May 31, 2011

Groom-Approved on etsy: geek vintage cuffs

A classy cuff links collection from San Francisco-based retailer QA CREATE.

 Old school Pacman arcade tokens, plus dozens of subway, metro and bus tokens from across the country and select international cities


Please note: QA CREATE is not a sponsor or in any way affiliated with The Groom Says, which means that I genuinely like their shit.

May 27, 2011

Hangover 2: A Not Review

Let me start off by saying how sorry I am. I'm really, really sorry.

Here you are. You came here thinking you're going to read some kind of critical response to the quintessential guy movie of 2011. You came with expectations.

But I've got nothing. I've let you down. I'm not trying to make excuses, but believe it or not, this is the morning I've had.

Yes. It happened again.

Two weeks ago, my good friend Chris from The Man Registry commissioned me to write a review for Bridesmaids. So I went to the screening on his behalf and wrote a little late night piece called Bridesmaids: Why Hangover 2 Should Be Worried.

Naturally, Chris wanted a follow-up. He wanted me to judge the two side by side, to see if the boys of the Hangover 2 surpassed the maidens of Bridesmaids. But this is where I wake up.

How the f*** did I get on this roof? How did I manage to drag this f***ing mattress up here? Why do I have nothing written down?

The "oh shit" moment

You know what ... Hangover 2 should be worried. Worried that a mother might mistakenly bring her nine-year-old daughter to this movie. Worried that moviegoers might develop post-traumatic stress. Worried that people will think that a romantic rom-com like Bridesmaids will prepare them for this.

The genius of The Hangover 2 is its ability to one-up itself for two hours straight. Like its prequel, it takes a while to get there; but once you're there, it's full throttle. Groom Stu Price (Ed Helms) goes through more shit than the editors of The Real Housewives of Orange County ... but I won't speak a word of it here. It's too good to spoil. And even if I did let something slip, you wouldn't believe me. You'd think I was exaggerating.

"Chris. It's Brian. I'm sorry, man. I really did it this time."

By comparison, Bridesmaids is that film you put on repeat at daycare while you wait for mommies and daddies to arrive. It's cute. It's got a nice little message about being yourself or something. Hangover 2, on the other hand, is the product of Todd Phillips' twisted childhood and what must have been HUNDREDS of nights of binging and excess. Hangover 2 is pure filth, in its filthiest and most beautiful form.

Embrace it. And then shower immediately afterward.

- - -

May 26, 2011

Crossing the Aisle Vol. 6: Early Edition

2Es and I are off to see The Hangover 2 tonight ... but before we do, here are this week's top picks for groom-friendly style and inspiration, courtesy of the wedding blogesses. And stop by tomorrow for my reaction to the Hangover sequel, which may resemble one of those Disney World commercials where the little kids scream incessantly with joy. It may just be that.

Anyway, on with the show. 

Groom-Friendly Designs on the Bridal Blogs

via Junebug Weddings
I wouldn't say grooms are "forgotten" on the wedding day, but their portraits often are. Christy at Junebug celebrates the groom with this collection of unique portraits.

Kick-ass vintage vinyl invitations ... via Ruffled Blog

via Kiss My Tulle
Cris has three inexpensive groom outfits on the blog this week -- and all under $150.

via Green Wedding Shoes
And for the men with a little more money to spend, GWS has some kickass looks from Indochino, Bonobos, Duchess and Thick As Thieves.

Bride and groom home-brewed beers. Impressive. Via La Belle Bride.

via Perfect Bound
I couldn't help but share this wedding (from photographer Inbal Sivan). It's got shuffleboard, a pinata and tons of personality. Who knew a wedding could be this carefree?

For the Fashion Senseless: J. Crew's "Style Wingman"

Groom Justin and I spent yesterday afternoon at the Santa Monica Promenade, scoping out the necktie scene. While dropping some money at J. Crew, we noticed the following display behind the registers:

Jack's not a new edition to J. Crew -- in fact, he's been in the family since the summer of 2009 -- but for those who don't know Jack, he's got a home on the J. Crew website with fashion essentials for men, plus style and etiquette tips. And now you can hit him up with your own attire questions at

If you happen to throw any questions his way, share with us here so we can post Jack's response on The Groom Says!

