Category Archives: Weddings

What’s This Receipt For a Ring All About?

A Real Groom Speaks Up

Liz suddenly appeared at the front room door and asked, “What’s this receipt for a ring all about?” The cat was out of the bag! It had been raining that day and Greg had emptied his suit coat pockets on the kitchen table, forgetting that the receipt for the ring was among the contents. At that moment, Greg realized that whatever plans he still had for a surprise wedding proposal had been dashed. True love undeterred, Liz still said yes, and Greg made it “official” by proposing a second time a few days later, complete with amazing views of London and a bottle of fine champagne.

It rained again on the day of their wedding, but Greg maintains that, could they do it over, he wouldn’t change a thing. They were married in Northwest, England, in a church adjacent to Liz’s childhood school. Their reception was held in a farmer’s field near her lifelong family home. Being close to one of their homes was particularly special. Fortunately, it was a marquee reception (under a tent), so the rain was not too much of a bother.

“It was a complete fairy tale of a day for us – the church, the marquee, the food, the awful weather, all our friends and family together – one that hardly a day goes by without us mentioning,” said Greg. “One moment we both particular remember is being picked up on our friend’s shoulders on the dance floor with the band playing. Amazing!”

Greg wore a three-piece light grey suit with a silver tie. His ushers wore grey suits with dark grey tie. (The suits were part of their gift for standing up with Greg.) Greg said, “I have never been particularly keen on the morning suit look so was keen to have a smart three piece suit and felt that light grey was the best ‘summer suit’ look.”

“My groomsmen did a great job,” Greg tells us. “I had my oldest mate as best man and three other mates from UNI (short for university. Go figure!), one of which had travelled from San Antonio, Texas to be there. Each had their jobs: master of ceremonies, a reading during the service, being in charge of the music at the church, bride arrival, hymns, etc. But my Best Man really stole the show with his speech, absolutely brilliant. He had people howling with laughter like they had gone to see a stand-up comedian. I am just glad we have it on video.”

Note: If you are planning a wedding, make sure you are having it filmed!

Greg’s and Liz’s story is a reminder to keep it fun, go with the flow, and connect your day with all that is most important to you. Like the song says, Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you,…you can go to extremes with impossible schemes and you can laugh when your dreams (plans) fall apart at the seams…if you’re young at heart. Despite a little rain – and a couple of other small set-backs – they had their fairytale wedding.

Do you have a wedding story to share?

Keeping it real,


Wedding Crashers: What a Man Should Wear to a Wedding

Party crashing is a sport that more than a few have successfully executed, especially during those “experience rich” college years. Wedding crashing, however, is a special form of party crashing – one which requires an extra level of preparation and chutzpah. Now, before you start feeling mislead about the direction of this short story, the following will apply to those who have an actual invitation to a wedding (though if one were to crash a wedding, being especially well dressed would certainly not be a disadvantage.)

When you are in the wedding party, the decision about what to wear is easy, since it is mostly dictated by the bride, and possibly the groom (just being honest.) But when you are a chosen, invited guest….now that is a golden opportunity to impress and express with how you dress.

Leaning formal…

Right down the middle
(It’s a suit, but lighter in color….so not quite as formal)

Leaning casual…

A few basic rules:

  1. Similar to other ceremonial occasions, a wedding is a time to dress up, not down, to ere on the side of being overdressed, not underdressed. When in doubt, wear a tie. (You can always remove it if no one else is wearing one.)
  2. Don’t dress like you’re going to a business meeting. A wedding is not a business meeting.
  3. Consider how the groom will be dressed. Typically a notch below the groom in formality is appropriate. If he is dressed formal, in a tuxedo, a creative dinner jacket would be a great choice, and you can’t wrong in a dark suit and tie.
  4. Consider the setting and the time of day. A friend of mine is going to a formal wedding in Los Angeles, set in a botanical garden. In that case, her date could wear a light colored suit if the wedding is before 6pm. Either one of the “leaning casual” looks above would rock! Otherwise, a medium to dark suit would be a safe bet. And since it is L.A., by all means, he should let the character inside of him out to play.

