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The Wedding Bill: Who should pay for the modern wedding?

By Cecilia Rydberg on March 1st, 2013
Will Kim be copying Kate's dress too?

We’re not all lucky enough to get the groom’s parents (via the tax payer) to pay for the happy day!

By Cecilia Rydberg

Along with being one of the happiest days of your life, a wedding is an occasion for moral dilemmas, financial woes and two or ten tantrums. When a marriage was a matter of economic opportunity and yes, also often a matter of love, it was standard that the family of the bride pay a dowry to the groom and his family – a payment of sorts for the bride’s future habitation with the man in question.

However, in more contemporary times, the dowry has evolved to a responsibility shift in the form of the parents of the bride paying for the wedding and all the costs that go along with it. 
Yet, why should the parents of the bride dole out the cash? Well surprisingly, this tradition is no longer in the majority in the UK.

Pass the Buck

In the UK it is found that roughly 52% of couples nowadays pay for the expense of their wedding festivities, and this change, head of commercial at John Lewis Insurance says “may have come about because weddings are getting more expensive, meaning people are less willing to burden the bride’s parents with the whole cost.  It might also be that the increasing age of marrying couples has given them greater financial independence.”

Average Cost of a Wedding

According to the popular go-to website, the average cost of a wedding lands on around £11,000. “My husband and I paid for the wedding ourselves and I’d say the average cost is between 5000 to 7000 for a ‘normal’ wedding,” says Wiveka Eklund, a native of Sweden.  “But in Sweden I think the trend is much the same as in England, it is about financial stability and whether you have the means to fund your own wedding or if you fall back on tradition, and let the parents of the bride (or groom) pay for the party.”

Splurge or Spend

For the couple that do not or cannot rely on their parents to dip into saving for financing their wedding some necessary steps need to be taken to come to a conclusion on how best to save, what to prioritise in terms of dress, venue, catering and so on, and when to spend!

Ways to save can be asking yourself the question of what can you do yourself; is it an option to make the invitations by hand, with a little home-made creative flair, is that something you would as a couple be able to take on in order to save a few hundred pounds?  Do you need a traditional 7-tiered white cake?  “My bridesmaids paid for their own dresses, I do not know if this is unorthodox, but it is something they offered to do and my wallet was grateful,” says Chatz Fernando who had a beach wedding in Sri Lanka.

Priorities vary from couple to couple, the venue and dress may be the most important to some and therefore couples might be more willing to cut back on the material expenses in order to snag their dream location. Having a good plan of action for the wedding, might as unromantic as it sounds, help make the transition into the marriage smoother.


Vintage Wedding Style on a budget

How to cut costs on your wedding budget

Fit for a queen? The increasing cost of wedding celebrations throughout the Jubilee years


Feature, Groom, Wedding Planning

A groom’s perspective: Choosing the suit

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on January 22nd, 2013

We write a lot about wedding dresses, bridal shoes and make-up where to spend the honeymoon. Most of it will be from the bride’s point-of-view – hey we’re girls ok! – but what about the groom? How is he experiencing the wedding planning process? To find out, we asked groom Max share some of his experiences and tips with us. Today we devote this space to the all-important suit.

“To some extent Grooms don’t get a look in when it comes to the sartorial expectation of weddings.”

Has she found a dress? Will she be wearing white? And so it goes on. No mention of… have you found your suit? Are you going 2 piece or 3? Top hat and tails? Tailor made or off the peg?

Grooms are the second thought for most but that’s not to say that there isn’t the same stresses in finding the right fit, the right look and a few extra pieces to lift a suit from looking like you are on your way to the office to wedding attire you can be proud of. It’s far from foolish vanity… it’s one the most memorable days of your life.

If you are avoiding the whole Penguin look and top hat and tails are out, then there is a definite choice to be made between between tailor made or off the peg. If you are on a budget then off the peg with alterations could be the way to get the tailor made look for less. A suit with enough fabric to give can often be nipped and tucked to a better look.

