For most grooms, the wedding tuxedo is the standard men's attire. The best man and the male attendants (or groomsmen) also wear tuxedos in most weddings. Although there are exceptions to this, etiquette experts advocate the father of the bride wearing a tuxedo since he will be part of the wedding ceremony. The father of the groom may wear a tuxedo, but if he prefers not to, it is acceptable for him to wear clothing matching the formality of the wedding. If the groom is wearing a tuxedo, the ring bearer should also be wearing one in an identical or similar style.
The groom should generally wear an accessory on his tuxedo to set him apart. This is often done by using a boutonnière or handkerchief.
White, Black, or Colored Tuxedo?
For most weddings, a standard black tuxedo is the most appropriate. If the groom and/or bride prefer, white tuxedos can be appropriate for the following types of weddings:
- Informal or more casual weddings
- Morning weddings
- Early afternoon weddings
If your wedding is on the less-conservative side, a colored tux can be considered. Colored tuxedos might also be more appropriatly worn during vintage or themed weddings, than those that are more traditional.
Basic Tuxedo Jacket Styles
The three basic tuxedo styles are single-breasted, double-breasted, and full dress (or tailcoat). Single and double- breasted tuxedos are appropriate for most weddings. The tailcoat is the most formal type of wedding tuxedo, best reserved for highly formal weddings.
Basic tuxedo lapel (the part of the tux jacket that folds down in front, similar to a collar on a shirt) styles are:
- Notch lapels (makes a v shape)
- Peak lapels (slightly higher than the notched lapel)
- Shawl lapels (a more rounded lapel)
Your tuxedo shirt should be complementary to the bride's gown. If the bride's gown is white, a white shirt is usually suggested; if her gown is ivory, an ivory shirt.
The two most common tuxedo shirt styles are the wing collar and the lay down collar. Bowties are generally worn with a wing tip collar. A lay down collar can be worn with a necktie for a slightly less formal look.
Vests and Cummerbunds
Vests, also referred to as waistcoats, are a more formal choice for under a tuxedo jacket. A cummerbund is the other accessory choice that works well for most weddings. Vests or cummerbunds are often coordinated with the wedding colors and/or the colors of the bridesmaids' dresses.
Rent or Buy?
For most grooms, renting a tuxedo is the more affordable option. There are many formalwear and tuxedo rental retailers available since many grooms have little use for their tuxedo after the big day. The exception to this is if you will be attending many formal gatherings after the wedding, in which case you may want to consider buying a tuxedo. Some grooms prefer to buy a used tuxedo, although this all still generally be more expensive than a tuxedo rental.
When to Choose Your Wedding Tuxedo
Most wedding planners agree that the groom and other members of the wedding party should register and get fitted at the chosen tuxedo or formalwear rental retailer at least three to five months before the wedding. No later than a month after registering the style choices should be finalized, and one to two months before the wedding the order finalized.
Wedding Tuxedo Tips
- Shop around before deciding where to rent your tuxedos to find the best deals. Some stores offer discounts or special packages when you order a certain amount.
- Ask exactly what is included in the price in case you'll need to purchase shoes or accessories.
- Communicate with the other men wearing tuxes to ensure they get fitted for their tux in time.
- Examine the garments at a rental shop carefully before you place your order. You want to be sure the tux you order won't be faded or worn.
- Many tuxedo rental retailers require next day return and include dry-cleaning, but ask to be sure.
- To minimize time in the store, look in magazines or considering using an online tool, like After Hours create a tux to decide on your tux style.
- Ask what kind of policies the store has in place in case of fire or bankruptcy so you're not stuck without your wedding tuxedo when the big day arrives.
- Don't make your bride-to-be bug you about taking care of your tux. Even if she'd like a part in deciding on the styles, she can't get the tux fitted for you. Good luck!