Russ L. (pictured at the very top) is a financial professional by day, generally being limited to conservative Wall Street attire. However, the real Russ enjoys showing a more creative side whenever the opportunity presents itself. At a late summer wedding, high up in the Sierras, he kicked up his style with a look inspired by late 40’s elegance, including braces for his pants, a tie bar, a summer trilby for his head, and a crisp pair of Aviators to finish the look. The other guests loved his style and he and everyone else had more fun because of his extra effort and thoughtfulness.

What are a few other easy ways to let your style shine?

  • Think SOCIAL. Wear something that is outside of your ordinary workday attire. I like to wear linen and cotton for late spring/summer weddings and muted plaid, window pane, or dressy shadow stripes for fall/winter weddings.
  • Add a VEST. Shown above are two examples. A practical advantage is that when you take your coat off, you still have a more finished, dressed up appearance.
  • Rock a BOW TIE.
  • Wear some COLOR.
  • Definitely add a POCKET SQUARE.

Note: Though it is somewhat rare these days, for a classic formal wedding (i.e., for day weddings – the bridal party is dressed in cutaways, for evening – in white tie & tails) you should go formal. For our purposes, unless you own a full dress suit (tails), you should wear a tuxedo/Dinner Jacket in the evening. For a daytime formal wedding (cutaway/morning coat) the proper attire is the long-forgotten stroller, or Stresemann, outfit. This is a solid black or charcoal jacket, grey checked or striped formal trousers, silver solid tie, and dove gray or buff waistcoat. This is worn with cap toe oxfords and a point collar, French cuff shirt.

Weddings are a celebration. The best ones I’ve been to were actually more like a great party, with lots of fun people, preceded by a romantic, uniquely sacred, and relatively brief ceremony. My suggestion: Dress to respect the ceremony and to enjoy the reception.

Sartorial Regards,


The Best Man Speaks


As you might have guessed, there is even a “for Dummies” book for the Best Man, covering all matters of Best Man duty minutiae. The official duties of the Best Man encompass more than a toast and a speech at the reception, but the speech is clearly the one duty that is the cause of sleepless nights and endless agonizing. More than a few Best Men have met with ignominy, glares and stares, and social devastation because of some misstep during their remarks. Admittedly, most of the real tragedies occur because of the Best Man’s decision to wing it or because he has enjoyed too much of the free champagne before his speech instead of at least waiting until the conclusion of his official duties.

Earlier this year we wrote about the duties of a groomsman and were reminded that, while not without the need for chivalry, the role of Best Man no longer entails kidnapping or physically protecting the bride or similar such duties. You can leave your sword at home. Still, a lot of men would much rather have to put up a fight than give a speech of any kind, so the following will provide a few suggestions that may calm your nerves.


My one and only Best Man Speech occurred a few years ago at my Brother’s wedding. It was not a great success. One of my attempts at being funny brought more gasping sighs than delighted laughter. As it turned out, what I thought would be a familiar reference to most of the crowd was instead one of those “I guess you had to be there” moments.

A lot of other blogs and advice givers suggest that the goal of the speech is to systematically embarrass the groom, pointing out his every flaw, as some sort of free-pass moment of retribution. Sounds like a good way to end a friendship if you ask me.

As for my part,if I had a do-over, I would:

  • Run the speech/toast past a couple of other people….to give it a test.
  • Better consider my audience.
  • Make sure to be favorable to the Bride, affirming that I and everyone else know that the Groom just made the best decision of his life.
  • Tell a funny, personal story that explains my relationship/friendship bond with the Groom.
  • Cause the audience to listen to me but want to look at the Bride and Groom.

