“That Got Me To Thinkin’…?” “The Wedding Attire” Chapter 74
By Bruce Williams
I noticed recently, in small print at the bottom of our alterations price list at work, the following disclaimer: “We do not alter wedding dresses not purchased at (our store).” It made me smile. At some point, the tailors drew a line in the sand and decided that they weren’t going to die on that hill today or ever again. That that irreplaceable gown wasn’t going to be tossed in a hysterical heap at their feet as a wild-eyed bride hissed her displeasure at her impossible demands not being met. No, no, no…no more. Take it somewhere else.
Weddings are a gigantic part of the suit business. Huge. After 25 years of suiting them up, I think I’ve gotten so that I can predict with some accuracy which cooing pairs have a shot in hell of actually making it. If the bride shows no interest in her beau’s various try-ons—a pouty indifference from some prior perceived slight, perhaps—it bodes unwell. If the groom is more concerned with his own preening peacockery in the mirror than his reflection glistening in his betrothed’s eyes…zonk! If he brings his mother instead of his future wife to pick out his attire—and she has final say because, after all, mother’s picking up the tab…wah wah waaahh (sad trombone effect). If they smile at each other, laugh together, make eye contact, don’t take themselves too seriously or put too much emphasis on things that don’t really matter, then they’ll be just fine.
Oftentimes these couples that were delightful and made me smile with their youthful vibrancy will come back year after year for more clothing—first proudly beaming with a state-of-the-art stroller, then with the same weathered stroller and a toddler in tow. Maybe a few years later, frazzled with three or four unruly offspring hiding beneath all the fixtures, dusting the bottoms of the neglected moldings with their coats with the now too-short sleeves of hand-me-downs. We’ll smile at the chaos, ever-connected by that long ago first wedding suit—my being there from the beginning watching as their lives evolve over time.
Other times, a bride will come in with a thick binder of decoupaged magazine cutouts…all the various possibilities she’s been deliberating on since her starry-eyed girlhood. In some instances there’ll be a picture of David Beckham or Bradley Cooper in some impossibly, impeccably tailored red-carpetwear and I’ll slow roll my glance from the glossy pages over to her weary affianced, who holds more of a candle to Jack Black or Norm from Cheers than either of the aforementioned turgid heartthrobs.
I’ll always ask for the date of the blessed event right away. If it’s more than three months away, we might just be in the preliminary phases. If it’s over a year away, maybe we’re jumping the gun? Better see if you still like each other in nine months. If she taps his tummy and tells him he needs to lose a few pounds before the wedding…doomed. If he tells her any variation of the same…dead. If he asks me if the suit’ll still fit if he adds twenty-five more pounds of raw muscle in the next month (he’s been working out, you see), I’ll tell him well no—it’s not a magic suit.
Sometimes the groom will bring in a ringer—his father that has all of the answers (even if they all happen to be wrong), or maybe a flamboyant friend of hers from work—a self-appointed stylist that has his own unquestionable sense of je ne sais quoi when it comes to flair and exactly what’s gonna be best to make Caleb and Misty’s blessed nuptials the to-die-for event of the upcoming season. I just jump on my surfboard and gently nudge the waves with its prow where I can in those sticky instances.
No one knows all the secrets to a happy marriage. I’ve been elbow deep in mine for 18 years and I’m pretty sure my wife still likes me, so that’s good. Not putting too much emphasis on ceremony day is a sure good start to any lasting union. If there’s ultimatums, foot stomping, no flexibility or (heaven help you) screaming as the big day approaches…as Iron Maiden sagely teaches us:
“Run to the hills
Run for your lives”
That is all.