The Ides of March, which typically falls on March 15th and which just a few days from now is typically seen as a portentous day to "beware" of potential dangers and pitfalls. March 15 in 44BC was indeed unlucky for one man - Emperor Julius Caesar who was killed on that day, and then all it took was a nifty little playwright called Bill Shakespeare to immortalise the dreaded day by scribing the now often repeated but little understood "Beware the ides of March." Little understood because before Caesar's unfortunate end, the ides of March actually spelled the beginning of the Roman New Year, catalysing great celebration and revelry. So, thanks Bill - that's one knees-up you've deprived us of. No such deprivations will occur this summer however as the wedding season - bereft of opportunities last year - duly shifts into top gear in 2021. The Roman's were infamous for their bacchanalian celebrations, as too is the English wedding, but before one can get acquainted with the free-flowing champagne, one must attend to a few other matters. So this month we have created a Spring Wedding Register, featuring everything a groom needs to know about morning dress; four coats that every mother of the bride should know about, plus a few wedding related satellites that took our fancy this month. Hope you enjoy...
The groom's sartorial checklist
So if you've happened upon the Favourbrook website by choice or chance and you're reading these words, there's a high chance that you are betrothed to your wife to be and have a date set for the matrimonial union sometime in the near future. So far so good. You've attended a handful of a wedding planning meetings and duly nodded your head at periodic pauses in the conversation to assure everyone including yourself that you are fully on board, but reality, like a cop car in your rear view mirror, has switched on its blue lights and is right up your backside. Pedal to the metal! Well, not quite, but you'd do well to get your morning dress sorted quick smart so that you're not running around in a panicked fervour with weeks to go while your garments are still being altered. This, in a nutshell, is what you need to do...
Formal or less so?
Firstly, you should know by now if you are having a formal wedding and will be wearing a morning suit, or a less formal wedding during which you'll be wearing a lounge suit. Your choice of the latter, while seemingly simple, is actually a little more complicated when you figure in the time of year, the venue, the theme of the flowers (we kid you not - it's imperative that your colours don't clash) and so on. We'll address all of these in a separate article in the coming weeks, but for now lets focus on the morning suit...
Don't go it alone - book a personal shopping appointment
It's not like the morning suit has a multitude of formats so you'd be forgiven for thinking it would be a straightforward case of finding one that fits and being done with it. If only life were that simple! There are in fact myriad options to choose from in regards to the morning suit itself, from the traditional black morning coat and cashmere stripe trousers, to an all-charcoal 3-piece and even a navy 3-piece. That's not even considering one's waistcoat choice (which we'll come to). The process of finding the perfect (and perfectly fitting) morning suit will be a lot more enjoyable and painless if you can manage to do the one thing that most men struggle with - ask for help! At Favourbrook, our personal shopping service is dedicated to this very task. Our experts have decades of experience outfitting gentlemen for a wide variety of sophisticated formal weddings and will be able to guide you through the best options for your particular circumstances. To book an appointment simply email email@example.com or call +44 (0)20 7493 5060. It's advisable to get this whole process rolling at least two months prior to the big day. While alterations are usually turned around within a week, you'll want to leave plenty of time to ensure that all the details have been carefully seen to, especially if you are outfitting your groomsmen.
BEIGE GABARDINE WOOL
CREAM BELVOIR COTTON
The degree of personality and individualisation to be had with a waistcoat is almost endless. Starting from the silhouette - single-breasted or double-breasted - and moving on to front and rear fabrics, our made-to-measure service will ensure that your waistcoat will be truly unique. But if that all sounds like decision overload, we have literally hundreds of off-the-peg styles cut in a variety of fabrics that will look equally as polished and sophisticated. Linen styles work especially well for summer weddings, and the long, smooth parabola of a double-breasted shawl lapel is the perfect foil for the crisp lines of a morning coat. Whether plain cloth, or patterned, you won't be short of options.
The other bits
Namely, shirt, tie, pocket square, socks and shoes. The shirt - a formal dress shirt in this case - comes in a variety of options, from the most minimal hidden placket style to the classic spread collar. White 99% of the time, but pale pastel tones are not out of the question although we would always recommend a white collar to keep things formal and sharp. In all honesty, the best modus operandi would involve coming into the Pall Mall store and trying them all on and deciding what looks best with a morning coat and waistcoat.
The tie and pocket square may seem like facile details but they are anything but. Get them wrong and you botch the entire look. Do you mix or do you match? Again, this will be dependent on a number of factors but at Favourbrook we almost always prefer an unmatched trio of waistcoat, tie and pocket square, provided they complement one another. Our experienced store staff will be able to offer ample assistance in this matter.
