For some couples, what you wear on your wedding day is just as important as the vows themselves! While the attention may be on the bride and her beautiful dress, what the groom wears is also something that needs to be considered. But how much should you spend on formal wear?
You want to stand out on one of the biggest days of your life but deciding what kind of formal wear you’ll be wearing on the day is not an easy decision. Do you purchase a suit, hire one, or have something custom made?
We took a look at what past couples have done with their formal wear so you have an idea of what kind of budget you should set aside and what options you have for your day.
You’re getting married, which probably means you’re spending more money on an outfit than ever before. Before you commit to a look, consider these issues.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is It a Wedding Suit or Tux?
- 2 How much does a tuxedo cost?
- 3 What does a wedding suit cost?
- 4 What is better? Hiring, buying or having something custom-made?
- 5 What impacts a wedding suit’s price and wedding tuxedo prices?
- 6 Factors that can increase wedding tuxedo prices
- 7 What style of formal wear is right for you?
- 8 Myths About Buying a Wedding Suit
Is It a Wedding Suit or Tux?
Tuxedos tend to be more expensive than suits, full stop, as are the accessories that go with them. For instance, Bonobos tuxedos start at $900, whereas Bonobos two-piece wool suits start at $500. If you’re having a more relaxed wedding, consider investing in a suit that you’ll wear over and over again. On that note, a black tux will be more appropriate for most occasions than, say, an electric blue one that screams look-at-me. Buying “separates” — a jacket, shirt, tie, and pants — is yet another viable option that can potentially save you money, but you don’t want to be the most casually dressed person at your own wedding.
I’m getting married in—deep breathless than a month. Presently, I’m homing in on the most exciting ritual: the suit I’ll be wearing to the ceremony. But as I’ve been trying to decide whether I want something bespoke, custom-made online, or off-the-rack, I’ve found myself running into obstacles. These are the myths of the Wedding-Industrial Complex—that sprawling mass of marketers and sales associates conspiring to drain the bank accounts of newlyweds around the world.
When buying a suit to get married in, the Wedding-Industrial Complex wants you to buy an expensive tuxedo or mortgage your house to afford the right suit. Fair enough. They are trying to make money, after all. But what they really mean is that buying a suit to get married in ought to be absurdly expensive and stressful. On this point, we disagree. To thwart the efforts of the industry, we’ve decided to run down its biggest myths.
How much does a tuxedo cost?
The average groom in the U.S. spends about $350 on his attire—a price that has gone up over the past few years. If you’re having a more formal or black-tie wedding, a tuxedo is a must. If you attend events that require a tuxedo, you may be better off purchasing your wedding tux rather than renting. You’ll also be able to tailor a purchased tuxedo more fully, which will create a better fitting garment. While wedding tuxedo prices do vary, the average tux cost in the U.S. ranges from $200 to $499.
Tuxedo or suit costs vary, depending on whether the groom rents or buys. On the low end, tuxedo rentals start at about $50 to $100 for rental of a basic wool tuxedo and vest.
In the mid-range, a groom can buy a nice suit for between $300 and $800.
And, on the high end, it costs about $800 to $1,500 and up to purchase a quality designer wool or linen tuxedo or suit. The average groom’s tuxedo or suit cost is $197, according to the Bridal Association of America.
According to WeddingWire, the average groom spends $200 to $499 purchasing their wedding tuxedo. Designer suits or couture tuxedos designed especially for the groom can cost much more, even up to $1,500 depending on the materials used.
Men may prefer to buy their tux instead of renting it because then you have more options to tailor it extensively for a perfect fit. Tux rentals typically allow minimal tailoring.
There are few factors that come into play when deciding what to spend on your wedding suits; the style, whether you’re hiring or buying and the total quantity of suits you’re paying for.
The latter is something to keep an eye on, as the average couple has 8 people in their wedding party, including themselves. Going by the tradition of an even split between bridesmaids and groomsmen, that’s four suits that you’ll need to factor into your cost; one for yourself and one each for your groomsmen.
However, wedding traditions are seeing a shift in the last few years, so this could be different for you. Generally, the average amount spent on formal wear around Australia for this year will be$1,446.
It’s no surprise that those living in New South Wales are likely to spend more, but they are not the only state spending over the national average, with Victoria and South Australia spending a little extra to look good on their day. Queensland and Western Australia spend less than this average, mainly because of the warmer weather, which sometimes means the style of suits won’t be as bulky.
What does a wedding suit cost?
These days, more than half of grooms wear a suit or attire more casual than a tuxedo. While suits are less formal than tuxedos, they can be worn again more frequently—so it’s often worth it to buy a suit instead of renting one. While wedding suit prices do vary based on a variety of factors, the average wedding suit cost in the U.S. ranges from $200 to $499.
What is better? Hiring, buying or having something custom-made?
Once you’ve taken the time to work out your formal wear budget, it’s time to decide what is most suitable for you and how it ties into your wedding. You can hire your suit, buy something off the rack or have something custom made to properly fit you.
66% of couples have chosen to get their formal wear from an official formalwear provider in order to nail their look on the big day. The majority of couples want to purchase their suits off the rack from an official formal wear provider, with 57% of grooms making this decision.
