Picture the scene…

A recently engaged young woman, accompanied by a handful of the most important women in her life, spends a day shopping for ‘the dress’. There is laughter and smiles, the odd glass of bubbly and perhaps even a few tears. The stunning bride-to-be relishes her moment in front of the mirror, whirling and twirling in dresses she’s dreamt of wearing ever since she was a child. Soon she finds ‘the one’ and her attendants flock to her side to congratulate her on picking out the most important dress she’ll ever wear.

This may not be exactly how every bride’s foray into the world of bridalwear plays out, but it’s fair to say the experience of trying on, and ultimately buying a wedding dress, is seen by many to be something of a female rite of passage.

Moreover, women are expected to have spent a large proportion of their lives envisioning their frock. They’ll have thought about necklines, fabric and beading. They will have pictured the way the material drapes, how the train cascades over the floor behind them, and the way their veil will fall gently around their shoulders.

But what about the boys?

When photographer Kevin Belson submitted these beautiful images of groom David and his best man Matt shopping for wedding attire at Pakeman, Catto & Carter in Cirencester, I got to thinking about the way a man sartorially prepares for his wedding day…

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, Kevin Belson

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

I’m going to risk making a sweeping generalisation here and suggest most men don’t spend weeks poring over magazines for inspiration before they go suit shopping. I doubt many have a Pinterest board devoted to the subject either. My husband didn’t take a crowd of onlookers with him when he went shopping, and there were no post-purchase celebrations…

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

All this makes me wonder, is the suit a man wears to his wedding not worthy of the same ritual as the dress that adorns his bride? Why does the frock get all the glory? Even if it is simply that men don’t want all the ‘fuss’, what informs their choice of clothing on their wedding day?

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

I know very little about the process of buying a suit. In fact, I know very little about the way men shop for clothes in general, as my chap is something of a ‘lone wolf’ when it comes to adding items to his wardrobe! Luckily, the groom David was able to give me an insight into his experience of shopping for a wedding outfit…

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

What sort of suit did you decide to wear on your wedding day and why? 

"My suit is not fully bespoke, it is tailored. This is when they take an already made jacket and tailor it to you so it fits perfectly. It means you can spend more like £700 for something that fits as well as a bespoke suit, but doesn't have all those finer details that you might expect for something costing more like £2k – £4k…."

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

"The tailored experience is almost as rewarding as the bespoke experience and a lot lighter on the wallet! The tailor will measure you up, just as he would if you were going bespoke, and then put you in a suit that best fits the majority of those measurements. They will then adjust that suit in every way possible to ensure it sits perfectly. For example, one of my shoulders apparently sits a centimetre or so lower that the other, so the suit was adjusted to take this into account…"

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

‘I think on an occasion as special as your wedding day it is important that you are able to concentrate on enjoying the moment. If you look smart you will feel more confident. I also feel that if your future wife has put so much effort into looking amazing you should support her by being well dressed. A badly dressed groom can really take the edge off the bride when stood next to her. Also, it’s not often a man has the opportunity to treat himself. I now have a smart suit I can wear again – the bride can't wear her dress again!"

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Did you explore any other forms of groomswear {hired, off the peg, etc} before deciding to visit Pakeman, Catto & Carter?

"I looked at hired but the fit was never quite right. Off the peg are made to the same measurements as hire wear, so unless you are one of the lucky few they fit perfectly, it would be a false economy…"

Did you have a clear image of what you wanted to look like on your wedding day?

"I'm a bit old fashioned and like to stick to traditional suits as I know they will work in all professional environments. Similarly, when it came to my wedding suit I didn't want to go for something modern or 'of the moment' that I would look at pictures of in years to come and think "what did I wear that for"! I do feel it's a formal day so I wanted to look as smart as possible…"

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Were you inspired by anything in particular when deciding on a style of suit?

‘Again tradition. I wanted to wear a normal tie, not a modern Ascot tie, a double breasted waistcoat, as they look much smarter under a jacket, and a shirt with removable collar so it kept crisp for the entire day.’

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Would you say your choice of suit is an expression of your personal style? Does it reflect, or is it a departure from, what you normally wear?

‘If I was born 100 years ago I would have loved to wear clothing that smart all the time. I think it's a shame that everything is becoming so casual.’

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

I’d have to agree with David on that final point. Seeing my man in his suit on our wedding day made me long for a time when men wore suits more frequently. Alas, with his career in the music industry and penchant for Converse trainers, I doubt my husband will be ditching his uniform of jeans and black t-shirt any time soon. Still, a girl can dream, can’t she…

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

So readers, I’m curious…

How have you and your husband-to-be approached the issue of what he’ll wear on your wedding day?

Has your betrothed decided to hire, or is he going off the peg, tailored or bespoke?

Did he have a clear image of how he wanted to look on his wedding day? What, if anything, inspired his choice of suit?

Was shopping for his suit a ‘big deal’?

