A Complete Guide to Groom and Groomsmen Tuxedos + Ideas

Tuxedos are ideal for grooms at formal weddings and black-tie affairs. You can customize your tux with personalized details, such as special cufflinks and playful socks.

By Laura Hensley

Groom Tuxedos
Photo by Corey Lynn Tucker Photography

A tuxedo is an elegant wedding look for grooms, but there are options beyond the classic black tux.

Wedding celebrations are exceptionally special occasions, so looking the part with the right wedding wear is important. The general rule is that your and your wedding party's wedding attire should match the vibe of the wedding location, theme, and the to-be-wed couple. A tuxedo is a classic, elegant look for groomsmen.

Tuxedos are ideal for formal weddings and black-tie affairs. Groomsmen can customize their 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. All of this and more should be top of mind when picking out your groomsmen's tuxedos—or even giving them some guidelines. Read on for more tips and need-to-know knowledge on the formal attire.

Know What Makes a Tuxedo a Tuxedo

Groom Tuxedo Ideas Photo Credit // Stephen Gosling Photography

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.

How to Choose Your Tuxedos

Before we get into the details, let's talk basics. When starting to think of what tuxedos you'd like for your groomsmen, there are a few things you need to consider first. Yes, formality, style, and color, are important (and we'll talk about each in a bit), but you can't decide on these things without first considering the following.

  • Budget. It's crucial that you keep your groomsmen's budget top of mind. If each person is footing the bill for their own attire (more on that below), what they're comfortable paying will influence the rest of your decisions. Have a transparent conversation with each of your groomsmen or be prepared to have alternatives available.
  • Weather and terrain. Second to budget is surroundings. Keep in mind what the atmosphere will be like on the day/evening/night of your wedding—not just aesthetic-wise, but in terms of location. Your wedding party's comfort should be a priority, so weather and terrain should factor into your choices. If you aren't familiar with the wedding location's conditions, get in touch with your vendor and keep tabs on expected temperatures.

Now that we've covered two of the biggest factors in choosing your and your groomsmen's tuxedos, we can talk style.

Match Your Tuxedos With the Vibe of Your Wedding

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 all 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 tuxedos to match your wedding’s level of formality.

Popular Tuxedo Colors

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.)

Who Pays for the Groomsmen Suits? Photo Credit // Michelle Lawson Photography

Consider What Your Partner and the Wedding Party Are Wearing

This should go without saying: It’s important that your tuxedos compliment your spouse’s outfit and your groom attire. 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.

Customize Your Tuxedo, and Accessorize

Have fun with your tuxedos and play with bow ties and accessories. If you’re selecting 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 personalities. 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.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola

Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Shop for Your Tuxedo

Shopping for a groom’s and groomsmen's tuxedos 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.

Groom Tuxedo Ideas Photo Credit // Kesha Lambert Photography

Formal Tux Ideas

As mentioned, tuxedos are traditionally meant to be worn in formal events and settings. That being said, there isn't merely one formal tux or look to choose from. If you're hosting a formal or black-tie wedding, consider the following outfit ideas.

  • Monochrome: One sleek look that's been growing in popularity is the monochrome tuxedo. Rather than stick with your standard black and white attire, opt for all-black or all-white looks. This will help you and your groomsmen stand apart from the rest of the crowd, without sacrificing any formality.
  • Alternative colors and patterns: That being said, if you'd rather go for a different color or look altogether, you have more options. Colors like dark gray and patterns like pinstripes allow you to step outside the box, while still maintaining a very formal look.

Casual Tux Ideas

We know what you're thinking: Isn't a casual tuxedo just a suit? Isn't "casual tux" an oxymoron? To which we answer, not exactly. You can still opt for yourself and your groomsmen to wear tuxedos without them being extremely formal. If your wedding is a touch more laid back, consider the following ideas.

  • Lighter colors: Perhaps your wedding's taking place on the coast or has a similarly breezy, high-end feel. In this case, we highly suggest considering lighter-colored tuxedos. Whites, off-whites, creams, beiges, and even lighter blue suits add a sense of effortlessness and light without sacrificing too much formality.
  • Break it up: For a more laid-back look, break up the standard 3-piece tux and only use one or two of its elements. For example, dress pants and a vest over your button-down, but no jacket.
  • Unique colors, patterns, and materials: Prints, patterns, out-of-the-box colors, and alternative materials (like velvet or linen) add a more casual flair to your typical tuxedo. Deviating from the usual black and white brings an air of fun, rather than keeping things strictly chic.

Groom and Groomsmen Tuxedo Etiquette FAQ

Even if you now have some ideas in place, there still may be a few questions concerning etiquette on your mind. Before going shopping or reaching out to your groomsmen, take a look at the top three groomsmen tuxedo questions below.

Who pays for groomsmen attire?

In short, it depends. Traditionally, each individual will foot the bill for their own wedding outfit. This includes not only the tuxedo in question, but a tie or bowtie, shoes, socks, and any other accessories (cufflinks, etc.). However, if your budget allows, it's always a great gesture to cover some—or even all—of the attire costs.

Does everyone need the same tuxedo?

Technically, no. However, your group will look more cohesive if everyone is dressed in complimentary attire. This could be identical matching tuxes, matching tuxes with unique accessories (different socks or ties, for example), or tuxes that all fit into your wedding's color palette. The same basic guideline also applies to bridesmaids and other members of the wedding party.

When should tuxedos be ordered?

Ideally, you should order yours and your groomsmen's tuxedos (or have them order individually) 4-6 months out from the wedding. This allows plenty of time to receive and try on the tux, as well as make any necessary alterations.

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.

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