Bespoke Wedding Suits Style Guide
Bespoke Wedding Suits Style Guide
Congratulations — they said ‘yes’, and soon you’ll be saying ‘I do’.
Preparing for your wedding day should be an enjoyable, memorable experience. It’s a day where you ought to look your absolute best, and there are few better ways to do this than by wearing a hand tailored wedding suit. However, there are a number of factors to consider ahead of purchasing suits for you and your groomsmen.
A good tailor will be able to ascertain what suit options are best for you, so do put your trust in the right one. He should be able to inform and educate you on the different components to weigh up ahead of making your suit selection, helping you to relax into the whole suit tailoring experience.
Ahead of your wedding day, here are a few things you should know about regarding your wedding suit:
Climate, wedding venue, time of day, and level of formality are the main variables when it comes to choosing a wedding suit style. In very formal, traditional weddings, the men are often seen sporting morning suits and tailcoats by day, and dinner jackets by night (also known as tuxedos in the US). There’s still a time and place for these more formal options, despite the growing trend towards the slightly less formal three-piece suit. And they are still worth strong consideration for a church wedding in particular.
However, the most popular style of wedding attire is the classic Savile Row three-piece suit. The three-piece wedding suit gives you the most freedom in terms of colour, fabric, and individual expression. If you’re going to wear a three-piece suit on your wedding day, make sure to consult with your partner on any specific wedding themes as these will greatly influence your choices.
You and your partner’s wishes, as well as your own personal style will have a significant bearing on the fabric and colour of your wedding suit. However, season, location and time of day must also be considered during this selection.
If your wedding is following an already established colour theme, try to bring a swatch along to your tailor, so that they can help you select fabrics accordingly.
If it’s an autumn or winter wedding, or one taking place in a colder country, you might want to opt for a heavier, darker fabric. 100% wool, wool-silk blend, or wool-mohair blend all make excellent choices for autumn-winter weddings given their heavier weight and warmth. For a three-piece suit, this time of year befits medium to dark blues and charcoal grey, as well as classic black.
For spring and summer weddings, especially where the weather is warm and balmy, you’ll want to select a lighter fabric, and you could look great in a lighter colour — particularly if it’s a beach wedding. Tropical wedding venues necessitate lighter, breathable fabrics, while a more urban wedding might be more suitable for something smarter. Your tailor will be able to establish all of this in his first meeting with you, and offer you a range of colours all the way from off-white or light grey, right the way through to midnight blue, navy or black.
This past decade has also seen an upsurge in the popularity of country-themed weddings, where there’s often a less formal environment. A dark suit would suffice here, but there’s also room for manoeuvre towards country & tweeds, and more earthy colours in general. The most important things to consider with a country themed wedding are, quite simply, the weather and time of day. Again, the same principle applies — darker, heavier fabrics for chilly evenings and lighter ones for the sunshine.
It’s up to you ultimately, but generally speaking, a single breasted, three-button jacket is the way to go for a wedding suit. Again, it’s your tailor’s job to establish what ‘rules’ can be bent or broken, and this will depend on what kind of wedding you’ll have.
Both peak lapels and notch lapels are popular for wedding suits, but do know that notch lapels are a little more appropriate for business and casual attire. Peak lapels, on the other hand, are a good deal more formal and discerning.
Around the back of your wedding suit jacket, double vents are usually the way to go, as single vent jackets are seen as a little more all purpose.
Regarding your wedding suit trousers, we’d normally recommend opting for those without cuffs or pleats to look a little more formal. Traditionally, wedding day trousers would sit perfectly on the ankle, even a little longer than regular trousers. However, your wedding setting may allow you to shorten the length a little — a look that’s becoming more and more popular today.
A three piece suit is, by and large, much more suitable for your wedding day than a two-piece. Of course, if it’s a very formal event demanding morning dress, the waistcoat is non-negotiable. If it’s an evening event involving a dinner jacket, a waistcoat can and should be worn under certain circumstances. We go over this in more detail in our formal wear style guide, but don’t worry — your tailor will know what he’s doing.
Your waistcoat is an excellent way of completing your look, and displaying a little bit of individuality. It can be three or four buttons, and can either match or offset your jacket. These can be made in fine plain wools or even a beautiful silk fabric in a range of patterns.
Never overlook the importance of a well fitted, comfortable shirt on your wedding day. You’re going to be spending a lot of time moving around, posing for photographs, and moving between seated and standing positions, so a shirt that feels good makes such a difference.
A shirt with French cuffs, and no buttons on the wrist will allow you to wear a pair of personal cufflinks (more on that later), really helping your outfit to ‘pop’.
Usually, a white shirt is the best approach for your wedding day, as it can match a bride’s dress and help the rest of your suit stand out on its own. At Marc Oliver, we primarily use extra-long Egyptian cotton for its sharper, crisper look and more comfortable feel. We also have a choice of luxurious fine linens and Sea Island cottons in a range of weights, weaves, collar and cuff styles — all of which will be decided by the wedding setting as well as your own personal wishes.
As the groom, the main man on the day, you’ll want every last detail to help you look your best. It’s in the little details that you can really complete your look, making your wedding suit a very personal item.
You may want to add a real stroke of luxury by wearing a seven-fold tie. These take about ten times longer to make than a standard tie though, and the price does go up accordingly. For a very formal evening wedding with a dinner jacket, the bow tie is also an acceptable choice.
One thing people often get wrong with their wedding suit is the belt. Believe it or not, belts aren’t a great choice for a wedding suit as they can derail the image of perfection and take away from the rest of your suit. In fact, a lot of tailors make wedding trousers with no belt loops for this very reason. You might want to wear a pair of braces instead of a belt, but do remember that they won’t be very visible along with your waistcoat and jacket.
Regarding boutonnieres and pocket squares, it doesn’t have to be a choice of one or the other. Both are very suitable for a wedding suit and really allow the groom to add a touch of flair to his outfit.
And finally, let’s talk about cufflinks. Cufflinks are a wonderful way of adding that final bit of detail to the most special suit you’ll ever wear. If you do want to wear them, opt for something smart and decorative in sterling silver or a fine enamel — something that will really help complete the aesthetic of your wedding attire. However, cufflinks are not as popular day-to-day as they once were, thus people’s knowledge about them has dwindled. But that’s not the case for your tailor — he’s still an expert on the matter, and will be able to help you select the perfect pair.
Make an appointment with Marc Oliver Bespoke Tailors and arrange a fitting for your ideal wedding suit.
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Marc Oliver founder Jamie Henfrey recently had the pleasure of showing Matthew Walters and Stuart Aikman, co-founders of boutique London real estate company Story of Home, around the storied Savile Row.