Photo by Aline Marin Photography

Wedding Tuxedos 101: Dressing Your Men For The Big Day

by Lisa Beth Miller

Photo by Carrie Wildes Photography

Once you have picked your wedding colors and the groomsmen for your wedding party, it is time to select tuxedos. Finding tuxedos for your wedding party is an easy item to check off your to-do list, and gives your groom a pivotal role in the wedding planning process.

Most tuxedo shops work with out of town wedding members; don’t let that be an excuse for tardy measurements. Here’s a crash course in Tuxedos 101 to ensure you pick the right look for your wedding party.

For starters, have all of your men measured as soon as you pick out the tuxedos (the ring bearer should wait until one month out to ensure his growing body fits his tuxedo).

Lesson 1: Tuxedo Jackets

When selecting a tuxedo jacket pay close attention to the number of buttons and the lapel. Basic styles will have between one and three buttons. Two-button styles are most common, due to their ability to look great on a number of body shapes and sizes. The most common lapel choices are notched and peak. Peak lapels are very popular on the red carpet right now but notched lapels are still most common in weddings. Next, pay attention to the detail on the coat. Traditional black is most popular followed closely by a shadow stripe detail. Chocolate tuxedos have emerged in full force and gray tuxes have also recently become popular. Sand is another color option and is great for beach weddings!

Lesson 2: Shirts

When selecting a shirt pay attention to the collar. A laydown collar is most common with a long tie but the wing collar is also a choice. You also usually have the choice of white, ivory or black shirts.

Lesson 3: Ties

When selecting a tie you must choose between a bow tie and long tie. The long tie, typically a Windsor (typical suit tie) instead of an ascot, is the most popular choice. Traditionally most long ties worn for weddings are solids but now many striped and other patterns are offered.

Lesson 4: Vests

Most vests are 5 buttons and are either a fullback or bib style. Bib styles work well with some jacket styles. Some wedding parties are opting for patterned or metallic vests, designed to coordinate with bridesmaids’ dresses. Cummerbunds are a less popular choice, but they are usually available in a limited color selection.

Lesson 5: Other Accessories

Shoes and cufflinks are also commonly included with tuxedo rentals. Be sure everyone in your party rents shoes to keep a consistent look. A mixture of patent leather and matte finish shoes will be noticeable by your guests and visible in pictures. Pocket squares that coordinate with the vest and tie are also a popular accessory that finishes off a tuxedo.

Michele Mateus Photography

Lesson 6: The Rules

All tuxedos should be rented from the same vendor and any man who will be in many of your wedding pictures should be in a tuxedo to ensure a consistent look across your wedding party and in the pictures, you are taking to create memories. This means if grandfathers will be in many of the pictures they should wear a tuxedo, too. It is a good overall look for any man with a role in the wedding to be in a tuxedo.

The groom’s vest, tie and shirt color usually match the bride’s dress color, usually white or ivory. The groomsmen’s vest and ties match the color of the bridesmaid’s dresses. The ring bearer matches the groom or flower girl. The ushers, fathers and grandfathers typically don vests and ties in black or silver. This is to avoid too many different colors in a small group. Again, think of how the wedding photos will look.

Traditionally, the bride and groom request that each groomsman pays for his own tuxedo. Be sure to make this clear to groomsmen so they are prepared when they are asked for payment when they are measured!

What is appropriate for my wedding?

It is important to select tuxedos that are appropriate to the style and time of your wedding! Below are some basic guidelines!

Formal evening wedding Tuxedos, tails if very formal.
Formal daytime wedding Tuxedos if reception will go into the evening hours or daytime cutaway coat.
Semiformal evening wedding Black tuxedos, white dinner jacket may be substituted in very warm weather.
Semiformal daytime wedding Dark suits, long ties.
Informal day or evening wedding Lighter weight suits.

What about my out-of-town guys?

If your groom has selected some attendants who are
not local, you need to take control to be sure they are getting properly fitted for the tuxedo you have selected! Once the information below is obtained, a groomsman can call the tuxedo shop to reserve his tuxedo!


Have your out of town groomsmen go to a reputable seamstress, tailor, or tuxedo shop to be measured properly. Be sure that your groomsmen do not try to measure themselves or get a friend to measure, as the resulting errors could be very significant!

What the tuxedo shop usually needs:

To order a tuxedo for out-of-town groomsmen, a tux shop would need the following information:

  • Height:
  • Weight:
  • Shoe size:
  • Neck:
  • Sleeve:
  • Chest:
  • Chest (over arms):
  • Waist:
  • Outseam
  • Jacket size (if known)
Photo by Perfectly Paired Photography

The typical tuxedo ordering process: 

Initially, the bride and groom should visit the store to select tuxedo styles together. This should be done around three months before the wedding.

Once you visit our boutique and select your tuxedos, the tuxedo shop will help you to create a list which includes the names of all men in your wedding party who will be getting tuxedos and specific details on what they will wear. They should keep this list in your file.

As your groomsmen arrive to be measured, the shop will refer to this list. They will measure your groomsmen and request that they either pay for the tuxedo in full or pay a deposit. Once this payment is received, the tuxedo will be ordered! This process is considered an initial fitting.

The tuxedos will usually arrive the week of your wedding. The tuxedo shop will call each groomsman once the tuxedo they ordered has arrived. They will most likely remind each groomsman that a final fitting is required before the tuxedo is released.

As each groomsman arrives for his final fitting, he will be asked to try on the whole tuxedo so that a sales consultant may check for proper fit. If something does not quite fit, an exchange may be ordered if there is enough time before the event.

Tuxedos must usually be returned the day after the event. Many brides find it convenient to put one person (best man, mother, etc.) in charge of collecting and returning the tuxedos.

Late fees are usually charged for each day the tuxedo is late, so be sure they are returned on time!

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