May 25, 2011

"Irish Curse" Signing - MAY 26 in NYC

Rarely do I use this platform for personal purposes, but occasionally I make exceptions -- this being one. My very good friend and accomplished playwright Martin Casella will be signing copies of his most recent play, The Irish Curse, tomorrow afternoon in Manhattan. Many of you know that I was part of the Curse cast for its Off-Broadway run last spring. It was the first professional play I ever did -- back when it was a contender at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2005 -- and my Off-Broadway debut in 2010. It's incredibly important to me.

So if you'd like to meet a great mentor of mine and a great friend, visit Marty at the South Wing (at 7 West 11th Street at Fifth Avenue) from 5-7pm tomorrow, May 26th. Copies of The Irish Curse will be for sale at the event for ten dollars cash.

Thank you all. Back to the Groom biz tomorrow.


And this is why you don't take photographs on bachelor parties

This is Groom.

Groom's groomsmen and closest friends hosted a bachelor party for Groom in Vegas last weekend. While seeing the sights off the strip, Groom and his caravan encountered this sign on the side of a retail building. Groom posed. The photo was taken. And in a moment of weakness and weak-mindedness, Groom said, "Oh, you should send that to [future wife]. She'll think it's hilarious."

[Future wife] received the photo later that afternoon. She did think it was hilarious. "That's hilarious," she said to herself.

Then she opened her web browser. She accessed Googlemaps. She typed in, grooming near Las Vegas, NV.

No, this was not a proud moment for [future wife], but it wasn't by choice. Something greater was dictating her actions.

She went through each search result, from Snooty Pets to Groomingdales to Pawsh Wash Pet Grooming on Warm Springs Rd. When the Googlemaps street view failed her, she resorted to calling each place of business and inquiring about the bright purple sign on the side of their building. When they denied having said signage, she hung up.

She finally tracked Groom down at an unlisted boarding house off Tropicana Avenue. She tracked down all of the gentleman's clubs within walking distance. She called each one, introducing herself as a nearby strip club owner (she employed the pseudonym Phoenix, claiming to be the "big cheese over at Lady Parts"), alerting them that a pervert in pink was "busting into" clubs in the area and getting really "touchy-touchy."

Groom was arrested 45 minutes later by the Clark County Sheriff's Department. He was trying on sunglasses at a nearby convenience store at the time of his arrest. His hearing is scheduled for Friday of next week.

This is why you don't take photographs on bachelor parties.

- - -

Of the above information, only the sunglasses portion may be true.

May 20, 2011

Crossing the Aisle, Vol. V + A Hungover Gift Registry

We begin today's post with our weekly salute to those wedding ladies who occasionally throw a groom a bone. Thank you, wedding ladies. This one's for you.

Groom-Friendly Designs on the Bridal Blogs

via 100 Layer Cake
100 Layer Cake and East Side Bride teamed up on Tuesday to defend a groom's right to choose his own attire and put on his own big boy pants. Wedding equality is nearly within reach.

Make 'em look this nice, and she might play a round before the ceremony (via Wedding Chicks)

via Green Wedding Shoes
I've been pretty clear in the past about my love for food trucks and my affinity for one truck in particular. So when GWS posts a food truck wedding post, albeit an "inspiration shoot," I have to share it. So scroll quickly through the jewelry and hairpieces and bouquet-holding and get to the good stuff: the food. in a truck.

via Ruffled Blog
Hanging out in a cave with Hamm's beer and s'mores? I'd get engaged again for that.

I love you more than I love this cheap American classic 
(via Ruffled Blog)

- - -

And while you're perusing the internet this weekend (after the rapture, of course), check out the groom-friendly action at Wedding Republic. Hana and James at WR have devised a very unique wedding registry for our favorite new couple, Stu and Lauren, from the much-anticipated Hangover 2.

To top it off, Chris from The Man Registry and I have put in our own two cents. Check out our registry recommendations here.

Have a great weekend, everyone, doomsday and all.

