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Regarding Tuxedo Etiquette

Discussion in 'Suits' started by damienweaver, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. damienweaver

    damienweaver One of the Regulars

    So here's the deal: I'm getting married this June in New England. Saturday 2:00 p.m. in a nice little summer chapel in the country. Reception won't start in earnest until 6:00 p.m. If I want to keep this a semi-formal affair, do I really need to do the morning suit and tuxedo change for the reception? Or could I just wear the tux all day? I know tradition dictates that I can't wear evening attire in the mid-afternoon, but I wanted to hear what you gents think. I know plenty of others are doing it. Is it still a major faux pas or have guidelines truly loosened?
  2. Flat Foot Floey

    Flat Foot Floey My Mail is Forwarded Here


    I am no big help, sorry. I think you already answered your own question and it's up to you to decide.
  3. .
    At the event, it's a safe bet that no one but you would mind either way.
  4. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

    In the UK (where things are often different), it is considered perfectly acceptable to continue wearing the clothes appropriate to the time the festivities started even if it continues into a time of day when different clothing is required - thus if it's a day time thing and it continues to the evening, you can continue to wear morning dress, and if it starts in the evening and last till the following morning you can remain in evening dress (thus demonstrating to everyone on the way home you go to some awesome parties). The reception (again I'm talking UK rules!) is usually considered to be part of the wedding celebrations and thus, whilst it's more correct to change if it's an evening reception, it is also not incorrect to remain in daywear. If you don't want to change, I'd do the opposite of what you are proposing and stay in morning dress (or, if you want to be more semi-formal, a "stroller" - though I'd say follow the bride's lead regarding formality) for the day. Wearing a dinner jacket at 2 o'clock is more of a faux pas then, in this circumstance, wearing morning dress past 6:30
  5. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    My advice would be to pick the outfit you wanted for the ceremony and wear that the whole time rather than changing. At the end of the day its your wedding and you both are setting the dress code.

    I've read in an etiquette book or two (I want to say in one of my vintage Esquire ones and also an old British men's wear guide... but not sure) that its fine to keep wearing the daytime wear (ie the morning dress, etc.) from the afternoon event throughout the evening's later activities. I've done that myself at my own wedding, and I've had that happen at several of the weddings I've attended.

    EDIT: oops Cobden just beat me to it...
  6. I agree with everyone, its your day do as you want. You stated "semi-formal" but you loose that by wearing a tuxedo. If you want a tux wear it, but in my opinion since you did ask: "A Saturday afternoon in a nice little summer chapel in the country" is not generally tuxedo attire. I would wear a comfortable suit for the day and night, but don't worry You will wear what your fiancee wants you too.--John( but hey! just a hick )
  7. damienweaver

    damienweaver One of the Regulars

    Thanks, everyone for all the swift and informative responses. I'm still mulling it over. I always envisioned myself in a tux on my wedding day... and so did my fiance, who is pushing strongly for the monkey suit! I may have no choice at all! Please keep the comments coming.

    Oh, and a point of clarification: by "semi-formal" I'm referring to the classic definition which calls for the plain tuxedo. I realize now that this might be confusing since nowadays we (we Americans, at least) consider tuxes formal.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  8. Strictly speaking, a tuxedo or 'black tie' IS semi-formal.

    True 'Formal' would be white tie and tails.
  9. I think I might opt for the classic white trousers and navy blazer look. I have some pics (somewhere . . .) of the wedding of a friend of my mother around 1938. It's a pretty snazzy looking daytime wedding. The bride has a very elegant wedding dress with a pretty long train, and the groom has the blue blazer white trouser thing going on. I believe he's wearing brown and white spectators, as well. Looks very sharp.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  10. Here we go:





    The groom wound up the lieutenant governor of Connecticut. He's got white bucks on his feet.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  11. AntonAAK

    AntonAAK Practically Family

    Of course it is your day and you should wear what you wish. But seeing as you asked. ;)

    Please, please don't wear a dinner jacket in the daytime. It's not just a question of etiquette or snobbishness, it's an aesthetic consideration too. It just looks wrong. Evening clothes are designed to look good in the evening. Black is a very elegant and formal colour which suits an evening setting perfectly but looks out of place in bright sunshine.

