Staggered Saturday – A Smarter Future

June 26, 2010

Credit: Twin Lens Life

What’s one of the main things missing in wedding blog land? Something that is pretty integral to the whole ‘getting married’ thing but is often omitted? Only the bloomin’ groom right?!? Well fear not my darlings, I have the answer!

I made a new friend a few weeks ago. Andrew Shanahan runs a UK wedding blog aimed at your men called Staggered. Genius. Why did no one think of this before? I wanted to invite Andrew to write a little sommat sommat for you and your boys. My aim is that you’ll read this, show your hubby’s-to-be and then they can be all in love with Rock n Roll Bride, wedding blogs and stuff too (yes I know I do have a lot of male readers…but let’s be honest there are a lot more chicks about!)

When Andrew asked me what ‘groom issue’ he should write about first my answer was immediate and an obvious choice for me. Groom fashion! I love a bit of groom style but for some reason, and usually more often in the UK than The States,  no matter how Rock n Roll or stylish the bride is the boys can and do let the side down in the style stakes. The traditional top hat and tails/badly fitting hired suit teamed with a garishly bright cravat and matching waistcoat brings me out in a rash and I wanted to know Andrew’s opinion on the matter.

All is ask is that you please let me know in the comments if you (and your husbands-to-be/husbands) like this feature because if so I’ll try and persuade Andrew to write us some more bits n bobs for us. Love ya!

♥     ♥     ♥    

As the editor of Staggered (hi, nice to meet you) I spend a considerable portion of my life thinking about grooms, best men and fathers of the bride and finding ways to help them; all of which is probably deeply unhealthy and will one day see me wearing a duck as a hat and claiming that I live on the bread aisle of the local supermarket. Among all the rubbish that I see these blokes having to deal there’s one thing that brasses me off more comprehensively than any other, want to know what it is? It’s men’s wedding suits.  

So why does something as inert as a wedding suit get me irate? For those with a limited concentration span here’s three neatly bullet-pointed reasons:

  • The men often don’t get to choose the suit they wear on the wedding day.
  • The suits they’re made to wear very rarely make them look as awesome as they deserve to.
  • The process of getting the suit is a joyless, expensive misery-fest.

Let’s look at each of these in slightly more detail. So consent. In many cases the bride, or the bride’s mother chooses what the groom is going to wear before he even thinks about opening his mouth. This is just cavernously wrong. There is one person alone who should choose what you wear on your wedding day and it’s you. It should reflect you, what you think is stylish, what you feel good in and if you don’t want to look like some extra from a period drama then don’t wear something that makes you look like that. On the other hand if you can’t get enough of cravats then load up on them, wear four. Just make sure it’s what you want.

A slice of my special hatred is reserved for the formal hire companies out there who don’t love their customers. The absolutely woeful thing is that you don’t have to look hard to find the companies I’m on about. If they’re not welcoming you into the shop, insisting on making adjustments to the suits so you look and feel great, then they don’t deserve your custom. Trust me there are companies out there who will behave like this, so shop around. It’s thanks to these couldn’t-give-a-damn companies that too many grooms go out in trousers that are too long, jackets that fit them about as well as a warehouse would and – worst of all – dirty clothes that should have been turned into dusters around 1980.

Over at Staggered we’re all about the men – we work our collective butts off to make sure that the men have everything they want to have a great wedding. That said, we’re absolutely not about robbing the wedding off the bride. We fully admit that it’s primarily her day, but what we’re less keen on is that for the bride getting her dress is a relaxing, enjoyable process that creates memories and bonds her with her friends and relatives. For the groom it’s about shuffling about in a cubicle while an angry stranger tuts about lending him a pair of shoes. This has to change.

Fortunately, the thing that will console me as I’m quacking in the bread aisle, is that there’s a wind of change coming. As a wave of low-cost tailors hit the market, who can provide an entire tailor-made suit for the cost of hiring one, so grooms are beginning to see that another way exists – they can buy instead of hiring. If they’re smart formal hire firms will begin to see that they need to up their game to compete and that means improving the service on offer.

Words by Andrew Shanahan of Staggered, the UK’s leading men’s wedding website.

