A tuxedo is an elegant wedding look for grooms, but there are options beyond the classic black tux.
Getting married is one of the biggest days of your life, so looking the part with the right wedding wear is important. The general rule is that your wedding outfit should match the vibe of your wedding location, wedding theme, and, of course, your spouse. A tuxedo is a classic, elegant look for grooms.
Tuxedos are ideal for formal weddings and black-tie affairs. You can customize your tux with personalized details, such as patterned socks and special cufflinks. Tuxedos are often black and worn with bow ties, but navy or gray tuxedo jackets can make a tux feel a bit less traditional.
Before we jump into groom tuxedo ideas, let’s get one thing straight: Tuxedos and suits are not the same. The main difference between a tuxedo and a wedding suit is the fabric. So, what’s the difference between these wedding wear classics? Tuxedos are often made of wool and have contrasting satin details, whereas suits typically do not. Satin appears on the jacket’s lapel, breast and waist pockets, and on the tux’s buttons. Tuxedo pants often have a satin stripe running down the leg, and typically do not have belt loops. This makes suspenders the pant-holder of choice when wearing a wedding tuxedo.
You can rock a single-breasted or double-breasted tuxedo jacket. Jackets have different lapel styles: a notch lapel, a shawl lapel, or a peak lapel. A cummerbund—waist covering—distinguishes tuxedos from suits, but they go in and out of popularity. If you choose to wear one (which is customary for true black-tie events) it should match the fabric of your lapels. Likewise, a low-cut vest is also part of the black-tie dress code. These formal vests have lapels and show off your dress shirt. It’s customary for bow ties to be worn with tuxedos, but, like all parts of a tuxedo, pick which elements suit you for your formal wedding.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, here are some tuxedo ideas for grooms.
When shopping for a tux, you want to think about the overall style of your wedding. Your wedding venue is one of the main determining factors of your wedding aesthetic, so if you’re getting married at a farm, for example, you’ll likely wear something more casual. A tuxedo is ideal for a swanky, formal wedding. Think venues such as a ballroom or fancy hotel. In other words, you want your tuxedo to match your wedding’s level of formality.
Black tuxedos are considered the most formal. A black jacket with a white dress shirt and black bow tie is the most iconic tuxedo look. There are different variations of shirt collars, including wingtip and spread, which sit slightly differently over the bow tie. A black tux looks good in all seasons but is particularly suitable for cooler-weather weddings or evening affairs.
If your wedding is semi-formal, you can still rock a tuxedo—you may just want to wear a slightly less formal one. A navy tux with black satin lapel detailing is the perfect mix. The navy conveys a bit more of a laid-back vibe, while the satin finishes make you look polished and sharp. This color tux looks fantastic during the fall.
Grey or burgundy tuxedo jackets paired with black pants are both contemporary. This aesthetic is perfect for grooms who want a classic look with a modern twist. Light grey evokes a more spring and summery feel, whereas dark grey and burgundy are best for fall or winter weddings. Grey is also a solid option for a daytime wedding.
If you like to step outside the box, you might be drawn to a printed or patterned tuxedo. A patterned tux is a bolder statement, so it isn’t for everyone. If you do choose to wear a print or pattern, it’s best to keep your dress shirt and bow tie a solid color. Too many patterns can clash.
And, who says only brides can wear white? If you want to wear white on your wedding day, a white tuxedo looks very sharp when done properly. (Think Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Spectre”.)
This should go without saying: It’s important that your tuxedo compliments your spouse’s outfit. You don’t need to see your bride’s dress before the big day, but you should know its material and how formal it is. Shopping for a suitable tux will be a lot easier when you have an idea of what your partner is wearing.
For weddings with two grooms, tuxedos don’t need to be identical (unless you want them to be). But, again, they should look good together. A groom in a soft grey tux looks fine standing next to a groom in a light blue one.
It’s a personal choice when it comes to whether you want the groom and groomsmen to match. Some grooms prefer for all the groomsmen to match one another, but will wear something slightly different themselves. Other grooms like their tuxedo to be the same as their groomsmen’s. If your tux is not going to match your groomsmen, make sure it at least complements their outfits. It looks odd when a groom is in a formal black tux and his groomsmen are in more casual suits. The level of formality should stay the same across the board. Establish a dress code for groomsmen and be upfront about what it entails.
Have fun with your tuxedo and play with bow ties and accessories. If you’re wearing a grey or navy tux, rock a bold or patterned bow tie. Pocket squares are an opportunity to mix things up and add both color and texture. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality. Cufflinks are important components to tuxedos, and another way to customize your look. Maybe you have a set of cufflinks passed on to you from your grandfather, or a shiny pair that you picked up at a vintage store. All these touches will make your tuxedo feel even more like you.
Lapel pins and boutonnieres are also popular tuxedo groomsmen accessories. Your boutonniere, if you choose to wear one, should match your wedding flowers and your partner’s bouquet or boutonniere. If florals aren’t your thing, a lapel pin is a way to add some visual interest to your jacket.
And, don’t forget about your shoes. Shoes are a fantastic way to show off your personality. Some grooms like classic leather loafers or black polished Oxfords—traditional tuxedo footwear. Others change into fashionable sneakers after the ceremony so that they can dance the night away. Again, show your style.
Shopping for a groom’s tuxedo should not be left to the last minute. It can take anywhere from two to five months to measure, order, and tailor tuxedos. Custom-made orders may require even more time. Start this process early to avoid any stress.
Tuxedo jackets can cost upwards of $129, and pants at $65. Unlike a suit, there are fewer occasions to wear a tux, so decide how much use you’ll get out of it when you’re deciding on a budget. If you want to save some money, consider renting a tux.
Again, don’t forget about your groomsmen. As we said, it’s up to you if you want your groomsmen to match. If you do go the matching route (or at least semi-matching) you need to factor your groomsmen’s suits into your timeline. If members of the wedding party will dress in the same tux, be sure to organize a shopping trip months in advance.
Tuxedos are a classic wedding look for grooms. While a black tux is a timeless—and elegant—outfit, you can play with different colors and accessories to create a more modern aesthetic. Talk to your SO, coordinate with your wedding party, and start shopping early. In a sharp-looking tux, you’ll feel confident all night long.