For most couples planning their wedding day, what the groom's attire falls WAAAAYYY down the wedding planning to-do list. I understand, it happened to me many years ago and it happened again this year as my brother Dan planned his wedding at Rivers Edge Bed & Breakfast in Lowell, Michigan. What did I learn from the process?
That's not to say Men's Wearhouse doesn't do a good job. The fact is they are the largest men's clothing retailer in the United States, so they must be doing something right, right? I can't tell you the number of times I've seen their logo on wedding days. Most of the time things fit right. Sometimes they do not.
But after my brother's wedding this year I now know that if you're renting suits or tuxedos from Men's Wearhouse, you paid twice as much as you should have.
How do I know this? Experience and a little bit of leg work earlier this year with my brother.
Here is a quick overview of my clothing education.
Initially Dan wanted to buy a suit for his wedding. Knowing his bride found bridesmaid dresses at David's Bridal (who has an exclusive agreement to supply men's attire to David's guests), he decided to visit his local store and see if he could get matching suits for the guys.
So he strolled in, told the staff what he needed and was shuffled over to the wedding section where staff eagerly took notes and listened to what he told them. After describing what he wanted, he was offered the choice of 4 suits he could purchase.
Yes, you read that right, 4 suits. That's what Men's Wearhouse offers guys who want to buy suits for their wedding day.
"But can't I simply choose from one of the suits off your racks? You do have a few thousand options to pick from..." asked my brother. "We can only guarantee having these 4 options available in everyone's size..." said the sales person at Men's Wearhouse.
So he chose the gray suit option with vest, jacket and pants. After tailoring and his "groom discount", the total for the suit was well over $400. Now I'm not saying $400 for a suit is expensive, because it's not. There are many options that could have cost more.
However, when he told his groomsmen suits were over $400 plus cost of the shirt, tie, and shoes (if they were needed), the reception from the groomsmen wasn't all that great.
So back he went to Men's Wearhouse asking about him keeping his suit, but having the guys rent the gray suits rather than buying (less expensive option, right?)
Here is the interesting part. The suits would no longer match. The gray patterns in the fabric were different.
So he was now stuck.
Either have the guys buy suits for $400+ or return his suit and rent a different gray suit for about $240.
At the urging of his groomsmen, he decided to return his suit and have everyone rent instead.
Now enter myself and a little research. I suggested we check out a couple of other stores, one specifically in Grandville called Jurgens and Holtvluwer. They have been in business over 100 years and have taken care of multiple generations of men in the Grand Rapids area.
As we told Heath Jurgens, the owner, what we were looking for when it came to suit rental, he told us suits rent for about $100-140 each, which included everything we would need.
When we asked about the gray suits at Men's Wearhouse, we were told that the fabric is so similar we wouldn't notice.
So we decided to test it out.
We went and purchased a fabric square from Men's Wearhouse for the suit color and took it back to Jurgens and wouldn't you know it, it was the same exact fabric color and pattern!
Now, because Jurgens has an offer when renting 6 suits or tuxedos or more, the groom's suite or tux is free. My brother simply paid for his suit and passed the savings on to all of the guys renting for the wedding.
The exact same suit at Jurgens and Holtvluwer ended up costing me $126 to rent!
Imagine you have 10 people renting suits (groom, 5 groomsmen, 2 ushers, 2 dads) you are now saving $1,140 on suit or tuxedo rentals alone! Talk about making everyone happy that is involved in your wedding party!
So what should you take away from my experience?
If you're planning a Grand Rapids wedding sometime soon, you have to stop by Jurgens and Holtvluwer in Grandville.
At least give them a call.
I know it's so tempting to go to Men's Wearhouse because your friends are around the country and it seems like the best solution. Jurgens can walk you through how to not worry about it!
Or, if you want to use the Walmart of men's clothing, Men's Wearhouse (they are the largest in the country, right), you're welcome to continue doing so.
But remember, consider yourself educated when it comes to men's attire for your upcoming wedding.