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Wedding planning guide

Guide to best-man and groomsmen wedding suits

Below is a step by step guide to choosing groomsmen and usher wedding suits so you can pick smart outfits with minimal effort.

Who pays for the groomsmen and usher suits?

In American, it is the groomsmen who are expected to pay rental costs unless the price-tag is exceptionally high. However, in England, it is traditionally assumed that the bridegroom pays for the best-man and usher suits.

bestman and groomsmen wedding suits

Do I buy or rent my groomsmen suit?

Renting is the obvious and most straightforward option for groomsmen and usher suits as the price tag of well-tailored suits can run into hundreds. Renting also allows for minor alterations, clean/press before usage and takes a lot of the hassle out of buying a particular suit for one day only. Many suit-hiring companies will also include waistcoats, shirts, shoes and all accessories to ease the process even further.

How much do groomsmen suits cost?

Expect to pay approximately between £100 - £150 per suit in the UK and $120 – 220 in America. The price ranges dependent on where you live in the country and the suit designer. As a standard, the cost of suit hire will also include a refundable deposit when the suit is returned (this negates minor stains). If you intend to hire a large number of suits, it is worth making this explicit when initially enquiring, in case bulk discounts or added extras can be given.

bestman wedding suit
Groomsmen suit rental (US)

Men's Warehouse is the most popular choice for groomsmen suit rental as the ranges are extensive. However, it is also worth visiting smaller local tailors to see how prices compare. Online, Meguin has a wide selection of suits to choose from. If you would prefer to buy your suit, Men's Warehouse or Macy's offer good lower-end options. For higher-end suits, Brook's Brothers stock a lot of iconic, tailored options.

Usher suit rental (UK)

Alongside the well-known suit retailers, there is an increasing number of smaller independent tailors who provide this specialist rental. Before opting for high-street names, it is worth searching for rental shops near where you live/venue location and contacting these. It is also worth asking your venue for any recommendations. High-street retailers include Moss Bros, Burton, larger Debenhams and Slaters. ASOS also now have an extensive online shop.

How to rent wedding suits to avoid stress

It is recommended to order your suits at least four to six months in advance of your wedding. The rental process will typically involve:

  • Groom picking a style and shop to rent from
  • Emailing groomsmen or ushers with suit measurements needed
  • Confirming exact details with the shop
  • In America sending groomsmen details to pay/sort pick up
  • In England sending ushers details to pick up
  • Groomsmen and ushers can then usually pick up suits a couple of days before and get minor alterations done.

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choosing groomsmen wedding suits
Choosing groomsmen and usher suits

The groom should determine groomsmen and usher suits, but it is wise to consider the following to make sure your mates feel comfortable and smart all day:

  • Keep in mind the size range of your groomsmen or ushers when picking a style
  • Ask to see the actual suits that will be rented to ensure they are not worn out
  • Pick a colour that complements your suit
  • Choose suits that are affordable from mid/lower end rental stores
  • (in American only) Give your groomsmen the option to buy or rent suits
Groomsmen wedding suit styles

The European wedding suit is more tightly tailored against the torso, has shorter sleeves to show the shirt and will have thinner lapels. The European look can be visualised by looking at suits from iconic Italian brands, such as Armani. This style suits slim and athletic builds best.

Traditional British wedding suits (called morning suits) have a longer body with tails, a contrasting waistcoat and cravat instead of a tie. This look is less tailored to the torso and can be more forgiving. The British suit is flattering to most body types, although it is best on taller, broader frames. British morning suits are worn at royal weddings or other high society ceremonies.

American wedding suits are usually either tuxedos or standard work suits. The American style is best visually demonstrated by Brooks Brother suits. These have a looser fit, wider arms and less detailing. American suits are best for wider or broader figures and are a good idea for those wanting maximum comfort.

Groomsmen suits: Tuxedo vs suit

Tuxedos are best for evening or winter weddings, where they will look smart and sleek under night-time lighting. However, as black tuxedos can make pale groomsmen look washed-out in the daylight, it is best to opt for a standard suit for daytime weddings.

choosing usher wedding suits
Choosing groomsmen suit colours

The colour of the best man and groomsmen suits should be coordinated or complementary to the groom's. The most popular and timeless colours are a deep navy blue, soft grey and charcoal grey. Where possible, try to avoid vibrant colours for the groomsmen and best-man as you should be the primary focus for pictures.

Groomsmen wedding suit materials

It is worth considering the season you are getting married in when deciding on a suit fabric. Most wedding suits or tuxedos will be a wool mix, which gives crisper, neat lines. Some slightly less expensive suits will combine polyester and wool – these can still look very smart. However, if you are getting married in peak season, it is wise to look for suits made from breathable fabrics, such as linen or cotton.

Cheap alternatives for groomsmen or usher suits

If your budget is small, a good option is to provide matching ties and accessories, but let your groomsmen or ushers use suits that they already own. Overall, this can create a relaxed wedding look for non-traditional ceremonies too.

Related articles: finding photographers groomsmen gifts

groomsmen accessories
Groomsmen suit accessories

When hiring suits, it is also worth checking the costs of the following items too; shirt, tie, belt, shoes, cuff-links (if these are not included in the price). Alternatively, accessories, such as socks or cuff-links can be provided as gifts. Below are recommendations on what accessories to pick for a classic, crisp groomsman or usher look.

Matching groomsmen ties

A lot of grooms try to match their best-man/ushers tie colours to the bridesmaid dresses or the colour theme of the wedding: This can often leave them wearing colours that they do not like or do not suit. The most important thing is that their tie complements the grooms. Popular tie colours include; a fabric/wool/ matt style in a dark blue, light blue, dark grey. The tip is to go for a similar tone to your suit but not the same shade.
groomsmen suits that match

Complementary groomsmen shoes and belts

The belt and shoes will complete the groomsmen look, so they must look neat. For best-man, groomsmen or ushers it is generally okay to ask them to bring/wear their own and just to specify a colour. Belts need to complement shoes and should be black, dark brown or tan.

Do groomsmen shoes have to match?

Shoes need to look new, un-scuffed and should be black, dark brown or tan. The colour of these should be picked to match yours, where possible. Brown shoes are an excellent choice for a navy, blue or charcoal suit and black for very dark or black suit shades. For ease, you can't go wrong with a semi-brogue or full brogue. Avoid patent shoes, wherever possible, as these high fashion shoes may look dated in pictures.

Best man and groomsmen cuff-links and socks

Groomsmen cuff-links and socks can be as unique and quirky as you want to make them. These items can be great small gifts and can be great touches for groomsmen pictures.

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