If the shoe fits
Lastly your feet. Black silk socks. Black, well-polished Oxfords. Nothing more to see here.
And those, in a nutshell, are your morning dress requirements. As we mentioned, arranging a fitting with one of our experts really does help outsource some of the decision making and it comes at no extra cost.
Trust The Paris Review to be esoteric enough to publish an essay on what must be the most extravagant matrimonial knees-up in the history of literature. Literary feasts are the subject and Madame Bovary's wedding cake is the focus in this essay by Joachim Kalka that deconstructs the nuances of historical gastro-splurges, spanning 'tasteless feasts' in Ancient Rome to cake fights in Laurel and Hardy. But it's Madame Bovary's wedding cake which comes under most scrutiny, for in it is baked a multitude of societal insights.
"But there is something touching about its ugliness: part of Flaubert’s greatness is his ability to depict the cake simultaneously as a monstrosity and as an affecting attempt to create a thing of beauty with grotesquely unfit means."
And just in case you were wondering, here is Flaubert with the edible monument to gaudy excess itself:
"Its base was a square of blue cardboard representing a temple with porticos and colonnades and adorned on all sides with stucco statuettes standing in niches spangled with gold paper stars. The second tier was a medieval castlegateau de Savoie, surrounded by miniature fortifications of angelica, almonds, raisins, and orange sections. And finally, on the topmost layer – which was a green meadow, with rocks, jelly lakes, and boats of hazelnut shells – a little Cupid was swinging in a chocolate swing. The tips of two uprights, the highest points of the whole, were two real rose buds."
Billy Idol's "White Wedding", while not his greatest hit in terms of chart success, must be his most played, given the subject of the song. We wonder just how many DJs have played it at weddings, frothing up the multigenerational audiences into the drunken heights that only free booze served in tents can seem to attain. Little did said audiences probably realise that the song is actually anti-marriage! Idol's lyrics lament the imminent matrimony because is heart is given to someone else, but don't let that get in the way of a good rock out.
The video was directed by David Mallet, who had worked with Queen and David Bowie. Idol, who was little known at the time, didn't have deep pockets so Mallet waved his fee and got to work on what must be one of the most iconic music videos from the MTV/VH1 peak days. In short, the concept was a "nightmare wedding," with Idol playing a Goth who is marrying a 'normal' girl, played by Perri Lister, Idol's girlfriend at the time. Throw in some additional vampire references, a trio of patent leather-clad dancers slapping their butts in time with the beat, a barbed-wire wedding ring, and a motorcycle ploughing its way through the church's stained-glass window and it amounts to a fairly raucous sealing of the betrothed deal.
The second most important lady on the the occasion of a wedding is of course the Mother of the Bride (although we're not entirely sure why the mother of the groom never gets the same look in). Guests will invariably seek her out to lavish praise on what must have been faultless mothering to have raised such an angelic and innocent creature, so it is with great import that one does not let the veil slip, so to speak, with attire that would have them think otherwise. We've handpicked four coat styles perfect for spring and summer weddings, all being lightweight and luxurious.
The Westminster Coat
A fabulous slimline coat cut to the knee with a grown-on collar, three-button fastening and available in a number of different fabrics including crease-resistant linen and silk.
The Belgravia Coat
Another beautifully slim longline coat, the Belgravia features a back vent, unique button configuration and sleeves with a self-cuff return finished with two covered buttons.
The Eton Coat
The Eton coat is the evolution of our Belgravia coat, featuring floral embroidery, contrast piping, and a scalloped-edge hem. It also features a re-worked bodice and includes back button detailing, working pockets and full internal lining.
ETON COAT PEONY
ETON COAT CORAL
The Therese Coat
This striking mid length coat features an elegant fitted waist, cowl collar, three-quarter length sleeves and fabric covered buttons. The length makes it perfect for high summer weddings and styles come in lightweight cotton and linen.
THERESE COAT MULTI
THERESE COAT LILAC
And finally.... Hugh Grant's Speech in Four Weddings and a Funeral
We would be remiss not to include the infamous best man speech of Charles, played by Hugh Grant in Richard Curtis's 1994 classic Four Weddings and a Funeral, not least because Favourbrook dressed the cast in their waistcoats! What starts out as dead-pan funny drifts into eccentricity before plummeting headlong into downright weirdness.
Good luck to all those getting married this year. You know where we are!