Ah, the dreaded wedding invitation. Sure you love your friend. Hell, you’ve known each other since elementary school when he accidentally knocked you upside the head coming off the monkey bars. Your nose bled all over your shirt while he laughed hysterically and ran to get you some paper towels from the restroom.
You’ve been friends ever since. You even kept in touch during the college years when he lived on the East coast and you lived on the West coast. When he realized he had met the girl of his dreams, you were one of the guys who got that e-mail where he rambled on and on about everything falling into place and how he had never known love quite like this.
So what if you were thinking “What a whipped wuss” in your head as you read it; you were still happy for the guy. You get home from work, skim through your mail and a lavender card with your name in perfect calligraphy strikes your eye from behind the phone bill and seventh credit card offer. A card from your mother, perhaps?
You rip it open and there it is. Your friend is getting married in 6 weeks to the woman who inspired the rambling e-mail and you have been invited. The plane ticket is no problem and you can just stay in the block of rooms he has at the local hotel, but this looks like it will be one pretty fancy wedding. What are you supposed to wear? The only wedding you have ever been to was your Aunt Katherine’s when you were eight years old and your mom bought you a brown suit from the Goodwill. If only that suit still fit…
When preparing to attend a wedding, bringing a gift is only one aspect of being the perfect guest. You are going to want to show up on time and you will always want to dress the part. Nowadays, weddings run the gamut; from beach-themed weddings where guests only need to wear khaki shorts or sundresses with flip flops to the posh black-tie events where tuxedos are required.
What about those weddings that fall somewhere in between, though? While some invitations might specify that the wedding is going to be more casual or more formal, most do not, so it is left up to the guest to determine what kind of attire to sport. In the case of our friend above, if his name is written in perfect calligraphy on the envelope, more than likely he will need to invest in a nice suit.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to wearing a suit for a wedding is to go with a darker suit. A navy or black suit will work perfectly at a wedding. Fortunately, if you have never bought a suit before, there is no shortage of black or navy suits. Unfortunately, if you have never bought a suit before, no shortage of these two colors means racks upon racks of suits to wade through, which can often feel overwhelming without knowing exactly what to look for.
Before heading to your local department store, pop into a tailor and ask to get your suit measurements. One of the most aggravating things about shopping for a suit without knowing your exact measurements is trying on suit after suit hoping (or rather, praying) you’ll find the perfect fit. You will scale down your shopping time considerably if you know exactly what size of suit to look for.
Now, there are many different types of suits and styles. For a wedding, stick with a two- or three-button suit. This will give you a more traditional, conservative look. If you look at the back of the suit, there are vents. For a look that will take you from a wedding to a job interview, or even to a regular day at the office, stick with a suit that has a center vent. As for lapels on a jacket, there are two types: peak lapels and notch lapels. The safest bet for a wedding, and the one that is most versatile, is the notch lapel.
Now the type of suit you will be seeking has been sized down considerably from the entire suit section to only half of the suit section. Hey, that’s progress. According to GQ, when trying on suits in the dressing room, take in a dress shirt and shoes to get a better feel of how the suit will look the day of. Most department stores will allow you use of some dress shoes to take with you in the dressing room.
The fit of the suit is equally important, so pay special attention to the chest and shoulder area of the suit you are trying on. When the top and/or middle button of the suit is buttoned, there should not be any tightness, nor should it be too loose. As for the shoulders, the pads should not go beyond your own natural shoulder line. Try to shoot for a suit that shows about a quarter of an inch of your dress shirt cuff.
This way you can pair your suit with an appropriate pair of cufflinks. Naturally, you will want to pair a suit with a tie, so be sure to match one up with the dress shirt you choose. A salesperson will be a great help in this department. Shoot for a more conservative look when it comes to the tie. Now is not the time to be wearing the Mickey Mouse tie your mother bought you in high school.
It may take you a few hours (or even days if you are especially picky) to find that perfect suit, but once you have it, you will surely get a lot of use out of it. Now, go out and have a great time at the wedding…and don’t forget the gift!