Does this bow tie make my butt look big?… The art of the tux fitting

I’ll start this off by saying I am in no means experienced with proper dress.  The extent of my time in formal wear is exactly six occasions; 3 winter balls, 2 proms, 1 Wedding (When I was 10).  I’ve spent six years of my professional career in a tee shirt and jeans, I only just bought my first pair of “work socks” last August.  So needless to say… I’m a novice in the suit and tie game.

But how hard can it be to go get measured, pick out a jacket, strap on a tie, and strut on down the aisle?

News flash. It can be insanity.

After going through the saga that was my tux fitting I came away with three pieces of advice for future grooms, write this down:

 

1. Know what you want before you get there.

We got to the tux shop and must have looked like we’d just discovered a martian planet.  When our fitter asked us to give him the basic idea of what we wanted so he could find choices we just stared blankly.  To us we thought knowing our color scheme would be enough. We had no idea of the intricacies of wearing a tux, making sure the white of the shirt matches the gown, Straight tie? Bolo tie? Bow tie? Suspenders? Cummerbund? Vest? The list just never seemed to end and certainly led to frustration on our part and the part of the poor guy trying to find the perfect look.

 

2. Have a backup plan.

We went in thinking a gray tux would look good with our colors.  Then we saw the gray tuxes that are “in season” and to quote Happy Gilmore, “If I saw myself in those pants I’d probably kick my own ass.”  They just didn’t live up to expectation.  So after over an hour of trying to find styles to go with gray suits we ended up switching to black anyway. This put us back to square one and started the whole process of finding the right fight jacket, the accessories and the whole kit and caboodle all over again.

 

3. Don’t bring an army.

Looking back we probably should have gone just the two of us to lay the groundwork on finding a tux, knocked it down to a couple choices, and gone back with a fresh set of eyes to finalize the decision.  What did we do? We brought six people… who pretty much all had different opinions.  Having so many people giving input really just led to confusion for the fitter as he scrambled to try and piece together everyone’s requests.  Overall we just end up with a pile of shirts, jackets, and accessories and way to many things to sift through.  Keep the group small. Keep the choices simple.

 

Follow these guidelines and you might just make it out of a tux fitting with your sanity, but you still might need a beer afterward.

tux compare

My best James Bond for those that are curious… to the left is a close representation of the bridesmaid dresses.

It costs how much?!?!

savings

 

I’ve always known weddings were not a cheap party to throw.  One has the expectation that they are going to spend quite a bit of money on their nuptials .. but man.. who knew about all the hidden costs?!?  I guess I’m a bit of a strange breed in the groom department, in that I’ve actually been actively involved in the wedding planning.  Katie and I are paying for the wedding ourselves (mostly, we’ve gotten some help from our parents, thanks parents!) and to say the immediate reactions to the costs was bewildered would be an understatement. Here are 10 things to look out for when planning a wedding.

 

10. The Cake Cutting Fee

Yes, many venues will actually charge you a fee because you’re going to use a dull knife on a baked good. These fees can range pretty high so be careful and make it one of your first questions when booking a venue.  If venues start charging a steak cutting fee we could have a problem here.

9. The Most Expensive Piece of Cake You’ll Ever Eat

While we’re on the subject of cake… wedding cakes are outrageously expensive. Most wedding cakes will run well into the hundreds of dollars.  Some bakeries will do fake cakes where only the top tier is real, but even those cost a couple hundred dollars and you’ve still got the problem of paying a couple hundred more to have sheet cakes made to feed the guests.

8. Almost every vendor will give you some sort of free materials and/or sample.

Vendors can be a bit like vultures and will all but beg for your business, but it can lead to some awesome freebies.  My personal favorite has been the waistline expanding amount of desserts I’ve gotten to try at bridal expos.

7. The vendors have to eat too.

It’s very easy to overlook the fact that when budgeting for meals you only count the guest list. Don’t forget, you’re photographer, dj/band, videographer, and any other vendors have to get a meal too.  But usually the venue will cut you a discount on their plates.

6. Some Vendors see the bridal shower as a brides only event.

Don’t be surprised if you end up at a bridal shower.  Even more so, don’t be surprised if vendors try to be your best friend when the future Mrs. is right next to you.  On top of that, don’t be surprised when those same vendors ignore your existence when the future Mrs. is no longer next to you.  Bridal expos are very much seen as a bride’s event.  I found the bakery stands and alcohol stands the most groom friendly.

