescapes, and décor. In this post, we’ll review examples of how to add in that wanted pop of color to create your dreamy colorful wedding.



White, off-white, cream, beige, and champagne are the traditional colors for wedding dresses. But there are ways to still have a white wedding dress and add pops of color. You could add colorful stitching embellishments, or an ombré dyed skirt, or dyed under-layers that only show in movement. Or, if you were open to a fully-colored dress, designers like Hayley Paige have recently released stunning blush tone dresses. And color doesn’t have to end with the bride: Traditionally, grooms veer towards black, navy blue, grey, or beige suits, but there are incredibly handsome light blue and dark green options too.


If a colorful dress or suit isn’t your thing, then consider adding color through accessories. I recently saw a bride that wore a solid white dress and rocked a colorful embellished veil that was stitched with a rainbow assortment of flowers. You could also match your shoes to the color palate or have the full bridal party wear colorful matching or differently-colored shoes. And don’t forget about men’s socks: Hubby and I gifted the groomsmen at our wedding Star Wars Stormtrooper socks to go with my husband’s Darth Vader socks. Those socks were white and black but super quirky and made for great photos. You can get original with socks. Think of socks like the dyed underneath of the wedding gown: People only see it when in movement, but it’s an unexpected place to pop some color.

Hair and Makeup

My best friend has gorgeous, long, blonde hair. She always dreamed of dyeing her hair pink for her wedding day. She did an ombré effect with light pink bottoms, and it suited her personality perfectly. Dying your hair for wedding day isn’t going to be for everyone, but a less permanent color option is painting your nails. As opposed to the common French, white, or blush manicures, why not paint your nails in a shade that compliments the rest of the colors of your day?

Paper Goods

I think paper goods are the easiest and most affordable way to add color to your special day. Beginning with your save-the-date, guests will start to feel the vibe of your day. By the time they receive the invitation and get directed to your wedding website, you have officially set the tone. Guests will know you are hosting a unique wedding before they even arrive at your venue. Invitation companies such as Minted have loads of excellent save-the-date and invitation options. It doesn’t cost extra to use more color—on the contrary, in most cases adding neutral metallics is the up-charge. On wedding day, escort cards from the matching invitation suite finish off your cohesive colorful paper goods. Use paper fans as a more affordable and high impact décor for your wedding arbor. You can also hang matching paper fans from the center pole of an outdoor tented reception. Invite your guests to celebrate the end of your ceremony with cones of rainbow biodegradable confetti. The photos are magical.


I just love the idea of adding pops of color through food! Almost all weddings have the same type of food, with the typical catering hall menu and a white cake. Let’s change it up, people! Signature alcoholic drinks with kitschy names often add a cute pop of color to wedding day. But the fun drinks don’t have to end with alcoholic beverages. Take a look below at this delightful rainbow soda bottle display. Also consider adding color to the cake. You could have your florist hold aside some matching bouquet flowers, and your baker will include them into the cake at the top or in a cascading manner down the side. Or you could give your baker some artistic freedom with colorful icing. All eyes are upon the cake during the cake-cutting photo opp: Don’t miss out on this focal point moment.


Flowers are the typical place that couples utilize to add color to their wedding. Between bouquets, wrist corsages, boutonnieres, a ceremony arbor, and centerpieces, ask your florist to get imaginative! You don’t need the roses, peonies, and hydrangeas everyone uses. Think outside the box with wild flowers and garden flowers to find more colorful options. You may even save some money by picking the nontraditional wedding flowers. Keep in mind if you make tropical selections such as orchids, you will actually spend more. Try to select flowers that are regional to your area and in season.


Now this is an area that is always lacking color. Venues typically offer white table linens, white napkins, white plates, silver cutlery, and clear glassware. Don’t be afraid to ask your venue if they have alternatives available for free or rent. Sometimes they may offer gold or multi-tone silverware. They may also have different color linens available. If they don’t, then consider how much of an impact the tablescape will make in transforming the room, and rent what your venue can’t provide! The basics you need on your tables to achieve your colorful affair are colored floor-length linens and colored chargers. Chargers in silver, gold, or another color to match your color scheme will create each place setting. Then dress up the place setting with colored or patterned napkins. If you have the budget to rent colored glassware, this creates an extremely luxurious feel, since guests don’t expect color in this area. It’s a splurge, but it really makes the table. And finish the evening off with cake cutting utensils that will wow in your photographs.


Besides flowers, there are other options for décor such as uplighting, balloons, tassel strings, ribbons, wall drapery, chair sashes, and smoke bombs. Of this list, the one with the highest impact is uplighting, because it 100% transforms the space and creates a color immersive environment. Uplighting can be one color throughout the whole space or multiple colors that transition throughout the night. Sometimes venues offer uplighting or pin lighting for the centerpieces, but typically you will need to rent lighting from your DJ company. The rest of the décor options listed are add-on options if you have the budget. I often see plain white outdoor reception tents with decorative drapery, ribbons, or tassels hanging from the poles. When your venue is a blank white slate, you need to think outside the box and add in pops of color where you can.

Photo Credit: fashion and wedding
Photo Credit: green wedding shoes


Think about every area of your wedding you can add a color choice instead of white or neutrals: outfits, accessories, hair, makeup, paper goods, food, flowers, tablescapes, and décor. On the most important day of your life, don’t let your affair blend into the background. Stand out! Dazzle your guests with some unexpected color pops and actually create that oh-so-desired “wedding like no one else’s.”

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.