Tuxedo vs. Suit: How to Pick Your Wedding Look

Zola and our friends at Generation Tux break down everything you need to know when picking the right wedding tux (or suit) for your big day.

Your wedding day is one of the most anticipated moments of your life, and it’s a fabulous time to showcase your personality both as a couple and an individual. While several wedding details, such as your venue choice and color palette, can express the nuances of your relationship, seize the opportunity to reflect your personal style. While the wedding dress has traditionally garnered the spotlight, today’s grooms — and brides — are choosing to wear modern, upscale suiting and slim-fit wedding tuxedos.

No matter who you are, navigating this type of fashion can be confusing, especially if you usually don a casual daily style. The good news is that choosing your wedding attire is simple and enjoyable, especially with the right company by your side. Zola and our friends at Generation Tux are here to break down whether you should wear a suit or a tuxedo on the big day.

Tuxedo vs. Suit - What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever looked back on your family’s photos, you’ve probably seen wedding images of your grandparents and parents. It was pretty easy to spot a tux as ruffled shirts poked out from wide-collared tuxedo jackets in the ‘70s. Your dad may have sported one with long tails if he got married in the ‘90s. Nowadays, the differences between tuxes and suits are a bit more nuanced.

The main difference is that tuxedos have satin — a dressier fabric with some shine — detailing. Satin appears typically on the buttons, lapels, pocket trimming, and side seams of the pants, and these subtle details add a bit of panache to various tuxedo styles. Because of this detailing, tuxedos are more formal than traditional suiting and should be saved for black-tie and special occasions.

Not only do the ensembles differ, but tuxedos also require different accessories than suits. Tuxedos are often paired with shiny shoes, a bow tie, and a vest. The accompanying shirts usually feature subtle pleating and are worn with matching cufflinks and button covers. These delicate elements make a tuxedo feel more elevated than a suit.

GT BC ForTheMoment Groomsmen 5x7 (1) Photo Credit // Generation Tux

Which Costs More: A Wedding Tuxedo or Suit?

If you ask the average person which costs more, the resounding answer would be a tuxedo, but the real way to calculate the cost is to determine your needs. If you want to buy your wedding attire outright, a suit will almost always have a lower price tag unless you reach for bespoke or luxury brand suiting. However, if a suit is something you’ll wear repeatedly, the cost per wear could be pretty reasonable. Purchasing a tuxedo for your wedding day may not make sense unless you attend many formal events.

The good news is that the cost is about the same for a suit or tuxedo rental. For example, at Generation Tux, you can rent a formal black tuxedo or a smart navy blue suit for the same price, and you can also rent accessories to coordinate. Where you can save a little money is that if you wear suits regularly, you can pull fresh-looking accessories from your closet, such as wearing your favorite pocket square or heirloom cufflinks. In short, you’ll pay around the same price for either choice if you rent.

Pros and Cons of Wearing a Suit vs. Tuxedo

  • A tux will garner attention. Your special day is a time to go all out and stand apart from your guests and groomsmen, and a wedding tuxedo is a perfect way to accomplish that goal. However, if you aren’t comfortable with that level of formality, don’t feel you must wear a tux. It’s your wedding day, so you’ll already get noticed.
  • What you wear indicates the level of formality. Wearing a tux to a casual, outdoor wedding may not be appropriate, just like a suit isn’t necessarily the right thing to wear to a black tie event. What the wedding couple wears indicates formality and can also dictate guest attire. Some guests may be uncomfortable getting dressed in cocktail or formal wear.
  • A suit may not separate you from other guests. Again, it’s your wedding day, and you’ll probably meet some of your partner’s family and childhood friends for the first time. Wearing a tux can set you apart from everyone else to make it clear that you’re the one getting married.
Zola x Gen Tux 2 Photo Credit // Generation Tux

How to Know When to Opt for a Tuxedo vs. Suit

Whether you’re simply weighing your options or are undecided about what attire to select, take a few keys from your wedding to decide. Subtle clues from your big day can help you determine your wedding day look.

Consider the Time of Day of Your Wedding

Of course, traditional rules don’t always apply, but the old school of thought is that tuxedos were reserved for events after 5 pm. Choosing formalwear is perfect if you’re having a late afternoon or evening wedding. However, don’t shy away just because you’re getting married earlier in the day. You and your partner can dictate the formality of your wedding, so discuss what’s best. For an earlier event, a quality suit or gray wedding tuxedo is perfect, and if you’re having a nighttime wedding, opt for a darker tone, such as a black or dark blue tux.

