In today’s ever-changing definition of style, it may be hard to decide what the groom should wear on his wedding day. Should he wear a suit or a tuxedo? As a professional that works in the formal wear industry, let me offer you some tips and advice on how to select what is appropriate for your wedding style.

First thing that I am going to address is the differences between a suit and a tuxedo. There are several factors that play into this, although there are always exceptions to the rules. Many of these details are minute and can make it easy to confuse the two styles of garments.

Satin- The presence of satin can be found on a tuxedo and is absent from a suit. Often times the buttons of a tuxedo will be satin covered whereas a suit has 4 hole buttons. The exception to this is that occasionally tuxedo buttons will be covered in the same fabric as the tuxedo is cut from. The lapel of a tuxedo jacket may be fully covered in satin or may have a satin edge trim. A suit lapel is simply an extension of the garment, same fabric. On some occasions there will be no satin on the lapel of tuxedos, such as most tan or beige styles. Typically there is a satin stripe down the sides of the tuxedo trousers that is not present on suit pants.

Shirt- On a traditional tuxedo shirt there are pleats that range from 1/8 in size to large ruffly rows down the front. The lapel of the shirt may be winged to accommodate a bowtie or may have a lay down collar to where with a long tie. A typical shirt that would be worn with a suit does not have pleats and is a lay down collar regardless of bow tie or long tie. There is a set of holes down the front of a tuxedo shirt to place dress studs and holes for cuff links. A traditional suit shirt will not have the holes for studs and may or may not have holes for cufflinks. A short sleeved shirt may be worn with a suit jacket but never with a tuxedo.

Shoes- Dress shoes that are worn with a tuxedo are patent leather. Most styles of dress shoes worn with a suit are a matte finish. The exception to this is if the gentleman is wearing a nice set of boots, which are acceptable with a suit or tuxedo.

Now that you know the basic style differences between the garments, you can decide which one is best for you based on the formality of your special day. One key thing to consider is how elaborate the bride’s dress is. If the bride is wearing a more simple yet elegant gown, a suit would more than likely compliment her taste. However if the dress is rather fancy with beading, lace, rhinestone embellishments, etc., you may want to go with a tuxedo. Now this does not mean that the entire wedding party needs to wear a tuxedo. The groom is supposed to look different than the rest of the party. He may wear a formal outfit while everyone else suits up. Another factor to consider is venue. If your wedding ceremony and reception are more upscale than the groom should look the part and wear a tuxedo. Should the couple choose to do a more relaxed setting such as getting married on the family farm or in a downtown venue such as the Durham Museum, a suit may be more appropriate.

One other consideration to be taken is price. Should the couple purchase or rent the party’s wedding attire? The purchase price of a tuxedo is typically much more than the cost of a suit. Many couples opt to rent tuxedos for their party in order to save money. Suits have become a more affordable commodity through many retailers in the past decade or so and are definitely gaining popularity in the wedding scene. So the decision, “suit or tuxedo?” is entirely up to you. Hopefully my advice will help you make the best decision to have the best fit for your wedding attire on your big day!