Gentleman’s wedding outfits: to buy or not to buy
Get married wearing your own clothes, or something a hundred guys have worn before?
Waste hundreds of pounds on a suit you’re only going to wear once, or be smart and just rent it for a day?
It’s fairly easy to make either option sound like a no-brainer. That’s because the decision to rent or buy a suit depends entirely on the groom who’ll be wearing it.
Let’s have a look at the questions you should ask before you decide:
What look and style do you want?
If you want the traditional top hat and tails, then renting is almost always the best option. Unless you have a lifestyle eloquent enough to require such attire at numerous events throughout the year, buying would be a waste of money and closet space.
The good thing about modern weddings though is that it’s now very common to wear an everyday business suit on your big day. Just add a dressy waistcoat and buttonholes (or boutonnière), and bingo – you’re all dressed to get hitched. If this is your preference then, depending on how much you spend, you might only need to wear the suit a few times a year to make buying the better option.
What’s your budget?
It’s the simplest and most decisive question. Obviously the price of a suit ranges from under a hundred pounds to many thousands, but the cost of buying will usually be roughly double the cost of renting. If this makes the cost unrealistic, even at the lower end of the price range, then your decision is already made.
If you’re really trying to keep costs down, then you could buy one from a charity shop or even borrow one from a similarly-sized friend.
Do you want to match your groomsmen?
This is where it gets a bit more complicated. What you don’t want to do is end up forcing your groomsmen to fork out hundreds to buy their own suits. If you want to buy, then a solid tactic here is to rent suits for your groomsmen and then buy one yourself that is broadly similar, but noticeably different. It makes sense for the groom to stand out from the crowd.
If you want all of your suits to match, then buying one for yourself and renting exact matches for your groomsmen will be difficult. Rented suits tend to be thick, durable and hard-wearing for washing again and again. So you probably wouldn’t want to buy a suit identical to the ones your supporting cast are renting.
Who’s paying for what?
If the groomsmen are all paying for their own suits and it’s not important for them to match, then that’s the simplest scenario you could wish for. You probably wouldn’t even need to read a wedding blog about it.
If the groomsmen are paying and they all need to match then you’ll most likely be renting – unless your best mate, your father and your brother just happen to have the exact same sense of style.
If everyone is paying for themselves and you want them to match loosely, then you can just stipulate a general colour or style and allow them to pick whatever they are most likely to reuse in future.
If you’re renting for everyone and picking up the bill yourself, seek out the rental places that do offers like ‘rent five outfits and the groom’s is free’. That can take a big chunk out of your costs.
If you’re paying for the whole lot then buying can get very expensive. If you shop around carefully it can be done surprisingly cheap, but anything less than £100 per groomsman is still going to be a big ask.
And finally, what feels right?
As well as all the quantifiable stuff, you need to make sure you’ll feel comfortable on the day. Even if renting is the logical choice, think about whether you’ll feel comfortable getting married in clothes that aren’t your own. Likewise, don’t splash out for a nice new suit if you think the fear of ruining it will play on your mind once the fun starts.
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