19 comments

  1. Cyndi

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for featuring this article! LOVE IT! Wherever I look for mens suits etc, they are some cookie cutter misfit mess and I don’t want to see my Fiancee in something not flattering and completely him too! Keep it coming on the grooms stuff!

  2. DeeDee

    If you are able to trust the groom to care for your daughter for the rest of your lives, I think you should be able to trust him to choose his own attire on their wedding day. Brides and MIL’s (mother’s in-laws), give up a little power and remember, it’s just cloths, not a sex change!

    Sincerely, coolest MIL-to-be, ever!

  3. Just the bit of advice I needed. Just last night, my fiance showed me the ties he had picked out for he and his groomsman and I nixed them with little regard. He isn’t even allowed to see my dress much less have input, so why should I have a say in his attire. You are right, completely. I relinquish my desire for control and if he wants to wear an orange suit with a paisley green tie, so be it. Groom centered blogs are HUGELY lacking and perhaps the reason men don’t get into the whole wedding process. People think they don’t care but really they have nothing to get interested in. Kudos to you for giving them a bit of the spotlight.

  4. loving the other perspective …

    through the build up to my wedding my husband used to line “what ever you want is fine by me” in response to every question to the point where i was frustrated with his lack of opinion. It drove me nuts!

    as far as suits … the hubby wore his dress blues (as did every other military guy at the wedding a hardship for which i thank them all) & the best man & my dad had a “claret” silk tie to match the claret on my dress & the maid of honors dress. I think i didn’t do half bad!

  5. Hello all, thanks for the feedback, reading it back I sound quite ranty, I was quite annoyed when I wrote it 🙂

    @laura I often hear about blokes who say “whatever you want”. Often the issue is that they don’t want to say the wrong thing, or take the day away from the bride. We don’t want that either obviously but we think with a bit of info they can get involved and make the wedding something more than an occasion to survive.

    Thanks again to Kat for letting me vent!

  6. Suzanne

    My now hubby was involved with nearly all of our planning he helped choose flowers and bridesmaid dresses and almost everything else The only thing we didnt chose together was our outfits I chose mine and he chose his But he was there when I bought my shrug and shoes We did get a few comments along the lines of why he was involved with so much what else could I say? It was his wedding too!

  7. My twin brother just go hitched here in California, and we took this challenge with zeal. We can’t stand rented tuxes, so my brother found an amazing vintage suit to match his brides vintage dress. He had his completely adjusted, down to the collar cut and pant lining! Then he ordered me (his best man) a custom brown chord suit from makeyourownjeans.com paired with vintage shirt and blue vest. We both got most of our accessories from urban outfitters and vintage clothing stores here in L.A. It’s a fun challenge, and we encourage all our groom to bes to purchase custom attire!

  8. vent on Andrew. I loved this post. I am very excited to show this and your site to my fiance (who wants to wear a flamey shirt, with matching shoes, pocket kerchief and cufflinks).

  9. Penny

    Was really excited about the prospect of a Groom blog, but was sadly disappointed by the lack of pretty pictures. One of the cheif reasons I read these things is to get ideas (visually via amazing eye-candy photography) as exampled by the awesome and amazing Kat.
    More power to you Grooms, but more photos of awesome suits please!!

  10. Elle

    I’m so grateful for this – and although we’re close enough to the big day to have everything sorted (well, almost), it highlights the lack of inspiration for grooms – apart from Staggered of course!

    My H2B had been married before, years ago, and had no say AT ALL in what he wore, so ended up in the cut-and-paste top and tails with matchy matchy cravat. Which isn’t very us. (But the perhaps that’s why we’re an ‘us’ and they are not a ‘them’!)
    Since he’s a decade older and dresses quite differently to how he did before, I really wanted him to feel he could wear anything. He’s quite an eclectic dresser, and was taking inspiration from Mick Jagger’s wedding outfit to Bianca back in the day. I’m still in the dark about a few details, and that’s the way I like it – roll on 4 weeks!

  11. Annie-Blake Lavender

    love it! would like some man perspectives on the OTT extravaganza and effort and money that some crazy brides go to. what does he really think? I would also like a perspective on how much the groom really gives a shit about ‘the dress’…he sees you everyday, yet we go to extreme measures for this idea of ‘perfection’.