James R., from California, sounding like the voice of experience, offers his Top Ten list to anyone thinking about their best man speech:


  1. Know your audience.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Remember that parents, friends, and maybe even some ex’s will be in the audience. The last thing you want to do is offend anyone so keep your stories funny but not insulting.
  4. If you are not a funny person, no need to tell jokes. If you have a hard time being sincere, make it funny.
  5. Remember to thank the parents/hosts of the wedding.
  6. Score extra points by calling out those who came from long distances to attend.
  7. Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about them!
  8. Tell a quick story that ties in their love for each other or demonstrates the commitment of the groom. (Now that’s being a good wingman!)
  9. Unlike this list, KEEP IT SHORT. 2 – 3 minutes is best.
  10. Lastly, wait for the booze until after your speech is done!


Every situation and relationship has its unique qualities to pay attention to and capitalize on. Ask a lot of questions during your preparation. Give it a test run. Above all, have fun and enjoy the moment.

A toast to you, Best Man!


Planning Your Original Wedding

Making your Wedding Day uniquely Yours

If you have been following this blog for a while you may recall that we wrote about weddings earlier this year. We even included some thoughts for the all important Father of the Bride. Weddings are a topic we like (and that we are good at), so we are at it again. Rumor has it that lots of people are still tying the knot and are, in fact, more enthusiastic than ever about every detail and nuance that will ensure a positively memorable occasion.

Get ready this month to learn how to craft an awesome Best Man’s speech, how to be a Wedding Crasher (actually just how to be a really great guest), and to hear from a few recent “Real Grooms” about their experience. But for now, all you would be grooms, consider how you want your day to unfold.

“This one is authentic,” said the art dealer. “It’s not a copy. It’s a true original.” That was music to the ears of the owner of the painting in question. The value we place on an original almost always far exceeds that of any copy. In fact, certain kinds of copying, plagiarism in particular, we despise and reject. Duplicating and copying can provide the virtue of consistency but also the safe and forgettable qualities of conformity, the near opposite of authenticity and idealism.

Albeit more rare than common, any amount of originality and authenticity that we perceive in another person is endearing and heightens their likeability. It also tends to walk hand in hand with more courageous and purposeful living, a willingness to conform less and risk more. In the microcosm of weddings, modern couples are progressively breaking with a strict conformity to tradition and getting married in ways that uniquely and authentically express what they believe and envision for their lives together. (Note: Judging from the pictures we are getting, more kissing appears to be a trend. And really, who could blame them?)

Are you getting married in the near future?

If you were to break it down, how would you describe your ideal day?

Sarah and Oliver said that they wanted their wedding to be about love and community, and, of course, to be EPIC! The epic element (could have been a super secret wedding dance, but I’m not tellin’) no doubt required some extra effort on the part of someone, but more than worth it for the lifetime of memories.

A Wedding Day is tailor made to be a day full of idealism: a day full of beautiful people and clothing and other things; a day punctuated by magnanimous promises and magnificent gestures; a public expression of how two individuals intend to unite their lives and progress toward a shared vision.

And what is the most important visual element in this idealistic drama?

  • The place? Important, yes.
  • The props? Crucial in any drama.
  • But, the clothes (costumes) worn by the wedding party, and particularly the bride and groom, are a true extension of the couple’s individual personalities and collective personality.

For the groom, the options to customize and personalize your wedding clothes are vast and numerous. Depending on the venue and the personality of the couple, grooms are wearing a broad range of color and more of it. And while always elegant, the look can run from beach party casual to the height of formality.

As you think through the details, elements, and features of your special day, leave no stone unturned. From the rings, to the party favors, table centerpieces, reception activities, the possibilities are there to put your personal stamp on it in way that will create a day for the record books and be a most fitting kickoff to your life together.

Do you have a wedding story to share? Don’t hold back. Please share you epic tale, simple tip for the groom or best man, or favorite wedding memory.

Applauding your authenticity,