A lot of focus falls on brides to find the right wedding dress, but what about grooms? Deciding on a wedding suit as a groom can be daunting—there are so many choices—but understanding the basics will make shopping that much easier. So, what are the different types of wedding suits for grooms?
Before we jump into what you need to know about wedding suits for grooms, keep in mind that the process of shopping for a suit should happen at least three to six months before your wedding, depending on the season. (Spring and summer months are busy in the wedding industry.) Even if you’re buying off-the-rack, you’ll need to account for alterations. However, if you’re ordering a custom-made suit, you may even need more time depending on where you’re ordering from and how long their process takes. It’s a good idea to meet with a designer or bespoke tailor to get a time estimate as soon as possible.
Do you want a three-piece tuxedo? A double-breasted or single-breasted jacket? What is the overall dress code? This may be obvious, but your suit should suit the occasion (pun intended). If you’re having a formal evening affair at a glitzy hotel, a well-tailored, three-piece suit or tuxedo is best. If your wedding is more on the semi-formal side, you may want to opt-out of a vest and wear only a suit jacket over your dress shirt. You want your wedding attire to reflect your dress code and overall vibe.
In the fall and winter months, darker colors, such as navy or charcoal grey, are most appropriate. Black suits are considered the most formal. For cool-weather weddings, consider suits made from fabrics such as wool, tweed, and wool-silk blends.
If you’re doing a beach wedding or the theme is an afternoon garden party, your suit style should reflect that. Pastels, off-whites, tan, and soft grey are great colors for more casual events. If you’re getting married outdoors in the spring or summer, fabrics such as linen or cotton are ideal. (Read this guide to groom’s attire if you need some more inspiration.)
You also want your suit to look good next to your partner’s outfit. By no means do you have to match (unless that’s your thing), but you should complement one another. That means that if your partner is wearing a casual sundress, for example, you should also rock a laid-back look. A three-piece wool suit would look out of place. Likewise, you want to be sure that your suit matches the groomsmen’s outfits, too. Some grooms match their groomsmen, while others wear something different, but stay within the same color palette. Regardless of whether you decide to match with your groomsmen or not, it’s still fun to find ways to create cohesion throughout, such as matching patterned socks. Whether you go for a casual wedding or a formal wedding, you want everyone in your wedding party to have a similar look that complements one another.
Just like your wedding band, you want your suit to fit you; not too big, not too small, but perfectly comfortable. It’s important that you can move with ease, as you’ll be spending a large portion of the day hugging, dancing, and, well, raising a glass.
Let’s talk about the jacket fit. The shoulders of your jacket should lay flat, and the shoulder seam should hit the end of your actual shoulders, where the bone meets the arm. The collar should lay flat, and you want to be able to do up your jacket without the fabric pulling across the chest or back. Any fabric strain is a sign that the jacket is too tight. The suit jacket sleeve should fall at your wrist, revealing about one-fourth inch to one-half inch of your dress shirt underneath.
When it comes to pants, it’s all about personal preference. Some grooms prefer looser dress pants, while others like a tighter look. Regardless of the style, they should not be overly baggy or skin-tight around the bum. Pants should easily drape over the shape of your bottom and fit comfortably both when you’re standing and sitting. You don’t want any ripping accidents.
If you’re wearing a slim fit suit, your pants should taper down to the hem. Tapered or slim fit pants often either have a slight break or no break, meaning that the hem of the pant grazes the top of your shoe. If you’re wearing wide-legged pants, you have options: you can go with a medium break or a full break. Even if you buy a suit off-the-rack, pants are often left unhemmed so that they can be tailored to the wearer’s height and break preference.
You need to determine how much you can comfortably spend on a wedding suit. Grooms’ wedding suits can cost anywhere between $200 to $2,000. Off-the-rack suits are typically more affordable than a custom-made wedding outfit, as they require fewer fittings and alterations. If you’re budget-conscious or know that you won’t wear the suit beyond your wedding day, renting may be the best option.
If you’re going to buy your wedding suit, think about other occasions when you can wear it. This can include cocktail parties, work events, or even job interviews. If you plan to re-wear your suit, opt for a color and style that easily pairs with different shirts and dress shoes, such as a navy blue or dark grey. It’s an investment, so you might as well get your money’s worth.
You can add personality to your wedding day through your accessories. Everything from your tie, cufflinks, pocket square, and shoes should complement your suit and convey your style. If you’re going with a classic navy suit, for example, a paisley pocket square adds a hint of pattern to your look. (And don’t forget about grooming.)
Colorful or patterned socks are another way to add a touch of flair. Just make sure that your socks and shoes look good together. It can be very distracting to have neon yellow socks poking out of brown leather loafers.
If your affair is casual, or a formal suit is not your vibe, there are lots of wedding suit alternatives. Some grooms who get hitched in a more laid-back way will wear only a vest over their dress shirt—no suit jacket—paired with a fun bowtie. It’s a bit of a hip look, but it suits certain grooms. Others wear only a dress shirt with no vest or suit jacket. Paired with suspenders, this aesthetic is ideal for a rustic farm or barn wedding.
Some grooms wear different traditional clothing on their big day. Certain religious or cultural ceremonies may include outfits outside of Western wedding suits, requiring the expertise of specialized designers or tailors. Members of the military may also wear their uniform during their nuptials.
The bottom line is this: Your wedding day is an opportunity for you to dress in a way that truly reflects your personality. You want to be comfortable, stick to your budget, and look sharp. If you cover all three things, the rest of the day will be a piece of cake.