Groomsmen and their suits – hire or buy?
Another extensive, but also potentially expensive topic of conversation is the suits for the groomsmen.
It’s very traditional that your groomsmen and the bridal party (Groom, Best Men, Ushers, Fathers) are suited and booted and normally in matching attire. While having matching suits is of course not mandatory, I will say it does bring a very lovely congruity to proceedings. It is also very touching for your family and friends to be asked to dress the same way as you as this indicates very clearly your love and respect for them. So – if you’re going for matching suits, you realistically have two options: you hire or you buy. This article will look at both sides of that coin and equation.
One other thing to remember before the hire or buy equation is the season. In deep summer, three pieces suits will be warm. Now, although the British summer is heavily unpredictable, consider that in 2019 temperatures reached 36C – would a three piece really be appropriate in those conditions?
Gents – specifically for you! Most importantly, trust your fiancé. They are likely right, their style perception is generally more honed that yours. Most importantly, they know what their dress looks like, you don’t. So if they tell you to consider something different, do so!!!
So let’s look at hiring first. Hiring was for years the default option: I certainly recall up until 2016 it was hardly heard of to do otherwise. This is certainly the definitive answer if you chose something other than a normal style suit. If you are considering tails, a morning suit, a particularly different colour suit or so on, hiring really is the defacto answer given it is highly unlikely you will have another use for such a fashionable statement in day to day life. The other useful thing about hiring is that it is a one off cost for the day. This means that ultimately, you can budget responsibly knowing exactly what this will cost you.
Do remember however to discuss with the hiring location in advance possible costs for damage, stains and so on. It is much better to be prepared for such eventualities knowing that ultimately weddings are social events and therefore damage cannot be guaranteed not to occur. Also consider that the more bespoke the choice, the larger the recovery costs are likely to be.
Your other option is to buy suits. There are several factors in play here that will help make this decision for you. Firstly, if you’re looking for a fairly traditional style suit, then certainly this is definitely a good option. In my experience, I found that on the whole, the cost of buying is about 10 to 25% higher than the cost of hiring. This is however heavily offset by the fact that also after the event, you and your groomsmen will have a suit that is yours to own.
The other advantage of this approach is that it is very easy to take advantage of mail order services from the likes of Next, Moss Brothers and so on. Therefore, once you’ve settled on your style of suit, you can take your groomsmens’ measurements, order all the required suits for delivery to a local store and have a pleasurable evening making sure they fit and maybe having a social beer or two together. This is not dissimilar to what we discuss in Bridesmaids dresses – so here’s the link
There is the collective financial element as well. Whilst this may be slightly more expensive, it also changes the emphasis somewhat. If your decision is rental, then the emphasis does certainly rest on the bride and the groom to foot the cost of the suits for the day. Ultimately, it is very difficult to turn around to your best friends and ask them to foot the bill for suit hire given there is minimal derived benefit to them.
Alternatively, with purchasing suits, the game changes slightly. Ultimately, yes, you will be asking them to put their hands in their pockets to cover the costs but they will have something tangible after the event.
It is highly unlikely that a smart, professional suit will not have some further usage given the proliferation of weddings let alone interviews and so on. It is also rather a pleasant concept that this suit in their wardrobe also carries with them special memories when worn.
It is not uncommon should this approach be chosen for the bride and groom to offer to pay 50% of the costing with the members of the bridal party contributing the remainder.
The other thing to consider in all this is the likelihood of damage. This is effectively a calculated gamble and risk. If it is likely that the groomsmen are the shy and retiring types, and that damage is beyond unlikely then hiring becomes a slam dunk. If the polar opposite is true where the groomsmen are party animals then purchasing is the best call beyond reasonable doubt. At the end of the day, if you were to add on the cost of replacement to the initial high costs, then it’s highly likely that it would outweigh the cost of purchase. Therefore if it is possible a suit is going to get damaged beyond repair, then buying is the sensible choice.
This is not an easy decision to make, but one which does bear consideration. Ultimately, only you know your bridal party well enough to make the call on the above. But don’t rush in to a decision, take some time to get it right!
Groomsmen suit options
Hire or buy? Think of the two key factors here. Potential for damage, and the level of bespoke design you are aiming for.