June 30, 2011

Crossing the Aisle Vol. IX + Must-Do Contest + Good Heavens!

To kick off a busy Friday morning wrap-up: a huge THANK YOU to our friend, image consultant and groom savior, Julie Rath of Rath & Co. This week Julie lent us her design sense and expertise and a handful of invaluable groom tips. Check out our edition of Stump the Stylist (at Kmart, for chrissake) and the tour of the sinfully groom-friendly Michael Andrews Bespoke studio, where Julie unveiled three amazing rehearsal dinner looks.

Note how the yellow accents coordinate with my pocket square.

Two, if you haven't yet entered the #wedlux giveaway sponsored by our pal Chris at The Man Registry (along with our friends at Gigmasters, Greenvelope, SmartBride Boutique and Wishpot), then you should seriously consider having yourself committed. They're giving away $1,500 in merch and services, people! Brides, Grooms - click this link to get the full scoop, read about all the ways to enter, and do so before July 13th.

Go. I'll wait.

OH - and great news, men. GoodHEAVENS, crazy talented tie designer and manufacturer, has been getting all kinds of love from all of the lady blogs these last couple months. Unfortunately, until recently, they were unable to ship to the states. So my gift to you today, because I'm in a giving kind of mood, is a link to their Etsy storefront. Fifteen styles for sale, all for $33 (absurd price) + $7 for US shipping. $40 all together for an awesome tie. You deserve it, groom.

Do it. I'll wait.

Finally, let's jump into our weekly series: Groom-Friendly Designs on the Bridal Blogs. Here goes:

Men of the Wood: a new musical ... via Green Wedding Shoes

via Green Wedding Shoes
There's a couple things grooms can appreciate about this wedding, and no, it's not the "whimsical" element. But it might be the raccoon love ... and the geek lumberjack attire (see above) ... and the fact that their "unity symbol" is a bottle of Jameson. These are my kind of people.

via Broke-Ass Bride
Our good friend and fellow groom activist Hunter Stiebel, the one and only "Fresh Hubby," is now a contributing editor to Destination Weddings and Honeymoons magazine, providing a manly dose of advice in every issue. Congrats Hunter! Click the link above to read his first article on destination bachelor parties.

You know a groom sketched out these vows ... via Ruffled Blog

via Lovely Little Details
Honestly, I'm jealous I didn't think of this first. On Tuesday, Jacin at LLD invited the sales manager at Colene Clemens Vineyard to provide some insight and tell you everything you need to know about wine and weddings and wine at weddings. Read on, grooms.

And to close:

This was the vegetarian buffet ... via Southern Weddings Magazine.

Happy weekend, everyone!

June 29, 2011

Julie Rath Takes Us Shopping: Part II of our NYC excursion

Walking into this room...

...is a bit like walking into this room...

...but without all the golden ticket politics and singing and wallpaper licking.

Assuming the role of Gene Wilder in a purple coat is a man who has (I imagine) never worn a purple coat, and that man is Michael Andrews, founder and CEO of Michael Andrews Bespoke. In place of the oversized lollipops and edible teacups and rivers of chocolate, there's this fully stocked bar:

As part of our search for the perfect Rehearsal Dinner look (and after a round of Stump the Stylist at Kmart), Julie Rath invited me to the MAB studio to check out their operation.

Here's the thing -- MAB isn't just a custom tailor. It's a place for men to hang out, have some scotch, fiddle with cuff links, get comfortable with formal attire. It's the kind of joint that has a Wii and a billiards table and a full kitchen downstairs, all available for use. Add in the fact that MAB is tucked away down an unpresuming SoHo alleyway, and it's a Man Cave in every sense of the term. As their website states, We are not your father's custom tailor.

Top left: not mints. Bottom right: not tissues.

Sensory grooms, such as myself, need to feel up every tie and pocket square in the store.

After gawking at and ultimately manhandling the merchandise, I asked Julie to pull three awesome Rehearsal Dinner outfits. Why rehearsal dinner? Well, because we hear about wedding attire all the time. And, honestly, there are a million resources out there for day-of groomwear. The rehearsal dinner is the first time you see the majority of your guests, and the first time they see you. This is your first impression. How you look (and, consequently, how you feel) sets the tone for the whole weekend.

