Wedding Attire Budget: Buy versus Rent

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by dmourati, May 29, 2012.

  1. dmourati

    dmourati Member

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    Greetings,

    I'm writing to inquire of your sage counsel for where best to spend my limited budget for my upcoming wedding. The following spreadsheet is the starting point for the budget, but everything is certainly up for discussion.


    Fashion
    Alterations $200
    Bridal Gown $800
    Bride's Accessories $75
    Bride's lingerie $100
    Bride's shoes $125
    Gown Preservation $200
    Groom Tuxedo Rental $200
    Groom's Accessories $100
    Groom's shoes $125
    Hair/Makeup $350
    Hairpiece/Veil $175
    Wedding Bands $2500
    Fashion Subtotal $4950

    My wedding will take place at 4PM outdoors in Monterey, CA November 3rd, 2012. We will host a formal reception to follow.

    Going into this, I imagined simply renting a tuxedo. I've since learned better, thanks in part to this forum and other fine resources online.

    Now I'm leaning towards traditional morning dress as I really like the look and tend to like more formal versus less. I liked the black morning coat but perhaps the dark gray is the ticket. Alternatively, I could go stroller though I don't like it as much.

    http://www.blacktieguide.com/Supplemental/Morning_Dress.htm

    With my meager budget, I can probably afford to buy one or two items from my ensemble and rent the rest. Perhaps the waistcoat, tie, and shoes are the appropriate places to start? I'd have to rent the morning coat/trousers in that event. I do have gray pinstriped pants from another suit that could work in a pinch but I don't think they fit the formal morning dress with its wider, more interesting patterns.

    I had also planned to buy unique wedding ties for my two groomsmen and the father of the bride. None are likely to have appropriate attire and will all likey rent. Pocket squares, shoes and possibly more would be on their own to encourage uniqueness. My brother is the best man and is not known for his high fashion. He will follow my lead to a certain extent but cannot be counted on to look smart in anything left to his own devices.

    Your advice on which parts of my outfit to buy versus rent would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012


  2. add911_11

    add911_11 Senior member

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    Firstly congrats on your new life moment. Hope your wedding will be great

    However I am strongly oppose renting a morning coat, the rented ones, all of them, have very bad fit which will show up easily even with alternations.

    Even with the rent tux, it is the same story. However I will try to get a cheap fussed tux for a better fit, a lot of low cost tailor will have this option available.

    I will certainly buy a pair of good shoes, at least the Goodyear or Blake rapid level. A tie and pocket square should not also be too expensive. Shirt for day event will be crop from current collection, I double you have tux shirt with proper shirt studs and bow tie.

    For the night event, in budgetary sense I would buy a black suit and wear a white waistcoat, the bowtie and patent pumps. However do buy the shoes from trustworthy shops. Alternatively a velvet slippers will also do the job.
     


  3. musicguy

    musicguy Senior member

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    A $200 formal outfit won't be any better than those you rent. I've researched formalwear a lot since I wear it for my work.

    It's next to impossible to find quality formalwear, especially tailcoat or stroller under $1000. Semi-Formal wear (tuxedo is possible to spend a bit less, but not much. Even if you buy it from a user here, expect to pay at least $850 without considering alterations unless you have a long time to wait for the off chance that someone has one cheaper.

    That said, you can probably find a properly fitting suit for around $500.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012


  4. CDFS

    CDFS Senior member

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    Equalise your budget?
     


  5. HansderHund

    HansderHund Senior member

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    Congrats! You seem to be fairly organized and your soon-to-be wife must be going along with whatever you choose. I'll agree with what's been said in that any formalwear that you rent will look like you're wearing someone else's clothing. I would assume this is the polar opposite for what you have in mind, i.e. very formal/traditional. Instead of looking back at the pictures and seeing a group of men in costume, why don't you go with something that will fit well.

    At the time of my wedding I didn't own a tux. I had little interest in renting one that wouldn't fit well, so I went with a MTM suit that was within my budget. In the end I got to keep the suit for future use and I looked like I was wearing something that came out of my closet.

    Since you have drawn a budget and you would like to keep it in that range, I'll just offer my piece of advice: though it is a celebration for you two, remember that you're essentially throwing a party. We cut back/out a lot of things for our wedding because we knew it would snowball if we allowed ourselves everything. We had a nice ceremony, a great photographer a band and a great reception. I don't regret one thing we left out or spent less on. In fact, it would be hard for me to think "Oh, I wish we'd spent more on..." We still have about 20 bottles of wine leftover from the event and it was a couple of years ago.

    Best of luck!
     


