January is my busiest month for being contacted by grooms to be (and their other halves).
I think once people get Christmas over with and enter into the year they’re getting married panic sets in. It always tends to be the suits that are left until last. People think that they’ll find what they are looking for on the High Street, but unfortunately its not always the case.
There are a few different approaches that we can take with regard to the groom and groomsmen’s outfits.
The initial things to consider would be:
- Budget – Bespoke, Off the peg or Hire? Numbers- Who are you including?
- Style – Morning Suit, Dinner Suit, Lounge Suit? 3 piece, 2 piece, Chinos and waistcoat?
- Colour – Is there a theme for the wedding? Do the suits need to tie in with bride’s dress/ bridesmaid’s dresses?
- Climate – Highlands in Autumn, or Italy in the Summer?
What is there available in the pot to spend on dressing the men? Who are you dressing?
Some couples opt to spend the budget just on kitting out the groom and give a brief to the rest of the groomsmen and fathers and let them choose and purchase (at their own cost) what they want.
Some people want the whole groom’s party wearing the same type and style of suit. This can be achieved a few ways:
You could hire. The gents go along to a shop and get measured up and are given the closest fitting off the peg suit. Nine times out of ten this works okay if you are a good off the peg size. Notoriously people struggle if tall or a 50+ chest. You normally get to collect the garments freshly laundered a few days before the wedding. They then get handed back the day after the wedding. You don’t need to wash or dryclean before handing back and there is normally an accidental damage waiver that you pay to allow for any accidental lipstick/red wine marks. Most hire shops can sort out your booking with relatively short notice.
Approx. cost £130-£180 per person
A trip along any High Street can give options to purchase off the peg suits for the groom’s party. Shops such as Next, River Island, M&S allow the option to purchase multiple suits across a size range. They have good returns and exchange policies also meaning you can get the guys to try on and swap about and try out sizes. Most shops now offer mix and match sizes across the jackets and trousers. In the past a lot of the suits were already paired ie, 40 chest jacket would come with a 34 waist trouser. You need to be careful the lines don’t go out of stock before you purchase for everyone and keep tags/receipts until sure. Don’t buy too far in advance.
You can have a tailor make everyone’s suit.
This means you can all have the same cloth and styling, but each suit made to best compliment the wearer. You could have the same cloth but allow everyone different styling options (ie different lapel styles/ pockets) to mix it up a little and add a bit of a twist.
Each person can have their name embroidered inside the suit and perhaps even the wedding date. Everything can be very individual and unique. Couples sometimes ask for a contribution from the groomsmen for this or give them the suits as a thank you gift.
It can also be possible to buy off the peg for the groomsmen but have a bespoke suit for the groom only as an option. Allow a good 2 months lead time. Some tailors will allow you to pay a deposit to hold the cloth you choose with the option for people to be measured closer to the big day in case people change shape.
Approx. cost £700-£1200 per person depending on cloth
There can be several contributing factors to what style of suit you go for. The bride’s dress, the venue, the location, time of year, how formal or relaxed the theme is. Even if you wear a suit to work every day, sometimes people want a change so opt for tails or a dinner suit.
It’s not a rule set in stone but morning suits tend to be worn at larger weddings of 60+ people. Dinner suits tend to be weddings with smaller numbers and often later in the day.
More informal beach/ abroad weddings tend to go for linen jackets or waistcoats and chinos or even tailored shorts. The three piece suit gives the option for still remaining formal looking even once the jacket is off. Braces, bowties and accessories can be a fun way of ‘uniting’ the groomsmen.
You can be a little more adventurous with a wedding suit than a ‘work’ suit. If it’s a bright colour think about if you all want to be in that colour or just the Groom. If there are a few men in the party then a lot of one colour can look a little flat.
Perhaps mix it up a bit with colours that all tone rather than match exactly. Highlight waistcoat colours can help.
Just like the bride and the dress, try on lots of colours and try to choose a colour that suits you.
Tweeds are hugely popular and can look super striking made up in a suit. Lighter weight tweeds can work as a three piece also. If it’s an autumn/winter wedding in the UK then chances are you’re safe going for heavier cloths. If you’re headed to hotter climates then think carefully about too many layers. Keep things light and cool and perhaps leave shirts open necked. You can still achieve a formal look in the sunshine. Be careful if you opt for linens or cottons as they do crease. You can get beautiful lightweight wools that will keep their shape and still be breathable.
Above anything else buy something you like and feel comfortable and happy in. You will look at photos for years to come.
Don’t have any regrets.
Investing in a beautifully fitting suit will make you stand tall and proud on the day. You can involve the bride to be- or keep it under wraps so she gets a nice surprise on the day too.