How to buy a wedding suit in 2018: the definitive guide
A lot of couples today are realizing that they don’t want just an ordinary rented suit or tuxedo for their wedding. And an increasing number of grooms realize that they don’t want to wear a suit that dozens of other men have worn. Instead, there’s a growing industry trend where savvy couples are discovering that their wedding is the perfect opportunity for a groom to invest in a great looking suit, one that can be worn after the big day; be that to the office or for date night. So then, how to buy a wedding suit that will not only look great, but be a great value as well?
We wrote this guide for you, the modern man. What we’re going to do is walk you through the process of buying a wedding suit or tuxedo that’s not only most appropriate for your wedding, but an accurate representation of you and your style. After all, a wedding suit is just there to make you look even better: you and your bride is where all the attention should be!
At a glance, here’s how to buy a wedding suit:
- Decide on how formal your wedding will be.
- Get some input from your bride such that your suit can match her gown.
- Will you wear this suit or tuxedo at anytime after the wedding?
- Customize your suit and make it one-of-a-kind for a special day.
Got it? OK, let’s get into the details then and help you figure out what you’re going wear. By the way, it’s easier than you think to find that perfect suit or tuxedo.
Ordinarily, here’s the first question I would ask you if you’re shopping for a new suit: what’s the occasion?
Fortunately, you already know this. However, it’s still worth giving some thought to the time of day that you’ll be having your wedding. For instance, events at night usually require a darker fabric while lighter shades like grey and tans are better for occasions primarily held during mid-day.
But if you’re celebrating a destination wedding, unique cloths like a cream or ivory tuxedo jacket are completely acceptable, as a nod to the warmer weather.
As a rule of thumb: lighter shades for during the day and darker shades of fabric work best for evening events.
#2: Level of formality
Now that you know when you’ll be getting all dressed up, you need to ask yourself a few questions about the level of formality of your wedding.
As you may expect, a very formal wedding will likely be a black tie event, but what about a more casual wedding? Or someplace between the two extremes?
Let’s go over a few examples.
For discussion sake, let’s take a look at a beach wedding. This will likely mean a linen or linen/wool blended suit is appropriate. Or, at the very least, a 100% cotton suit. The weather is going to be warm so your fabric will need to breathe well to keep you comfortable and your shoes will probably be relatively casual, since you may be standing in the sand!
And you’re probably going to want to stick with a tan or other light colored fabric to refer to the beach theme.
But what if you’re someplace between a formal, black tie event and the beach?
You’re not going to be wearing a tuxedo in this instance. And maybe you’re considering a venue outside. It could be a grassy open space, a chic barn, etc.
Consider the featured image above; the couple had an outdoor wedding, but the groom still opted for a 3-piece suit. He chose a softer shade in almost a grey tone, but up close the suit fabric still had a lot of texture and character.
It’s a great look.
This is the look that you’re probably most familiar. It’s what you see at a lot of weddings and it’s become the go-to standard. On one end of the spectrum, you have a full tuxedo with a black bow tie and perhaps (but certainly not always) a traditional marcella dress shirt, and on the other end, a dark suit.
Regardless, a formal wedding means that you will want to make sure that everything else in your wedding is at a similar level of formality. Mason jars at the reception will clash with your elegant tuxedo, for instance.
By the way, if you know that you want to wear a tuxedo for your wedding ceremony, here’s our guide on shopping for one.
#3: What does your bride have to say?
Did you ask your bride-to-be? She probably has an opinion!
According to Heather Dwight, of Calluna Events, “The groom’s individual style should match that of the bride, neither being more formal or less formal than her but right in line. For example, if the groom is wearing a tux the bride shouldn’t wear a short dress, but a more formal gown…The groom could opt to match the bride’s coloring – if her dress is more of a champagne his tie or pocket square could also be in that tone.”
“Obviously, she doesn’t have to tell you what her dress looks like, but what type of suit would best pair with her would be a good conversation to have.”
#4: Versatility (for after the wedding)
This is an important consideration. When do you think you’ll be wearing the suit after the wedding? Hopefully, you’ll be wearing it to the office now and again. Or, maybe for fancy events with your significant other?
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:
OK, let’s say you’re going to end up wearing your (former) wedding suit to the office. If it’s your first suit, then go with something dark, like a charcoal or near black shade. It will be the most versatile for your needs.
If it’s going to be your second suit, then you have a few more options. I would recommend a navy or grey suit. Not many men own grey suits and that will help to set you apart. Navy is a little more conservative, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t sport something with a subtle plaid or textured look.
But remember, whatever you opt for, it can’t be too wild and crazy because it’s going to be your wedding suit after all!
For going out
Do you want a suit that James Bond would approve of? Then a tuxedo is the obvious answer, but a dark suit with a custom fit would be a close second.
You could go with a handful of different suit fabrics, but the takeaway is that you need something dark. Why dark? Because you’re going to be wearing this suit out and about. Whether it’s a swanky bar, another wedding, or a gala-type event, it’ll likely be at night, and so therefore, you need something dark.
#5: The Fit
A wedding suit is still a suit and that means that fit is very important – in fact, it’s the first thing people are going to notice.
So, regardless of whether you end up with a tuxedo or a dark suit or a very casual outfit, fit is key.
Even if you don’t decide to buy a custom suit, make sure whoever is helping you knows what he/she is doing, because a great fit is the easiest way to look your best on your wedding day.
Once you make it through Steps #1 through #5, you’ve more or less framed the scope and you know what you’re looking for.
But because a wedding suit is a very special thing, we encourage you to go the extra mile and add a few unique customizations.
At the very least, have your name monogrammed on the inside of the jacket. Remember when you wrote your name on your jacket in grade school so that the other kids wouldn’t take it by mistake? Same thing here!
And something else that you may be interested in is adding your wedding date to the jacket. That way when you wear the suit again in the future, you’ll find a thoughtful reminder of your wedding date. Or it could be any saying that means something to you.
From here, you can select a handful of other customizations that can nod to the overall wedding. Maybe you want to highlight your lapel button hole with a contrast thread color that will refer to your overall wedding colors? Or maybe you want working button holes on your jacket sleeve: one of the signs of a custom suit.
Whatever you choose, make it your own
It’s your wedding, and so no one else but you and your bride should be making the decisions above. And when you know you look great in a custom suit, you can devote your attention elsewhere, where it belongs.
Remember, if we’re building a custom suit for your wedding, we’ll need at least seven weeks to get your suit manufactured. We want to make sure it’s absolutely perfect! Here’s how you make an appointment with us and get the process started.
Wrap up: How to buy a wedding suit
Need some more resources? Check out our Weddings page here. And after the ceremony when you find yourself wearing your wedding suit for work or formal evening events, here’s what you need to know about cleaning it and keeping it looking sharp for many years to come.
Please let us know if you have any questions with your wedding attire, we’re happy to help. And the best way to stay in the loop with those of us at BE, is with our twice-monthly newsletter. No nonsense, only the things you want to know about dressing sharp and the occasional James Bond reference!