Wedding Elegance: Bow Tie vs. Tie

Tie or bow tie? That is the question when saying “I do” or celebrating with the couple on their big day. While a tie or bow tie may seem inconsequential, the right neckwear can make or break your outfit.

The wedding day represents the Kentucky Derby of human life, one of the grandest events of the year where style speaks volumes about the wearer as well as the taste level of the occasion.

Allow me to offer you some guidance on making the right choice, illuminating the pros and cons of each, and showcase some examples.

Wedding Guests: Should They Wear Tie or Bow Tie?

Consider the Wedding Theme

Should the invitation state an evening black-tie affair in a ballroom of an elegant hotel, a traditional long tie should suffice. Select one of the luxurious fabrics, such as silk, in neutral navy, gray, or black.

A bow tie would add a touch of panache for a much less formal gathering, such as a daytime wedding (maybe on the beach or in a garden).  For a relaxed and enjoyable aesthetic, seersucker is a great fabric choice; it's iconic in the South and sets a tone of enjoyment. High Cotton Ties has just the perfect bow tie for such an event - a light blue and white striped bow tie

Complement Your Suit with Your Choice

Always select a tie that harmonizes with your suit. For instance, a wool suit is in need of a hardy tie. Cotton or linen, a lighter material, calls for a bow tie. You should never, and I mean never, outshine the bride or groom with your tie!

In summary, as a guest, your neckwear needs to honor the couple's special day, be in keeping with the style of your suit, and allow you to feel comfortable and confident.

What Should the Groom Wear for His Wedding? A Tie or a Bow Tie?

The Traditional Choice

Tradition has long dictated the proper etiquette of sporting a bow tie when wearing a tux. An aura of sophistication and class exudes from such attire.

Breaking With the Norm

Let's ring it in by wearing a traditional long tie if you have a bit of that rebellious spirit. For example, as the groom, why not try a paisley patterned tie - a deep navy with bold gold splashes? This will keep you in the spotlight but still maintain that treasured cohesion.

Personal Style, Comfort, and Environment

Your style, comfort, and the setting influence your critical decision. If you're planning a garden wedding beneath the expansive branches of a live oak tree, consider adding a touch of charm with a bow tie adorned with a seersucker or gingham check pattern. However, if your venue is an elegant, high-ceilinged ballroom with crystal chandeliers, a solid or striped silk tie would harmonize beautifully with the opulent atmosphere and complement your three-piece suit wonderfully.

Tie or Bow Tie: How To Choose for a Wedding 

  • Type of Occasion - Wear a black silk bow tie for a suave touch worthy of the most elite soirees

A necktie for an intimate chapel wedding will give you a handsome, polished look without looking overly stiff. Cotton with a slight pattern should suffice.

  • Style of Your Suit - Opt for a slim tie with a slim suit for a modern look or choose a bow tie for a vintage touch with a double-breasted suit.

  • Your Physical Constitution- For a broader physique, choose a tie. This will draw the eye downward, creating a slimmer mystic. Put on a bow tie for the slimmer gent to draw the eye up.

  • Personal Comfort and Flair - There is no sense in getting gussied-up if you feel miserable in your ensemble. You can express your individuality through fabric, pattern, color, and style when surrounded by a sea of suits. But comfort and confidence need to be at the top of the list. Select the neckwear that allows you to embody the finest version of yourself.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Wearing a Necktie for a Wedding?


Symbol of Formality and Respect

A commendable balance is achieved between formal and semi-formal. A black, blue, or grey tie paired with a sharp suit can achieve the perfect look.

Extensive Range of Styles

Neckties have an endless variety of styles, colors, and patterns.  From solids to stripes, paisleys to polka dots, making it easy to express your style.


Neckties Can Be Viewed as Too Casual

For many events, especially black-tie affairs, a necktie can come across as too casual. With so many available, they may make you blend into the crowd, and we certainly do not want that!

Possible Obstruction

The predicament of the necktie becoming a hindrance during an energetic dance session is a familiar conundrum. When Uncle Bob's beloved tune starts playing, and the Charleston dance sweeps the floor, maintaining elegance and poise can prove quite demanding when your tie is constantly in motion.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Wearing a Bow Tie for a Wedding?


Unique Statement

Sporting a bow tie can be a daring move that not everyone can pull off. If you can, it will add a flair to your outfit.

Formal and Fun

A bow tie balances the border between a formal and relaxed style. Every personality and occasion can be matched to a bow tie with quirky patterns, vibrant colors, unconventional materials, and innovative designs.

Adds Character

Allows your personality to shine.  A silk bow tie in navy blue with moose could be your nod to your love for wild animals. It just so happens we offer the perfect one:


Difficult to Tie

A self-tie bow tie can be a bit challenging at first. It takes some practice. However, it is the signature of an authentic gentleman who has honed the skill of donning a bow tie and skillfully knotting it himself.

Too Unconventional

It may not always be clear if a bow tie is appropriate for certain events if not stated as black-tie. Some even find the bow tie a bit quirky.

Less Flattering on Certain Body Types

Unlike a traditional necktie, a bow tie can emphasize width on broader gentlemen because its horizontal line is more prominent than a traditional necktie's vertical one.

Examples of Wedding Ties and Bow Ties

It's time to let our visuals do the talking. 

Classic Black Bow Tie - for a black-tie event

Pastel Bow Ties - for a Garden or Beach-themed summer wedding

Plaid Bow Ties - for a rustic or autumnal Southern soiree

Seersucker Striped Tie - for a daytime Southern wedding

Polka Dot Ties - for a semi-formal wedding

Paisley Ties - for a winter wedding

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, choosing a traditional necktie and a dapper bow tie for a Southern wedding reflects your style and the ambiance you wish to create. Each option brings its unique charm and sophistication.  A classic necktie exudes timeless elegance, while a bow tie adds a touch of Southern gentility and character. So, whether you opt for the refined allure of a necktie or the distinctive charm of a bow tie, remember that your choice symbolizes your individuality and a nod to tradition, enhancing the beauty and authenticity of a Southern wedding celebration.

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