May 19, 2011

Hand-Canceling: sending your groom to do the dirty work

For most grooms, planning begins with a lesson in wedding lingo. Close on the heels of the engagement, we're asked to learn words like fiancé and boutonnière and mélange, words that hadn't yet entered our vocabulary, words that occasionally come equipped with accent marks but don't tell us which way they're leaning.

And when we come to hand-canceling, we think to ourselves, that can't be what it sounds like. Only two possible definitions come to mind. 

a gesture agreed upon by the bride, groom and DJ, which, when executed, signifies a change in song (ex: "If you play the Electric Slide, I swear to god, I will hand cancel the crap outta that song.")

(biblical:) an act of disfigurement in which a groom's hand is mangled or amputated as a result of tardiness, failure to complete a task, or any unsatisfactory performance (ex: "Dude, if you're not at that tasting in 20 minutes, she's gonna hand cancel you with a butter knife.")

(I just submitted the above to

What it refers to is postage stamps that have been "cancelled" by a stamp ... by hand. And there's a need for such a thing in the wedding world. No one wants to spend hours on an ornate invitation envelope design, only to have that envelope fed through and mauled in a stamping machine.

Factory farming ... for envelopes

And these days, grooms, there's all sorts of drama about hand canceling. (Imagine: all this drama about something you never even knew existed.) In the good ol' days, post office employees were happy to hand stamp envelopes, as long as it wasn't rush hour or the Christmas season. Today, most post offices will charge you for the service; or they direct you to a post office that might do it; or they just decline altogether; OR they tell you they'll do it, but "you should know, despite your efforts, the envelopes are likely to go through a machine anyway."

 The automatic feeders. Where envelopes go to die.

So what's the solution? Less ornate envelopes? E-vitations?

No, the solution is making hand-canceling the new groom task. Throughout wedding planning, I was asked to perform a number of tasks that involved acquiring things or expressing disapproval or putting pressure on those who needed some putting of pressure. So, brides - why not send the men in to employ some gentle coercion with the local postal staff? Like a bouncer in the most uninteresting, under-dressed nightclub ever conceived, your groom will march in there and demand hand canceling ... and no, don't hand him the stamp, postal person, cause he won't be doin' it his damn self.

Grooms - you're going to be facing some stiff competition, so prepare accordingly. Know your opponent. If it's a male employee, don't approach the glass with a smile and your top shirt button undone. Know too that you may be waiting a bit while you observe the stamping (it's a rookie mistake to assume they'll do it once you leave). In other words, prepare some activities to keep you occupied: read a book, clear your inbox, or present your famous spiel on the advantages and disadvantages of the Pony Express. Complete the task by chaperoning said envelopes on their postal journey, ensuring that they are remain pure and intact. This is your charge, groom.

And whatever you do, don't return home without getting the job done, or your may find your hands canceled. In the biblical sense.

May 15, 2011

Bachelor Party Planning for the Procrastinator

Check out what Whole Foods is carrying these days:

America's favorite expensive organic market just earned a cool point

That's right, a one-gallon beer maker's kit from the Brooklyn Brew Shop, complete with fermenter, three-piece chambered airlock, racking cane and (yes) instructions. You think we would let you brew recklessly? Please.

($40.99 + tax)

Hangover kit and back-up beer* not included.


*back·up beer [bak-uhp beer] - noun   
   1. a reliable beer purchased at a bar when tasting a lesser known beer, for those instances when the new beer is sub-par
   2. a case of beer that resides in one's trunk, for instances of spontaneous revelry and/or when freshly brewed homemade beer tastes like sewer water

May 13, 2011

Crossing the Aisle, Vol IV + Pre-Weekend Announcements!

Groom-approved style on the bridal blogs ... and scroll down for two quick announcements from friends of The Groom Says.

via Every Last Detail
An intro to groom fashion from ELD guest blogger Kristen Weaver. Have no fear, Kristen. The groom shall not be forgotten.

via Green Wedding Shoes

Unconventional groom attire doesn't mean complicated groom attire. Ryan and his boys prove that color is not something to be afraid of. 

