Most guys have it easy when it comes to weddings. Seemingly endless processes like picking floral arrangements, colour palettes, and catering luckily aren’t in the usual scope of decision-making. However, mistakes are common when it comes to getting dressed for the wedding.
One area that does remain in the realm of our responsibilities is what we wear on our big day. Unless you and your bride are pirate/Star Trek fanatics, or you’re a tracksuit-wearing Kevin Federline, the expectation is that you and your best friends will dress like gentlemen in honour of your beautiful bride and the age-old traditions of committing your lives to each other.
Whether this is the dashing tuxedo to put all others to shame, or the first suit you’ve worn since prom, here’s how to look and feel your best without busting your wedding budget open any wider.
Mistake #1: Renting
We’re not saying to not rent. We’re just recommending that you avoid this option if you don’t absolutely need to.
Would you pay 1/3 – 1/2 of the new purchase price of an economy car (like a Toyota Corolla), so that you could drive a used one for a couple of days? No?
Well that’s essentially what you’re doing with renting tuxedos. Now there are some decent tuxedo & suit rental places that carry decently-made garments that have a tailored look, however these are few and far between. Rental-Market Suits are designed for the benefit of the Rental Companies, with the emphasis on durability (extensive use of unbreathable synthetic materials) and a “one-style-fits-most” approach.
What that means is you will likely be sweating your balls off before you even make it to through your ceremony (more on that below) and the photographers you’ve spent so much money on will be capturing you in something that will likely look baggy, too long in most places, and very unsophisticated when next to your beautiful bride… in photos that are meant to last an eternity!
Even if cost is your biggest factor, consider what it is you’re actually getting. For the same price as an entry-level tux rental, you could still pick something up at a consignment store (that’s likely been worn fewer times than that rental tux) and pay for it to get tailored. Best of all, you get to keep it so that you’re not the chump showing up in a dress shirt and Dockers at your next formal event.
Mistake #2: Leaving it until the last minute
Another mistake the groom makes is underestimating the time it takes to be well-dressed.
Yes, we know you’re insanely busy and buying clothing (let alone suits) ranks about as high on your list of priorities as getting your prostate checked. However, if you’re shopping within 2 months of your wedding date, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Whether you’re shopping online, with a traveling tailor, or with a local tailor, a custom-tailored suit will take 4-8 weeks. That’s factoring in the time it takes to hand-make your garments and alter them for a perfect fit afterwards. We won’t even go into the nightmare stories of clients who have come in a panic after their self-measured online orders had to go back for a remake!
Plan ahead of time
A common misconception about tailored suits is that they’ll be a perfect fit each time due to the submission of measurements. While true in theory, inconsistencies usually happen at the measurement stage (God forbid if you attempt measuring yourself!) or in the tailoring itself.
Which leads to the time allowance for alterations. A suit jacket is typically made up of 9 major exterior panels (not to mention over a dozen interior components), all measured and cut to maintain a perfect balance that is devoid of unsightly and uncomfortable creases. So taking it to the drycleaner who offers same-day hems would not serve you. That would be like taking your Aston Martin to a Jiffy Lube for an engine tuning.
Any reputable & skilled Alterations Tailor will have a minimum 1 week turnaround, and possibly two to four times that during the busy summer months when wedding garment traffic is highest.
Wait till T-minus 1 month and rentals (and un-altered Off-The-Rack suits) might become your only option. Even then, selection will be very limited as most grooms have already booked.
Mistake #3: Not taking climate into consideration
Remember what we said earlier about sweating your balls off? It’s a very real problem.
This is supposed to be a day of fun and celebration, instead of constantly checking your watch to see when you can finally change out of that sauna suit you chose to rent/buy for bottom dollar.
Take a look at the Materials Label on your next suit. Is the lining made from polyester or some other synthetic material that comes out as a plastic filament? Based on what mass-production has been offering to customers, there’s an 85% chance that it is. You might as well roll Saran-Wrap around your body, as that’s about as much breathability you’re going to get. Polyester in the exterior suiting as well? Let’s double up that kitchen wrap!
Natural fibres like wool, cotton, silk and linen are used in some of the most extreme climates still, due to their natural temperature-regulating properties and breathability.
Wool is especially prized for its ability to regulate temperatures while maintaining relatively wrinkle-resistant. For some clients, I’ll even recommend lightweight or tropical wools that are designed for and milled in such a way that businessmen in Tokyo can still wear their ubiquitous black suits in the humid summertime temperatures of 35ºC. Bemberg linings are made from recycled cotton fibres and have been tested extensively to be more breathable than pure cotton or silk.
If you’re going to be in an air-conditioned space the entire day, out of the sun, and you don’t get hot easily, we’d still recommend staying away from any synthetic blends. Many will generate static electricity as you move, which ruins the drape of your suit and will make those handshakes with your new in-laws that much more awkward.
Mistake #4: Not taking colors into consideration
Colour is another highly-overlooked consideration. Most of the times we think of black tuxedos, yet that normally doesn’t work out too well for the Groom who’s mingling with 100 guests at high noon on a Saturday in July.
As weddings have evolved from stiff & ceremonial black-tie traditions to fun-filled gatherings with YouTube-destined dance-offs, so have the traditional colours. Blues and Greys are getting equal time on the pages of Pinterest, and these usually provide better color co-ordination with both the vibrant and pastel colour palettes brides are choosing these days.
We often recommend coordinating groomsmen with the bridesmaids through custom-ordered accessories like ties and pocket squares. As a nice bonus, navy and grey suits are also much more versatile to wear day-to-day than black suits.
Mistake #5: Not budgeting realistically
Lastly, one area of the wedding planning that men still have a say over is the costing of the whole thing.
Let’s say you’ve budgeted $300 for your tux rentals per groomsman and didn’t factor in sales tax. Then you’ve got meaningful and personalized gifts to give them at your stag. So you’re looking at spending $400-500 per groomsman for a gift they’ll likely seldom use, and an ill-fitting and sweat-inducing tux you’ll need to return while you’re hungover and busy with all of your out-of-town guests, lest you be charged an additional $50-100 per late return.
On the other hand, you could spend as little as a couple hundred dollars more and give your best friends a gift that they’ll be able to use day after day, for years to come. Something that is custom-tailored to each of their unique body shapes and sizes: you’ll all look like champs in the photos that will last longer than your hairline, and give something your bride and her bridesmaids can really blush about.