  6. jwharki

    jwharki Member

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    Congrats!

    I notice you have the wedding bands priced at $2500. How did you arrive at that number?
     


  7. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    OP - first, thank you for writing a coherent first post and having looked around the site first to get the basics down. I'm also going to recommend that you wear a nice lounge suit (by which I mean what most people today just call "a suit"), for three main reasons:

    1) You've got somewhat awkward timing for wearing either morning or evening dress. The morning coat would be fine for the ceremony, but then for the dinner and dancing to follow, you'll be in morning dress, unless you change into something else, which then adds another outfit to your expenses. Wearing a tuxedo, on the other hand, would clearly be incorrect for a ceremony at 4. A nice navy suit would be appropriate at either time.

    2) Your wedding party would then not feel so out of place and may get to wear their own clothes if they have a suit. Likewise, extrapolating from your comments about the wedding party, it sounds like the guests in general won't be tremendously dressed, and certainly none in morning dress. Personally I think if the groom is that much more formally dressed than the guests, it looks awkward and creates some distance between the groom and his guests. As if everyone had come to see your perform in a costumed drama rather than come to celebrate with you and support you. A related point is that if you've never worn morning dress in your life or anything remotely similar, you might yourself feel uncomfortable.

    3) You can own everything that you wear, which means you can have it fit you.

    Finally, you can then use everything that you wear for this event later in life in any suit-wearing situation.
     


  8. dmourati

    dmourati Member

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    Thanks all for the warm welcome, helpful replies and kind words. Let me address the few direct questions above and provide an update on the negotiations behind the scenes with regard to budget.

    I believe it would be selfish of me to outspend or even equalize the bride. She has been gracious and concise in her budget and I feel I must do the same. She came up with the line item budget above and I feel it is a reasonable starting point and fairly represents what will end up spending in this category.

    That said, I did build in 50% of the wedding band budget (or $1250) for myself.

    Given this boost to the budget, and imagining a small token ring for myself, brings the total for my attire to $1675.

    I've presented my fiancee an elegant and classic engagement ring*. She will be perfectly thrilled with what I can get for the other half of the ring budget, I'm sure.

    As an aside, I built a regular $50 per month into my own personal budget for fashion. Over six months, that adds an additional $300, or a grand total of $1975.

    Those numbers should give you a feel, both initially on the ultra-low side, and now updated and expanded to the high side.

    There were also a few other points I'd like to comment on, and thank the poster for as well.

    Awkward timing. Yes, of course. This timing issue is what brought me to the morning suit as an option in the first place. In my case, I feel that either a black tie option or morning dress are the most appropriate choices. Here's why. The gown, as I'm told, is formal. Again, I give my fiancee the deference she deserves and let her set the formality. The ceremony will be outdoors in a formal garden while the reception will be indoors in an elegant drawing room. Dinner will be plated and served by staff. Champagne will be served. There will be live music and the event will feature an open art gallery. That puts us in the ultraformal to formal range as far as I understand. I'm afraid white tie would seem far too pretentious to my guests and frankly it would be a difficult ensemble for me to pull off. The guests have likely never seen white tie in real life. The party will end at 9PM.

    Wedding party and guests. My best man is my brother, he hardly will have any expectation or ability to wear his own attire. So true with the father of the groom. The second groomsman is a toss up in that regard, I could ask, he is my fiancee's brother. He has a military background and I suspect I can count on him the most of the three. He asked if we were going with tuxedos when I asked him to be a groomsman and my answer was yes. As for the other guests, I suspect a good portion of them would outdress the groomsman on any given Sunday. I toyed with the idea of a black tie event as invited outright. I'm sure I would find little support from my bride so I never brought it up. I could probably convince a few of my friends to go black tie. A sort of honor guard. Also, perhaps, some of my mother's friends. These guests would only be in photographs for the evening portion of the event. During the day, they will likely be reviewing fine art and sipping cocktails. Fully appropriate black-tie activities even during the pre-6AM timeframe. The ladies are another toss up.

    So I believe the formality, venue, guest list and time of day likely brings us back to morning dress or black tie. If I've misconstrued that element please do sound off.

    I'm open to the idea of an attire change at 6PM. It would require more coordination but would feel great. I'm having the majority of my pictures taken before 6PM which allows me to use the morning suit in garden setting and amongst fine architecture, art and nature. The photos later in the evening would be more of the guests, the overall party, entertainment, and some dancing. It would certainly be difficult for me to don a second outfit for dinner. Not to mention, more expensive. The dinner jacket pre-6PM seems somehow more gauche to me. I could do it but it not without sacrificing some pleasant surprise for those who know me best. A "tux" is very much the normal expectation among all those I've polled in person thus far.