A word of caution however. The likes of Paul Smith, Armani and Hugo Boss will set you back in the region of £800 upward depending on 2- or 3-piece and how many alterations are required, as you often pay per alteration. It can be the price of a tailored suit. You could get lucky, find a suit that’s pretty much fitted to you, but there’s always a nip and tuck that can be made to make it feel like it was handmade.

The tailored route is time consuming, with numerous fittings but the results are often rewarding. If you’ve got the time and the money it’s recommended.  An experience that will lead the least fussy dresser to consider the details of the weight, feel and shade of fabrics; of whether cuffs should be higher or lower and whether to make a bold statement in their choice of lining. The result is something that is bespoke, will last with care and is probably more comfortable than anything you’ve ever worn. Prices start from around £600 from a decent tailor for a two piece, adding £150 upward for 3 pieces, so while expensive is still relatively affordable.

Once you’ve got the suit there are touches other than a flower in the button hole to add your own stamp on the big day whether that’s antique cufflinks or a handkerchief. For myself, my grandfathers’ watch with chain to complement the three piece look and antique cigarette case were enough to add my mark.

Max is a freelance writer currently based in Australia. You can follow him on Twitter on @maxbrearley.

[Image: Moss Hire]


How to choose the groom’s wedding outfit

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on October 30th, 2012

While some Groomzillas are convinced their wedding day is all about them, they shouldn’t forget that they wouldn’t be walking down that aisle without one very special person: the groom.

After all had he not asked for your hand, you might not be picking out that bridal gown, get a gorgeous ring on your wedding finger nor show your commitment to the person you love in front of family and friends. OK, most eyes might be on the bride during a wedding, but what about the groom?

What should a groom look for when choosing a suit?

Choosing a wedding suit can be quite complex, so it will be well worth the money to seek expert advice – especially if you want his apparel to go with the colours of the wedding. Of course you can buy off-the-rail, but with all the subtleties of colour and design which will be affected by both time of year of the wedding, to body shape and skin colour, bespoke is the way forward.

Also skilled suit makers will be able to offer impartial advice, and have trained for many years to ensure they know everything about their trade. If you do decide to go for a ready-made suit, then make sure you go somewhere where they seem to know their stuff.

How much involvement you as the bride have on the choice of your groom really depends on how much of the wedding you have been responsible for organising already.

If the venue and overall theme has been decided (modern, traditional, vintage, church) then he might be fine, with a few helpful pointers. But to be on the safe side, make sure you send with a sample cloth of the bridesmaids’ dresses so that his attire can complement them.

When it comes to cut, the smartest of all is a Morning Coat (yep that’s what the Royals wear), which is black with striped trousers and a patterned waistcoat. If you want a more informal style, opt for a more modern and relaxed approach and choose a fitted, 1 or 2 button lounge suit.

However if in doubt, make it a day and join him on this important task! If he’s not big on fashion he’s likely to be grateful for you removing some of the pressure.

The images above are from one of our favourite suit makers, Spencer Hart. Check out his Spring/Summer 2013 collection here.

Feature, Gallery, Groom

London Collections: Men – Stylish suit inspiration for the dapper groom

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on June 18th, 2012

This weekend saw the capital play host to London Collections: Men – the first men’s only fashion week. The catwalks, such as Spencer Hart – where Sherlock himself aka Benedict Cumberbatch made his catwalk debut – were filled with stylish suits for the dapper gentleman or groom. Take a look at ten of our favourite designs below to be inspired for your forthcoming wedding.

London Collection: E Tautz

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Accessories, Gallery, Groom

Etsy finds: Five quirky cufflinks for your man on your wedding day

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on November 9th, 2011

It’s a bit unfair really that we devote most of our time here at Bridalwave writing about brides, high heels and dresses and not enough about grooms, suits and men’s attire. Therefore this week’s ‘Etsy finds’ is dedicated to the man, the groom.

One great way to make a otherwise fairly standard groom’s suit a bit more personal and perhaps a bit more fun is to wear some well thought out cufflinks. So to help you – and your groom – discover something to his (or your!) taste, we’ve scanned Etsy to see what’s available and we did find some great ones. Check out the gallery below to satisfy the geek, the rocker and the photographer….


