The big day has been set and you’re well on your way to taking those first steps into married life, but there’s still that nagging feeling you’ve left your look to the last minute. Cue the frantic call to the tailor in an effort to snag something special for your wedding day. It’s a common concern that almost every groom goes through and often in the hustle and bustle of preparation, the wedding suit can fall to the fashion wayside, but a little effort goes a long way. Look, I’m not an expert by any means, but after recently tying the knot, I’ve become acutely aware of the questions and queries involved with men’s wedding suits. Namely, do I go bold? Do I have to wear a tie? And why in god’s name does my Yaya keep telling me to put sugar cubes on my wife?
Greek superstitions aside, there are a number of outdated and misunderstood traditions around looks, styles and silhouettes when it comes to wedding suits for men. While much of the attention will rightly fall on your blushing bride (or same-sex partner), it’s important to remember it’s your wedding day too and if you want to look back fondly at the photos that you’re about to pay $6,000 for, you better get your outfit sorted. Here’s what I’ve learned from my groom experience.
Perhaps the most important consideration when it comes to buying a men’s wedding suit is understanding just how long the process will take. A proper made-to-measure suit will involve a series of fittings, measurement-taking appointments and final showings, not to mention the prep and production time. In my experience, you’re best off giving yourself anywhere between six and eight weeks from the initial appointment to the big day, however, it doesn’t hurt to add a week or two for good measure. Sure, you could grab an off-the-rack option, but for a day as special as this, bumping the price point up to made-to-measure level is definitely worth it.
Start by pinpointing the wedding day and working backwards, to give yourself a timeline of when you need to lock in the first appointment, along with how regularly you’ll need to return for fittings. Further aspects to consider are current shipping and logistics issues. While you may be getting a suit that is designed, manufactured and distributed here in Australia, there’s a good chance the wool or material they are sourcing comes from an esteemed atelier in Italy. With global supply chains under heavy duress in response to the war in Ukraine, it might take a little longer than usual to receive the material, so it’s a good idea to factor that into your scheduling.
Similarly, the backlog of postponed weddings has triggered a frenzy in the world of nuptial-related businesses, with venues, hotels and suppliers enjoying a massive surge in interest. James Wakefield, co-founder of Australian custom tailor and suit-maker InStitchu, said the return to relative normality has seen Aussie blokes put their faith back in traditional made-to-measure suiting. According to the suiting expert, the process, while a little longer, provides a far more specialised experience, meaning you have the option to customise your wedding suit to suit your personal style.
“Everything we make is custom, made-to-measure, so when someone comes into one of our Showrooms, we take a range of measurements and help guide them through the whole process, from choosing a fabric to designing their suit – lapels, pockets to buttons, lining and more,” he tells us. “Every wedding party is allocated a specialist Wedding Stylist – it’s their job to guide you through the whole process without stress or confusion, make it a lot of fun and provide you with a look that’s perfect for the occasion.”
Wedding Suit Style
When it did finally come time for me to pick my wedding suit, I definitely felt a wave of anxiety and indecisiveness creep in. On one hand, I really want to do something fun and different, while on the other, I didn’t want to completely ruin the photos. There’s nothing worse than looking back at happy snaps and realising those flared bell bottoms weren’t as cool as you originally thought, but the idea of wearing a stock-standard suit on arguably the most important day of my life filled me with dread. According to Wakefield, I certainly wasn’t alone in my concerns, with the InStitchu co-founder revealing that the inner battle between outstanding and standing out is extremely common.
“We get all sorts of requests,” he laughs. “In the last month alone, on top of hundreds of classic navy and cream and black suits in wool and linen and blends, we’ve done a green velvet wedding party, an orange silk double-breasted wedding party, a bright red linen wedding party, and even a wedding party who wore morning coats – about as formal as you can go, like the tails and top hats of British race days. But our guiding advice is – don’t go overboard.”
Bold vs Formal
Playing it safe isn’t always a bad thing, particularly when it comes to wedding suits, and as Wakefield points out, you can always add a touch of personality through the way you style your suit. The biggest consideration here is making sure it fits the overall style of the wedding. In fact, I actually found it way easier to have my fiancé on hand to see the process come to life, that way she could help steer the design in a direction that fit in with her dress.
“Because a wedding is such an important day, we always suggest that a safe bet is bringing your personality to life through details rather than bold statements – monogramming your wedding date on the inside of the blazer, a fun lining, side tabs on your trousers, patch pockets instead of flap pockets. These are the things that make a custom suit shine without overdoing it,” Wakefield says.
