Whether you’re a groom or a guest, a tuxedo is a popular choice for formal wedding attire. You might be considering wearing one to an upcoming wedding. However, you’re not sure exactly what a tuxedo is or if wearing one is appropriate. 

This guide covers everything you need to know about wedding tuxedos and proper tuxedo etiquette. So you won’t look out of place at the next wedding. 


What’s a tuxedo?

A tuxedo, or dinner jacket as it’s commonly called in the UK, is a suit usually worn to black tie events. This includes formal dinners, formal parties, formal weddings, and balls. The name originates from the Tuxedo Club in New York, where it was said to be first worn in 1886.


What’s the difference between a tuxedo and a suit?

The main difference between a tuxedo and an ordinary suit is that tuxedos have satin detailing while ordinary suits don’t. This satin is typically on a tuxedo jacket’s lapels, buttons, and pockets. The satin detailing is usually black, even on different-coloured tuxedo jackets. Sometimes both the tuxedo jacket and trousers have satin details.

Another element that sets tuxedos apart from suit jackets is that shawl lapels are only found on tuxedo jackets. This is an unbroken piece of material that curves around the jacket’s collar.  

When it comes to accessories, tuxedos are usually worn with bow ties. However,  suits are traditionally worn with a long tie or a matching vest.  

Tuxedos are considered more formal than suits and are usually reserved for very formal events or occasions.


Can you wear a tuxedo to a wedding?

Tuxedos are generally considered to be formal evening wear. So, whether you should wear a tuxedo or not depends on the time of day of the wedding. Tuxedos are typically worn at formal evening weddings or formal daytime weddings, which will continue late into the evening. This is especially true if it’s a black tie wedding or there’s a white tie dress code.

However, a tuxedo would look out of place at an informal or relaxed wedding. If this is the case, opting for an ordinary suit is safer.

If you’re a wedding guest, you should only wear a tuxedo if the dress code specifies formal or black tie. If it’s black tie optional, you can choose either a tuxedo or dark coloured suit. You should stick to a suit for weddings where there isn’t a formal dress code, or it isn’t specified. You don’t want to risk upstaging the groom or wedding party. 

If you’re the groom, then you can absolutely wear a tuxedo if you want to. A tuxedo can help you look sophisticated and formal on your wedding day. You might choose to wear a tuxedo even if there isn’t a formal dress code so that you can stand out. However, you should ensure that your formality matches your partner, the wedding party, and the wedding’s theme.


Tuxedo for wedding styles 



If you’re after a traditional and elegant look, pair a black tuxedo with an elegant white tuxedo shirt. Complete the look with cufflinks, a white pocket square, proper tuxedo trousers, and black leather dress shoes. 


Bold colours 

Even though a black tuxedo is traditional, that doesn’t mean it’s the only colour you can choose. Modern tuxedos are available in various colours ranging from burgundy to midnight blue. However, if you’re the groom, make sure you don’t clash with your partner on your big day.



Another classic wedding tuxedo style is a white dinner jacket with contrasting black tuxedo trousers. This creates a slightly less formal look than all-black and is ideal for black-tie summer weddings. 



Your choice of collar should reflect the formality of the wedding. The most formal option is a wing-style collar. This is a small standing collar with tips sticking out horizontally, suitable for black or white tie weddings.

Another option is a classic turn-down collar which is slightly less formal and is suitable for black tie events.



Lapels also range in formality. The most common option is a notch lapel which creates a less formal and more streamlined look than other lapel options. There is also a peak lapel which is more formal than the notch lapel. 

A more unusual lapel choice is a shawl collar lapel. This unique round-shaped lapel feels quite old-school and is reminiscent of James Bond. A shawl collar is a perfect choice if you want to stand out from the crowd at your wedding. 



When it comes to what tie you will wear, you can choose between the classic black bow tie or necktie. Choose a self-tie version if you want to go with the traditional bow tie. Alternatively, you can opt for a silk necktie for a more unusual look. 


Shoes and accessories

Tuxedos pair excellently with brown or black leather dress shoes. You can embellish your tuxedo look with studded cuff links or a white silk pocket square. Some other thoughtful accessories that can complete your outfit are a classic timepiece, an elegant lapel pin, or a unique bracelet. 


Tuxedo alternatives for weddings

If the wedding isn’t black tie, there’s no reason why you have to wear a tuxedo to look sophisticated. Many suits look just as refined and formal as tuxes, plus you won’t have to worry about looking too traditional.


How Phillip Alexander can help

If you’re still unsure if a tuxedo or suit is the right option for you or if you’re confused by the different styles, lapels, and collars available, we can help.

Philip Alexander Bespoke Tailors are experts at dressing gentlemen. We have been creating sophisticated bespoke suits and tuxedos since 1876. Based on Savile Row in London and Cheshire, we specialise in crafting luxury, handmade garments. We can ensure your suit or tux matches your personal taste and the formality of the wedding.

We use our years of experience to guide you through the process. Our experienced master tailor offers invaluable help and guidance to ensure you look stunning and elegant!

We offer a range of tailoring services, including bespoke suits, semi-bespoke ‘made to measure’ suits, and tailored suit hire


Bespoke suits 

If you want a unique and personalised tuxedo or suit handmade by our master bespoke tailor, consider our bespoke suit service. We use our decades of experience and expertise to craft beautiful and high-end bespoke garments. A bespoke suit is an unrivalled, once-in-a-lifetime experience that is the epitome of luxury.

Philip Alexander Bespoke Tailors are experts at crafting unique bespoke tailored wedding suits and tuxedos. Perfectly fitted to your measurements, a bespoke suit or tux takes into account your preferences and taste to ensure the final garment suits and fits you perfectly!


Made to measure suits 

We also offer made to measure suits and tuxedos if you’re time or budget conscious. These involve only one fitting so that they can be ready in less than two months.

The made to measure process provides a stepping stone between bespoke and ready-to-wear suits. We use a mixture of handcraft and machine work to create a high-end garment that fits almost as perfectly as a bespoke suit. Our made to measure wedding suits are the perfect solution if you need a sophisticated suit for an upcoming wedding without the higher price point of a bespoke suit. 


Luxury tailored suit hire

If you want to wear a high-quality, tailored suit or tuxedo to a wedding but aren’t ready to invest in one of your own, we also offer luxury tailored suit hire. You will receive several fitting sessions to ensure the suit fits perfectly at the wedding. Plus, you’ll get invaluable styling advice from our master tailor. 

If you want more advice and guidance on tuxedo etiquette or want to know more about our range of services, contact us today to request an appointment.