A Black Tie wedding look. Photo: Institchu

A Black Tie wedding look. Image by InStitchu

Themed-weddings can be fraught with danger.

When done correctly they can turn a special occasion for two people into a fantastical memory for everyone who attends.

But done incorrectly and, well, let’s just say it’s lucky wedding guests usually tell the happy couple they had a good time regardless.

So what’s the appeal of a themed wedding? Aren’t they just more work?

“Themed weddings are appealing in the sense that they are great for showcasing the personalities of the bride and groom and their style,” says Miles Ruge, InStitchu weddings manager.

InStitchu is a global custom, tailoring menswear company, and Miles says they’ve seen an increase in themed weddings of late.

“There’s always the traditional notion of a wedding in which everybody is suited up and it’s a very extravagant affair, when in reality, that may not be the wish of the couple which is why we are seeing the upwards trends of themed weddings from beach weddings to colour themed weddings, to whatever the imagination can think of really.”

I asked Miles for InStitchu’s top four wedding themes and how they would help a groom dress for each occasion.

Black Tie

At a glance: High end formal, full on tuxedo, glitz and glamour.

Description: The Black Tie wedding is an absolute classic, so much so that you might not even consider it a theme, but make no mistake, the classic look takes work.

Miles likes the black tie wedding because it “showcases glamour in its most simplistic way”.

“When a groom wears a perfectly fitted tuxedo, it really makes a striking statement,” he says.

The Look: “A black tie wedding is all about the tuxedo – a timeless wedding outfit. The tux boasts both sophistication and elegance. For those who want to go for a not-so classic approach to the black tie theme, there are also options such as opting for a Midnight Blue tuxedo, I like that there is still versatility in this seemingly classic theme.”

Key detail: “As the tux is such a constructed, striking garment, getting the perfect fit is the most important thing to get right.”

Beach Wedding

A beach wedding look. Image by InStitchu

At a glance: The beach wedding steps away from the traditional wedding and brings the party to a beach, or a destination. Popular choices include Bali and the Greek Islands.

Description: The destination wedding is the epitome of a themed wedding and yes, the potential highs and lows go along with it. You get great weather, you get an amazing wedding. You get bad weather… let’s not even think about it. Miles says the beach wedding offers both the bridal party and guests an opportunity to explore a new destination in a more relaxed setting.

The look: Custom, tailored, three-piece linen suits and shirts are great for this theme. Linen is lightweight, breathable and is perfect for a Summer or Spring beach wedding as the temperatures are bound to get hot, especially when outdoors at the beach.

“We recommend going for a three-piece linen suit, so that when it does get warmer, the gents can take off their jackets whilst still looking smart and uniform with their vests.

“Pair with boat shoes for a more casual look, and your beach wedding theme outfit is complete.”

Key detail: “I would say that the main thing to get right fashion-wise is to add your own touches to your outfit that make it you, whether that’s choosing a classic beige suit, to even opting for a three piece suit, to monogramming your wedding date or initials on your shirt cuff, to adding a crisp white pocket square, it’s the little things that show your personality.”

Creative and Unique

A creative and unique wedding look. Image by InStitchu

At a glance: Celebrate your quirkiness.

Description: Not all couples want to fit the traditional mould. What makes you special should be celebrated not repressed. Examples include: a colour-based theme, enchanted forest theme to an urban city theme. Miles says getting creative is a great opportunity for a groom to express “personality, individuality and give an extra flair to the wedding”.

The look: “It honestly depends on the theme and the person, however we are now seeing (once again) couples breaking out of the traditional mould, stepping into suits such as the tweed jacket, burgundy jacket or even a traditional navy with an out there lining.”

Key detail: “Show your own touch of individuality and uniqueness. Being able to customise your garment allows you to put your own spin on it by designing your suit down to the very detail, from the fabric, to the lapel, to the buttons, to the lining, monogramming and so much more. Showcase your personality not only through your customisation choices, but also through accessories like your pocket square, your shoes, your socks and more.”


A countryside wedding look. Photo: Institchu

A countryside wedding look. Image by InStitchu

At a glance: Embrace the outdoors and what is sure to be a beautiful and natural backdrop.

Description: We’re pretty lucky in this country to have a wealth of countryside to pick from. Picture white Gum trees with long yellow grass, or thick greenery among the mountains. Miles says this theme embraces the “beauty of nature and the stunning outdoors”. “That’s why this theme is a lot of fun–there is the opportunity to match and compliment the beautiful outdoors and all of its natural colours, through your wedding outfits and decorations.”

The look: “There is a lot of versatility for an outdoor Australian country wedding, depending on the weather and your style. You can’t go wrong with classic navy custom, tailored chinos with white shirts and patterned bow ties and on the same page you can very easily opt for a navy cocktail suit – all of these garments are versatile – meaning they can be worn to another occasion post-wedding.”

Key detail: “Whether you decide to go formal or more casual, do it right, accessorise accordingly and commit yourself to an outfit that you are 100 per cent comfortable in.”

Ms Zigzag says: Thank you to Mr Houndstooth and InStitchu for diving into the details here! I definitely think you want to seriously consider your overall wedding aesthetic and theme before going suit shopping! 