Of course, we would welcome comments from any men that happen to be reading too 😉

Franky

Love My Suit ~ A Groom's Sartorial Choices... (Weddings )

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16 thoughts on Love My Suit ~ A Groom’s Sartorial Choices…

  1. Hi Franky and fellow readers!
    Yes, the suit is a big deal!
    My fiancé decided to ask his best men to wear their own suits and buy a fully hand stitched custom made two piece navy blue suit from Cad & the Dandy. It is not 2 or 3k like the ones David is describing in this post, in fact the one he chose is £1,000, but they give you the option of having it fully machine stitched (still 100% made to measure) for £700 or half machine stitched-half hand stitched for £850).
    I spent a long time researching different companies that make made to measure suits that don’t cost the Earth, and Cad & the Dandy seemed to be by far the best. There are no extra costs for choosing different options (like extra buttons, style of pockets etc. Some online companies that seem slightly cheaper at first then charge you for every detail later) and they have over 150 high quality fabrics to choose from. There are several fittings as they make it to ensure the suit is PERFECT. If you are still looking, I’d definitely have a look at their website!
    Just a little note: they need about 12 weeks to make a suit.
    Navy blue is so elegant (after all it’s what John John Kennedy wore for his wedding…) and perfect for our relaxed but sophisticated wedding 🙂 James will look stunning in his suit!
    I went with him when they took his measures and it was great to see him so excited! I am SO glad he too will feel extra special on our big day and really looking forward to wearing the nicest piece of clothing he has ever owned!
    X

  2. I really like this feature and think you should do more menswear! My husband has a bit of an eclectic style but wants to keep it quite traditional for his wedding suit. We are hoping to be able to afford a bespoke suit and I’ve just emailed this page link to him!
    Love the idea of a bespoke suite being created especially for a groom on his wedding day, as you say, why should the bride have all the sartorial fun?

  3. 2/3k for a tailored suit – wow. I used King and Allen for a made to measure, hand made suit for 450 but this was when they toured the country ‘mobile tailor style’ dont think they do that anymore. It was massively important to get the right look for me. I also got a friend to make me some subtle ‘spats’. I still wear the suit on a regular basis and love that it reminds me of the wedding when I do.
    A friend recently asked if I was available to shoot his super low key budget wedding and explained how his finance had paid under £400 for a second hand dress, they had done a deal with the venue for a Monday wedding and family were doing flowers etc etc and then slipped in that the main expense was his tailored tweed suit which was taking most of the budget!!! ha! I couldn’t stop laughing for quite some time.

  4. Oh my goodness hat made me giggle! What a change it makes hey? hehehehe! Wonderful how much his suit actually cost?!
    Great comment Mr Tattersall, thank you 🙂
    xXx

  5. My fiance opted for a made to measure kilt and tweed jacket for our wedding. He knew exactly what he was looking for but it took time to track down the right kiltmaker. In the end he spent more days kilt shopping than I did dress shopping and his kilt ended up double the price of my dress…but given that he will be able to wear his again I can’t hold that against him!
    He wouldn’t let me go shopping with him so took the boys instead, and I won’t actually get to see what he picked until our wedding day in two weeks. Needless to say I am overly excited at the thought of him looking all handsome in his very own kilt and he definately deserves to wear something special for our special day x

  6. Amazing post and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

  7. My fiance bought a mid-blue two piece suit from Reiss, his ushers are wearing grey hire suits and we felt he should stand out seeing as he’s quite important! He’s quite a casual dresser but likes a bit of quirkiness so has a floral bow tie to wear too. I can’t wait to see him on our wedding day 3 weeks today!

  8. My fiancé is a Scot, so he will be wearing the kilt he has had for many years. He is having an amazing jacket tailor-made for it though, a bit more unusual than the standard Bonny Prince Charlie. It’s going to be double-breasted and with a jabeau, a ruffled tie-thing. I think it’ll look spectacular. I’m desperate to finish the kilt socks I started knitting years ago for him, so that they’re done in time for the wedding in three months’ time…

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  10. I guess we’re the exception because my fiance told me he’d always imagined getting married in a top hat and tails. That makes one of us who’d imagined their wedding outfit! I’d never given it any thought because all wedding dresses looked the same to me before I got engaged and took an interest (I’m not very girly and never once imagined my wedding or pretended to be a bride or anything like that).
    I always wanted him to choose his own suit style and colour, apart from one caveat: I didn’t want it to be cream! My fiance wanted to hire because it’s not something he’d normally wear, he didn’t want to spend loads and his best man could get him a discount at a local hire shop. He and I are going to go shopping for the men’s ties and pocket squares (I am obsessed with pocket squares, I love them) and he’s also wearing his dad’s pocket watch, made in 1923 and given to him when he worked on the railway, as he was a bit envious and wistful of me having old, borrowed things!
    My dad got married in a top hat and tails because my maternal grandma insisted, so it’s kind of funny that my fiance has chosen that as his outfit.

  11. My answer to your question “is the suit a man wears to his wedding not worthy of the same ritual as the dress that adorns his bride?” would be a resounding YES!
    As a wedding photographer I see all too often the bride and bridesmaids in stunning dresses only to see the groom and best man looking like Steptoe and Son wearing their only suit that’s years old, out of date, too small, faded and creased!!

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