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Wedding Party Dress Code
Tuxedo: The tradition is a black* dinner jacket worn with a cummerbund or vest, white tuxedo shirt, black dress slacks with a satin or silk stripe down the leg matching the dinner jacket and the dress shoes.
White Tie: Tailcoat rather than a dinner jacket, worn with a white pique vest and white bow tie.
*Todays “black” includes blue or gray hues, often matched to the brides's gown.
Wedding Guests: Take Your Cue from the Wedding Invitation
Black or White Tie: That’s the dress for the occasion.
Black Tie Invited/Black Tie Preferred: Male guests and members of the wedding party are strongly encouraged to wear tuxedos.
Black Tie Optional/Semiformal: Guests may wear suits and cocktail dresses. White or khaki suits are acceptable during the summer months or in warmer climates when the reception is outdoors. (Don’t mistake “optional” for “casual.” Dressing up is always better than dressing down!)
Building Your Black Tie Look
Do you feel lost in the tuxedo jungle? Overwhelmed by the thought of putting an entire formal outfit together? Concerned that your fashion sense does not extend further than “business casual”? Don’t overthink it—have fun with the selection process, incorporate your own ideas, and be confident in your choice!
Buy or Rent: Buying a tuxedo with all its components can be confusing; but rental companies and online rental services make it easy for you. Plus, the cost of renting is usually about a third of the cost to buy. When you rent, the service includes all the pieces-- from socks and cufflinks to the shirt, jacket and trousers.
Rental Companies: Selections are sorted by style and color so you can enter your choices. Online services offer a tool to customize your look.
You also can specify the style and color for your groomsmen. Some services even keep track of who in your party has been measured, too, which is one less thing to worry about before the big day.
Making Your Choices
Color: Before you pick a tuxedo, check with your bride on the wedding colors. Is she wearing a white dress? Off-white? Ivory? Beige? Your shirt and shirts for the wedding party should match the dress.
Some rental services partner with gown designers and match colors for you. Include theme colors in your tie, pocket square, or cummerbund.
Collar Style: The collar is important to your look. For a round face, go for a more vertical straight-point collar and avoid shawl lapels. For a long neck, opt for a higher-sitting collar.
Lapels: Choose from notch, peak, and shawl lapels. Notch lapels are commonly found on blazers and suits as well as tuxedo jackets. Peak lapels point upward and are considered the most formal of the three. Shawl lapels with rounded edges are elegant but not often chosen.
Ties, Vest, Cummerbunds, and Suspenders: Only bow ties and cummerbunds or waistcoats are worn with tuxedos. In combination with a vest or cummerbund, suspenders are a plus.
Timing, Measurements, Delivery and Return
Click here for everything you need to know about measurements in 4 easy steps.
It’s never too early to choose your look and a rental service. Online rental services will send you a free sample to try on. Next step is measurements for you and your party (groom's tux at Xedo is free with a party of six or more).
Ask for delivery at least two weeks before the wedding, and make sure everyone in the wedding party immediately upon delivery tries the garments for fit. Then if something isn’t right, you will have plenty of time to replace it with something that is.
Honeymoon plans? Have someone (e.g. Best Man) available the next day to return your rentals. Online services make it easy to return with a prepaid, pre-addressed return shipping label included with your order.
Groomsmen: Special Friends, Special Duties, Stress Free
Your groomsmen are looking forward to a great party, and they know they will be walking down the aisle in a tuxedo, but it can be a tough job making sure they get measured and leave a deposit. There are lots of horror stories about groomsmen using local companies who wait until the last minute and then are not fitted properly.
Online formal companies such as Xedo can deliver each tuxedo to the groomsman’s home two weeks before the wedding. Then if something does not fit, they send a replacement rather than worry about making timely alterations.
Xedo even has a control panel that lets you know in real time when your groomsmen are measured—and keeps track of all the other important details, too, so you have complete, stress-free control over the whole process from beginning to end.