Wearing a watch at a wedding: the rules of etiquette

You wear a watch every day, including on your wedding day. However? What about the etiquette rules? And do the same rules apply to the wedding guests as to the bridal couple? We provide the answers to these and other questions about watches and your wedding in this blog.

Black tie etiquette: don’t wear a watch to your wedding!

If you want to do your wedding completely according to the formal rules, then the dress code is Black Tie. According to the etiquette that comes with it, it is not desirable to wear a watch because it is not proper to pay attention to the time during such a festive occasion. This applies to both the bride and the groom.

Even as a guest at a formal wedding, it is not done according to this dress code to wear a watch. Although we can imagine that an exception will be made for the master of ceremonies (m/f)!

More informal wedding: a modest watch is fine

You may of course wonder whether this etiquette – which dates from the nineteenth century – still fits in with the current spirit of the times. All watches at that time were still pocket watches and if you wanted to know the time you had to conspicuously take them out of your pocket. Wristwatches are much more subtle and are seen more as a piece of jewelry in this age of smartphones. Wearing a modest watch at your wedding is now much more accepted. We do not recommend a smartwatch – especially if it makes noise.

man with pocket watch
▴ Looking at a pocket watch is noticeable

Man with oversized watch under shirt
▴ A watch that is too large does not wear well under the cuff and is too noticeable

Wedding watch as jewelry

Nowadays, many weddings have a much more informal dress code, and because a watch is seen more as a piece of jewelry today, the wedding guests certainly usually wear a watch.

There are also bridal couples who choose to wear a wedding watch as jewelry that has been specially chosen for this day.

Wearing striking jewelry or rings at your wedding is also not desirable, because all attention should naturally go to the wedding ring. That is why most women choose subtle jewelry such as a bracelet or necklace that matches the wedding dress. Pearls are traditional and match beautifully with a watch with a mother-of-pearl dial.

Woman with watch doing bride's hairstyle
▴ The master of ceremonies and guests usually wear a watch

Roamer Superslender ladies watch with mother of pearl dial
▴ Roamer Superslender ladies watch with mother of pearl dial

Wedding watch: which one suits my wedding suit?

If you choose to wear a watch on the day of your life, it must of course fit you and your wedding suit or dress perfectly. The main rule remains that your watch and jewelry should not attract attention, so keep it subtle!

Classic or minimalist watches go well with a suit

The bride and her outfit should be the center of attention. As a groom, choose a simple watch. Classic watches are an excellent choice for a wedding. The design is timeless and radiates quality. This type of watch is also generally smaller and thinner and therefore fits nicely under the cuffs of your shirt. Consider watches from classic Swiss brands such as Raymond Weil or Maurice Lacroix or a heritage model from brands such as Seiko or Bulova.

Tissot Open Heart watch
▴ Tissot Open Heart watch

Seiko Presage men's watches
▴ Seiko Presage men’s watches

Or go for a watch with one hand from Meistersinger; the idea is to make time seem to pass more slowly.

In any case, do not wear a watch with a striking design or color. A modern minimalist watch such as those from Movado or Bering, for example, are stylish, thin and neutral and match perfectly with a neat suit.

Meistersinger No1 watch
▴ Meistersinger No1 watch

Movado Museum Classic watch
▴ Movado Museum Classic watch

And which watch suits my wedding dress?

For ladies too, the watch must match the other jewelry and the dress. Go for simplicity, for example a watch in one color gold, rose gold or silver and choose a smaller size. For example, the Cluse Gracieuse petit, Tissot Lovely or Balmain de Balmain.

Match watch and jewelry
▴ Match watch and jewelry

Balmain de Balmain ladies watch
▴ Balmain the Balmain ladies watch

Men: Choose a leather strap

A men’s watch with a steel strap or a silicone strap has a more sporty look, so it is less suitable for a wedding. A NATO strap or a coarse plastic link strap also fits better in a casual environment.

A leather strap is classic and available in many types of leather and colors. Moreover, you can match the band with your shoes, which completes your outfit.
Don’t want to buy a new watch, but do want a leather strap? Then take a look at our page with leather watch straps.

Match your watch (strap) to your other accessories
▴ Match your watch (band) to your other accessories

Maurice Lacroix Eliros watch
▴ Maurice Lacroix Eliros watch

Ladies only: metal band in the color of your jewelry

On women’s watches, the steel strap is often designed as a bracelet and thus fits better with other jewelry than a leather strap. If you prefer to wear a watch with a leather strap, choose a white strap or a strap in a soft cream shade. Leather straps with a satin finish are especially suitable for wedding watches.

Festina ladies watch
▴ Festina ladies watch

Hamilton Jazzmaster ladies watch
▴ Hamilton Jazzmaster ladies watch

Watch at wedding as a souvenir

Something that bridal couples are increasingly doing is giving each other an (engraved) watch as a memento of the wedding day. Or the groom wears a watch that has a special meaning to him, such as an heirloom. For example, my own husband wore a watch from his birth year on our wedding day because he proposed on his birthday.

Want to buy a wedding watch? Visit Techzle for advice

Of course, choosing a wedding watch is not something you can do overnight. Make a video call appointment with our watch specialist or visit one of our stores for non-binding advice.

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