    Congratulations on your forthcoming nuptuals, whatever you choose to wear.
  12. Flat Foot Floey

    Flat Foot Floey My Mail is Forwarded Here


    I am just posting this again because it looks good
  13. Nick D

    Nick D Call Me a Cab

    If you want to wear both, and there is a considerable gap in between the ceremony and the reception during which you would have the time to change, then I would say go for it. If, on the other hand, you will not have the opportunity to change or are unsure if you should then there is no problem with wearing the morning suit at the reception.
  14. DJH

    DJH I'll Lock Up

    We've photographed hundreds of New England weddings and only one has the groom changed between the ceremony and the reception.

    In this case, the wedding was at the summit of Mount Washington and he changed from his military dress uniform to regular clothes to hike down the mountain with the wedding party - the bride hiked in wedding dress!

    So I'd say keeping the same clothes all day is the norm.
  15. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

    Well, as I say, there is the daytime equivalent of a tuxedo/DJ - the stroller, which in the US seems to sit squarely in the semi-formal camp, and has the advantage of being rather more unusual than either the morning coat or, especially, the DJ or informal day suit for weddings, as well as being (to my eye) rather more elegant then a DJ or informal day suit and without the "old-fashioned ness" of the morning coat. A google image search of "stroller suit" throws up a few good pics of the style, should you need to convince the fiance.

    I'd also chat to your wife's dressmaker about the formality of your fiancees' dress (without actually looking at her dress, naturally), and dress to an equivalent level of formality. Remember women's formality is dictated by intuition whereas men's formality is dictated more by "rules", which can add layers of complication to such!

    Alternatively, pull the 21st century card, and say that your clothing is to be as much of a surprise to her as her dress is to be for you. Then turn up on the day wearing clingfilm and strategically placed Smarties...
  16. I vote for the clingfilm and Smarties.
  17. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    You'd be well advised to either wear what your lovely bride to be wants you to wear, or wear what is punctiliously correct. It's a wedding; you're the groom; your preferences and wishes have nothing to do with it. Congratulions.
  18. Bingo.

    Yes. I'm single and don't foresee getting married myself, but I have been involved directly in three different weddings, and based on that experience I would definitely be of the opinion that you have far more with which to concern yourself on the day than you might want already - no point adding another unnecessary variable in there... and that's before you bring in any additional expense in adding an outfit for you both... and what about the rest of the wedding party. Do they all have , or will you need to hire for them, a change for the evening.... and so it goes. If you have a preference for how guests dress, get that in early before people start buying for the day.

    One thing I have noticed in the past couple of years is a return to the lounge suit for men getting married. I prefer formal daywear myself, but that is just that - a preference. If you want to be "vintage correct", a lounge suit or jacket and trousers are certainly a very viable option, as going by the photographs it's what most people did back in the day (as much to do with affordability as anything, I should imagine). Something I have often pondered is whether this means that weddings tended to be less formal back then than they are, on average, now. Bearing in mind that the lounge suit was just regular day to day clothing back in the 30s & 40s, as opposed to being the (relatively speaking) "formal" item is it now.

    lol It's always the lady's choice, so I hear. Maybe this is where I went wrong.... ;)
  19. damienweaver

    damienweaver One of the Regulars

    Thanks again, everyone, for all the great feedback! So it seems that it's acceptable for me to remain in the same outfit from mid-afternoon to late-night. But I'm still not clear on what my options are for that outfit: can it be a tuxedo?
  20. If you want it to be, it can be. It certainly seems, at this distance, that traditional semi-formal evening wear (i.e. black tie) is becoming the defacto catch-all standard for all formal occasions in the US, day and night. Makes me cringe, to be honest, to see black tie worn before 6pm, but... it's your day, your choice.

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