Picture 1 of 5

If your husband to be is a geek at heart, why not let him wear his heart on his sleeves. $20.00 USD from Crimson King

Feature, Gallery, Gowns, Groom, Italian Wedding, wedding dresses, Wedding Gown Photos

Stunning wedding fashion for the bride and groom by Carlo Pignatelli

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on August 19th, 2011

I love Italy, the way of life, the food, the wine, the people, the fashion and now also the wedding designers. What I’ve learned this week when sifting through the Italian wedding industry to find designers to showcase, one thing that seems apparent is their love for the theatrical, that hint of drama sprinkled with romance almost to the point where it almost becomes ostentatious. If you are after a wedding dress or a suit for the groom that all this then I suggest you look at Carlo Pignatelli‘s 2011 wedding collection.  Enjoy! (Take note of the cape and corset – on the groom!!)

Feature, Gallery, Groom, Italian Wedding

Principe Franz for the refined gentleman and groom

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on August 18th, 2011

I know the main focus on these pages is usually on brides and how beautiful they can look in dream like wedding dresses and shoes. But I haven’t forgotten (completely) about the groom, especially not when the groom’s fashion is wrapped around handsome Italian models… Men definitely look great in suits.

As part of our Italian wedding attire showcase, I just had to include Principe Franz. While a couple of the suits would give Duchamp a run for their money, the elegance and refined style is great. And if your husband-to-be is a bit of a dandy this is just his thing. What do you think ladies?

Feature, Gallery, Gowns, Groom, News, wedding dresses

Newlyweds Zara Phillips and England rugby ace Mike Tindall in pictures

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on August 1st, 2011

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall royal wedding

Picture 1 of 9

Zara Phillips arriving for her wedding to Mike Tindall.

We hope you enjoyed your weekends as much as royal granddaughter Zara Phillips and new husband England rugby player  Mike Tindall appeared to do.

In a lavish ceremony on Saturday 30th July, the equestrian royal Zara exchanged vows with Mike in Canongate Kirk in front of guests, which included Her Majesty The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William and his new bride Kate, Prince Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

The bride and groom were all smiles when they greeted onlookers, first alone as they arrived to the church and then as husband and wife after the ceremony.

Everyone were excited to see what dress sporty tomboy Zara had picked for her wedding and, although receiving a mixed reception so far, Zara looked radiant and feminine in her £3,000 off-the-peg gown by Stewart Parvin – it was a classic and elegant look.

Her hair tied up in an elegant chignon, Zara also wore her mother Princess Anne’s tiara, passed on to Anne by the Queen in 1972. The Greek inspired ‘Meander’ tiara was given to the Queen as a wedding present by her mother-in-law when she married the Duke of Edinburgh. In her hand the bride held a bouquet of white calla lilies by Paul Thomas.

As Zara is no HRH – royal brides usually use Welsh gold for their wedding band – the couple exchanged platinum wedding rings acquired by the groom, Mike Tindall.

The groom wore a made-to-measure morning suit by Savile Row tailors Cad & The Dandy. Couldn’t have been easy to dress a rugby player… The suit was teamed with £350 Oliver Sweeney shoes.

Photos: PA Wire/Press Association

Groom, News, Royal weddings

Royal Wedding: Mike Tindall arrives for his Edinburgh wedding to Zara Phillips

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on July 30th, 2011

Guests have started to arrive to the wedding between The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips and England rugby player Mike Tindall which is taking place in Edinburgh, Scotland.

With less than one hour to go, the groom was all smiles as he joked with his groom’s men. Dressed in a black one-button morning tailcoat and grey pinstripe trousers, Mike was also wearing a white rose on his jacket lapel.

All photos: Press Association

Groom, Royal weddings

Classic cut suit for groom at next royal wedding

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on June 22nd, 2011

Photo: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

While we’re still reminiscing how dashing Prince William looked in his Irish Guards uniform when he got married to Kate in April, details around the other British royal wedding have started to emerge.