  12. Thankyou for this absolutely wonderful and timely post! Me and Him Indoors have recently been going through this struggle ourselves. Infact, having Rock n Roll bride to refer to for inspiration for not only the bride, but the groom has been an invaluable part of our wedding planning.

    Knowing from the outset that we wanted a cool , infoal, very ‘us’ wedding (supa tattooed bride! Rockabilly groom) we ruled out traditional hired monkey suits from the get-go. Sorry to our friends who spent their wedding days. Resembling penguins- it’s not us!

    Yet when we explained this to my mother, she seemed to think having a suit made was a great unecessary expense- but at the same time encouraging me to spend as much as o could afford on my dress. It just seemed hypocrital. Why didn’t the argument ‘oh he’ll spend all that money just to wear it for 1 day’ also apply to the bride’s dress?

    Him Indoors also has the issue that je is a cool 5ft5″ and store bought suits swamp him.

    Afteruch deliberation and thanks to the cool shoots on sites like these, he has decided to find an affordable tailor and get a bespoke suit so he can feel just as special as I will feel in my bespoke dress.

    After all the day is about the two of you and the groom deserves just as special an experience as the bride.

  13. Thankyou for this absolutely wonderful and timely post! Me and Him Indoors have recently been going through this struggle ourselves. Infact, having Rock n Roll bride to refer to for inspiration for not only the bride, but the groom has been an invaluable part of our wedding planning.

    Knowing from the outset that we wanted a cool , infoal, very ‘us’ wedding (supa tattooed bride! Rockabilly groom) we ruled out traditional hired monkey suits from the get-go. Sorry to our friends who spent their wedding days. Resembling penguins- it’s not us!

    Yet when we explained this to my mother, she seemed to think having a suit made was a great unecessary expense- but at the same time encouraging me to spend as much as o could afford on my dress. It just seemed hypocrital. Why didn’t the argument ‘oh he’ll spend all that money just to wear it for 1 day’ also apply to the bride’s dress. Afteruch deliberation and thanks to the cool shoots on sites like these, he has decided to find an affordable tailor and get a bespoke suit so he can feel just as special as I will feel in my bespoke dress.

    After all the day is about the two of you and the groom deserves just as special an experience as the bride.

  14. Ellie

    Here Here. I’m glad to see this subject discussed. When my now-husband was looking for a suit we new we would have to splash out as he is very slim. He also knew he didn’t want to wear some kind of dreadful patterned waistcoat, tails or the such so off we went to Paul Smith, who really couldn’t have been more helpful. They helped him find a great slim fitting suit and fitted it so it could be adjusted and he looked great. He teamed it with a Liberty print shirt and a vintage knitted tie.

    To be honest buying a great fitting suit is an investment for most men, much more so than a wedding dress.

  15. MB

    I’m am with you on this. I talked to a bride to be recently who was explaining how vital that the groom best man and all the ushers had identical shoes. Really? I thought ones they liked and were comfortable in would be good.

  16. Bex

    After spotting two hot grooms getting married in wicked Hugo Morris bespoke suits in their Brighton wedding featured on R’n’RB a while back, my darling is getting his bespoke suit made there too (www.hugo-morris.com). It’s AMAZING and he looks beyond fabulous in it. Mark and Igor in the studio have been fantastic to work with and it has been such a fun experience for us both. For the record I have had zero input into the process apart from saying ‘heck yes’ to all my darlings ideas on what he wears as it NOT ”primarily my day”, its OUR day dude. He should rock whatever outfit he wants to. He manages to dress himself every other day of his life, why should I want to dress him on our wedding day?

  17. Bethany H

    YAY, I realise this was posted a while ago but it is great that someone has finally decided to let the grooms get involved. We are getting rolling with the wedding planning and I am forever correcting people (mostly industry people :-o) that it is OUR day NOT my day! With that in mind we agreed that I will have an input into what he wears but he will be the most important person to come dress shopping with me as I know we will give each other the most honest opinions, stuff anyone who has a problem 🙂

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