As many of you know, we have had the pleasure of following Jen & Lauren, the lovely Brooklyn couple who graciously let us stalk their wedding planning process, over the past year. They have been immensely helpful in giving real world experience navigating the in's & out's of wedding coordination.
Everyone knows that one of the biggest decisions a couple makes about their wedding is attire! It can be a bit more complex for LGBT couples, as there are plenty of gender norms to face. We ADORE the tux that Jen decided on for her wedding, so we asked her to tell us about the decision/process of choosing what to wear.
Because of our families’ varying level of participation, and perhaps just because of who we are as a couple, Lauren and I made nearly every decision about our wedding together, as a team. We examined plenty of traditions and carefully processed how we felt about the origin, history and meaning of such traditions before putting our own twist on them (or kicking them to the curb of time, hopefully to be forgotten). When it came to choosing our attire, we both had ideas about what we each wanted to wear on our wedding day. Lauren mentioned a Saturday shopping event with her bridal party to her mother, who immediately issued a warning to Lauren, rooted in the deepest annals of wedding wisdom: it would be bad luck for me to see Lauren’s outfit before the wedding day. Not one to argue with bad luck (or my future MIL), I agreed to this restriction, with my own condition: Lauren wouldn’t see my outfit before the wedding either, because hey, we’ve got two brides here!
The rules thusly laid, I knew Lauren was looking for a floral print jumpsuit and she knew I was having a suit made by the illustrious queer suiting company Bindle & Keep, a company I had been interested in for many years and now had the opportunity to support (thanks to one of my closest friends who graciously offered to gift me my wedding outfit – one of the best gifts possible). I made an appointment nearly six months before the wedding date, which is thoroughly frowned upon because it only takes about three months to make a suit and I was leaving plenty of time to gain or lose significant amounts of weight that would necessitate last-minute alterations. Prior to my appointment, I scoured the internet, trying to come up with a style, color and fabric that would feel perfect for me on my wedding day. I went back and forth with greens, blues, linen, and seersucker… Everything seemed a little too costume-y or not special enough to get married in, and everyone was telling me I should just get a blue three-season wool suit so I could wear the suit many times over. I finally realized why this irked me so much: not a soul had told Lauren to buy a practically cut and colored wedding outfit so she could wear it again. I thought about how unfair and gendered the whole idea was. I did not want to wear a wedding gown, but I did want my equivalent of a glamorous outfit for this important occasion. Being a female-bodied person on the smaller side (some might say ‘petite’), I knew I would never be able to wear a tuxedo unless I had it made specifically for my body. I decided to go for it: a midnight blue, shawl collar tuxedo (see: Daniel Craig as James Bond), and a bright white shirt to accompany it.
I was ready with my decision when Shea, the tailor from Bindle & Keep, arrived at my apartment for the initial fitting. Shea was amazing, made me feel relaxed, and was helpful in guiding me through the barrage of decisions I wasn’t quite prepared for, such as what color the piping should be where the lining meets the jacket, or whether the final button hole should be stitched with a contrasting color. In the end, I went with the classic colors (blues and blacks), and went a little crazy on the lining (think: red smoking jacket). The most important decision was whether to wear a bowtie. Lauren and I had decided that the wedding wouldn’t be particularly formal, so I was already a bit worried about wearing a tux. After much discussion and support from my wedding party, I decided to shirk tuxedo tradition and wear a narrow, long black tie with a small light blue embroidery from the 1960s that had belonged to my late grandfather. It was absolutely perfect and is one of my favorite wedding memories.
Another tradition (superstition?) Lauren and I liked was for each of us to have “something blue.” I’m a pretty big Elvis fan, so I suggested blue suede shoes for each of us. I dug around online (I have a desk job, what can I say?) and discovered a pair of blue suede tassel loafers by Paul Smith. As women’s shoes, the loafers skewed “trendy masculine” with a pair of cropped pants or other business casual wear; with my tuxedo, they would lend just the right amount of dandy femininity I like to incorporate in my styling. To add a little more playfulness, I picked up a palm tree printed silk pocket square from the Fine and Dandy Shop in Manhattan. The pocket square picked up the embroidery in my tie and the color of my shoes perfectly. I added a small gold tie bar (to match my wedding band) and was ready, on the outside.
To finish off my wedding outfit, I did perhaps the most feminine thing I could (aside from wearing an actual dress); I went to a fancy bra shop and got fitted for a bra. Many people bind; many do not wear anything. I wear cheap nondescript undergarments designed exclusively to keep everything as professional as possible at work. Wanting to continue to keep certain things under wraps, I knew I would be wearing a white shirt, there would be lots of flash photography, and I did not want to be uncomfortable. On a friend’s recommendation, I made an appointment with Linda the Bra Lady. I brought in the shirt Bindle & Keep had made for me and let them know I wanted to not worry about anything, including anyone seeing my bra. I emerged quite a bit lighter in the wallet but this purchase remains one of the best I made for my wedding (after I snipped off some bows).
As a post script, I’m actually getting plenty of mileage out of my tux: I’ve already worn it to another wedding this summer.