    So, that should be enough new information to spark some more input, especially given I've increased the budget and crystallized my thinking on morning dress.

    Your sage counsel is always appreciated.



    * Note regarding the engagement ring. If anyone needs help in this regard, I'm your huckleberry. It's the least I could do for the help I've already received here.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012


  9. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks for the additional info. It does sound like your guests, ceremony, and venue call for additional formality. Certainly if some come in black tie, you shouldn't be in a lounge suit (as an aside, you can make it "black tie optional" which basically gives those who can the go-ahead to wear black tie, and lets others know to wear at least a suit and tie).

    I do think it will be quite odd to sit down for dinner in morning dress, especially if others are in black tie. I realize you'll get pictures taken before and during the ceremony, and they'll get pictures taken later, but they'll also be at the ceremony. Presumably those wearing black tie will be wearing it for both ceremony and later events. To me wearing a tuxedo to the ceremony seems like by far the lesser of two evils. I assume the 4pm time for the ceremony is set in stone?
     


  10. buzzron

    buzzron Well-Known Member

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    Renting is ok if you think the tux/suit is in great shape and you find a fit that's perfect for you. But you'll have to provide a deposit for the rental plus you have to be extra careful not to ruin it before or after the event. The better alternative would just go with tailor made for a cheaper package.
     


  11. dmourati

    dmourati Member

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    Thanks for your follow up. I appreciate your take on this costume conundrum.

    No, in fact, the ceremony time is not yet fixed. Four PM was suggested by the venue coordinator. I think that time lends itself well to allowing guests time to arrive without feeling rushed while still providing a good platform for a "late" evening party. We face one other limitation on the timing as regards the music. Because the venue is in a residential neighborhood, they have a "no amplified music after 10PM rule." That to me signals the end of the evening, at least as far as that venue goes. In my younger days that policy would have been a deal breaker. Now, I'll take it as an excuse to move the party to more comfortable digs and winnow down the older crowd.
     


  12. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    4 PM Outdoors in Monterey CA?
    The Wedding Party may suffer from Hypothermia.
    My daughter was married at about the same time on May 25th
    in Carmel CA several years ago. The ceremony was overlooking the
    ocean. Around 3:30PM the fog rolled in. The Bride and her Maids of Honor
    froze in their bare shoulders, etc. The Party afterwards (inside) was a blast.

    Note: I do not believe Morning Dress is appropriate after sundown.
    That may be the reason why it's called Morning Dress. In November at 4 PM
    Morning Dress would be a faux pas, incorrect. etc. If you like the look,
    set the ceremony much earlier. It would indeed be sad if you are going
    out on a limb to put the Wedding Party in Morning Dress when you
    violate it's very purpose, not that anyone would know, except for Style
    Forum members like like me whose brains are cluttered with such trivia.
     


  13. dmourati

    dmourati Member

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    Thanks for raising these issues. I certainly consulted the weather and fog possibilities as soon as we started looking for locations.

    As you know, the area in question is well known for its microclimates.

    I'm told by several locals that fog is not an issue in November. Fog is more a summer phenomenon along the coast.

    For November, temperatures range from an average low of 47F to an average high of 63F. October is about 5 degrees warmer.

    Sundown for that particular day would be at 6:08PM according to my research.

    All seems okay to me and my midwestern sense of comfortable temperatures. Since moving to the area from Chicago ten years ago I've heard more complaining about weather from local Californians than any other group. To me, it's a paradise. I'm thankful for any variety away from the 70 degrees and sunny we get nearly year round.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012


  14. duggyald

    duggyald Senior member

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    Give the rental a shot by fittng a few garments..if you can't find what you're looking for then it would be best to just purchase a simple and classic tux (in lieu of the suit).
     


  15. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Sounds like a tux is definitely the way to go for you. You might consider moving the ceremony a bit, particularly if it's not very long. But I'll leave that to your discretion. But in any case, tux is much better than morning dress, for the reasons I described above. With $1675, I'd start with this tux:

    http://www.suitsupply.com/shop/1.P1109A/Tuxedo?filter_27=736

    Then you've got $1200 to get tux shirt, braces, shoes, a waist covering (i.e. either a waistcoat or a cummerbund - cummerbund is likely to be the far more economical option), and a black bow tie. As for what choices to make with those accessories, start here and then follow all the links at the bottom:

    http://www.styleforum.net/a/what-tuxedo-do-i-need-for-a-black-tie-event
     


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