Advice for the Father of the Bride

 Father walking daughter down isle at destination wedding


Father of the Bride – How to dress him for great wedding photographs.

So it’s your wedding day, let’s face it – it’s going to be a pretty big day for you and your husband-to-be, but its also going to be a pretty huge day for another very special guy. A guy who, whether he is able to be there or not, will have dreamt of this day for probably longer than you have. Your dad. I know I am already starting to well-up more during the father-daughter dance as I imagine dancing it with Isabella at her wedding. This post is for all the Dads who will be able to be there for their little girl on their wedding day, to make sure they have a fabulous day at your wedding and that it is everything they have ever dreamt of too. Specifically, that they know what to wear so your wedding photographs look amazing, as let’s face it, they might not have been picturing a beach wedding for you guys, and might be feeling a little lost and not wanting to add to the pressure on you by asking too much… and you know, “just” being Dad. Comforting, helping everything run smoothly and generally being the best support guy in the world… quietly.

So here goes…

It’s going to be hot, windy and sandy. I know – a given – but let’s not be afraid to state the obvious here. And your Dad will have 3 BIG moments during the day that we need to consider. Walking you down the aisle in the sunshine, the father-daughter dance, and the speeches. So he will want to wear something that looks great when he is walking in the bright sunshine, but also when he is dancing and standing still in the evening.

As a result, I would suggest long suit trousers in a pale colour of sand, grey or khaki with a nice shirt and a jacket for the evening. Shorts?… well, I’ll leave that up to the bride as sometimes shorts are good and other times they are just too informal for such an important job. This way during the day he can wear trousers and shirt, then he can pop on the jacket for the dance and speeches in the evening when it might be cooler.

The SHIRT – Please steer clear of dark colours or anything that changes colour too much when wet – very often people sweat through their shirts and that lovely blue shirt doesn’t look nearly as nice with dark sweat patches. My preference (and likely what you will see me arrive in) is a mostly white or very light blue shirt with no pattern. This way, when I sweat through it, you barely notice… Crazy patterns also do NOT photograph well, that’s a NO to the Hawaiian shirt look and a no to small check patterns or other small repeating patterns as digital cameras can’t seem to deal with these repeating patterns. As for the “colour” of the wedding – try adding this through touches, for example handkerchiefs, ties, boutonnieres rather than shirt colour as together with the bridesmaids it can all get a bit over powering.

This brings me nicely to a couple of the most important things to get right, which are, as luck would have it, a few of the easiest to go wrong on your wedding day.

Pin your Tie.

If dad wears a tie, get him a tie pin or that tie might be flying all over the place in the wind. It might make a great gift from the groom, or your Dad might already have one. And if you do not want wear a tie pin, even a safety pin attached to the back will do. Designate one of your bridesmaids to have safety pins in her purse. To read more about this, please see my post on Tie Clips within this section.

The Flintstone Foot.

What can dad wear on their feet that looks good in the sand and more importantly walking down the aisle? I would suggest bare feet. Anything else may kick up sand and/or looks silly. Please PLEASE steer your Dad away from wearing his Teva/ Birkenstock’s as the cross straps on these, together with their general bulk, just mean he may look like he is Fred Flintstone in the photos. Chances are if you were getting married in a church back home your father would know exactly what to wear on his feet, but with a beach wedding he may have no idea and might not feel comfortable wearing less bulky thong style sandals, and, honestly, bare feet for the walk down the aisle is perfectly fine. Then for later in the night, grab a pair of shoes and enjoy the dancing.

Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres are classic wedding attire, however, they don’t pin to shirts very well. The fabric on the shirt is too flimsy to support them and you can end up ruining a perfectly good shirt trying to pin them onto the fabric. My suggestion, and it might be a little radical, don’t worry about the boutonniere… If dad is planning on wearing a jacket later in the evening, then get him one for that, but walking you down the isle with a boutonniere that is upside down seems a bit weird to me. And I can’t tell you how often this happens, so please don’t let it happen to you.

Sunscreen

This can almost not be mentioned as I can’t remember many weddings where the dad was burned before the wedding… but remind dad to wear sunscreen on his face up to the wedding just to make sure he is not a tomato head walking you down the isle.

I hope this helps. As a wedding photographer, I love it when things are perfect for my couples. There are a lot of little details and I hope this article helps you open the discussion about how your father should dress to walk you down the isle across the beautiful white sand we have here. Being a father myself, I can’t wait until the day that Isabella or Clara wants me to walk her down the aisle. And it is true, I do have a new appreciation for the father-daughter dance that I did not have before they were born.

I hope this makes you and your dad more comfortable on your wedding day so that you get amazing photographs.

Dean Sanderson
Cancun Wedding Photographer