England national rugby star Mike Tindall – whose bride is none other than Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne – will be kicking off married life in style in a classic morning suit.

London bespoke tailors Cad & the Dandy on famous Savile Row have been commissioned to dress the rugby player for his wedding to Zara at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh on Saturday 30 July. The wedding party will be wearing a classic morning suit made from a black barathea cloth made in Huddersfield, the trousers will have a slightly lighter stripe than what is traditional making them more up to date. As for the waistcoats, they will either be buff coloured or dove grey according and shoes will be classic Oxfords according to Cad & the Dandy.

While we expect elegance just like William and Kate’s wedding, we’re guessing it will be a slightly smaller affair. However there will be no lack of royalty. Among the wedding guests are the bride’s grandparents, the Queen and Prince Philip and newlyweds Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate. This is what happens when you’re part of the Firm, your wedding will never be an intimate event.

Still no hints have been given about what Zara will be wearing, but the money is currently on designer Paul Costelloe, whose creation she wore to Kate and William’s wedding.

Photo: Cad & the Dandy

Get the Look, Groom, The Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding: dress him like Beckham

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on May 6th, 2011

Photo: Press Association

Ok, we’ll admit that we almost choked on the Champagne when we first caught a glimpse of David Beckham as he arrived to Kate and William’s wedding last Friday.

With blooming mum-to-be Victoria by his side, former Manchester United footballer David looked absolutely dashing in his grey and black ensemble. If you’re thinking about getting your other half to dress like Beckham for your wedding, we’ve got some great news. You can copy the whole look – sans OBE medal – with a little help from

Black Herringbone morning suit by Torre - £260

Fur Felt polished melusine top hat by Christys of London - £279

Sky blue tie - £5.99

Dates for your diary, Groom, News

Dressing Prince Charming: M&S men’s suits 25% off until 3 May

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on April 26th, 2011

When it comes to any wedding the focus usually ends up being on the bride and her entourage. Sometimes we’re all guilty of forgetting that there is another person that is equally important in a wedding ceremony. No, not the priest – the groom of course!

Dressing your Prince Charming this wedding season need not be too tough or expensive, because retailer Marks and Spencer is currently offering a 25% discount on men’s suits until 3 May 2011 when you spend over £160 on suits.

For further info on the full M&S suit range visit the website.


How your groom should look this wedding season

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on March 29th, 2011

We do talk a lot about what the bride is wearing here on Bridalwave, but what about the groom? He ought to look equally fashionable on his wedding day. After all brides, it’s not all about you (mostly but not all).

When the photos of this dashing fella appeared in our inbox we couldn’t help but to share him with you lovely readers.

Courtesy of Suitopia – we think he might be Swedish – here is how bridegrooms of 2011 should look.

Mr Dashing is wearing a morning coat in ‘Wilhelm Black’ which is 95% cashmere (£247), cashmere, cotton and silk trousers in ‘Johnny Deluxe Grey – White Blue’(£112) and a waistcoat in ‘Massimo Marbled Grey (£80). The cravats are in ‘White’ and ‘Burgundy’ Dupion and come with a pre-tied ruche with adjustable neck bands (£30 each)

Suitopia is perfect if you don’t have the time to visit the tailor. Simply enter your own measurements, click and your man’s new suit will arrive in 3-4 weeks. If you’re concerned what the fabric will look like in daylight or in the church you can also order a pack of fabric samples for £10 and be reimbursed when ordering the suit.

Groom, Wedding Answers

How to choose a groom’s, best man’s and usher’s wedding outfits

By Andrea Petrou on December 9th, 2009

Suit.jpgYou’ve chosen your wedding dress, flowers and favours, but there’s still a big organisational gap missing, and that’s what the important men in your life will be wearing.

This not only includes, very obviously your groom but also the best man and ushers. Although we have a fair bit of knowledge around this subject, we know how important it is for your other half to look just as good as you on the big day.

So we asked to bespoke suit and wedding expert Adam King from King and Allen a few questions to really get the lowdown on what the men should be wearing on the big day.

