The first factor to consider when choosing a wedding suit is no doubt budget, as it will dictate many aspects of the decision making process when it comes to your wedding.
If the budget you allot to your wedding suit is very low, you might consider a rental. The price for a rental suit can vary, and you should bear in mind that some of them are of very low quality, not to mention the fact that unless you have a modelesque physique, it will most likely not fit you perfectly.
Another option you might be tempted to consider on a lower budget is going with an off-the-rack suit. Unlike a rental, you would be purchasing this suit; however, much like a rental, the quality of off-the-rack suits can be quite varied, and they will most likely not fit perfectly either. If you go with an off-the-rack option, you should be aware that some are just as expensive as custom suits, if not more, and you will have to add the cost of alterations.
This is one of the many reasons we recommend you invest in a custom suit if you can. By doing so, you are guaranteed a perfectly fitting garment that you will own, not to mention the fact that you will be involved in its design. You might also be surprised to find it within your means, as some custom options are not as pricy as you might think.
A primordial thing to keep in mind though—and this goes for all of the above mentioned options available to you—is the quality to price relation. You will be spending one way or another, so make sure you spend well.
The second factor that will go into determining the wedding suit you chose is seasonality.
The season/climate you choose to get married in may influence the look of your wedding, but what it should inform is more specific than style and often overlooked—that is, your suit fabric.
Most suits are made of wool, although some are made of blends with other organic fibres, such as linen or cotton, or synthetic fibres, such as polyester. Wool is by nature breathable, and much like silk, it can be perfect for keeping you warm or letting you cool off.
If you are getting married in the summer or in a place where the climate is hot, we recommend going for finer wool fabrics, such as very fine twills, pinpoint fabrics, and birdseye fabrics. If your style is a bit more laidback or tropical, going for wool-linen and wool-cotton blends might be ideal, as they let heat escape easily and offer a more relaxed look while staying classy.
If you are getting married in the winter, or late fall, opting for a suit made of average thickness wool is ideal; but you could also go for thicker woollen fabrics, as they look great in cooler weather. If you are going for a look that is simultaneously high-elegance and laidback, tweed is a great option in late fall, and winter. Thicker twills can be a great option too, with textures that range from very visible and rustic in appearance, to seamlessly smooth and suave.
A blend we would advise against, regardless of season, is a wool-polyester blend. The reason being, polyester is not a breathable material and thus compromises both comfort and durability. By not letting air pass through the fabric, you will be cocooned in your suit, sweat will get trapped and you might start to feel and smell sticky. Not to mention, the aforementioned processes will cause the suit to get prematurely worn out, thus not lasting you as long. Fabrics blended with polyester tend to be on the less expensive side, so it might be tempting to go for it, but what it might save you in money will cost you elsewhere.
The third factor to consider when picking a wedding suit is the style you’re opting for. The wedding suit you’ll choose if you have a highly formal or chic wedding is very different from the one you’ll choose if you have a laidback or rustic themed wedding.
This should go without saying, but always make sure to inform your guests when it comes to dress code, as you wouldn’t want them to feel embarrassed because they are underdressed or overdressed.
In addition, the level or re-wearability of your suit will depend on the choices you make; for instance, a tuxedo is not a very re-wearable garment, unless you often attend extremely formal fund raisers or the red carpet. As far as suits go, if you wish to wear your wedding suit jacket as a blazer or dinner jacket in the future, you should opt for a notch lapel.
If your wedding is formal, you could go for a tuxedo, regardless of seasonality. Tuxedos are worn exclusively on special occasions and are characterized by their single jacket button, and their cohesive look, created by the use of black satin. To be more specific, black satin on the lapels, on the jet pockets, on the sleeve buttons, on the single front jacket button, and at times down the pant out-seam.
A tuxedo would have more than one button only if it is a double breasted one. As satin is a luxury fabric, the price of a tuxedo is slightly higher than that of a regular suit. Tuxedos are best worn with black dress shoes, a bowtie, and a white dress shirt. A common formal enhancement to a white shirt paired with a tuxedo is having black shirt buttons or studs, and wearing cufflinks.
Your choice of tuxedo might also be influenced by how classic or flamboyant you are. If you are opting for a classic look, a black, midnight, or navy tuxedo would be best, as they are more conventional. If you like ornateness and wish to be even dressier, you might consider a jacquard tuxedo—jacquard being a highly ornate fabric that has a raised pattern woven into it. If you do decide to wear a jacquard tuxedo, note that the pants should be plain black, as a full jacquard suit tends to look overly busy.
A fun tuxedo twist is to go for colours. If you are aiming for a spiced up classic look, we recommend you stick with darker shades, such as forest green, deep burgundy, or dark purple, as they will pair nicely with black satin. If you want to go full funk, you could opt for bright colours or pastels, such as lilac, mint green, red, or turquoise, with a satin that matches instead of black.
If your wedding has a rustic theme, the suit you choose should reflect that. A good way to achieve a rustic look is to play with texture. For example, opting for a fabric that has a visible texture, such as wool-linen blends, a rib weave, a chambray, or tweed—essentially, any type of fabric that isn’t perfectly smooth—will add depth and create character.
Although it is important to look groomed and elegant, if you are having a rustic themed wedding, you want to avoid any look that is overly polished or too proper. Playing with the materials of your accessories is also great in this regard, pairing your textured suit with a leather or cork bowtie, for instance, will enhance the rustic feel of your outfit.