Dude, someone wrote on your shoe (via Ruffled Blog)

via Rock n Roll Bride
A proposal vid with crazy production value. Kudos. 

via 100 Layer Cake
It's not the manliest photo spread we've ever seen, but something about this farm wedding makes us want to move to South Africa. Check out boutonnieres and details that grooms can get on board with, plus transportation to the reception, courtesy of a tractor. 


Our friends at Robbins Brothers are hosting a Try-On Party at their Torrance location on the 18th. Grooms -- I know Try-on Party sounds intimidating, but there are no dresses involved. Just some engagement ring and wedding band shopping ... PLUS a free engagement photo shoot on the spot. Earn some major groom points. Check out the details here

Also, our pen pals Angie & Alicia at VowMuse are judging a (yup, you guessed it) Vow Writing Contest this summer, hosted by Art Vows. Brides and grooms -- send in your vows by July 6 and maybe you'll score $1,000 to put toward your wedding. Get the full scoop here

Verdict on Bridesmaids? The Groom Says: See It.

Chris from The Man Registry sent me on a mission last night; and no, it wasn't to fetch him more booze so he can wrap up the final chapters on his groom guide book.

Acting as TMR's film correspondent, I attended a special screening of Bridesmaids last night. Bridesmaids. Not to be confused with Groomsmen: the hilarious comedy that doesn't actually exist but plays constantly in my mind, starring Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Paul Rudd and an obese Brad Pitt.

Get the Groom's official take on Bridemaids on The Man Registry blog:

"Bridesmaids": Why Hangover II Should Be Worried

Check it: Groom Interview on "Kiss My Tulle"

Sassy bride Cris Stone approached me some odd days ago about an interview on her equally sassy wedding blog, Kiss My Tulle. Check it out on her site, read a bit about my wedding planning process, and learn why my favorite photo from our wedding day is one of a giant green dumpster. 

(And, no ... I'm not in the dumpster ... though now I'm thinking about it, and that would be kinda sweet, and now I regret it. THANKS.)

Just keep in mind that I was intoxicated when I answered these questions.

Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples:
Brian Leahy of the Groom Says

The Ultimate Groom Point: surprise gift for the bride (or groom)

As far as I know, this isn't a thing. I mean, it may have been a thing at one time or another, like a traditional thing, but it's certainly not a modern day thing or anything.

But to be sure, I snuck over to TheKnot's Q&A with Carley Roney and found both a Q and an A on that precise topic. Carley's response?

"It is an optional tradition for the bride and groom to exchange gifts -- the night before the wedding, the morning of, or once the festivities are over."

Aha, there it is. Traditional. Optional. Which means, considering all those last minute things that are not optional, it doesn't happen that often...

...but if I can reach out to the gents for a minute here: Men, here is your opportunity to shine. Chances are, unless you yourself are a wedding planner, and you're marrying a woman who lives in Antarctica with no internet access who's arriving the morning of the wedding ... she's done more work to get here. She's put in more hours, made more phone calls, visited more venues. This is your chance to say, in a very personal way, "Despite all this chaos, I haven't forgotten that this day is about you and me, and I want to thank you for everything you've done to make it happen."

Our destination wedding made things a little tricky, but with a little help, I was able to make it work. I had the gift shipped to a friend's office in New York and asked now-brother-in-law Patrick to pick up a gift bag and some tissue paper the morning of the wedding. Partway through getting ready, I sent one of my boys upstairs (the girls were directly above us, actually) to deliver the gift: a coffee mug camera lens that 2Es had been raving about for months (but hadn't bought, for whatever reason) with a handwritten note. She never expected it.

Only $24 on Photojojo. And that's not 2Es, by the way. That's just a well-lit stock photo woman with a similar tint of hair.

The mug is so authentic-looking that one of our photographers mistook it for one of his lenses -- until he realized that it was completely hollow. The gift also came with this plastic dinosaur, which became the mascot for the wedding and lives on a mantle here at the house.


If your bride is into photo gear like 2Es, check out the Photojojo store for cool, cheap gift ideas (as well as sweet props for photo sessions).