Here's a tip to start us off: get yourself a pair of magnetic collar stays. They're incredibly handy and surprisingly inexpensive. I'm buying myself a new pair to kick off the summer. Happy Summer, me.

Julie's first ensemble is the dressiest of the three, apropos for a modern, city-dwelling groom (and actually very similar to what I wore on my wedding day). You'll notice how the sharp, solid suit is contrasted with what Julie calls a "friendly" tie.

[click photos to enlarge]

Navy suit ($1,595), blue dress shirt ($205), Drake's London tie ($135), pocket square ($65), and Scarpe di Bianco shoes (starting at $895)

A quick note about belts, because you won't see them in any of the looks pictured here. Why is that? Well, MAB pants are custom-fitted, so you can nix the belt. You can also opt for side adjusters, which make belts obsolete. Groom stylist Julie says she's not biased -- it really comes down to your personal preference.

Look #2 is one step down from the previous outfit, i.e. perfect for a slightly more casual event. Note, grooms, how the navy shoes coordinate with the knit tie. Check out Johnston & Murphy online for very affordable no-show socks and other accessories.

Cotton/cashmere chino suit ($1,995), pink gingham shirt ($225), Thomas Pink knit tie ($85), pocket square ($65) and Scarpe di Bianco shoes (starting at $895)

The final look is the most casual, but it may also be the most detailed (note the tipping on the pocket square, the pewter on the buttons). Your custom tailor and image consultant understand that the true success of an outfit lies in the details ... and will know when to keep it simple with a white collared shirt (see below). 

Sportcoat ($1,355), white shirt ($225), Levi's denim jeans (starting at $40), and pocket square ($65)

Having hung out in the Bespoke studio long past my welcome, I can tell you that it's certainly worth a visit. Go for the Wii and leave with a kick-ass, fitted, immaculate suit. And if you're nice, maybe Julie will do your color analysis (see below). 2Es is autumn. I'm a summer. And apparently the color brown doesn't complement me whatsoever. My thirteen-year-old self, a big fan of "brown," wishes he'd known that fourteen years ago.

Whether it's your image, your style or your wardrobe that needs a revamp, email Julie to set up a consultation at julie@rathandco.com. And then send me a photo of you sipping bourbon while you fondle the tie pins. You lucky bastard.

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Note: All of the suits and jackets pictured above are selections from the Michael Andrews Bespoke Platinum Collection. All looks and styles were handpicked by Julie Rath

Images Courtesy of Joanna Wilson Photography

June 28, 2011

Finding the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Attire w/ Julie Rath: Part I

Julie Rath had no idea what she was getting into when she agreed to meet us at the Astor Place Starbucks during our most recent visit to New York. Julie and I had never met in person, only communicated via email and Twitter, and she had contributed a fantastic guest post to The Groom Says back in March. (I'm now a neck-wear aficionado thanks to her.) For this trip, Julie had organized a visit to Michael Andrews Bespoke studio in SoHo (a groom safe haven of sorts), just a short walk from Astor Place.

But there we were, 2Es and I -- 2Es sporting a rather intimidating camera, me sporting what my mother would call a shit-eating grin -- with a somewhat skewed plan for the afternoon. 

Because right across the street is every stylist's dream -- a three-story Kmart -- and that would be our first (surprise) stop of the afternoon. Julie would later refer to it as the "Stump the Stylist" segment, and sure, I guess that was part of it. But I also wanted to see what Julie could throw together on the slimmest of budgets. Better yet, I wanted to see if it was possible to assemble a stylist-approved rehearsal dinner outfit at one of the Always Low Prices megastores. 

"We're doing this!"

Julie, an image consultant, personal stylist and founder of Rath & Co., was all about it, jumping right into the challenge and shuffling through a table piled high with bargain dress shirts. [Tip #1:] Julie recommends that grooms keep their distance when it comes to clip-on ties (of course) and add a pocket square in order to "bump" the outfit to the next level. 

She put me to work as well, telling me to comb the racks for a shirt-tie set that would compliment almost any groom. Somehow we ended up choosing the same combo.

"I DO have good taste!" says the guy in the tattered ball cap.