Another point of consideration when it comes to a rustic themed wedding is the location/venue. Location is central in establishing the tone of a wedding, as it is its setting. This is especially true of a rustic themed wedding, as a big part of creating the rustic feel is the environment. Therefore, we recommend you go with a colours that pair nicely with your chosen venue; and, considering the frequent use of warm woods in rustic locations, sticking to a warm colour palette might also be a good idea.
Garden weddings almost always take place in the summer, although they can sometimes occur in the fall or late spring, depending on the weather. Garden weddings happen primarily outdoors, with the ceremony often taking place outdoors as well.
Therefore, although these types of weddings can be quite formal and take place in controlled environments, it is important that the garments worn at such a wedding be adapted to its setting. It is no surprise then, that a top consideration in choosing a wedding suit for a garden wedding is temperature.
As mentioned, garden weddings most often take place in the summer, and given the absence of AC outside, you will be at the mercy of the sun. Therefore, beware that you might overheat in dark colours and shades, such as black, midnight, or burgundy, as they will further attract heat. Similarly, we would advise going for fabrics that are thin or lightweight and breathable, such as ultra fine twills, wool-linen blends, and seersucker.
The same consideration applies if the garden wedding is taking place in the fall. With the weather being shiftier, it might be slightly trickier to manage. As you certainly wouldn’t want to overheat, nor would you like to be cold, we advise going for fabrics that are of average thickness, avoiding lighter ones such as wool-linen blends and seersucker, and thus sticking with wool.
Layering, a typical fall dressing feature, is also highly recommended. Going for a three-piece might be ideal, not only from a stylistic point of view, but also from a practical one; as the vest will add a layer of warmth when worn with the jacket, and will be a light and elegant piece if you’re too hot and remove the jacket. Given fall’s traditionally warm colour palette, colours such as burnt orange, maroon, burgundy, or deep green, could look amazing on a wedding suit.
The beach wedding is similar to the garden wedding in that it takes place outdoors, and weather is a point of high consideration. However, a beach wedding has the added element of sand and nearby salt water. Therefore, sticking to a lighter colour palette is highly recommended, not only for temperature’s sake, but also to fit with the setting’s aesthetics. In addition, some sand is likely to find itself on the suit; it will be very visible on a dark suit, but be barely noticeable, if at all, on a light suit.
We also recommend more relaxed, lightweight, and breathable fabrics, such as wool-linen blends, wool-cotton blends, and seersucker. Not only will these types of materials prevent you from overheating, they also don’t need to be perfectly pressed to be worn elegantly, and thus fit the naturally relaxed atmosphere of a beach wedding. Not to mention, in case of light splashing from the nearby ocean, they will dry quickly and be unaffected by any salt residue.
Note-worthy tip: Avoid wearing closed shoes with socks, you will not win against sand.
If you are getting married in the winter, we recommend you fully embrace the season’s aesthetics. Opting for dark jewel tones, and colours such as ruby, emerald, amethyst, gold, and silver blue would all look gorgeous at a winter wedding. Thicker materials, such as woollens, and luscious textures, such as velvet and satin, are also highly recommended.
Cocktail Wedding Reception
Having gained in popularity in recent years as a more free-style approach to a reception, the cocktail wedding reception often sees the absence of the sit dow dinner; instead, opting for the more cosmopolitan drinks and appetizers formula—with a wedding cake served near the end.
It goes without saying that your suit should fit into the vibe, but the cocktail wedding reception can be quite varied within its own genre, so you have some flexibility here.
As mentioned, the venue is very important in defining the mood and atmosphere, so if you’re reception venue is a highly chic restaurant bar, you could opt for a tuxedo; if its on the rooftop of a trendy modern bistro, a clean deep blue suit, worn with a cherry-coloured tie and dress shoes could be a great look.
Two-piece or Three-piece?
Deciding whether you should go for a two-piece or a three piece is truly a personal choice and a case by case situation. Some will know right away that they don’t like the look of a three piece, while some know this is what they want to wear at their wedding.
Many, however, do not have a strong objection to or preference for the three piece attire and can find themselves struck with indecision. There is no wrong or right answer when it comes to having a vest versus not having a vest, but for the purpose of helping you chose, let’s discuss some pros and cons.
The number one pro of adding a vest to a two-piece suit is added elegance. Adding a vest to a two-piece instantly elevates the look of the ensemble; and, if you decide to remove your jacket, which inevitably happens at a wedding, you’ll still look very put together and stand out in the crowd.
Another pro of going with a three-piece is playfulness. As mentioned, adding a vest increases the elegance level of your attire—so if you are a colourful individual and would like to go for a more playful look, having a vest allows you to retain a certain level of dressiness even as you play with patterns and colours. Similarly, you could experiment with mix and match, opting for a vest of a different colour or texture.
As mentioned before, playing with textures is great for rustic themed weddings, so sporting a three-piece in this case is highly recommended. Mobility is another pro of a three-piece, since letting loose on the dance floor might be a bit impractical with a jacket, having a vest will allow you to look your best while leaving you with your full mobility.
As far as cons go, a vest is an added cost as it is an added element to a suit. The extra cost will vary from tailor to tailor—or from retailer to retailer is you are not going custom—but if you are on a tight budget, it might be an expense you could do without. Another con is that, since it is another layer, you might find it too hot standing in the sun for a long time.
If you do chose to wear a three piece for your wedding, know that there are different styles to chose from, from very simple and classic, to very ornate and bold. When looking at the different options available to you, note that a vest with lapels is more ornate than one without, and a double breasted vest is slightly more formal, and going for a double-breasted vest with lapels is a bolder look.
The Take Away
The wedding suit you choose should be one that respects your budget, works for the season you are getting married in, and reflects the style and aesthetic of your wedding, ultimately making you feel your best as a groom.