Black Tux Wedding – Everything You Need to Know About a Tuxedo vs. A Suit

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 01/24/24
Black Tux Wedding – Everything You Need to Know About a Tuxedo vs. A Suit

Black Tux Wedding – Everything You Need to Know About a Tuxedo vs. A Suit

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 01/24/24
Groom Hacks

Part of the Groom Hacks

Black Tux Wedding – Everything You Need to Know About a Tuxedo vs. A Suit

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 01/24/24

Having a hard time figuring out what you’d like your wedding attire to look like? A tuxedo is a classic look, and an all black tux for a wedding may be your ultimate wedding vision, but how do you decide what’s best? Especially since more and more couples are choosing to go less formal for their wedding. Of course, you want to look stylish on your big day, but more formal isn’t always better.

Here we will help you decide if a black-tie wedding is the best option for your wedding dress code and give you everything you need to know to choose a black tuxedo or suit for yourself. 

Black tux wedding? Or a less formal affair? It’s totally up to you. 

What is Black-Tie Attire

If you’re planning a wedding and are trying to decide if you’d like the dress code to be black-tie, you must first know what a black-tie dress code is.

Typically, a black-tie wedding comes with a dress code of wearing a black tuxedo or an evening dress. Really, it means fancy, so guests should bring out all the stops, and it’s safe to assume you can’t be too overdressed. 

Guests must stick with dark colors like navy and gray or deeper jewel tones like emerald, burgundy, or sapphire. A black tuxedo is the first choice. Guests could wear a black suit but should be paired with a black tie

It’s your wedding, and it’s up to you if you want to enforce a dress code. There is nothing that says a wedding needs to be a black-tie affair.

What is a Tuxedo?

The tuxedo was popularized in 19th-century England as the go-to formal attire. It’s a suited outfit for formal events such as galas, balls, premiers, and weddings. The critical aspects of a tuxedo are; the black bowtie, cufflinks, cummerbund, tuxedo shirt, and the tuxedo suit jacket and pants.
What is a tuxedo?

Everything the Groom Needs to Know About a Black Tux Wedding

Can you wear a tuxedo to a wedding? Yes! In fact, many people feel like a tuxedo is a must for a wedding. But what you wear is up to you; many grooms wear a more simple suit or other less formal attire. To make an informed decision, you must know the differences between a tuxedo vs a suit for a wedding.

Differences Between a Black Tuxedo and a Black Suit

  1. Formality: Tuxedos are considered more formal than suits. Tuxedos are generally worn for black tie events, like a black tux wedding party. In contrast, white suits can be worn for various events, such as business meetings and job interviews.
  2. Fabric: Tuxedos are generally made of fabrics that are considered more formal, such as wool, silk, or velvet, while suits can be made of a broader range of materials, like cotton, linen, and synthetic blends.
  3. Lapels: Tuxedos typically have satin or silk lapels, while the lapels on suits are made of the same fabric as the rest of the jacket. Learn more about lapels!
  4. Buttons: Tuxedos often have unique buttons (ex: satin-covered buttons), while suits have standard buttons.
  5. Accessories: Tuxedos are worn with more formal accessories, such as bow ties, cummerbunds, and leather shoes, while suits can be worn with a broader range of accessories, such as ties, pocket squares, and formal dress shoes.

3 Tuxedo Lapel Styles

Worried that you can’t personalize your black tux? The different tuxedo lapel styles are one way to make your tux feel more personal and step up all your black tuxedo looks

  1. Notch lapel: Like the name states, notch lapels have a ‘notch’ where the lapel meets the coat’s collar. They are more casual than other lapel styles, making them more versatile.
  2. Shawl lapel: Shawl lapels have rounded, swooped edges that mirror the look of a shawl worn around the neck. They are described as having more flair and less traditional, which makes them more aligned with semi-formal attire. James Bond often wears a tuxedo with a shawl lapel, so this might be the best choice if that’s the look you’re going for. 
  3. Peak lapel: The lapels in this style widen like a ‘V’ as they approach the collar and are typically seen as the most formal type of lapel. A peak lapel is a signature element of a tuxedo with tailcoats. 

How Should a Tuxedo Fit? Things to Check for When Considering Fit

How should a tuxedo fit?
If you’re buying a tuxedo, you will likely get a professional to properly fit you, and you may even get slight alterations; however, here are some things to consider when it comes to fit as you shop for a tuxedo for your wedding. 

