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Aug, 18 2023

Can You Wear a Tuxedo to a Wedding as a Guest?

Man looking at the camera in front of road and power line

As one of the most joyful life events, a wedding should be a cause for excitement and celebration. However, it’s also perfectly understandable to feel anxious about your attire as a guest. After all, choosing what to wear to a party or a dinner can sometimes give you a headache, let alone an event as special as a wedding.

More fashion-forward individuals who always like to look their best might ask: “Can I wear a tuxedo to a wedding as a guest?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a bit more complex than a simple “yes” or “no.” But don’t worry; by the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly what to wear to the next wedding.

The Art of Dressing: Is a Tuxedo Wedding Appropriate?

Man with his hands in his pockets in a black tuxedo

To determine whether a tuxedo is wedding-appropriate, you should ask yourself (or the happy couple) the following questions:

  • Am I a groomsman? If yes, your tuxedo is probably green-lit. What’s more, you’ll probably be expected to wear a tuxedo, as nothing comes close to the elegance of this garment.
  • What is the dress code? For black-tie weddings, wearing a tuxedo is a no-brainer. But if the invitation states something like a cocktail or casual dress code, you’ll look out of place if you opt for a tuxedo.
  • How well do you know the groom and the bride? Sometimes, the dress code can’t give you a clear answer on whether a tuxedo is appropriate for the wedding. For instance, a formal dress code can be interpreted in numerous ways. In this case, think of how well you really know the couple getting married. Showing up in a tuxedo at the wedding of a work friend from two jobs ago might not be the best idea.
  • Where is the wedding venue? One look at the wedding venue, and you’ll quickly establish the formality of the event. Let’s say the wedding takes place on a beach. You don’t need a dress code to know that a tuxedo is an unsuitable attire.

Beyond the Tuxedo: Formal Attire Alternatives for Weddings

Man fixing his sleeves in the mirror

Let’s say your invitation states “black-tie optional” or “formal” under the dress code. This means that you can probably show up in a tuxedo. But what if you don’t want to wear a tuxedo?

Luckily, there are plenty of formal alternatives to a tuxedo that will have you looking dapper without feeling overdressed.

Find a well-tailored suit, and you’ll fit right in. You’ll look elegant yet won’t draw too much attention to yourself. For some men, even wearing a suit is doing too much. And that’s perfectly fine. If you feel the same, find a stylish blazer, pair it with some elegant dress pants, and you’re good to go. You can even ditch the blazer later on to feel more comfortable.

Style in Detail: Accessorizing a Tuxedo for a Wedding

Man fixing his bowtie up close

When it comes to a tuxedo, the rules are pretty strict. There are as many as 13 tuxedo parts, and each of them should be worn in an appropriate manner. But unless you’re going to a royal wedding, you can have some fun with certain aspects of your ensemble.

Sure, the tuxedo jacket, shirt, and trousers must abide by the formal rules, but the same doesn’t apply to your neckwear, footwear, and accessories.

For neckwear, you can experiment with your bow tie a bit. Choose a different color or even a pattern that shows off your personality. Do the same with your pocket square, and jazz up your tuxedo with a little pop of color.

You can also add personal touches to your look through a lapel pin, cufflinks, and buttons.

But whatever you do, don’t overdo it. With a tuxedo, it’s best to keep things simple and add subtle accessories and details. Otherwise, you might end up looking too over the top, which is the opposite of what a tuxedo represents.

Suiting Up: Where to Buy or Rent Your Wedding Tuxedo

Open Generation Tux box on the ground by a plant

The bad news is that it might take you some time to decide what to wear to a wedding. But the good news is that once you do, you’ll have no shortage of places to buy or rent it.

In recent years, online stores and rentals have become the go-to choice for shopping, and wedding attire is no different. You might fear that you’ll get the wrong size or style when ordering online, but there’s no reason for it. Platforms like Generation Tux offer you a few foolproof ways to find your perfect tuxedo fit. Rely on the company’s innovative fit technology or opt for a home try-on. Either way, your tuxedo will end up fitting like a glove! Just make sure to order it on time.

If you’re stuck in the old-fashioned ways, that’s perfectly fine too. You’ll find plenty of online tuxedo sales and rental companies that also have a brick-and-mortar store. Getting fitted in person and being able to see and feel your options has its advantages. But this option will also be more costly and time-consuming, as individual physical stores offer a more limited selection of tuxedos.

Dress Code Mastery: Wedding Guest Etiquette for Formal Attire

Man standing fixing his studs in a black tuxedo

Let’s get one thing straight – unless it’s your wedding, this event isn’t about you! So, when attending a wedding, do your best to be mindful and respectful of the happy couple. In other words, avoid the following:

  • Disregarding the dress code. Just like a tuxedo is inappropriate for a casual wedding, a printed shirt and khaki trousers will earn you a raised eyebrow or two at a black-tie wedding.
  • Wearing a white or ivory tuxedo jacket. Wearing white to a wedding is a big no-no unless the couple approves it.
  • Upstaging the groom. It goes without saying, but there’s absolutely no reason for you to show up in an over-the-top look that will overshadow even the groom.
  • Wearing a flower boutonnière. These lovely arrangements are reserved for the wedding party.

But that’s enough with the don’ts. Let’s talk about the dos. Keep reading to receive specific guidelines on your attire, depending on the wedding you’re attending.

The Sartorial Debate: Tuxedo vs. Suit for a Wedding

Man in a navy tuxedo with hands in his pockets

There’s no clear winner in the ever-so-popular tuxedo vs. suit debate. Again, it all depends on the specific circumstances. You’ll look amazing in either, as long as you feel good and dress in accordance with the occasion.

