How to Choose Your Wedding Suit
Be the best dressed butch at your wedding.
Traditionally it would seem, May to September, certainly in the Western world, is wedding season. In U.K. gay marriage was legalized in 2005 however 2011 has been the busiest year to date, at least from my vantage point as director of The Butch Clothing Company.
I have a plethora of clients, the majority of whom are marrying between now and next February. Which begs the question, Is wedding season now all year round? Let’s hope so, let’s make it so!
In so many parts of the world gay marriage is legal; if not legal then the coming together of same-sex couples to declare their love and commitment seems seldom frowned upon. So we have paved the way for marriage, marriage in many forms, many styles, many places.
I myself indulged in the art of marriage when I married the stunningly beautiful Mrs. Riley on May 14. The sun shone, my bride wore the most wonderful ivory dress, all the guests showed up, and the seven small bridesmaids all behaved.
Mrs R and I went for a traditional wedding in a very beautiful Spa hotel in Tunbridge Wells, a quaint Kentish Town, complete with ceremony, Pimms reception, wedding breakfast with an amazing wedding singer, and an evening full of magic, music, swing and the first dance (10 weeks of lessons to produce a nerve-wracking social foxtrot to "Fly Me to the Moon").
Our wedding was very personal to us; we chose tradition because we could, Sue chose a gorgeous dress and I, of course, chose a 3-piece suit, more on that later. However, I meet many couples on the eve of marriage who all see their day so differently.
I have clients that want the top hat and tails, morning suits/dinner suits or 3-piece suits; they want velvet or linen, or the "Ellen" wedding outfit with crisp white shirt, cream vest, and matching cream pants. They sometimes want to dress all members of the wedding party female/male/ butch/femme/best men/worst women—it’s as unique as the wedding itself.
I went for a charcoal grey herringbone 3-piece, with a textured burgundy striped lining, with a traditional peaked collar, 3 buttons and contrast stitch detail to match the lining on the button holes on the collar, cuff and trouser pockets. I even indulged in wonderful silver piping on the inside of the suit lining which complemented the burgundy stripe to perfection. I matched my suit with a white shirt, stylish cuff links, an engraved money clip, a white hankie, a silk burgundy cravat and a matching burgundy pocket square for my top pocket in my jacket. My button hole was filled with a white Avalanche rose. The theme color for our wedding was burgundy and white so I and my best man, my brother, and Sue’s brother all complemented the bridesmaids, the flowers and even the room decoration. It was masterfully planned and looked fantastic.
But all couples are different. When choosing our wedding attire let’s not look at what’s been before or what should be, let’s look at what we actually want.
What’s right for you? Maybe no one wants a dress; maybe no one wants a suit. But if a suit or vest and pants is right for one or both of you, I urge you to consider all the elements that will make your day complete and then naturally you will find the answers. I mean, if you're marrying on a beach or in a romantic field you may want a light linen you can wear with sandals. If you are making a commitment or a blessing in a church then you may want a formal, dashing suit, or imagine a sophisticated evening affair at a high end venue—you may consider a delightfully stylish satin, shawl collar, black dinner suit.
But it is equally important to remember no two people have to look the same at any wedding—not even the two people getting married, just as neither has to take the other's name or even become Mrs., as I have chosen not to do. Being legally married doesn’t mean there are any wedding rules to adhere to.
Weddings are as individual as our personalities. Mrs Riley and I are attending three weddings over the next three weekends, as none of the guests will be at all three weddings I have opted to wear my fantastic suit to all three nuptials. Now while my wife chose a most magnificent dress, this dress was not inexpensive, and is "a one day wear only" frock! Unless we attend a Miss Haversham party (Dickens fans will get that reference) she is unlikely to ever show the beautifully constructed dress the light of day again. However when buying your wedding suit you know for sure it’s going to have literally hundreds of outings.
Our suits aren’t cheap; the nature of bespoke tailoring isn’t cheap. But I tell all my clients when investing in a suit particularly for your wedding to think about the versatility of the suit after your big day. Choose colors and fabrics you love, choose linings and detailing that will work with many different shirts, shorts, even shoes. Think about how your wedding vest for example, would look great with your favorite pair of jeans. Just because a suit is formal it doesn’t mean post wedding you can’t dress it down. T-shirts with smart pants, jackets with shorts—the list is endless.
But remember also, the main thing for anyone on their wedding day is to feel incredible, to feel on top of the world. What you wear and how you accessorize your wedding outfit is a major part of the day for both of you. This is one of these most important days of your life. Trust me, it’s worth every penny but I ask you, if you invest in a suit, invest wisely, invest for your future.
Shaz Riley and The Butch Clothing Company will visit New York City NYC Sept. 5-11 holding consults at my hotel from Tuesday September 6-9.The BCC also offers video Skype Consultations daily. For further details please see thebutchclothingcompany.co.uk
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