I couldn't help but pull Julie into a quick round of Yes or No, in which I move through the maze that is 2nd floor menswear and pull questionable items from the shelves, items grooms might consider as part of their rehearsal dinner attire. Julie, in her fashionable wisdom, gives a hesitant thumbs up or an enthusiastic thumbs down.

Thumbs down? Camouflage. Hiking mandals (the man sandals with velcro and bungee cords). Boxers (tend to bunch). Hawaiian shirts. Checks and plaids on short grooms (meaning me).

Thumbs up? Chinos (outside of Kmart, Julie likes Bonobos brand). Linen suits as opposed to Hawaiian shirts for destination weddings. Boxer-briefs. Suspenders on bulkier grooms.

Thumbs way down.

Most grooms can feel lost when it comes to clothing. Grooms who wear jeans and t-shirts on a daily basis may not know how to upgrade their wardrobe. So where do those grooms turn for help?

Well, Julie says [Tip #2:] grooms should look to the setting of the event for inspiration. Look at the rehearsal dinner venue, the season, whether it will be an indoor or outdoor event. And look to your bride! The thing is -- a tie-and-blazer combo is just as suitable as a polo. Your job, groom, is to fit the occasion.

Other places to go for help? [Tips #3-5:] Look to blogs and magazines, keeping an eye out for well-dressed grooms and noting brands you like. Find a tailor (or image consultant) that you trust, who will tell you what colors and styles look good on you. And, once you've done your homework, get to the mall, groom. Go to three different stores and try things on. It's really the only way you'll know what works for you.

After fifteen minutes of browsing, Julie had assembled something that she was (mildly) happy with. The Batman underwear may have been my idea.

(Clockwise from top left:) David Taylor short sleeve plaid shirt; Batman logo briefs; Farah performance dress chinos; and Thom McAn Kendrick Leather Driving Moc in navy.

All in all -- "all" meaning the four items above plus a braided belt for $9.99 and a pair of cotton cushion "fashion" socks for $4.99 -- the outfit comes out to $91.94 before tax. If this was, in fact, Stump the Stylist ... then Julie managed to put together a groom-worthy ensemble for under $100. 

Catch Part II of our attire excursion on Thursday, when Julie gives us a tour of Michael Andrews Bespoke (I might just name our first child after them), presents three Rehearsal Dinner options that are pure class, and shows us why we should actually consider getting our color analysis done. 

Grooms, you need help. Email Julie about scheduling a consultation at julie@rathandco.com. Also visit her website at rathandco.com

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All photographs © Joanna Wilson Photography

Guest Post: Wedding Night Jitters and Critters

Stop by The Man Registry today and read my latest guest post:


Chris has actually prefaced the post with a disclaimer and note of caution. I couldn't be more proud.


June 24, 2011

Crossing the Aisle Vol. VIII

Next week -- watch out for the two-part post with awesome groom fashion guru and image consultant Julie Rath. For now, bask in some groom-friendly style, brought to you by the bridal blogs.

This one's a no-brainer

via Green Wedding Shoes
Shane is Groom of the Month, no question. Because their first date took place at a Starbucks, he essentially brought Starbucks to the outdoors (props for not proposing in an actual Starbucks, Shane). Click on the link to GWS' post to check out all the details and planning that went into this kick-ass proposal, including the personalized iTunes download cards.

DIY Pencil Holder
via The Sweetest Occasion
No, this isn't the manliest link we've promoted here on TGS ... but we are always looking for ways to get involved. This Do-It-Himself project involves a saw, a piece of wood, a belt sander and a drill. Get to work, men.

When life gives you a piece of wood, make a wooden pencil holder.

via Kiss My Tulle
Kris gives us some gift options that won't break the bank. I mean, we love our groomsmen, we do ... but we also just spent $12K to feed a hundred people.

Outdoorsy groom attire via Ruffled Blog

via So You're Engayged
I'm partial to this last link -- 2Es' engagement shoot with Los Angeles locals Drew and Joe. Joanna shot in LA's Downtown Arts District and at the LACMA street lamp exhibit, per the couple's request. This is Joanna's second appearance on So You're Engayged (her first was a real wedding in Connecticut with Herb and Alan, published in the fall of '09).

June 11, 2011

Found on the streets of NYC

Look closely.

The old 19th Street Loews (where I once took a blind date to see Bowling for Columbine ... it didn't work out) is only showing wedding movies. We haven't seen Something Borrowed but with a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I don't see it in our future.

