The groom’s guide to buying your wedding outfit
About a year before the wedding day it’s customary for brides to start disappearing for afternoons with the girls, booking dress appointments and having an obligatory glass of champagne, or three.
But spare a thought for the groom.
After all, grooms are going to be every bit on show, and in the case of same-sex marriages, there’ll be two outfits to get just right.
But where do you start? How far in advance should you start looking and just what do you need?
Relax. We’ve spoken to the experts and we’ve got you covered.
Start the search
Everyone talks about lead times for wedding dresses and getting organised early and it’s a similar story for kilt outfits.
“It’s never too early to get organised!” says Izzy at MacGregor and MacDuff.
“Once you decide on an outfit, we can set up your wedding party, which means that all outfits are booked on our system for that day.
“We like to have all the wedding party members measured at least 12 weeks before the wedding date, but we can do remeasurements three weeks before and ask that all children are re-measured.”
But don’t worry if you’re planning a short engagement. MacGregor and MacDuff can organise outfits on a shorter timescale.
Steven at McCalls Highlandwear says bookings for 2021 are filling up fast and encourages grooms to start their search as soon as possible while Iain at Kilts 4 U says it’s really important to start early.
“One of the first things a bride will do is sort out her dress so with so many things linked to the colour scheme, her partner’s outfit is really important.”
Whether you’re hiring or buying your outfit will also make a difference to the lead-time.
Iain suggests grooms intent on purchasing their outfit should start around 9-12 months in advance.
“Jacket manufacturing time from our tailors varies dramatically throughout the seasons, sometimes 14-16 weeks in peak season.”
Factor it in
So now you know to get that initial appointment booked early, what are the key elements you need to take into consideration?
Comfort is everything, according to Steven at McCalls.
“If you don’t feel comfortable in a kilt then we can also offer the perfect tartan alternative; trews,” he says.
Then colour is a definite deciding factor. Is there a colour scheme for the wedding or do you want your outfit to match the bridesmaids’ dresses?
McCalls has a special Outfit Designer feature on their website to view the entire hire range and get an idea of the tartan or colour that would suit best.
Kilts 4 U offers a special service where they can have ties made to order to match if your chosen colour is not in their range.
Meanwhile the stylists at MacGregor and MacDuff are also on-hand with their expert knowledge to help pick the perfect tartan to tie in with your theme.
However, Izzy also stresses it’s important to take into account your own style and preference.
Your venue style can also play a major role in the look of your chosen outfit.
Iain says, “Many couples are choosing more rustic and outdoor-style venues and this has evoked a huge increase towards tweeds and muted tones of both kilts and jackets.”
It’s a process
The actual process of sorting your wedding outfit very much depends on whether you plan to hire or buy.
When hiring, McCalls recommend viewing the options available on the Outfit Designer first before you even set foot in store.
Then, once you’ve made your appointment, the team will take measurements and discuss what options are available.
Iain says Kilts 4 U have taken careful consideration of trends when curating their hire range and actually own 12 of their available 30 tartans.
“We never add a kilt without having a jacket that complements it, including an exact match for wee ones from six months,” he says.
“Many couples will look to have everyone dressed the same but we always look for the option that initially makes the groom stand out and then build the other family members and guests outfits around this.”
Remember, your choice of tartan will be the starting block for the rest of your outfit, the “focal point” that Izzy says pulls it all together.
“We will then browse our jacket range, pairing up which jacket colours will complement the colours within your tartan,” she says.
“Once these key elements have been decoded, we can begin to browse our range of accessories.”
And to ensure the perfect fit, Izzy says MacGregor and MacDuff’s expert team will measure you before trying on a sizing kilt and your chosen jacket style.
“If you have chosen a hire tartan, we can book you in for a groom’s fitting, which means that you are able to get fully dressed up in your chosen outfit before your wedding date,” she adds.
Three’s a crowd
Remember the saying “Too many cooks spoil the broth”?
The same can be said when it comes to choosing your w-day outfit.
“Until you have decided on your outfit, we would advise to keep the number of people involved to a minimum,” says Izzy.
“Your partner or best man can assist you with the decision making!”
Covid restrictions also need to be taken into account, with limitations being placed on the number of people who can be accommodated per appointment.
At McCalls they also suggest that the two people at the first appointment be the groom and his partner or best man.
“At this appointment we will set up a party booking under the groom’s name,” says Steven.
“Each subsequent member of the wedding party can make an appointment when convenient and quote this party name to be added to it.”
Head to toe
You may have chosen your kilt or trews but there’s a lot more you need for the full outfit.
The amount of choice you have to customise depends on whether you’re hiring or buying.
If you don’t want to own your look beyond the wedding day there’s still plenty of choice.
Steven says your hire outfit should consist of jacket and waistcoat, tie, kilt, flashes, sporran, sgian dubh and brogue shoes.
Shirt and socks should also be included but must be purchased.
At McCalls you can choose from over 30 tartans and seven styles of jackets while MacGregor and MacDuff offer 14 tartans which can be paired with six different jacket designs.
“Your outfit can be completely unique to you, with variations of sock colour, as well as a range of tie and flashes options available,” says Izzy.
Purchasing your wedding outfit further increases your options, with even more tartans to choose from.
At MacGregor and MacDuff Izzy says there are over 4,000 tartans as well as “a decadent range of accessories.”
And at Kilts 4 U they have created a real shopping experience for what Iain describes as a once in a lifetime purchase.
“Our bespoke service allows you to build your dream outfit which can be from developing your own tartan or choosing your family or clan tartan,” says Iain.
“There are also many options which are contemporary or even lightweight tweeds – it doesn’t always have to be tartan, sometimes a “touch of tartan” is enough!
“Our tailored jacket service allows choice of garment cloth, style, lining and buttons.”
Iain adds you can then complement the outfit with a matching sporran, accessories and tartan inlaid shoes.
And at McCalls you can even have the best of both worlds, hiring some elements and then purchasing bespoke parts such as a customised sporran, made to measure tartan brogues or one of their hundreds of kilt pin styles.
So when you see brides getting ready for a day of dress shopping fun, start planning your own outfit search.