Jacket – Chest and Shoulder Fit

The lapels on the jacket should lie flat, and the seams at your shoulder should be at your shoulder. If the lapels billow or form a wave when you fasten the top button, the jacket is too tight. Conversely, if the shoulders of the jacket don’t lie flat or hide the shape of your chest, it’s too big. 

Jacket –  Length

The jacket should end around mid-crotch and barely cover your buttocks. With the sleeves, when you relax your arms at your sides, you should be able to see about ¼ to ¾ of your shirt cuff (yes, we want to see those cufflinks). So, your suit jacket sleeves should end just before your wrist bone. 

Suit Pants

There are a few things to consider when it comes to pants:

  • Waist: The pants should fit perfectly around your waist 
  • Seat: The pants should lay smoothly across your buttocks with minimal ripples.
  • Length and inseam: The length is more about personal preference, as the length determines how the fabric rests on the shoe. For a modern look, opt fono break, which leaves much space above the shoe. 

How to Wear a Tuxedo

How to wear a tuxedo
Never worn a black tux? No worries! Here are the basic step-by-step instructions on how to wear a tuxedo to prepare for your wedding. 

  1. Undergarments first. Of course, you start by wearing undergarments and socks; we recommend black dress socks for a classic look.
  2. Shirt and Bowtie. You’ll want to wear your white dress shirt next and add your cufflinks. Most people wear traditional black studs to keep with the classic black look. Then, carefully tie your bowtie.
  3. Tuxedo pants and cummerbund. Step into your pants, tuck your shirt, and clasp the waist button. The traditionally formal style of pants is pleated pants, but these days more people prefer flat-front pants. Tuxedo pants don’t have belt loops, so many people choose to wear a cummerbund. A cummerbund is a black, silky sash that wraps around your midsection and ties or snaps in the back – it covers your waist and smooths out the part of the shirt that may wrinkle when tucked in. 
  4. The jacket. Put on your jacket, button up the top button, and leave the bottom button unbuttoned.
  5. The shoes. Your shoes are likely the last thing you’ll put on. Consider black patent leather shoes if you’re going for the classic look. Pull up your socks to your knees or as far up as they will go. Don’t forget to get your shoes shined before the wedding. 
  6. Accessories. You can personalize your wedding attire with accessories or accent pieces such as pocket square, boutonniere, or suspenders.

Tuxedo FAQs

If the groom wears a tux, does his best man also have to?

Typically if the groom is wearing a tuxedo, the rest of the wedding party also does. That doesn’t mean they need to match exactly, however. A black tux for the groom does not have to be the same as the tux for the best man, for example Sometimes the groom will choose a few differences in their wedding attire from their wedding party so they stand out. 

Should a tuxedo have a pocket square?

As a general rule, yes, wear a pocket square with your black tuxedo or suit. A simple, often white, pocket square in a flat fold is ideal for a black-tie wedding. 

Should a tuxedo be buttoned or unbuttoned?

A tuxedo jacket should be buttoned when standing and unbuttoned when sitting. However, the bottom button should always remain unbuttoned (the only exception is if your jacket only has one button, it should be buttoned while standing). 

Do you wear a watch with a tuxedo?

Traditionally, a person didn’t wear a watch with a tuxedo when attending a formal event, as it was considered rude to watch the time. However, it’s acceptable to wear a watch with a tuxedo today. Still, you want to wear an appropriately formal and elegant one. 

What’s the point of a cummerbund?

For a traditional black tux look, a black tux with a cummerbund is essential. They cover the bunching that occurs when a shirt is tucked into suit pants creating a more finished look.

What should you not wear to a black tie wedding?

Don’t wear white. Generally speaking, white is off-limits at a wedding, no matter the dress code. Still, it is especially off-limits at a black-tie wedding. For a black tie wedding, go with darker colors. 

Now that you know more about the differences between a tuxedo and a suit, you can decide what’s best for you and get the perfect look and fit you’re going for. But there’s one last thing to mention. A tuxedo is a classic look, but they’re traditionally more expensive than a black suit. If you’re looking to save money on your wedding attire, you may want to consider a quality black suit.

Visit The Groom Club for More Tips

At the Groom Club, we help grooms up their game at every stage of the wedding process, from the proposal to the honeymoon. Ready to propose? Learn how to make it perfect. Need help to decide what to wear to your engagement party? We’ve got tips. 

Make the Groom Club your go-to spot for all the latest on how to make your wedding unique and memorable. Discover all our latest articles today and subscribe to our newsletter for more TGC content.

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