Next, 25% of grooms opted to have their wedding suit custom made. It’s also become more common for grooms to accessorise with statement features, such as patterned socks to stylish suit jackets. There’s nothing wrong with standing out on your wedding day!
And finally, 18% of grooms choose to hire their suits and formal wear. This is an excellent option if it allows more spend in your budget, but it is also useful if you don’t want to buy something for single use.
“When I meet a client, I tell them that the suits start at a Volkswagon and go up to a Maybach [Mercedes],” says Waraire Boswell, designer and proprietor at Waraire Boswell, which specialises in custom suiting. The price of a suit or tuxedo depends on where it falls in the marketplace. At the highest end is a bespoke suit, which is custom-made to your specific measurements.. It’s a fantastic investment if you can afford it and plan on staying the same size for a while. But the price hits four digits rather quickly.
A few notes on the vocabulary of suits: You will see some shops, online and brick-and-mortar, boasting about their bespoke, custom or made-to-measure suits. In all cases, a tailor will be measuring your body and creating custom pieces (pants, jacket), but there are no laws about how many fitting stages you’ll get or what kind of fabric is used or how many stitches you’ll see. It’s safest to ask just what is meant by “custom.”
There is a whole world of inexpensive custom suit makers and it is beyond the scope of this article to explain how each differs. Popular custom-suit companies include Suit Supply, The Men’s Wearhouse, Alton Lane, Astor & Black, J. Hilburn, Indochino, Hockerty and ITailor (which claims it can make a custom suit for $179 and up). If you’re considering using one of them, first find out if they are available in your area. Then ask how the process works: how many time you will meet with a tailor and how long it takes to get a final product (and what happens if it doesn’t fit correctly at that point). And, of course, get clarity on the price range in advance.
“For guys who are sample size, they can knock it out of the park and buy it off the rack,” says Warfare. For men who are an atypical size (Waraire himself is 6′ 7″, and started designing to dress himself), custom might be an option worth considering, bearing in mind that dramatic alterations on an off-the-rack suit can add up fast. For instance, Suit Supply charges $13 for hemming pants, $28 for letting out or taking in jacket seams, and $28 for shortening or lengthening sleeves. (NB: no one recommends narrowing a lapel, which can be expensive, so you better like the lapel width you’re buying.)
The next level down would be a designer suit, which usually costs less than bespoke, and while it can be a stunner, often has a hefty price tag due to the brand name (think about $1,500 for Emporio Armani, in the $3,000 range for Zegna, and around $5,000 for Tom Ford).
Below that would be a machine-made suit with an eye for construction and quality fabrics, such as a Bonobos or a J. Crew, that has a high-end look for a more attainable price (think $500 to $900 for a Bonobos wool suit, or less than $500 for a J. Crew suit in Italian wool).
And then, there are even more accessible suits and tuxedos that can be had for a few hundred dollars, but which tend to be mass-manufactured (AKA “fast fashion”). These might be fine for a one-time occasion or if you rarely wear suits, but they may feature lower quality textiles (a polyester lining for example) or construction (plastic buttons, no material in the hem to elongate the leg). While a “Made in China” label doesn’t guarantee the poor quality, be on the lookout for a stiff or scratchy fabric, and an ill fit.
What impacts a wedding suit’s price and wedding tuxedo prices?
A wedding tuxedo or suit is an essential and special piece of attire—so whether you purchase or rent your suit or tux online or in-store, it’s worth spending a little extra money to make sure it’s perfect. Now that you’ve decided what you want, how much you’ll spend and whether you’re hiring or buying, its time to find a supplier. But how do you know if a formal wear provider is any good or not?
Couples are very comfortable looking at reviews on suppliers, with 62% going down this road before making a choice. 19% will check out their photo gallery and 13% will look at their website. Ultimately, couples love when formal wear suppliers easily coordinate colours with any samples provided and also praise them for their flexibility around fittings and schedules.
Be wary of suppliers that try to change your colours once they’ve been selected; not only will this inconvenience you, but it’s very unprofessional. There’s a big difference between offering advice and changing things based on what they prefer. Ensure your communications are clear from day dot, so there is no confusion.
Factors that can increase wedding tuxedo prices
Suit vs. tuxedo: More casual attire, like a suit or a shirt and slacks, will cost less than a tuxedo. If your wedding style is more casual than formal, a suit may be a less expensive option.
Extra tailoring: A wedding suit should fit perfectly, so tailoring is an essential part of the suit purchasing process. However, any alterations you do beyond the standard adjustments (adding custom fabric lining, for example), will add to your wedding suit cost.
Unless you’re buying a garment made just for you, your wedding suit will need tailoring for that perfect fit. “Do you feel like it’s suffocating you, or like it’s perfectly hugging your body?” says Jesse, a New York-based menswear designer who worked at J. Crew and Club Monaco. “Do you feel like a million bucks, or like you’re going to a job interview?” Depending on where you shop, you can get some basic tailoring for free (hems usually), but anything more involved will add significantly to your tab (see rates above).