Ladies -- if your groom hasn't already splurged on his attire, maybe slip him a pair of these kick-ass mustache cufflinks before he slips into his tux. (Starting at $60 from Uncrate)

As Carley suggests, it need not be extravagant. Lord knows you've spent enough money getting to this moment, so it's really not about that. It's about showing your better half that you know precisely what this day is about. And if the gift comes with a mascot, so be it.

May 10, 2011

Dealing with Vendors Who Can't Deal

Occasionally in wedding planning, you'll run into people who require what I like to call *special care*. 2Es and I ran into one such person -- one of our vendors, in fact -- who, for whatever reason, made it impossible to work with him. (We'll call him Alex.) And had we been asked to fill out one of those comment cards following our experience, we might have responded with the following:

Alex was the one and only person we worked with in the course of the sixteen months that I genuinely disliked. The man actually drove me to punch a wall, for chrissake.

Why, Brian? What would drive you to do such an aggressive thing? Did the wall crumble from the blow??

Alex's company offers services for a whole range of events, and weddings are not their primary source of income. Hence, Alex finds weddings/brides/grooms to be a nuisance and often too much trouble for what they earn per event. But rather than suggesting to his superiors that they raise their prices or cut weddings from their scope of services, Alex gave us attitude. He gave us curt answers to all questions, didn't speak to us for months, and then surprised us with unfavorable news the week BEFORE our wedding. That was when I punched our living room wall. And I'm not the kind of person who punches walls. I've seen those guys in movies. They're highly repressed or 'roided up or in serious need of a hug. I get plenty of hugs. But Alex drove me to that place when he asked us to pull up our contract and indicated a loophole which allowed him to conduct himself like a total jerk-off. 

Alex could have ruined our wedding, but we wouldn't let one person interfere with this occasion or sixteen months of planning or any of the million other things that matter more than one sour a**hole. 

So what did we do? Well, we did three things (outside of punching the wall), and I would recommend them to anyone who's battling with a vendor or manager or contact person and is unable to come to a sensible resolution.

1. Find someone who can say SUCK IT, ALEX without saying SUCK IT, ALEX. We have a few ball busters in our circle of friends, but one in particular stood out. We asked this person (we'll call her Alexa) to handle all correspondence and communication with Alex in the week that followed. We didn't need the stress. We communicated through someone logical who could sense our frustration and respond more rationally, professionally and calmly than we ever could.

2. Signal the troops. Once Alexa was fielding Alex's phone calls and emails, we alerted our family members of the unfortunate situation. We told them what they needed to know and only what they needed to know. We described the tight situation Alex had put us in and where we had been forced to compromise. And, most importantly, we asked them to not bring this up at the wedding. We just wanted them to be aware, we said, to keep them in the loop. 

3. Avoid contact ... eye or otherwise. We avoided Alex like the plague on our wedding day. Our amazing day-of coordinators took charge of the situation and immediately diffused all of the negative energy. They addressed his questions; they went to him when issues arose; and at the close of the evening, they paid him. It was a huge gift to us to get Alex off of our hands. 

Our precautions may seem extreme in hindsight, but we accomplished two things: (1) we avoided any incidents at the wedding, and (2) we're now able to laugh at the whole thing. And laugh at Alex. Sometimes we just sit on the couch, TV on mute, and laugh at Alex: at his sourness, the phone conversations we had with him through gritted teeth, and the thought of him having to deal with more and more weddings as time goes on. 

And no, the wall did not crumble from the blow, but it did leave a noticeable impression in our living room wall. We've named that impression "Alex's Clenched A**hole." 

May 6, 2011

Crossing the Aisle, Vol III

A quick note to grooms before we begin:

Grooms, if you're going to investigate the bridal blogs on your own, please remember to use the buddy system. Let's keep incidents to a minimum. Thank you. 

OK, this week's groom-approved assortment features two new tie companies (well, new to me), a New Zealand wedding and a new man-friendly honeymoon destination. Let's get this ball rolling.

