A groom’s guide to wedding formalwear

While it’s true that the bride gets a great deal more attention paid to her outfit – and rightly so – the groom must do his best to look his best, too. But what he wears depends on a number of factors: the time of day, the size of the wedding, and the budget for the big day.

But, like so many traditions with weddings today, the couple can pretty much do their own thing. Wear what you want to wear! For grooms across Australia, here’s our guide to wedding formalwear to get you started.

The suit

This needs little description as most people understand what a suit is – and most people in business wear them every day. Of course, there are variations on suits: from the number of buttons, whether it features cuffs or not, the widths of lapels, and whether it is to be single or double-breasted. However, there really is nothing like a well-made suit and, if tailoring one is not an option, there are plenty of fantastic, quality off-the-rack suits that are affordable and will suit any groom. Oh, and to add a touch of formal to your suit, you can add a waistcoat.

The dinner suit

In the UK you might wear a dinner suit. In the US, the same outfit is known as a tuxedo. The terms may be different but the outfit is the same. In Australia, you can call it what you like. If the groom wears a tuxedo and the best man wears a dinner suit, they’re both wearing the same thing. However, a tuxedo, as explained below, usually features satin, and dinner suits are black. Always black.


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The tuxedo

Often referred to as a tux, tuxedos are suits featuring satin. Many men get married wearing a suit, but some like to add a little glamour and so choose a tuxedo. The satin usually appears on the outside of the lapels, on the buttons, and on the trim of the pockets. There is also often a line of satin down the outside of the trouser leg. Variations of the tux today see less satin being involved.

Tuxedos are often seen at formal weddings and, although some tux wearers sport a long tie today, the tradition is that a black bow tie goes with a tux. It’s also possible and recommended that a cummerbund is worn with a tux, and a waistcoat with a suit. But again, the rules are made to be broken.

A white dinner jacket

As the name states, this suit is white, excludes satin, has a single button ,and what is known as a self-shawl lapel. It’s a tux without satin and is worn with black pants, a bow tie and, in days gone by, a cummerbund. It comes under the dress code of ‘Tropical black tie.’

A morning coat

Sometimes known as a cutaway coat, this is chosen for weddings during the day. While most such coats are black, the trousers are usually grey. A tuxedo or dinner suit does not look its best during the day, whereas a morning coat with double-breasted waistcoat, grey trousers, and even a top hat can look striking for a daytime wedding. And if a member of the Royal family is invited, a morning coat would be almost de rigeur.

Special outfits

If the groom is a serving officer in the armed forces, it may be appropriate to wear his uniform. If there is a strong Scottish link on the groom’s side, then the appropriate kilt and other formal accessories can look striking. Just don’t ask the groom what’s under his kilt.

Still can’t tell black-tie from formal? Read our simple guide to decoding the wedding dress code!

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