What should a groom look for when he’s looking for a suit?
Choosing a Wedding suit can be quite complex so expert advice should be sought. To make it harder there are subtleties of colour and design that are affected by certain specifics of the individual wedding, from the location and time of year to his body shape and skin colour. You need sound impartial advice from an expert, so avoid high street retailers who will try and push whatever is on their shelves. The way to solve this is buy going bespoke. However if you’re going off the peg you need to find someone who offers a broad range of cloths and styles and serious expertise in wedding attire.

Should the bride be involved or should it be the Grooms choice?
This mainly depends on how much of the wedding you have organised already. Choosing a wedding suit is all about style and colour.
If you’ve decided on your venue and overall theme (modern, traditional, church, country house etc) then he should be fine to choose his style.
As long as the wedding palate is set in stone, and favours, flowers, cakes and most importantly bridesmaids dresses have been chosen, then he’s unlikely to get the colouring wrong. I would advise sending him along with a cutting of the bridesmaids dresses. Don’t expect to match the colours but to compliment them.

If in doubt – join him. He’ll probably be grateful for you removing the responsibility from his shoulders.

What colour should a groom go for?
Cream should be the secondary colour for a traditional wedding, silver should be the secondary colour (the inside lining of the jacket and the back of the waistcoat) if you’re going for a more modern look. The dominant suit colours (ie of the suit itself) are navy blue or mid grey. They are both extremely fashionable at the moment for weddings as they suit most complexions and are a far cry from the dark charcoals or pinstripes that smack of office drudgery.

What are the traditional wedding suits and are there any new suit trends?

Traditional formalwear is ideal for a wedding in a large country house with a large guest list, or a traditional church ‘white wedding’. The smartest of all is a Morning Coat, which is black with striped trousers and a patterned waistcoat. A warmer and less formal option is the Morning Suit, which is ‘Ascot Grey’ – a lovely mid grey which is both stylish and modern.

If the wedding is beginning after 5 (or dusk – whichever comes sooner) Morning dress is not appropriate. The evening equivalent is black tie.

I have noticed, however, that fewer clients are going down the formal route next year. Instead they are opting for a more relaxed, modern event and their suits are reflecting this. Fitted, 1 or 2 button lounge suits (often without ties) are de rigueur, with a little flourish of fun such as coloured stitching on the boutonniere (button-hole) or cuff button.

How should the best man / ushers dress?
Ideally the best man and ushers should be in the same suit as the groom. This is very hard to achieve, however, unless you go bespoke, since different body shapes suit different cuts, and it’s very hard to find one suit that fits all.

If you want the groom to stand out, why not put him in a patterned tie, whilst the others wear a plain tie in the same colour? You could do the same with waistcoats, or the buttonhole flowers – it’s these subtle differences which balance so well with the uniformity of the suits.

Do not let the ushers wear whatever their own suits without your approval. Inevitably one of them (at least) will end up wearing a badly fitting or ridiculous colour suit that will stand out in all the photos. You have been warned.

King & Allen can be contacted on 0800 027 4430 or visit their website

Groom, Product news

H Samuel launches “proposal packs” for men who want to propose in the store

By Andrea Petrou on November 11th, 2009

man,proposing marriage.gifPicture the scene, you’ve popped into the jewellers with your other half to pick up a birthday present for a friend when one of you gets the urge to propose and gets down on one knee there and then.

We didn’t think this was a regular occurrence and proposing in the middle of a packed shop (we’d just about accept Tiffany) is hardly romantic, but H Samuel thinks otherwise.

According to the highstreet store, spontaneous acts of romance have tripled in it’s branches in the past year, often by men acting spontaneously when they see sight of trays of engagement rings.

Store staff have now been provided with a ‘proposal pack’ including a soft cushion and a bottle of bubbly to make it more comfortable and romantic for the men caught up in
the moment.

The pack also includes a pack of tissues to dry any tears from emotional women as they, hopefully, say yes. The pack will be given to any love-struck couple who get engaged in the store, as long as they buy a ring from the new Christmas Kisses range.

We’re not sure about you, but we hardly think this is the most romantic way to ask someone to marry you. Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below.

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