5. Tux shops are incredibly easy to get discounts from.

Have more than x amount of people getting tuxes? Here’s a discount.  Buddy getting married two months after you and you convinced him to get tuxes here? Have a discount. Tux shops will toss out discounts like it’s their job.  This is a good spot to try and save a couple bucks to be used elsewhere.

4. The ceremony fee.. yes another fee.

If you’re not being traditional and having the ceremony at a church, like us you might want to have the ceremony and reception in one place. Many venues allow this and love to accommodate both portions.  However, numerous venues also like to toss in another fee of hundreds of dollars because you want to say your “I do’s” on their property.

3. As a dude, you might get called Miss.

The wedding industry has seemingly become the female domain.  When emailing vendors, as a male, you may get mistaken for a female.  I’ve been addressed as Miss in more than one email.  Goes with the territory of being a hands on groom.  It’s ok, you’re still a manly man in my book.

2. The wedding day is not a unicorn.

Sometimes planning takes so long and begins so early that the wedding day itself starts to seem like some mythical creature that may never appear.  Don’t procrastinate. Plan as much as possible before it’s too late and you’re scrambling to finish on time.  Nothing is more terror inducing than realizing the wedding is two months away and invitations haven’t been printed.

1. Enjoy the journey.

A lot of guys see wedding planning as something they don’t need to do, or as something girly.  Well if all goes to plan, you only get one shot at having a pretty awesome wedding.  Guys can give their input too.  It is her special day, but she wants to share it with you, so share, enjoy, get your hands dirty and do some planning!

The Proposal…

For as long as I can remember I’ve never understood the nerves of when a man (or woman) proposes.  What’s the big deal I always thought? You’ve been with this person long enough to fall in love with them.  You’re to the point where you feel like you want to spend the rest of your life with them, you must have an idea that they feel the same way? Right?

I was wrong…

What are those common characterizations of being nervous? Butterflies in your stomach?… Stomach in your throat?… Palms are sweaty?… Sweating?…

Yeah I’ll take all of those and add in a multiplier of about 10,000.  I can remember driving on the way to where I was going to propose and barely being able to pay attention to the road.  My hands were slipping off the steering wheel from the palm sweat, my heart-felt like it was on the windshield.  Why was I so nervous?! We’d been together for a few years.  She had even dropped hints about getting married. What did I have to lose?

I can’t explain it, and I probably never will, but all I kept thinking was “don’t screw this up.” In the back of my mind I knew I only had one shot at this and it had to be done right.

Finally the moment came.  I got to the house and had my materials with me.  My plan was to show Katie a short video I had made that ran pictures of us through the years of our relationship.  The video would end with the phrase, “I have a question…” After watching the video she turned around and I handed her a copy of one of her favorite books.  What she didn’t know what that I had hollowed out the book and placed the engagement ring inside.

This is where it gets interesting. I had spent the day plotting and planning, trying to figure out what on earth I was going to say when I got down on one knee.  I’ve grown up seeing videos and movies where the proposer always says some sweet, caring words before popping the question.  The proposal became my first inclination that wedding planning was going to have it’s fair share of unexpected outcomes.  I got down on my knee, took the ring, and then proceeded to draw a total blank.  It was all such a blur and at this point I’m pretty sure you could see my heart popping out of my chest.  I’m pretty sure I stammered out a couple of words about how much I loved her and then asked the big question.. Will you marry me?

Now, I was immediately horrified… I hadn’t said all that I was supposed to say! I had such a great little speech going in my head but now I’d kind of stuttered a few words and skipped right to the ending! I blew it!

And then it happened.  The moment that made me realize we really were perfect for each other..

She got even more nervous than I did… Instead of the standard “Yes!” followed by a hug and a kiss, I got.. “Is this for real?” I couldn’t help but laugh.  All the anxiety went away.  I just said “Yes, this is for real, so will you?” and of course she said yes (otherwise this blog wouldn’t exist right?).  Then we got to have our big embrace as an engaged couple.

Looking back now, some 16 months after proposing I can honestly say, it was perfect.  Blunder and all, infinite anxiety and all, I wouldn’t change it for a bit.  No I didn’t hire a flash-mob, or buy a half inning on a jumbo-tron at a Red Sox game, but I proposed to the girl I love, she said yes, and the entire episode was totally and utterly us.