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Say Yes to the Suit

it's ok to ask your groomsmen to buy suits for your wedding

I recently visited a friend whose wedding I’m standing up in next summer. Our mission: pick out bridesmaid dresses for her big day. After a weekend spent shop hopping, we’d selected the perfect dress. Three, actually – gotta love a bride who caters to bridesmaids with different body types!

Over brunch the next day, we started discussing the next item on her wedding checklist – what the groomsmen will wear. The bride said she and her fiance are considering rented tuxedos for his friends because, “I don’t know if we can ask all the guys to buy a new suit.”

I’m not sure if it was the mimosa talking, or the designer dress-sized debit looming on my own bank statement, but I went a little bridesmaidzilla.

Not surprisingly, I’m a big believer in groomsmen shelling out for matching suits for a wedding. Am I a controlling, perfectionist clothes horse? Sure. But in this situation, I firmly believe I’m in the right. Let me tell you why:

Weddings aren’t cheap…for anyone.

Newsflash: getting married costs money. As a grown man, you should know what you’re getting into when you say yes to standing up in someone’s wedding. There’s the bachelor party. The plane ticket and hotel (if the wedding involves travel). The gift. And yes, the suit. If you can’t comfortably afford to incur these costs, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying no to being a groomsman. An honest answer of, “I’m excited to celebrate with you, but financially this isn’t something I can do right now” is completely acceptable. Otherwise, you should expect to spend some money, including on what you wear that day.

Investing for the long haul.

Speaking of money, renting a tuxedo is like pouring champagne down the drain. It’s a waste. And more often than not, a rented tuxedo looks like, well, a rented tuxedo. In my opinion, the first and last time you should rent a tux is your senior prom. Luckily, today you can find a good-fitting suit for about the cost of a bridesmaid dress from places like SuitSupply or the traveling made-to-measure company 9 Tailors.

Guys get off easy anyway.

I’m lucky; my friend has great taste and picked out (with my help, cough cough) a beautiful bridesmaid dress that I know I’ll be able to wear again. But sometimes? A lot of times? Bridesmaids dresses are not cute. In fact, I’ve seen a few that were sure to live in the back of the wearer’s closet for the rest of their coral silk taffeta-covered lives. But a suit that fits in a neutral color like navy, gray or black? That can be worn forever.

Fair is Fair

The bride who tells her bridesmaids, “Oh, just show up in something pink” is an urban legend. Us ladies are expected to buy the dress. Get our nails done. And our hair. And our makeup. If the bride gets a cohesive look on her side of the aisle, the groom should expect that his side looks the part of the wedding party, and not just random guests who wandered up front. All you have to do is the suit – that is, unless your nails need some work.

(image via The Blonde Photographer)