Look to Your Wedding Venue for Cues

Skip the tuxedo if you’re having an ultra-casual wedding or backyard barbecue, but a classic ballroom wedding reception calls for something a bit more white-tie. Some venues, such as wineries and barns, allow more flexibility in your outfit choice. The juxtaposition of wearing a charcoal tuxedo with notched lapels at a rustic wedding can be just the touch your event needs to push the level of formality.

Talk to Your Partner About Your Wedding Day

As you and your significant other plan your big day, have honest conversations about expectations. Your partner may want a classic, upscale wedding, whereas you’ve always envisioned a more casual event. If seeing you in your wedding tuxedo would be meaningful to the one you love, that is a great reason to select something more formal. You can always wear a tux but dress it down by wearing colorful socks or skipping the bow tie as a compromise. Conversely, if you’ve always envisioned yourself in a blue tuxedo — go for it!

GT BC ForTheMoment PalmDesertHero Crop Photo Credit // Generation Tux

3 Styling Tips for Suit and Tuxedo Styles

1. Get the Right Fit

Suits and tuxedos should make you look fabulous, but an ill-fitting set can ruin your entire look. When considering your wedding attire, ponder what makes you feel more comfortable in your everyday wear. If you enjoy wearing looser, more comfortable clothing, opt for a modern fit with a fashionable cut that isn’t too close to the body. If you dread anything baggy and like things more fitted, select the slim cut to show off your physique. Plus, with Generation Tux’s fit technology, you simply need to answer a few questions to determine what’s right for you. It’s just like having a tailor-made suit for your special day, regardless of gender (yes, women can look sharp in a suit or tux, too!).

2. Play with Color

Even if you aren’t bold with the tones you wear, your wedding day is the perfect time to infuse color. Accent classic black suits or tuxedos with a colorful pocket square, patterned tie, or quirky socks. Generation Tux also offers various blue-toned suits and wedding tuxedos, ranging from bold indigo to a more classic navy hue to have a more color-forward focus. When there are two grooms, select colors and tuxedo styles that go well together. You can each choose attire that represents your style, but you should both be in complementary looks. Bonus: Generation Tux will even send you color swatches to ensure you don’t clash.

3. Add Modern Accessories

Another way to show off your style is to play with accessorizing your attire. Of course, items like shoes, socks, and a shirt are a must, but that doesn’t mean that these items have to be boring. For example, select a pink or plaid shirt to wear underneath. Other things like cummerbunds, ties, lapel pins, suspenders, and pocket squares are fun ways to play with tones and trends. You can even rent these items so you don’t have to purchase and keep them long term.

GT BC MultiCultural Hero Photo Credit // Generation Tux

Pros of Renting Wedding Tuxedos and Suits

  • Renting has a lower price tag. Of course, the first positive to renting your wedding attire is that it’s more economical than making a big purchase, especially if you don’t intend to wear any of it after the big day.
  • Renting can come with a bonus. Generation Tux has big perks, meaning you may score a free rental or be able to keep your wedding day attire if your groomsmen participate, too.
  • Renting ensures a better fit. Because Generation Tux has a wide selection of suits and tuxes available — in color, style, sit, and fit — it’s easy to get a tailor-made look for your big day. Plus, you have a 48-hour try-on period to ensure your attire fits perfectly without hiring a tailor.
  • Renting saves time in the long run. You probably have a long wedding checklist for your big day, so planning to order your tuxedo or suit early — six months beforehand is suggested. Checking your suiting off your to-do list early means you can sit back and relax in the days leading up to your special day.
  • Renting allows you to look better on a budget. Purchasing suits and wedding tuxedos can be pricey, but you still want to look good. Renting your wedding attire is ideal for looking amazing without a hefty price tag.

Are you considering renting a suit or tuxedo for one of the most important days of your life? Trust Generation Tux with your wedding day attire. Once you build your look and have your at-home try-on, you can proceed with confidence that you’ll look and feel your best on your big day. Having your suiting delivered straight to your door lets you concentrate on other things — like getting married to the one you love.

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