The Groom’s suit: The 10 rules of wedding formalwear

Aug 13, 2016 | Style

Even if you’re not a ‘clothes person,’ picking out your wedding suit or tux can be a fun experience. You know you’re going to look cool and hey, haven’t we all wanted to be James Bond at least once in our lives? But even while enjoying yourself, when picking the groom’s suit or tux, it’s a good idea to bear a few formalwear rules in mind, so you look you best on the day, even without the martini.

groom's suit

The Rules: Choosing the groom’s suit

Rule #1: Don’t overshadow the bride…

What kind of wedding have you and your bride-to-be planned? Is it a formal event set in a ballroom? A casual dinner in a marquee? An outdoor buffet set in the grounds of a cottage? You may not have given thought to how much your surroundings will influence your clothes, but the bride definitely has.

Chat to your fiancée about the style she’s going for; if she’s chosen a shorter dress with a more casual style, the groom’s suit shout reflect this style also, in other words you won’t be able to wear a black tux as you’ll draw attention away from her. You should complement your lady, not overshadow her.

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Rule #2: …but make sure you outshine the groomsmen

In saying that, while the bride must be the most beautiful person at the wedding, you get to be the second most beautiful person, which means you and your groom’s suit need to stand out from your groomsmen. Kit them out so they match each other, but complement you. Everyone should know immediately that you’re the groom of the group.

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Rule #3: Know your formalwear

The type of wedding and even the time of day should be considered when deciding what to wear at your wedding. A black tux is suave at night-time, but can wash you out during the afternoon or look out of place at a garden party. Decide whether formal (tuxedo, tails) or casual (suit) dress is in line with the overall wedding theme and then narrow it down from there. Visit our article on Tux vs Suit to learn about your choices.

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Rule #4: Buy if you can

If money is tight, you could reuse a nice suit that’s already in your closet or rent something new, but since the bride is getting a custom-fit dress, ideally you should get something nice too. Plus buying means you can get it tailored so it fits you like a glove.

If you’ve decided on a tuxedo and don’t think you’ll wear it again, renting might be the more sensible option; however if you’ve decided on a suit, realistically you’ll probably get to wear it several more times, so it’s worth the investment.

Rule #5: Think ‘timeless’

You know the way you slag your dad every time you see a picture of him wearing flares at his wedding? That’s what happens when the groom chooses ‘trendy’ over timeless. Go for a classic look if you don’t want to cringe at your wedding photos in 10 years’ time.

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Rule #6: Keep colours classy

If you’re a flashy guy who likes colour in your daily life, you may be tempted to buy your groom’s suit in a shade of green or red, but we really don’t recommend it. Not only are you very likely to draw attention away from the bride (and probably not in a good way), it also runs the risk of falling under ‘trendy’ thereby breaking both Rule #1 and Rule #5. Black, white, grey, midnight blue – keep it cool, keep it classic.

Rule #7: Respect the lapel

In a lot of cases, very little thought is given to the type of lapel on your formalwear – big mistake. Notch lapels cause your tux to lose sophistication and while you can maybe get away with this during a daytime wedding, once the night hits, you’re going to look more ‘bland’ than ‘Bond’. Peak lapels are your friend when it comes to formalwear.

Rule #8: Think carefully about cummerbunds

Many wedding experts will tell you to avoid cummerbunds when it comes to your wedding attire, but really that’s because it’s easy to get it wrong. Cummerbunds can actually add a serious air of sophistication to your look as they hide your waistband and it’s a nice way of adding a new layer of colour or texture. Be sure to get an expert opinion when deciding.

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Rule #9: Find a good tailor

If buying, it’s better to spend your money on a good tailor than an expensive suit. Yes, you may be reluctant to spend more money tailoring a suit you just bought, but the success of a 3-piece rests on the cut and fit, not the amount you spent on the original model.

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Rule #10: Go easy on accessories

Suspenders and pocket squares are a nice way to add some individuality to your formalwear; just make sure you don’t overdo it and lose the elegance of the original look. Ideally, you should remove wristwatches, bracelets and chains, although a pocket watch can be a nice touch. Many experts will also recommend keeping cufflinks simple, in either gold, silver or onyx, but we say have a little fun!