tux vs suit Wedding season is around the corner, and inevitably your mailbox is flooding with save the dates and elaborate wedding invitations. Whether you’re a guest or maybe even the groom, one of the biggest questions that you’ll face is whether it’s appropriate to wear a tuxedo or a suit to the wedding.

To start, it’s important to know the difference between a tuxedo and a suit. Satin lapels and a satin stripe down the side of the slacks are the distinguishing characteristics of a tuxedo.  Typically, traditional tuxedos are black, white, or even midnight navy. Suits offer more of a variety in color and pattern.

When trying to figure out which option is best, consider these three things: Time, venue and the bride’s gown.

Time

The general rule of thumb for weddings is the later the ceremony, the more formal the event and ultimately the attire.  A wedding is considered to be formal when the ceremony is conducted at 6:00pm or later.  Tuxedos are the most appropriate attire for this kind of event.

A wedding is considered to be semi-formal when the ceremony is conducted during the day (before 6:00PM.)  For this type of ceremony, it is more common for the groom and the attending guests to wear a suit rather than a tuxedo.

 Venue

Whether you’re getting married in downtown Chicago or have a destination wedding in the Caribbean, its important to consider whether a suit or tuxedo is most appropriate.

Typically, a suit is the best bet for an outdoor wedding.  The more casual the location is, (i.e. beach, park) the more casual the attire.  Don’t be afraid to wear bright colors and bold patterns.

Indoor (i.e. church, ballroom) weddings are generally considered to be more formal and tuxedos are more likely to be appropriate.  If the venue is formal but the ceremony is earlier in the day, a suit is most likely the better choice.  Stick with a darker color and more traditional suit for this type of event.

 Bride’s gown (For Grooms Only)

The length of the bride’s gown is the easiest way to tell whether you should wear a tuxedo or a suit. If she is planning on wearing a short wedding dress, then a tuxedo is much too formal and a suit is the better option.  If she is wearing a long gown, then refer to the two categories above to make your decision.