Kari Dawson Weddings

Picking out your wedding-day attire is a huge decision—it’s the most important suit or tux you’ll ever wear, and you want to look your absolute best on the big day. So before you dive into the wonderful (and sometimes overwhelming!) world of formalwear, allow us to set your expectations.

Below is everything you need to know about how, when and where to shop for your wedding tuxedo or suit.

Do a little research.

Start by browsing the web to get a sense of the styles, colors and cuts that interest you most. Traditionally, grooms wear a tuxedo on the big day, but these days a nice suit is a perfectly acceptable and chic option. Talk to your spouse-to-be about their wedding-day look and consider matching or playing off of it in some way. For example, in the case of two grooms, you may decide that you both want to wear tuxes or suits—and not one of each—or that you want to wear the same pocket square or pair of socks for a tied-together look. A groom marrying a bride might want to choose a tie that matches the color of his fiancée’s shoes, or pick suits for the groomsmen that match her bridesmaids’ dresses.

Set your budget.

Now that you have a sense of what you want to wear, set your budget. A rental tux usually costs around $150 to $200, and a rental suit is slightly less. Purchasing your own formalwear can cost anywhere from $100 (if you get something on super sale) to thousands for a high-end designer. There are so many options, though, so decide what seems reasonable for you (and for your groomsmen—you’re shopping for them, too!) and set a budget.

Decide between renting and buying.

There are upsides and downsides to both renting and buying, but the biggest difference between the two is cost: Renting will almost always be cheaper. However, some grooms are disturbed by the idea of wearing a suit or tux that’s been worn by another man (even though the formalwear shop will have the outfit cleaned!) so they opt to buy a new suit or wear something they already own. Deciding between these two options, and setting your budget, will help narrow down the stores you can shop from.

Decide between suit and tux.

The biggest difference between a suit and tuxedo is that a tuxedo features satin somewhere on the pants or jacket or both. There are other details that separate the two — tails on some tuxedo jackets, differing lapels, vests vs. cummerbunds etc. — but both tuxes and suits are available in slimmer, modern cuts and classic styles. The choice between the two really depends on the type of wedding you’re having: If it's black- or white-tie, opt for a tux. Otherwise, you’ll be just fine with a sharp suit.

Visit a brick-and-mortar formalwear store or tailor.

While you may ultimately decide to buy or rent your formalwear online, it's helpful to know your size and the type of suit or tux that looks best on your body. Visiting a brick-and-mortar store — or at least a tailor who can size you and later alter your formalwear to fit perfectly — will give you the chance to try things on get to know your shape and size. You can then work with the salesperson to finalize your rental or purchase, or use your new knowledge to shop online at home.

Make a decision!

Eventually you'll have to commit, so once you find a suit or tuxedo you love — lock it down. Remember that you're also deciding for your groomsmen, so be sure you know their financial situations and take that into consideration.