But what does this mean in practice?

The first thing you must consider is the dress code. After all, one of its purposes is to make your choice easier. For a black-tie wedding, a tuxedo is the clear winner. Things get a bit more vague with a formal wedding. In that case, consider the time and the place of the wedding. An evening wedding happening indoors is the perfect opportunity to don a classic tuxedo. But an outdoor wedding in daylight will call for an elegant suit, preferably a light-colored one.

Perfecting Your Ensemble: Accessorizing a Tuxedo for a Wedding

Dusty Blue colored bowtie and square

Thanks to all the rules surrounding tuxedos, everyone wearing them can look pretty much the same. But luckily, there’s a way to stand out without messing with the basic principles of a tuxedo – accessorizing.

Of course, the goal is to create a cohesive look, so try not to overdo it. You can add a striking lapel pin, matching it to your buttons and cufflinks. Add a pop of color with your pocket square and bow tie, but make them the same color or pattern. Replacing your buttons with decorative studs can also give your tuxedo a bit of flair while keeping the overall look stylish.

Embracing Nature: Formal Attire for Outdoor Weddings

Three men in blue tuxedo walking and laughing

As magical as a forest or a beach wedding can be, outdoor venues come with the possibility of some unforeseen circumstances. Of course, weather conditions are the most important consideration, both for the couple getting married and the guests.

An outdoor wedding calls for attire that strikes the perfect balance between style and comfort. Choose suits made with lightweight, breathable fabrics like linen and cotton. For a beach wedding, consider incorporating elements like summer blazers, trousers, and loafers to achieve a polished yet weather-appropriate look.

Daylight Dapper: Dressing Appropriately for a Daytime Wedding

Man sitting in a navy tuxedo in front of plants

With a daytime wedding, there’s no room for the dark, monochromatic looks that tuxedos usually bring to the table. Factor in the tuxedo’s typical shine, and you’ll understand why such attire isn’t appropriate for most daytime weddings. After all, your goal is to look like a presentable wedding guest, not the wedding entertainer.

So, when faced with a wedding in daylight, opt for lighter colors and casual fabrics. And of course, don’t forget to have fun with the accessories! Jazz up your suit by adding a colorful tie or an interesting lapel pin.

The Black-Tie Code: Navigating a High-End Wedding

The black-tie dress code doesn’t give you much wiggle room. This might seem overbearing at first, but as soon as you put your tuxedo on, you’ll understand that it was all worth it.

For a high-end wedding, it’s best to go for a classic tuxedo look. This entails wearing a black tuxedo jacket, a plain white shirt, black trousers, and patent leather oxfords. Few colors can replace black in this regard, but navy blue à la Tom Hiddleston at the Tony Awards is one of them.

Add a carefully selected cummerbund, cufflinks, and studs for a touch of timeless elegance. If you’d like to add a bit of your personality to the overall look, you can do so by choosing a visually appealing bow tie and a matching pocket square.

To Buy or To Rent? The Tuxedo Dilemma

Black tuxedo behind a window on a mannequin

Given how formal tuxedos are, most people will get only a handful of chances to wear them. For this reason, renting a tuxedo might be a better option than buying it. Plus, you get the chance to wear a new tuxedo each time instead of reusing one model. Throw a significantly lower cost into the mix, and this option becomes even more appealing.

Of course, buying a tuxedo also has its advantages. If you can afford a new tuxedo, you’ll be able to fully customize it to your preferences and alter it for a perfect fit.

Affordable Elegance: Dressing for a Wedding on a Budget

Man unzipping his generation Tux tuxedo bag

Whether throwing them or attending them, one fact remains the same – weddings are a costly affair. But don’t worry; you can find stylish wedding attire without breaking the bank. Here’s how:

  • Shop for a tuxedo or a suit during sales and discounts.
  • Borrow something nice from your friends or family members.
  • Check out second-hand boutiques and online stores.
  • Rent a tuxedo or a suit from a budget-friendly service.

Footwear Focus: Choosing the Right Shoes for a Formal Wedding

Man tying his black shoes

When it comes to formal weddings, putting your best foot forward is a must. This entails choosing footwear that complements your wedding attire in terms of color, style, and material. For a black-tie wedding, you can never go wrong with patent leather oxfords. If you’re looking for something equally elegant yet less rigid, try velvet slippers. Attending an outdoor formal wedding? A pair of light derbies or suede loafers will do the trick.

Suit Up in Style: Accessorizing a Suit for a Wedding

Shoes and more on a chair

When it comes to suits, even the smallest details make a huge difference. Just ask Ryan Reynolds, who regularly demonstrates that something as small as a pocket square can take your look to the next level.

Besides the pocket square, you can add a touch of sophistication with gold cufflinks or elevate your suit with a stylish bow tie.

Wrapping It Up: Your Guide to Wearing a Tuxedo to a Wedding

Man standing in a black tuxedo

In almost any other situation, choosing your outfit completely boils down to your preferences and personality. While it’s important to always stay true to your style, a wedding throws a few more considerations into the mix.

But as long as you follow the happy couple’s dress code and the wedding’s formality level, you shouldn’t have any issues. Even something as formal as a tuxedo can be acceptable for a wedding, provided it checks the boxes mentioned above.

And hey, if you ever feel like your look doesn’t stand out in any way, you can always accessorize. With some careful placement and coordination, your wedding outfit will be attention-grabbing without being over the top.

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