Getting married is a special life event that is full of tradition beyond vows and wedding rings. But compared to the formal daytime tailcoat that is centuries old, the tuxedo is a fairly new standard for black tie affairs. In fashion, style reigns, but often with so many variations on a theme to choose from, it's easy to become confused and unwittingly be out of step with wedding etiquette of what's appropriate to wear and when to wear it. It's important to know whether your wedding is formal or informal and what time of day or night the ceremony will take place to choose your attire correctly.
The formal evening wedding calls for a tuxedo; even the finest bespoke suit cannot compete with this garment, by virtue of its design. The traditional, classic tuxedo has several features that distinguish it from a suit.
First, there is a high level of attention to detail; shawl or pointed peak lapels, pocket trims and buttons are satin covered on the single button jacket with a satin outseam on the trousers. It is this satin detailing which adds the elegance befitting a formal occasion.
Second, are the accessories that are worn with the tuxedo; patent leather shoes which echo the satin stripe on the trousers, pleated front shirt, cummerbund, bow tie and pocket square. With the exception of the pocket square, none of these items should be worn with a suit.
In comparison, the satin trimming is completely absent on a suit; the design is much simpler with notch lapels standard on the jacket. The trousers do not have any detailing at all. A well cut, plain front shirt and tie with matte leather shoes completes the attire for an informal day or evening wedding. It is important to choose your shirt color to harmonize with the color of the bride's gown; wearing a stark white shirt when the bride's gown is ivory will make the gown appear more yellow in photos than desired.
Whether you are wearing a suit or a tuxedo do not overlook the importance of being measured and fitted for your garments to ensure that they are comfortable and afford you room to move freely on your wedding day.