From the wedding venue to food to decor, there are a lot of decisions that go into planning a wedding. As with wedding dresses, there are plenty of different suit styles, so it’s a good idea to understand your options before you go shopping. You want to choose wedding attire that reflects your personality and makes you feel like you.
Ready to learn more? Here’s a breakdown of the different types of wedding suit styles.
First things first: Your wedding suit needs to complement the level of formality and the aesthetic of your wedding. If you’re getting married in the ballroom of a five-star hotel, your wedding attire should reflect that environment. A tuxedo or three-piece suit would be most appropriate in those types of spaces. You also want to consider what activities you’ll be doing on your wedding day so as to ensure that your suit allows you to move around with ease.
Time of year and weather are also key factors. A laid-back, summer beach wedding calls for a breathable, less formal suit. Winter weddings mean warmer fabrics such as wool and tweed. If you haven’t booked your venue or locked down a wedding date, yet, hold off on purchasing a groom suit for now. Get the big details in order first.
If you’re having a formal wedding, a tuxedo is a classic choice. A tux is technically not a suit, but it’s a popular option for grooms who want a sophisticated look—they are classic and timeless. Tuxedos are ideal for fancier weddings (think ballrooms, hotels, and historical buildings) and evening events. Plus, there are many different groom tuxedo ideas that you can look into if you want to stand out on your big day.
Tuxedos are often made of wool and have contrasting satin details that appear on the jacket’s lapel, breast, and waist pockets. Tuxedo pants have a satin stripe running down the leg, and typically don’t have belt loops, thus making suspenders the pant-holder of choice. Tuxedo jackets are either single or double-breasted, and they have different lapel styles, too. Traditionally, for black-tie events, tuxedos are worn with a cummerbund—waist covering—which should match the fabric of your jacket’s lapels. Low-cut vests are also a traditional component of tuxedos, but some grooms decide not to wear one.
Popular in the U.K., morning suits (or morning dress) is considered a very formal daytime outfit. If you’re British, or planning a royal family-inspired wedding, a morning suit may be the look for you.
Like all suits, a morning suit is made up of several parts. The single-breasted jacket—the morning coat—has a longer tail that makes an “S” shape over the bottom and extends to just below the back of the knees. Pants sit high on the waist, and their length should not be too long; the hem should hit just above the shoe. Morning suits are worn with a vest (waistcoat), crisp white dress shirt, and tie. Black leather Oxfords are classic shoes to wear with a morning suit.
Another super formal wedding suit style is an evening tailcoat. Like morning coats, tailcoats have long tails that cover the bottom and hit the back of the knees. Tailcoats are often black, dark grey, or navy. The jacket is paired with a white dress shirt, high-waisted pants, and a waistcoat. One thing that makes a tailcoat different from other suit jackets is its waistline, which mirrors the wearer’s waistline. This means that the front of the jacket is shorter than most other suit jackets. It’s a super polished look that exudes elegance.
A three-piece wedding suit can be worn at a formal or semi-formal wedding. This suit consists of a jacket, pants, and a waistcoat, ie. a vest. Jackets can be either single-breasted or double-breasted, and are ideal for grooms who want to look sharp, but not out of place among guests. Suit material, color, and accessories can help dress a three-piece suit up or down, depending on your dress code. Soft grey is ideal for daytime or warm-weather weddings, whereas navy, black, and burgundy are suitable for fall or evening events. Grooms can wear either a bow tie or tie with their suit, and they can mix things up with fun socks, a patterned pocket square, and sunglasses.
A two-piece suit consists of a jacket and pants. The jacket can be single or double-breasted, but single-breasted is a bit more of a casual option. The reason that two-piece suits are so popular is because they allow for a lot of personalization—think colors, fabrics, accessories, and shoes. Some grooms like to stick to classic colors such as navy or grey, while others will turn things up a notch by sporting a bolder color or fabric. Both three-piece and two-piece suits are solid investments, as they can be worn again after your wedding day to events such as business meetings, formal dinners, and special events.
Another casual option is wearing a vest with a dress shirt and pants—no suit jacket. This look is popular for outdoor weddings in more rustic venues, such as converted barns or laid-back wineries. Some grooms opt to only wear a dress shirt—long or short sleeved—with pants and suspenders. This is a modern, hip aesthetic that looks good with a patterned bow tie and boutonniere. While a shirt-only look can be pulled off in the fall, it’s best for spring and summer weddings. For grooms who want to dress as casual as possible, swap out dress pants for nice jeans.
If you’re having a destination wedding on a beach, you’ll want to wear something that’s weather appropriate and matches the vibe of your big day. Casual suits for a summer wedding, which are often made of breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen, are often worn without a tie and designed in light colors—think off-white, light beige, or soft blue. Seersucker or floral patterns add a touch of personality. Some grooms wear a casual dress shirt under the jacket, while others who really want to be informal rock a t-shirt. Footwear such as loafers, canvas sneakers, and even boat shoes can work.
Whatever suit style you decide to wear on your wedding day, be sure to determine your budget, start shopping early, and match the aesthetic of your venue and dress code. Don’t ignore your personal preferences either; pick a style that best reflects your personality, and makes you feel good. You want your spouse to see you on your big day looking most like you.