Choosing Menswear for Your Wedding

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So guys.  I ordered my wedding dress.  Pretty cool stuff!

I’m not going to post any pictures of it so that no one who isn’t supposed to see it will see it accidentally, but  it’s ordered and it’s gorgeous — very simple and we are going to embellish it with lace from my Mama’s wedding dress (since she was a size 2 or something like that when she got married and neither my sister nor I will ever be able to fit into it).

So once that was done, it was time to dress the menfolk.

Mr. C and I decided to go with Men’s Wearhouse for tuxedo rentals because they had the best coordinating color to the bridesmaid dresses.  And since we ordered some of the bridesmaid dresses from David’s Bridal, we get a discount on the tux rentals as well.  We decided on tuxedos for a couple of reasons.  One, none of Calvin’s groomsmen are really suit wearers, so to get the quality of look I wanted, they would have all had to go buy a suit, which they would probably not have a whole lot of occasion to wear again, so that would be a waste of money.  Second, the size of people wearing needing matching suits runs from a 5 year old, to 110 pound Mr. C to built like a football lineman.  There was no way we were going to find something that matched and would fit all of those sizes.  Third, everyone (including Calvin and I) is traveling to the wedding.  There is a whole lot less potential for forgotten or lost items of clothing when it all comes in a big black bag together from on place.  You pick it up on your way out of town headed to the wedding and you take a group field trip to the Men’s Wearhouse just down the street from the hotel the morning after the wedding and turn it back in.  Easy peesy!

Here’s what we settled on:

For Calvin and Braden we are doing ivory vests and ties.

Groomsmen will have teal vests and ties to match the bridesmaid dresses.

groomsmen

I think the Father’s are just going to wear suits, but we put them on the group just in case they change their minds.  If they do wear tuxes, I’m not sure what colors we will go with for their vests and ties, but probably the ivory.

A few tips I discovered while we were in this process:

  1. Don’t go try to sign up for your rentals during prom season.  We really didn’t think this one through and we ended up waiting a really long time before we were helped. That could have been avoided if we waited a few weeks until after all the local high schools had had their proms, but we just didn’t think about it.  And we were excited to go pick out the tuxes. Oh well.
  2. Take advantage of the deals. Nearly all tux places have some kind of deal where if you have so many rentals, then the groom gets a free tux rental or a free suit or something like that.  If you get your bridesmaid dresses at David’s Bridal then you should get a discount on your tuxes, at least at Men’s Warehouse.  If they don’t mention it, ask about it.  Be sure to ask if you are getting all of the deals and discounts you are eligible to get.  And if someone else offered you a better deal, tell the sales person.  If they are a good salesperson, they would rather work a deal with you so that you spend your money at their store (and on their commission) rather than say no, we don’t run that deal and lose your business to someone else.
  3. Don’t let the salesperson push you into picking a more expensive tux than you want your groomsmen (and other tux wearing men) to have to spend.  They are , obviously, going to push you toward picking the most expensive tux they offer, but there is no reason you need to do that one if you are picking black tuxes.  (If you are going with another color, you might have to go with whatever price that is available in, and I can almost guarantee it will be one of the more expensive ones.)  Stand your ground and don’t be afraid to say “That is too much money.  What are some less expensive options?”.  Note:  We ended going with a mid-line tux because it came with a slim fit which is a necessity for Mr. C — he would be swimming in his otherwise.  It was a little more than we wanted to ask the guys to spend since they are all having to travel as well. We decided that since Mr. C will get his tux for free (see tip #2) we would pay for $25 of each groomsman’s tux to help bring the cost down for them.
  4. I don’t know about other rental sources, but we discovered that at Men’s Wearhouse in addition to renting tuxes, you can also rent just the coordinating vest and tie for around $35.  This is a great option for ushers, Fathers and other special people in your day that you don’t want (or need) to ask to spend the money on a full tux, but would like to give them the opportunity to match the rest of the wedding party and feel special and included.

What have you seen guys wear at weddings?  What other tips and advice are there for navigating this process?

Menswear images from the Men’s Wearhouse website.  I have no affiliation with Men’s Wearhouse, nor did I receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise for this post.

Shopping for a Wedding Dress

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I have had 3 dress shopping occasions so far, comprising of 5 different stores.  Of these, 1 was a blow-out sale type of event, 1 was a big box bridal retailer and 3 were local boutiques of varying sizes; I was extremely surprised by the results.

The blow out sale was a Brides Against Breast Cancer dress sale in town.  To be fair, this isn’t quite the magnitude of a Kleinfeld’s Blow-out sale or anything like that (you couldn’t pay me enough money to go near that.  no way am I risking death or dismemberment over a wedding dress that costs more than my car did! — but I digress), but that is kind of what I was expecting.   I was pleasantly surprised at how orderly and un-chaotic it was.  I didn’t go with the intention of buying; I jut wanted to try on dresses and get a feel for shapes and sizes, but there were many gorgeous dresses at awesome prices. If you don’t mind a pre-worn dress, I highly recommend checking their location schedule and seeing if there will be a sale near you.

IMG_20140104_145138At the BABC sale in my little changing corner.

A word of warning, if you are squeamish about people seeing your body, this may not be the way for you to shop for a dress.  Most locations have very few private changing rooms.  At the sale I went to, there was a giant room one floor below the gown sale where people were trying on dresses that was being affectionately referred to as the “naked room”.  I opted to claim a corner of the main sale room and tried on dresses there to avoid all the trips up and down the stairs lugging dresses.  I also recommend taking someone with you to help guard your turf and get you in and out of dresses.

I didn’t find my dress at the BABC sale, but if I sell my gown after the wedding, it will definitely go to them.

And then we had David’s Bridal. It was a complete and total fiasco.  It started when we arrived for my appointment and were not greeted by a consultant for an hour an 15 minutes (!).  Then she dissappeared fro probably another 30 minutes.  She finally re-appeared and took us to a changing room where she was helping another bride and left me standing there with no instructions for probably another 10 or 15 minutes before taking me into teh fitting room to try on the first gown.  I would then be left alone for long periods of time while she went off to help the other bride only to have her return with dresses that did not resemble in any way what I had asked to be shown.  The crowning blow was when the alterations lady arrived and told me that I did not need to wear a bra with my wedding dress.  I wear a size 36 G bra– there is no way on this earth that I would ever be able to not wear a bra.  Period, end of story. Moving on.  I am still in shock over that.

IMG_20140118_121117David’s Bridal-before I was told I didn’t need a bra!

The three boutiques were all mostly the same experience- very personalized and lots of fun.  Some consultants were better than others, but overall that is where I will continue to look for my dress.  Just because a store is a small boutique does not mean that they have astronomical prices.  All three of these boutiques had dresses of similar pricing to David’s Bridal.  You aren’t going to get a $99 dress at a boutique, but the quality of the dress will be much higher than that of the $99 dress, as will be the quality of the service and (probably) the attention to your needs by both the consultant and the alterations staff.

dressTwo of the small boutiques.  The third did not allow pictures.

Ultimately, shopping for a wedding dress is like shopping for anything else: it depends on the person doing the shopping and what their bottom line is.  For me, that was quality service and a consultant who listened to what I wanted and needed out of a wedding dress, as well as an alterations staff that can and will work with the exact specifications of my particular body shape.

None of these are the dress; you’ll have to wait until the wedding pictures to see that.  We can’t risk Mr. C stumbling across it before the wedding day!

For those of you who are married, how did you find your perfect wedding dress?  What was your shopping experience like? What tips do you have for other brides?