“Having said that, when you’re working with beautiful fabrics and perfect made-to-measure fit, there’s a world of opportunity to go a little more aggressive with your personal look if that’s what you want. If you’ve got the appetite for something different, our fabrics and customisation options mean you can do it in a timeless and stylish way,” he continues. “Just be sure to think about it in a holistic sense – making sure the colours and formality for the wedding work in cohesion. You don’t want to be wearing casual linen while the rest of the wedding is dressed formally, or wearing red velvet jackets if the bridesmaids are in green.”
Accessories for Men’s Wedding Suits
One major thing I learned from my wedding is that accessories can really elevate an outfit. For all intents and purposes, my suit was a fairly standard beige two-piece, however, it was always designed with a few key additions in mind. In honour of the great Dolly Parton, my wife and I wanted things to be just a little bit country, so my suit was always going to feature a bolo tie and Stetson, but therein lies the importance of getting that information out early.
Had I opted for a bright and bold suit, then chucked a bolo tie and cowboy hat on top, I would have looked like Hillbilly going to a court case, but instead, the subtlety of the suit allowed the accessories to shine.
“It really begins with your suit – if your suit is bold, a bright colour or unusual fabric, you want accessories to be really classic and refined,” Wakefield explains. “If the suit is more simple and timeless, a navy two-button wool suit for example, you can have some more fun with accessories – gold cufflinks, a colourful pocketsquare, some bright loafers. But our guiding advice is – don’t go overboard with accessories. They can date very quickly – far quicker than the slow moving wheels of classic tailoring. Think about your high school formal photos – how have those bright, shiny ties so many of us wore lasted the test of time?”
Another major thing to put on wedding suit consideration list is the weather. The location, season and setting of the event can help dictate the need for certain fabrics and styles, which will certainly narrow the scope.
“It definitely helps to dictate the style of clothes, for sure – for example is it a beach ceremony? Formal? Rural?” Wakefield says. “If it’s a really seasonal event or specific theme, and you want to put a unique spin on your look, there’s a great opportunity to play with occasion-specific garments – linen or cotton for summer, because it’s lightweight and relaxed, and for winter or a farm setting wedding, you might want to have some fun with a heavier, more textured fabrics, like a flannel or tweed. Don’t forget to think of the functionality of the fabric – you don’t want to be shivering in the middle of winter because you were desperate to wear linen, and you don’t want to be sweating because you pictured yourself in Peaky Blinders tweed despite the fact you’re getting married in humid Asia or Queensland.”
Importantly, the suiting expert explains that there are some all-round staples. In his opinion, a navy wool two-button will go with everything, from white sand to a ballroom., While a black tuxedo, which has specific details like satin lapels and should really be worn with a bow tie, will always look appropriate for a wedding, as well as being timeless. As for colour and pattern – that’s really up to you, however, you should certainly base your decision on the other colours in the wedding party. Neutral colours like navy, grey, cream, white – they’re safe bets, because they’re timeless, so your wedding photos will always look great.
Key Considerations for Picking a Wedding Suit
Instead of simply slapping on any old thing you’ve got in the cupboard, buying a wedding suit that you can be proud of is an important first step in your next life chapter. Within that, there are some major things to consider. According to InStitchu co-founder and suiting expert James Wakefield, these are the things to keep front of mind when you step foot in the tailor’s room.
- Fit – Fit is paramount, but if you’re shopping with us that’s not a problem – because everything is made to measure and covered by our Perfect Fit Guarantee.
- Style of Wedding – In terms of the formality and themes – is the next thing. Picking a fabric and a style of suit that’s cohesive and works with the overall look is essential, and something your stylist can guide you through if you’ve got worries or concerns.
- Comfort – Picking fabrics with the right movement for the dancefloor, and choosing something that feels like you and your style, is key to feeling your best on your big day. In the end, some people just don’t feel right or comfortable in a really formal tuxedo – it would be silly to go down that path because you feel like you have to.
Alternatives to Wedding Suits for Men
If you’re not quite ready to tie the knot, or you’re looking for something outside of the nuptial style space, why not check out our articles on the best suit styles for whatever occasion you’ve got coming up?
- Types of Suits for Men: A Guide to Men’s Suit Styles
- Blue Suits for Men: Types, Brands, How to Wear
- Best Sneakers to Wear with a Suit
- 3 Things to Consider When Buying A Suit
- Different Ways to Tie A Necktie
- Elegant Tuxedo Accessories to Complete any Outfit
- Australian Clothing Size Conversion Chart in Mens
When it comes to choosing a wedding suit, you first need to consider the formality of the event. Is it casual? Formal? A beach wedding? This will help you determine whether a tuxedo of linen suit will best fit the scene. Additionally, opt for fabric that fits in well with the groomsmen and bridesmaids, while also considering the temperature and season of the event.
For wedding cocktail attire, the best colour suit is charcoal or navy, especially for late afternoon and evening weddings. These versatile colours can be dressed up or down depending on the formality of the event and always match well with the scenery.
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