Groom-Approved Links on the Bridal Blogs

via East Side Bride
"The best" cotton tie is a rather bold statement, but ESB's hit the nail on the head with this two-tone tie from Pierrepont Hicks. Also scope out the other unique designs on PH's website.

via Style Me Pretty
Sombreros, a pinata and some groom-approved hand-drawn and hand-crafted details. And whatever Thornycroft Dark Ale is, I want one.

via Snippet & Ink
OK, we just agreed that the Pierrepont ties were "the best," I know, I know. But S&I plugged General Knot & Co. on the blog this week -- a definite contender for the "kick-ass tie manufacturer" title. Check out the groom-commissioned ties that are different but still coordinating.

via Offbeat Bride
Men, prepare yourself. You might want to get married all over again just to book another honeymoon at this upscale camping resort. And on the activities calendar? Rappelling, ATV-ing, and Zorb Balling.

May 3, 2011

Pop and (Pad)Lock: How Americans Can Go Bigger with Romance

It's true, there is something inherently European about etching your initials into a padlock, affixing it to a railing on a bridge, and tossing the key into the murky and slightly pungent current of the canal below. These acts of padlock love, in which lovers proclaim and seal their commitment to one another (oftentimes to mark their engagement), are slowly making their way into the states; but we can't begin to compete with our neighbors across the Atlantic, whose railings and fences and benches and whatnots are literally shrouded with locks.

And it's no surprise that the love shackles that now appear on the Brooklyn Bridge, for instance, are clipped on occasion -- hacked off the railings like cheap, drugstore padlocks left on gym lockers overnight -- removed by the goons at the Department of Transportation, who ignore the sheer romanticism behind these acts of vandalism and adhere to the rules of the historic structure.

Geez, this is more un-American than universal health care.

Of course, we can't blame the DOT for putting a stop to an emerging trend; the fact is, love padlocks haven't caught on simply because they're not American enough. This is an indication that we need something even more permanent, more impressive, more patriotic. We're the United ******* States. We don't indulge in simple, unadorned, old-fashioned romanticism; no, we build a ******* Subway chain restaurant.

alternatives to padlocks for americans who need more

1. Open a Subway. If permanence and security are what you're after, why not go for the gold and join the largest fast food franchise on the globe. At the close of 2010, Subway actually surpassed reigning champion McDonald's as the world's most proficient feeder of hungry people. Nothing says I am committed to you forever like making your 2Es a Subway franchisee and making her financially accountable for the success or failure of a restaurant built on the novelty of fresh-made sandwiches. Total cost: upwards of $78,000.

2. Reconsider your padlock placement. Perhaps you and your better half don't have $15,000 in start-up costs. That's fine. If you're going to join in the padlock pandemonium, why not think more carefully about where you chain your bike. Ditch the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge and consider some areas where it's highly unlikely that department officials will intrude -- like a serial killer's basement ... or a community library ... or a school in a low-income neighborhood. You could litter that playground with padlocks and (I guarantee you) return decades later to find those locks untouched. Total cost: $3.99 plus tax.

This busted merry-go-round is a padlock gold mine.

3. Osama Bin Laden's hide-out.

4. The Winter Garden Theater. True romance doesn't come in the form of a steel ring clasped around a germ-infested handrail overlooking the Seine. Hell no. True romance is premium orchestra musical theater tickets. Show your honey how long you're planning to stick around and purchase two tickets for 2086 -- an early 75th Anniversary gift. And if there's any Broadway show with as much (inexplicable) staying power as your marriage, it's the (inexplicable) smash hit, Mamma Mia. Seating is apparently limited. Total cost: $423.60, plus 75 years worth of inflation.

May 2, 2011

The tables have turned: our trainer goes Brian Williams on us

A couple months ago I invited our fitness trainer Damon to join us on TGS and give us the scoop on getting in shape for the wedding.

Weeks later, Damon proposed that I do the same for him. If I declined, he would make me do 50 additional burpees in front of the class. Being the cocksure man that I am ... I did the interview. 

So check out Damon's own blog for a Q&A with me and 2Es as we give our thoughts on training. Please note that we received a "push-up coupon" for each compliment to Damon or his program; each push-up coupon entitled you to subtract a push-up from each circuit the following morning. As you can see, we're swimming in coupons over here.

If you'd like more information about Damon's boot camp program in Los Angeles (particularly brides and grooms hoping to get fit for their upcoming weddings), you can email me or Damon directly at