Tuxedos & Formal Wear

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Traditional Formal Wear Etiquette


When it comes to informal weddings almost anything goes. Unless there is a particular theme or style, however, the groom will typically wear a suit.

Formal Morning to Mid-Afternoon

For a formal morning to mid-afternoon wedding the Cutaway and Stroller are the tuxedos of choice. In the case of a very formal wedding, held in the morning to mid-afternoon, the groom will usually wear the Cutaway (a coat which tapers back from the front waist button, into a wide back tail). This coat can be worn with matching or striped pants. With this very formal wedding the attendants may wear the same ensemble with possible variation in the shirt or tie. Most often for these weddings the attendants will wear the matching Stroller coat to the Cutaway. A variety of ties and shirts are available, as well as, matching or striped pants.

Semi-Formal to Formal Evening

The semi-formal and formal evening weddings offers choice of Stroller, Dinner Jacket (a white or ivory jacket with black formal trousers – worn in spring or summer months in this area) or “Black Tie” a single or double-breasted black jacket with matching trousers.

Ultra-Formal Evening

For the ultra-formal evening wedding (held after 6:00pm) the classic “White Tie” is in order. For this most formal wedding the groom and all of his attendants are donned in a black tailcoat (waist length in front with two long back tails). A white pique wing collar shirt, white pique vest and white pique tie is worn. Fancy studs and cufflinks are worn in place of buttons and patent leather shoes complete the ensemble. The boutonnieres are the only difference in the outfit between groom and groomsmen.

Keep in mind that these rules are only a guide. You may certainly incorporate your own personal touches. With the help of formal wear experts couples can create a formal wear style that is perfect for the entire bridal party.

Formal Wear Terminology

Tuxedos, shirts, ties, vests, and cummerbunds come in a variety of fabrics, colors and styles. Besides the tuxedo jacket terms above, couples may learn other terms to help in their formal wear selection.


Lapels of jackets come in three basic cuts; notch lapel in which a sharp triangular shape is formed where the lapel joins the collar, peak lapel is a broad shaped lapel that points up and outward just below the collar line, shawl is a smooth rounded lapel that encompasses the collar all in one.


Three basic styles of shirts include the classic formal shirt which has white buttons or stud closures, with little spacing between each side of the collar and is usually pleated on both sides. The spread collar shirt is similar to a typical man’s dress shirt with a collar that folds over and has a wide space between each side of the collar. The third is the wing collar which has a small triangular shape at each edge of the collar.


The tie can be a four-in-hand (a typical long necktie), a bow tie (a short tie shaped like a bow) or an ascot (a wide necktie with a scarf-like appearance that is looped over and held in place with a stickpin or tie tack).

Vests and Cummerbunds

A vest or cummerbund is chosen to complete the look. Vests are cut in different ways, usually dependent on the design of the jacket it is worn with. The cummerbund is an alternative to the vest and is basically a pleated sash that is worn at the waist and covers the waistband.


The basic cut of the jacket can help to minimize or maximize the look a dapper groom is trying to achieve. Single breasted, double breasted, elongated coats and waist coats, are some varieties, each with benefits of fit for varying body types.

Couples are wise to let the formal wear experts help make choices that are stylish, flattering and give the groom the “I do” to looking great!

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon should we order tuxedos for our wedding?

Wedding tuxedos can be reserved at any time; at least 3-4 months prior to the wedding is recommended. Tuxedo styles are selected after the Bride has chosen her dress and the color of the Bridesmaids’ dresses.

When do the men have to be measured for their tuxedos?

Measurements for the Groomsmen’s tuxedos should be in no later than 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding.

Who should wear tuxedos?

Traditionally the Groom, Groomsmen, Ushers, Fathers, and Ring Bearer will all be in tuxedos. If you have Grandfathers or other extended family members attending, you might consider having them wear tuxedos as well. This way your photographer will capture some family portraits with everyone looking their very best.

How will we order tuxedos for our out-of-town Groomsmen?

The tuxedos should be ordered in the city where the wedding is taking place. Members of the wedding party living out of town should be professionally measured at their local formalwear or menswear store. The measurements can be called in, sent in, or submitted online. The tuxedos will be ready for the final fitting when your groomsmen come to town for the wedding.

What is the final fitting? When is it?

A final fitting is recommended so that your groomsmen can try on the actual tuxedo. It usually takes place a day or two before the wedding. Any needed adjustments can be taken care of before the wedding.

Is an appointment necessary?

If the men plan on coming in as a group, it’s a good idea to call ahead and schedule an appointment. If they’ll be coming in on an individual basis, it is generally not necessary to make an appointment.