The wedding industry is starting to pick up again, with hopeful couples planning events that take advantage of the growing capacity being afforded venues as pandemic-related restrictions ease. That’s the first trend!
The next big trend is what’s going on in men’s attire. We went straight to the source for that intel, tapping the more than three decades of experience that James Buchakjian, president of Sagets Formal Wear in Drexel Hill, brings to the party. He’s a custom tailor and men’s formal wear specialist who has dressed more than 4,000 grooms and their wedding parties — and, counting!
James Buchakjian: All of our fittings are by appointment only to keep our clients safe during these times. Right now we’re again open for in-person appointments, yet we’re still doing virtual appointments for everyone’s comfort and safety. We’ve implemented a system that allows the groom to pick up all tuxedos for his wedding party and distribute them. In the event of a minor alteration, we handle and drop-ship to their residence or hotel with plenty of time to spare. This keeps the in-store floor traffic to a minimum. Alternatively, we can drop-ship complete tuxedos to our client’s doorstep with a return label for shipping back to us.
We’ve noticed more grooms have been dressing down their wedding party — and reducing the number of people in the wedding party — from a traditional tuxedo to an upscale suit rental or custom-made suit. All of our formal black-tie weddings were forced to postpone or change venues in 2020, and a change was often to a less formal setting, depending on the location and whether the wedding was indoor or outdoor.
What’s trending right now?
My grooms are trending into custom-made. They come with plenty of ideas from social media so we can design the groom a custom-made suit or tuxedo from scratch from a picture or idea, and then dress the rest of the wedding party in rented suits or tuxedos. The options are endless: fabric color, lapel style, pocket details and button color. We also offer custom linings with pictures on them. It’s a great surprise for the reveal at the wedding when the bride sees the pictures on the inside of the jacket!
What general advice do you give grooms and groomsmen?
My advice is to look at your venue setting; is it formal or casual? Big venue, mansion, country club or farmhouse? That will determine your fashion. We have formal tuxedos in shades of blue, gray and black, as well as a hybrid which is less formal than a tux, but more formal than a suit. We also offer traditional suits in shades of blue, gray, tan and black. This year, we have a large selection of colorful, textured suits that can be rented or purchased.
We’ve noticed more bright and vivid colors in decor and bridesmaids’ dresses. How does that translate to the groom and groomsmen?
It all depends on the location, but I can tell you [the color] blue is off the charts! There’s everything from cobalt to Yale blue to cornflower. We’re marrying that up with blush or dusty rose accents. Usually the groom will come in with a swatch or an actual bridesmaid’s dress so we can create the match. We always advise going elegant, not busy, for accents: a boutonniere, brown shoes and a belt; nothing overboard. Vests are in, but not the “prom-y” look. There’s something about a three-piece suite, with a pop of color in the tie or pocket square to match the bridesmaids, that’s timeless.
How have you handled all the requests for suits instead of tuxedos?
Suits have been on the rise, because some clients are dressing down their weddings. So, we’ve retooled to accommodate! We have at least 12 different suits in different shades — I say it’s the best selection on the East Coast! And, this is where custom-made comes in; we’re able to go outside of the box for the groom, and when the wedding party rents our suits, then the groom will really stand out.
Being a custom tailor and having a passion for fashion, I can recognize what will look amazing on my clients the minute they walk in. When our clients first arrive, we educate them on fashion, trends, color and fit. After we understand their color pallet, then we start dressing them in our formal suit or tuxedo lines. We have a saying: “If you don’t try it on then you’ll never know.” Most of our clients wouldn’t have selected what was displayed on the mannequin, but after seeing themselves in the mirror and us adding the custom details … they usually change their minds. That’s why custom fit is so important, and one of our main differentiating factors. It’s all about the fit whether you’re renting, purchasing or having a suit or tuxedo made. All of our suits and tuxedos are custom-fitted to each client, with alterations included. That level of detail shows, and our wedding parties look outstanding!
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We know that 2020 made life stressful, especially for those who had to postpone the big day. We’re here for you to put your plans in motion in 2021 and beyond. We’re in this together! Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers when you’re ready to find your place or to reschedule your special event.
Robert Ryan Catering & Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a 5-star rating on WeddingWire, and has received WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news, and recipes from our executive chef.
Photos courtesy of the couples pictured and used with permission.