By Paul Pannone
Last week, as in most weeks of dealing with the male side of weddings, we received the usual S.O.S call involving disparaging information about tuxedos. This time it was from Ron Kahan, owner of Top Hat formal in Whitehall, PA. Kahan’s concern of yet another opinion by G.Q that said tuxedos are out are of course valid. But further research found a quote from G.Q’s Glen O’Brien a.k.a, The Style Guy, speaking words of wisdom. O’Brien’s statement of “Tuxedos don’t go out of style; tuxedos are style” rings true in a response to the question, are tuxedos out?
The response does not quell concerns about the embattled tuxedo, or the forgotten groom. In the discussion group Wedding Water Cooler, women experts touch on what they feel are some necessary changes that must take place to keep up with how today’s groom differs from those of even a few years ago.
Diane Freeland, owner of Events of Sophistication in Baltimore, MD, told eWNz of plans to stage an event for grooms over a year ago. “I am in the planning process of hosting my first “grooms only” event called “It’s Your Day Too”. Most expos, shows, etc, are geared towards brides. However, as we all know, grooms are taking a more active role in the entire process. I will focus on various aspects of the wedding planning process as well as enjoying the wedding and really feeling a part of the wedding instead of being the one who just shells out the money,” she told eWNz.
Freeland plans to use grooming products, magazines, golfing lessons, even a honeymoon trip to entice men and get them even more interested in planning for their wedding. Agreeing with Freeland is Sheryl Davies of The Wedding Guide in Windsor, ON. “I am thinking of the same but incorporating it into a non conventional bridal show. You can put in a man cave with a bar, golf simulators, phooz ball, pool tables, a flight simulator, some Harley bikes, a pull down screen with sports on it and make it like a stag and doe setting. Have a flair bartender for some showmanship and cater to what guys love: playing!” according to Davies.
Davies has been an avid proponent of getting grooms more involved and making certain they look like the male guest of honor on his special day. “He needs to be in a tuxedo to provide continuity with the theme of the day and the bride’s dress. There she’ll be in a beautiful, expensive gown; anything less than a tuxedo on the groom will fall short of excellence,” says Davies.
In less than a week the Wedding Water Cooler melds experience and the willingness to learn. Seasoned wedding analyst, Christine Boulton of Think Like A Bride offered suggestions on how Freeland could make the best use of resources. “Find out where your target market gets their info, what radio stations do they listen to in the car, what local alternative papers do they read; those are the places I would advertise. As for vendors for swag, try high-end barber shops, those are becoming more of a trend. Try local travel agents. Reach out to anywhere local that is popular with bachelor parties,” suggested Boulton.
Freeland sees her project in an innovative light, departing from the usual me-too event. “Oh, it is definitely not going to be a typical expo/bridal show. It is going to be a “Groom Room” and the hotel that I am communicating with has a pool area that we will use for the cigar bar and drinks. It is going to be a happy hour type event, but with a short presentation to cover various topics and give them the opportunity ask questions and interact with vendors, I am hoping to get a magician and a belly dancer as part of the entertainment.”
Celebrity Event Planner Extraordinaire, Samantha Goldberg added,” I love the ‘Grooms Only” idea. We did try this in NYC/NJ..I think there are some fabulous ways to incorporate the groom; the groom is truly waiting to be a part of the planning. Including the groom solves the “vision” for him and works in the bride’s favor. After all, it’s his day to gloat too!” says Goldberg. Goldberg too cites innovative ideas for the groom. “A ‘Grooms Lounge’ with thick brown leather sofas, cigars (Cigar rollers) maybe a nice table, arrangements of Brandy snifters, etc. A ‘Man Cave'; I think this would be great for many things. It’s all very affordable if you have a starting point and you can slowly build that area into something very special. How about a Groom’s Show. It’s where the guys can see the cool new tuxes. They can try them on in areas are set up for lounging; cigar rollers, speciality drinks, the hottest new music and cool trends for the male,” envisions Goldberg. “The only thing excluded would be women,” she laughs.
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