About the author Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.

This was a collaboration of some amazing and talented people that included my son (Troy) and his beloved (Kane) to celebrate the Yes vote. It was heart warming to have so many beautiful and creative people come together, in a heart beat, to support this and without hesitation.

In the brief, I gave each Vendor a small summary and allowed them to design, produce and provide what they wanted to showcase in the spirit of the shoot. This was simply a colour scheme of green, burgundy and navy with a masculine, vintage industrial feel. They aced it.

The style for the Groom & Groom shoot was for a masculine vintage/industrial vibe that would fit with the location, Stanley Park at Fullerton Cove, a historic waterfront estate – only 20 minutes from Newcastle. I gave each of the talented vendors a colour scheme of burgundy, green and navy blue and told them to create what they wanted to show, and while each of them said they initially struggled with the brief (I didn’t want to influence them, at all), what they provided to be included in the shoot was beyond my expectations.

Our inspiration was when Australia said “Yes” to the Same-sex marriage survey, our family celebrated for our son and his partner, Kane. I’ve photographed so many weddings but only could hope that one day I would be able to see people like Troy and Kane get married, so with that in mind, the idea for the shoot was born. To honour that great day, with the help of Troy, Kane and their best friends, Kerryn & Jordann, I rallied around several vendors that I knew (and those I wanted to know) and when I approached them, they all accepted with the same resounding ‘yes’.

Kane had sent me photos of their intended “look”, so with that in mind, I decided Stanley Park would be the perfect location to complement his vision. Built in 1897, the house and grounds were amazing, with views over the water that became more magical as the afternoon light fell across it. Thankfully, Jasmin from Stanley Park had had a cancellation for our date, so it was meant to be.

I have worked with Brie from Picottee Floral Design, before. Her creativity with flowers is nothing short of amazing and her eye for detail and colour palettes have always taken my breath away, even at short notice. She’d recently gone out on her own, so I was praying she’d want to be involved and I was so grateful she agreed. Her use of the incredible orange orchids (imported from the Netherlands) was a stroke of genius, allaying her fears that the burgundy and green brief I’d given her, wouldn’t look too ‘Christmas-y’ and made the bouquets pop from the pretty green dresses of our two Bridesmaids (found on Ebay – the dresses, not the Bridesmaids).

Opulent Events from the Newcastle/Port Stephens region was my next port of call in this amazing journey. From the moment I made contact, Loretta was helpful and accommodating, helping build the vision with her creativity and incredible wedding furniture and accessories. Her selection of vintage tableware, glassware and cutlery was the perfect match, adding the masculine touch to the table decoration and complementing the floral decoration.

After working with Ashleigh from Wish Boutique Stationery, late last year, and following her work on Instagram since then, I was keen to have her included in the shoot. Like the others, she readily accepted and I believe her choice of the 1920’s ‘look’ for the invitations and menus was the perfect complement to the overall style. The navy blue stood out on whatever background we placed them on and the menus were the star of the show against the white plates and olive green linen napkins of the reception set-up.

Oxee Treex supplied the wooden luggage tags with the boys names engraved on them.
Rachel Davis from Newcastle was an effortless choice for the makeup. Rachel has had me photograph her (own) makeup range, Brave Cosmetics, many times before and I was keen to promote her natural ‘vegan’ selection, which I’ve found is becoming an important consideration for brides. Most recently, she has developed a range of lipsticks for “Love your Sister” to help raise money to fight cancer, a very worthy cause.

I have so much love for all of these people that came together to help make our vision a reality. Their time, effort and creativity has helped showcase the importance that ‘love truly is love’ and that the time has come for us to all celebrate equality.

About the author Kristen Clapham: “Although, in the early stages of my photography career I never thought I’d say this, but I just absolutely and completely LOVE weddings!  So much preparation, time, thought and energy goes into creating this amazing day and each and every one of them is so different.  It becomes an extension of the Bride and Groom’s personality and I really enjoy having a backstage pass to all the action.” For more on Kristen’s story, click here.

Photographer: Kristen Clapham Photography / Ceremony Venue: Stanley Park / Flowers & Decor: Picottee Floral Design / Rental Furniture: Opulent Events / Invitations & Stationery: Wish Boutique Stationery / Cake Topper: Picottee Floral Design / Makeup Artist: Brave Cosmetics / Linens: Opulent Events / Stationery: Oxee Treex on Etsy

Jess & Luke’s Modern Coombe Yarra Valley Wedding

It was a Summer day in the vineyards when Jess and Luke celebrated their modern Coombe Yarra Valley black tie wedding. Their day beautifully blended old and new – the venue itself, housing a historic homestead and modern reception space, mirroring the elements of the day so carefully curated by the bride and groom. The couple chose Daniel Brannan to capture their magic.

Jess on Luke’s attire for their big day, “Luke and his groomsmen wore custom suits and shirts by Oscar Hunt, with a blue Tom Ford bowtie and Paul Smith shoes. He chose his outfit because he wanted something classic and timeless.”

Credits: Groom’s Attire: Oscar Hunt / Groom’s Shoes: Paul Smith / Groomsmen Attire: Oscar Hunt

Photographer: Daniel Brannan