Mailbag: Suit Direction for the Groomsmen
I’m getting married at the end of August and I’m having a hard time trying to establish what the men in the wedding party are going to wear. Ceremony is early afternoon, in a church, with an outdoor reception (in a tent) lasting well into the evening. This shindig is taking place in Vermont. I’m thinking of wearing a solid navy suit (Suitsupply Napoli Fit in navy), white shirt and a tie to match/compliment whatever colors my fiance chooses for her bridesmaids dressed. I’m buying the suit I’m wearing to my wedding mainly because I want to have it tailored to fit me perfectly.
Some of my groomsmen might not be able to afford a new $450 suit. Any ideas on less expensive alternatives to the Napoli fit from suit supply that will look equally stunning? I’m also considering letting my groomsmen wear a suit they already own, as long as its solid grey or navy and it fits them properly. Would that look stupid in my wedding photos?
Brian brings up a really good question. So you’re not doing tuxedos on the big day. What the hell do you tell the guys who are standing up on the groom’s side? Here’s a strong suggestion if you’re going to leave it up to them:
Organize, but don’t order.
Brian’s got it right. Not everyone is going to lay down $400 for a new suit just to match. But a bit of direction would be appreciated. I was lucky enough to stand up in a wedding back in early September. While the groom said he’d be wearing a grey suit, he said he didn’t really care what his three groomsmen were wearing, as long as we looked presentable.
Here’s how it broke down on the big day:
- Groom: Solid Charcoal 3-piece suit
- Best Man: Charcoal pinstripe 2-button
- Groomsmen #1: Charcoal 2-button
- Groomsmen #2 (me): Lighter grey 2-button (Indochino Essential)
If I would have known the other guys were wearing charcoal, would I have worn a darker suit? Probably. Did it matter that much? No.
In the end, it all got tied together, literally, by the matching neckties that the groom gave us. (Which is a great idea for non tux weddings.) That, and the fact that both the Bride & Groom are super laid back. They’re the type who don’t see their wedding day as some sort of organizational test, but instead wanted to make the most of it. Dope in the light grey be damned.
For my own wedding, I also failed to give any kind of direction to the fellas who stood as my groomsmen. It was a warm spring day in a park. Two showed up in suits. Two showed up in shirts and ties. It looked great in the photos since our photographer put the shirt & tie guys on one side of me, and the suit guys on the other to form some visual organization. BUT… in the end… I bet they would have liked to have had some direction. If three guys would have shown up in suits, and one guy showed up in a shirt & tie? Shirt & tie guy might have felt a little awkward (sorta like the dope in the light grey suit among the three in charcoal).
Bottom line: Try and gauge who has what and work with it. “Plan is to wear navy suits… do you happen to have one?” is a good question to ask. If someone doesn’t, then go from there. If they really can’t afford to shell out for one right now, but they have a charcoal, maybe it’s half charcoal and half navy. And remember: Wedding photos are stupid and only keep you from actually enjoying the reception (but don’t tell the bride that…)
But back to Brian’s other question…
“Any ideas on less expensive alternatives to the Napoli fit from suit supply that will look equally stunning?”
Equally? Probably not. But any of these three from the Under $400 navy suit list are worth a shot. Safest play is the BR Italian Wool option (they came out with a new version, it has peak lapels… not sure if that matters). Indochino, as always, can be risky. And the Bar III suit mentioned there is a pindot, and not solid. Might appear lighter.
Even cheaper options: The J. Crew Factory Thompson, but that’ll be a shade lighter than yours. Maybe point your guys in the direction of the lighter grey version for some contrast? Otherwise there’s the Macy’s standbys of Hilfiger Trim Fit (warning: strong shoulder pads), Alfani RED (warning: low armholes), or DKNY (hard to find at under $300). Overstock.com can yield some good results, you just have to be patient with sizes and be absolutely sure you’re getting wool. And then there’s ebay… but unless your pal is a seasoned eBay vet, that can be playing with fire if he’s trying to get a basic navy suit for a wedding.
Just remember. A wedding shouldn’t hinge on how perfect everyone is matching for the photos. The success of the wedding, and thus the marriage, is obviously based on what the table centerpieces at the reception look like.
Thoughts from you guys? Advice for Brian for getting his guys in suits on the big day? Leave it all in the comments.
Meanwhile, rapid fire mailbag to be done tomorrow. Thanks for your patience if you’ve emailed lately.