Tuxedo or Suit? Vests? Brown or Black Dress Shoes? The Ultimate Groom Fashion Guide

Tuxedo or Suit? Vests? Brown or Black Dress Shoes? The Ultimate Groom Fashion Guide

Tuxedo or Suit? Vests? Brown or Black Dress Shoes? The Ultimate Groom Fashion Guide Crystal Plaza

Heads will turn and necks will crane as your guests contort themselves to get a better look at your bride for the first time. She won’t disappoint either! In fact, you will hear a collective gasp as she takes her first steps down the aisle. There will probably be some murmuring too as your guests lovingly drink in the whole picture:  


  • Is her hair up? 
  • How did she do her make-up? 
  • What flowers did she use in her bouquet?


And, of course, everyone will be looking at her wedding dress: Did she opt for lacey or simple? Veil or no veil? A ball-gown or a sheath? White or ivory? 


Whatever her choices, she’ll look sensational.


But what about the groom? Since all eyes are on the bride, can’t he just throw on an old suit and wear that favorite Star Wars tie he has? You can barely see the egg-yolk stain anymore…


No, he can’t. The groom needs to pull his sartorial weight too. He has to complement his new bride (and compliment her too, of course!) with an outfit that shows the world what a fantastic couple they make.


So here is the Ultimate Wedding Fashion Guide to help grooms look awesome too…

First of all: Consider the Wedding Day “Where” & “When”

Before you start thinking about sock colors or how to affix your boutonniere if your lapel doesn’t have a buttonhole, you’ll need to consider the “Where’s” and “When’s” of the big day – because this will dictate everything else:

JFK and Jackie Onassis on their wedding day

The wedding venue will help decide how formal the groom’s attire should be.

Where is the Wedding?

This helps figure out the formality of your outfit. If the wedding ceremony is at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, RI (where JFK got hitched to Jackie Onassis) then the groom is going to want to dial up the pomp and ceremony. However, if the knot is being tied under a tiki hut on a South Carolina beach then the dress code will be a whole lot looser. 


When is the Wedding?

Similarly, the time of day the wedding is taking place is critical too. A tuxedo at a morning wedding doesn’t feel right; whereas black tie worn in the evening will look spectacular!


To break it down further, we have looked at the groom’s options through these lenses of “Where” and “When” to see what is appropriate, starting with the most formal:

HRH Prince William & HRH Prince Harry wearing Morning Suits to a wedding

Prince William & Prince Harry both sport Morning Suits to a friend’s wedding.


Extremely Formal Wedding:

Morning / Afternoon Wedding: Morning Suit 

Morning Suits are more popular in the UK, particularly among the well-to-do and well-connected. Morning Suits consist of a rounded black tailcoat, worn with a vest, and striped or houndstooth pants. Vests can either be single or double breasted and are – generally – pastel colors, although sometimes the colors can be a little more outlandish. 

Evening Wedding: White Tie / Evening tails


White tie is basically the beautiful offspring of a morning suit and black tie. Never to be worn before 6pm, it is a fantastically formal outfit. Synonymous with grace and elegance, white tie can be accessorized with a cloak, top hat, white gloves and even a cane. The groom should be careful though, because pushing the accessory envelope can quickly look absurd – taking you from Fred Astaire to the Monopoly Man.


Unless you attend a lot of international charity balls, this is most likely not something you will wear often – so rental is probably the best approach…

Newlyweds leave a church with groom wearing white tie

The groom will look spectacular in white tie, but it must never be worn before 6pm.

Semi-Formal Wedding:

Morning / Afternoon Wedding: Lounge or Traditional Suits

This is your standard, business-appropriate suit. Generally a suit jacket and pants, although often with a vest added (if the suit is single-breasted). Blue and grey are the standard color choices – it’s something versatile that can see a good amount of future usage. 

Brown or Black shoes?

Historically grooms have opted for black leather shoes with a suit; however, in recent years men have been relaxing the look a little by wearing brown leather shoes. If you’re keen on exploring this then there are suit color rules: brown shoes go with navy, light-medium grey and brown suits. Never wear brown shoes with dark grey or black suits. 


Bow ties?

Generally more appropriate in the summer, bow ties with a suit can look very debonair – particularly if you’re going with a double-breasted suit. The only rule is to avoid pre-tied bow ties, which are cheesy. It is not at all hard tying your own, and it looks a million times better. Here are some tutorials – YouTube.  



Vests are a great way to elevate your look. You can choose the same color and fabric as the rest of your suit; or else you can add a bit of zing by opting for something a little different. It’s also an opportunity to choreograph your groomsmen a little – perhaps with all the gents wearing blue suits with the same light grey waistcoat… Very dashing. 

Wedding parties line up in Black tie at Crystal Plaza in Livingston New Jersey

Simple, crisp and elegant – the groom can’t go wrong in black tie. As long as it’s after 6pm!

Evening Wedding: Black tie / Tuxedo

This is a simple one. A crisp white shirt with a black or midnight blue dinner suit, along with a real bow tie and a white pocket square. You have the option of paring it with a black vest or a cummerbund – never a belt. Like white tie, you shouldn’t wear black tie after 6pm.


Casual Wedding:

There is a spectrum here: from suits with open neck shirts (no ties) to swimming shorts and flip flops. It is almost a theme wedding: if you’re on the beach then shoes are probably optional; if you’re up a mountain, then you might be wearing a windbreaker! Our recommendation is to dress as well as the environment allows. 


BONUS: National Dress

From the Asian Nehru to the Scottish kilt, many grooms like to pay homage to their lineage with national wedding attire. The critical piece here is to do your research. The kilt, for example, is worn differently depending on whether it is during the day or in the evening. During the day, a Scotsman wears a tweed jacket (+ vest) and necktie with his kilt; whereas in the evening he will don a kilt jacket (+ vest or belt) and black tie. Wearing a kilt with black tie for a morning wedding is not considered proper… So use the 6pm rule as above.

A group of men in kilts

Do your research: kilts shouldn’t be worn with black tie for a daytime wedding. Photo credit: Millearne Gardens.

It’s a good idea to check that your outfit pairs well with your future wife’s dress. If the bride is going for a flowy ball-gown then at minimum, you’ll want to be in a morning suit / black tie (depending on time of day). Of course you cannot see what she’s going to be wearing ahead of time – so either show her what you’re thinking so she can “yay” / “nay” or else ask her Maid of Honor to double check.


And finally, but most importantly: be sure to take whatever sartorial masterpiece for at least one fitting with a tailor. The difference will be remarkable, and you’ll look so much better with your radiant bride on your arm. 



An outdoor wedding setup in Livingston, New Jersey

The Crystal Plaza – New Jersey’s finest wedding venue

About The Crystal Plaza


The Crystal Plaza is widely regarded as one of the finest wedding and event venues in the US. Based in Livingston, NJ we offer impeccable white-glove service to meet the exacting needs of our guests. Please contact us on info@crystalplaza.comto learn more.