Sharp-Dressed Men: Men’s Wedding Suits or Tuxedos?

ZZ Top said it well when they sang, “Every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp-dressed man.” There’s nothing quite like a man in a tuxedo. The way he carries himself changes, not unlike the way you feel in your favorite dress or pair of shoes. If you and your groom haven’t discussed whether you’ll be doing wedding tuxedos or wedding suits, you’re in for a treat! We’ll break down for you today the difference between the two, and you’ll walk away with an idea of which one is best for your day. (You might be surprised at how much some grooms love this part of the planning; even the most un-involved guys can have strong opinions about what they will wear to the wedding. After all, it affects them directly, and they deserve to look and feel great, too--so make sure you involve your groom in the process!)

Wedding suits and wedding tuxedosPhoto courtesy of De La Vue.

Stumped about men’s wedding suits or tuxedos? You’re in the right place!

Before you make a decision about what your guys will be wearing, there are three important factors to keep in mind: Theme Venue Time of day  A good rule of thumb is: the later in the day, the more formal the event, depending of course on the theme and venue. Is it a 3 p.m. wedding in an old barn with the theme “rustic chic”? Or is it a 6 p.m. wedding in a huge ballroom with the theme “vintage glamour”? These three elements work together in helping you determine what your gents will wear.

Wedding suits and wedding tuxedosPhoto courtesy of De La Vue.

Wedding tuxedos vs. wedding suits.

There is one major difference between a tuxedo and a suit: a tuxedo has satin on it (usually on the lapel, buttons, pockets, or in a stripe running down the side of the pants). Some styles have more satin than others, but a tuxedo will always have some satin. Tuxedos are generally more formal than suits. Since weddings tend to be relatively formal events (and probably one of the only times your groom will ever get this dressed up in his lifetime), it’s totally appropriate to pay your respects to this momentous occasion by choosing a classic black tuxedo. As weddings have become less formal over the years, men’s wedding suits have gained popularity as an alternative to tuxedos. Suits are perfect for casual or outdoor weddings, or if you’re looking for colors other than black (although tuxedos are available in many different non-black colors). Most neutrals—navy, khaki, gray, brown—will go with just about any accent colors you can think of, and will coordinate well with your bridesmaids.

Wedding suits and wedding tuxedosPhoto courtesy of De La Vue.

Here’s an insider tip: it’s all about styling. For example, if you love the look of a tuxedo but your groom prefers a suit, there are ways to style a tuxedo to look more like a suit. Think about a long tie (also called a Windsor tie) instead of a bow tie; skip the formal vest, or choose one made out of the same wool as the jacket; opt out of the patent leather shoes in favor of something more personal, like your hubby-to-be’s signature black Converse. That brings us to another tip: keep in mind the groom’s personal style. Just like your bridal gown is an extension of your day-to-day style, his attire should reflect who he is, too. (Guys, that is not an excuse to wear sweatpants on your big day—don’t even go there!) Let him add some personal touches, like the aforementioned shoes, a pocket square in his favorite team’s colors, or a pair of socks with Spongebob on them (you get the idea). Lastly, while there are a few good rules to follow, it’s also to keep in mind that it’s your day. As long as you and your groom make your decisions together and feel confident with them, you can’t go wrong.

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