On to a rainy day in New York City. Super 8 anyone?

June 10, 2011

Being MIA Because We're NYC

Hello readers!

Forgive me ... I've been absent this week, and I hate to be. But I promise I have good cause.

1. 2Es and I are in New York as of this morning. We red-eyed over from LAX last night, and we're still a little droopy from three hours of sleep. [Typo typo typo.] 2Es has got several photo shoots lined up this week, and we're attending our friend Gill's wedding in the Berkshires next weekend. Photos to follow!

2. Coming soon: more pics at The Art of Shaving -- this time at their Madison Avenue, New York location.

3. I've been preparing for our second groom style installment with fashion expert Julie Rath. I'll be meeting up with Julie on Tuesday and asking her to pull some rehearsal dinner attire options for us at awesome custom tailor Michael Andrews Bespoke + one other undisclosed location. Keep an eye out for that post in late June.

4. Also coming soon: another edition of our Thinking Outside the [Boutonniere] Box series. Click here to see the Respectfully Ego-Centric Boutonniere Collection (series #1).

5. And more stuff? Yes, more stuff. Operation The Groom Says: The Book is real and happening. All new material. A whole new level of raunchiness.

6. And we'll continue with our Crossing the Aisle series next week. For now, a groom-friendly image from our friend Vane at Brooklyn Bride.

For the rock-n-roll grooms ... via Brooklyn Bride

Much love from the east coast,

June 6, 2011

Wedding People Profiles: Christina Matteucci + Merci New York

Earlier in the year, we snagged an interview with Christina Matteucci, right hand to David Beahm, head honcho of david beahm destinations, and general purveyor of awesomeness. She gave us a guide to getaway weddings and inspired grooms everywhere to join their local Richard Branson fan clubs.

(The Los Angeles chapter is pretty much me right now. I'm accepting applications.)

Well Christina is back and kicking ass once again -- not on The Groom Says but on Merci New York. She now serves as MNY's Resident Destinations Expert. Read up on Christina's path to the wedding world and how she came to be the reigning queen of destination weddings.

- - -

In exchange for this plug, Christina is providing The Groom Says with its very own Necker Nymph, though she's not yet aware of it.

June 2, 2011

Crossing the Aisle Vol. VII

This week's celebration of groom-friendly style on the bridal blogs begins with a real wedding. I've been waiting for this couple's photos ever since the bride, Laura, leaked their wedding theme (yes, the Yankees) back in February. Their pics were featured yesterday on the Florida edition of Style Me Pretty.

via Style Me Pretty Florida
Aside from the sweet "hat toss" portrait pictured above, Laura and Antonio had matching Chuck T's, tables named after baseball legends, and enough Yankee insignias to get me through the weekend.

Strangely enough, they didn't coordinate this.

via The Wedding Chicks
While I'm not a big fan of any of these styles, guys looking for a pop of color in their attire might benefit from these tie options from American Apparel and others.

Bohemian boutonnieres from Green Wedding Shoes

via Offbeat Bride
Kudos to Illustrator Groom on setting the tone for a kick-ass, offbeat wedding.

via Rock n Roll Bride
Awesome groom/groomsmen attire + some stellar groom and couple's portraits that won't bore you to death.

2Es' exclusive interview that should have been mine but isn't

I've been trying to get an interview with my wife since we got engaged in June 2009. She keeps reminding me how busy she is. She tells me that we'll do it one day when "the world is less complicated." She says things like, "Do you want me to make you a smoothie, or do you want to do that silly interview?"

Sensibly, I choose the smoothie.

But now I know she was just holding out for something better. She was holding out for Cris at Kiss My Tulle.


I should have offered her money.

June 1, 2011

How Tim Allen snuck into DIY Weddings Magazine

That's right. I managed to drop more than one Home Improvement reference into my article for DIY Weddings Magazine. I think that's reason enough to click on the image below and read the full article.

Flip to page 14 and check out the two-page spread dedicated to grooms. The Summer issue is on sale now.

Special shout-outs to: DIY Weddings Magazine Founder and CEO Kym Stelmachers, photographers Joanna Wilson and Noah Devereaux, and graphic artist Charles Hearn, whose wedding favor design is featured on page 15.