Accessories: Accessories like cufflinks, vests, and expensive shoes can be a major budget-buster. Try to save on these extra items when possible by looking for sales, etc. and buying items, you’ll likely wear again.
You’re not only buying a suit or a tux when you get married. You also need a shirt, a tie, tie clip, shoes, socks, possibly a vest, pocket square and cufflinks, depending on how natty you want to be. These add-ons could easily double your suit budget. But you’ll also have some really great clothes for future use.
Ridiculous Price Story: If you want a suit fit for royalty, it will cost you. In an interview with GQ.com, William Skinner, managing director of the bespoke tailors Dege & Skinner, who created Prince Harry’s wedding uniform, said the cost of his suit would run about £6500 for the coat and £1350 for the pants—roughly $10,000 total.
Biggest Mistake People Make: The biggest mistake you can make is buying something that you’re having doubts about. Chances are if you don’t love it in the store, you won’t love it once it’s on our body (true for so many things). “Let common sense be your guide,” says Waraire. “If you are looking at a suit and you’re already having second thoughts about it, and you don’t even own it, you should leave it be.”
What style of formal wear is right for you?
Next, it’s time to figure out what style is going to suit you on your big day. Long gone are the days where suits were stock standard and ill-fitting; these days, there are so many styles to choose from!
The classic suit – black, navy or grey in colour, paired with a white shirt, tie or bow tie and black or tan shoes will always look great on your wedding day. Comfort-wise, this is a great option if you aren’t accustomed to wearing suits as you can easily remove your suit jacket and relax. Modern variations of this would be a designer jacket or pants, and bold colours and patterns will always make a statement.
The three-piece suit – a step up from your classic suit, this includes a vest and gives you more of a formal look. This is a go-to for classic or modern weddings.
Black-tie – if your wedding theme is elegant or luxury, make the most of the black-tie and opt for a tuxedo. Super stylish and it may be the only time you can channel your inner James Bond!
Smart-casual – Bohemian or beach themed weddings often lean to a more relaxed style; think smart chinos, a good shirt and a bow tie or tie. It’s still formal, but with a little more flair to suit the wedding theme. Suspenders are also another great way to accessorise.
Use these as a guideline, but ultimately, it’s up to you what variation you decide. Navy jackets on tan pants, floral bow ties, personalised cuff links and even flower crowns have been used by grooms who have wanted to stand out.
Myths About Buying a Wedding Suit
Keep it Bland
It’s an axiom of the industry that weddings are chiefly for the bride, and that thinking has long extended to clothing. Don’t try to outshine the gown, and the thinking goes, just stick to something plain and simple. And try not to look stupid. But hang on a minute: Your fiancée surely put a great deal of time and effort into saying yes to the dress, and an extravagant (and no doubt expensive) gown is inevitably going to be the centrepiece of the ceremony. So does that mean you have to wear something bland to cast her in relief? Not at all. A wedding is an occasion for you to look your best and buying a sharp, even eye-catching suit is simply a matter of making sure you look and feel as good during your big day as your bride. Trust us: Go as stylish as you want. The compliments are all going to your wife’s dress either way.
Make it a Tux
Unless you’re ludicrously wealthy, you probably don’t have many occasions to step out in formal wear. So it’s understandable that many guys believe the only appropriate outfit for their wedding day is a tuxedo: When else will you get a chance to look like James Bond?
You certainly can wear the customary jet-black tux on your wedding—and, with the right fit and accessories, there’s a good chance it’ll work. The problem is the myth of the obligation. You don’t need to wear a tuxedo. Any suit worn right will do. In fact, a suit has much more going for it over the formal alternative. Unlike your fiancée and her wedding dress, buying a nice suit for your wedding is an investment that will pay off. You can bust out the suit whenever the need arises, justifying the splurge. With a tux you’re either stuck with a novelty item you’ll be aching to wear at dinner parties (don’t) or going the rental route—a waste of money if there ever was one.
Don’t Make it Modern
Weddings, as a general rule, are slaves to tradition: fine enough in most respects, but a little out of touch when it comes to fashion. But just because you’re undergoing the same ceremony doesn’t mean that you need to be dressed indistinguishably from your parents’ wedding thirty years ago. Times change. And there are a lot of tasteful ways to modernise your wedding suit without looking too casual or too peculiar. Think accessories: Even the plainest suit can be made more distinguished by the addition of a few small touches. Why not try a knit tie or a patterned pocket square?
A wedding is not a funeral, but that doesn’t stop some couples from treating it like one, obsessing over everything with such rigour that the fun is squeezed out. Loosen your grip. A wedding is a celebration. So make it look celebratory: Don a suit that packs a punch, or a use an interesting tie to set off your look. The easiest way to invigorate your look? Socks. Try a pair of statement socks from Richer Poorer to really give your outfit a shot in the arm er, foot.
Everything Should Match
We appreciate that many grooms don’t have much say in whether (or to what extent) the ceremony will be “themed,” but just because the flowers and the table dressings are green and gold doesn’t mean your tie and pocket square should be, too. Precisely matching colours and patterns across accessories are a sure sign of amateur dressing—a try-hard looks even for a groom. Think of colours that complement one another and, if necessary, the theme.