A Comprehensive Guide From a Photographers Viewpoint
I just wrote about wedding dresses so the next logical step would be to share my thoughts about the groom’s tuxedo. Not as detailed and emotionally taxing as the bride picking out her wedding dress, but just as important aesthetically. I mean, all guys want to look good. And we want to look GREAT for our beautiful brides on our wedding day. So providing you with a comprehensive guide will help in the process.
What is a Tuxedo
Before I layout a guide to buying or renting a tux, I think it’s important to define exactly what a tux is. According to Esquire.com, a tux is “similar to a suit, but with a couple important differences: satin or grosgrain lapels (shawl or peak) and trouser stripes that contrast with the base fabric, and killer buttons (usually satin like the lapel). Tuxes are typically black, but they don’t have to be.” More formal than a suit, a tux should be considered when your wedding is is a formal affair. You should definitely take into conderation the type of dress your bride will be wearing. If you are having a wedding in a classic venue or a ballroom and your bride is wearing a timeless formal wedding gown, like a princess gown, a tux is essential.
According to Blacktie.com, “If you’re a groom and your bride is wearing a princess gown in your wedding, you may look too casual standing next to her in a suit. Go for a tux.”
Just as your bride has to do her research when shopping wedding dress boutiques, you have to do your homework as well for your tux. Whether you are renting or buying, being armed with as much information as possible will ensure success and guarantee that you will look great on your wedding day.
First, get recommendations. Social media makes this easier than ever. Once you compile two or three custom tailors and/or tux rental stores in your area, e-mail and call them randomly. How responsive are they? Any great business should get back to you right away. Stop in unannounced, if possible and see how you are treated (some bespoke tailors require an appointment). Once you have found, at least, two tailors or tux stores that are responsive and professional, schedule an initial meeting. These are the same recommendations that I made to brides shopping for wedding dresses, if you want to take look.
Proper Fitting Tux
A great tailor will take multiple measurements to make sure that your tux fits perfectly. And, trust me, there is NOTHING like a custom tux or suit when it comes to fit. Your measurements can then be saved in the event that you want to order another suit or tux. All you will need to do in the future is pick your fabric and accessories (buttons, threads ect.) and you are good to go, unless your measurements change (so be careful of that wedding cake!) But even if you are renting, fit is still just as important. So make sure that the shop that you choose stresses good fit when you begin the process.
Buying a Tuxedo
If you will have future use of a tux (2-3 times per year), and you attend many black tie events, then it makes sense to buy a tux. As I mentioned, a custom made (or bespoke) tux will fit like nothing you’ve ever owned. Davide Cotugno, of Executive Tailors says, “Over the years, most grooms have opted to rent a tuxedo for their wedding, but with rentals now topping over $250 its no wonder that many make an investment in their own custom tuxedo. It’s yours, it wasn’t worn the night before and most importantly, it fits correctly.”
Davide continues, “I usually recommend to my clients that unless you plan on wearing a tuxedo more than 2-3 times a year apres wedding, don’t invest a lot of money. With custom tuxedos starting around $1300, the value is certainly in looking great on your big day and as the groom, you need to stand out from your groomsmen.” Excellent point.
You will not only look good but you will feel good, as well. And this is always important for great wedding photos. Buying a tux can expensive. But, as I mentioned, if you will be wearing it a lot in the future, it will pay for itself in no time and you will look awesome. Not to mention, that most top custom tailors will treat you like a king.
Renting a Tux
If you’re wedding is the only time that you will ever wear a tux, renting is the best option. You could buy a suit but, again, it all depends on how formal your wedding will be as well as the dress that your bride will be wearing. If you are going to rent a tux, research is extremely important. Most tux rental shops are extremely busy and sometimes things can slip thru the cracks. Making sure that the shop that you choose is responsive, polite and accurate will go a long way in ensuring that you have a stress free experience. I always recommend to my wedding clients that they pick their tux up a week early, if possible. That way, if there are any inaccuracies in fit, style or accessories, you can handle it before it’s too late. There is nothing that causes more stress for a groom or his groomsmen than rushing around trying to correct a mistake with a rented tux or, worse, an ill fitting one.
Before Your Wedding Day
A great tailor will have you come in for multiple fittings and for a final fitting to ensure that your suit fits like a glove (I couldn’t resist). This should be done far in advance and your tailor will make sure that you get your tux on time. If you are renting, as I mentioned, pick your tux up early and take the extra time and effort to try everything on in the shop. Do not leave the tux shop until you know that everything fits properly and you are receiving everything that you ordered. I want to repeat this because it is so important. Try your tuxedo on in the shop before you leave.
After Your Wedding
There are important steps to take with a tuxedo after your wedding day. If you bought your tux, there, obviously, is no rush to return it, but there are care guidelines. Hang the jacket and pants separately so that they can “air” out. Any smells, like tobacco, will dissipate in a good tux or suit. After a few days or after any odors have disappeared, hang it in a garment bag using cedar blocks, bags or spray. Moths are a very real and present danger to destroying your investment. It only takes one. Ceder will deter them. If your tux needs cleaned, go to a reputable dry cleaner. Your tailor should be able to recommend one or you can follow the process that you did in finding a good tailor. A good, knowledgable dry cleaner will make sure that your tuxedo will last for years to come.
If you rented your tux, make sure that you have all items that the tux shop gave you. It’s not nesessary to air out the tux unless you want to go an extra step. Return the tux within the specified timeframe of your agreement. You don’t want to be charged extra fees for keeping it too long. This might seem like an obvious point but it’s easy to get super busy (or tired) after your wedding and some tux stores might slip and extra high fee into the rental agreement. Consider looking into places like The Black Tux, where you can rent your suit or tuxedo for extra convenience.
Following these few basic guidelines will make sure that you look great on your wedding day. This will make your bride happy. It will make you feel good. And your wedding pictures will reflect that.