By Andrea Bosco Stehle + Liz Petoniak | Photographs from Larrimor’s and One Fine Day Photography
The modern-day groom is going to great lengths to help plan for the opulent occasion. From fitness and fashion, to getting the groomsmen together, there are a lot of areas that must be covered before the pinnacle moment arrives. To get the ball rolling, we spoke with a few groom gurus who know a thing or two about getting ready for the big day.
Dress The Part
When it comes to suiting up for the big day, nine times out of 10, the fiancée accompanies her hubby-to-be at shopping and fitting appointments, according to Ray Harney, sales associate at Larrimor’s. “Typically, she has an idea of what she wants and she’ll be able to make sure the fabrics and accessories look appropriate. We can take care of everything — the tuxedo, the stud sets, the socks, the shirt, shoes, bow ties, long ties, pocket squares, and vests — so they don’t have to worry. And, all of the tailoring is done in-house,” he says. In addition to tuxedos off the rack from Ermenegildo Zegna, Canali, and Isaia, Larrimor’s offers a complete line of custom suiting as well. “If there’s something the groom does have in mind, or does not see, whether it’s a silhouette or a fabric, we can accommodate him.” Several of the store’s vendors, including Hickey Freeman and Samuelsohn, deal only in fabric, meaning that every color, pattern, and texture is within the groom’s reach. Grooms can select from a peak or shawl lapel, a one-button notch, and both very modern and classic cuts, too. “What’s nice about custom is you can pick out the buttons and the lining, and those extras mean a lot to have,” says Harney. This year, Harney has seen a lot of dinner jackets and navy blue suits, a look that he loves. However, there are tradeoffs to consider, as a tuxedo is an investment piece many grooms hope to keep with them for black-tie events in the years to come. He says, “When you go for the trendier looks, you are expressing yourself, as opposed to going off the rack, where the desire is to look appropriate. We can really take care of the person who wants to stand out, and someone who wants to look both sharp and appropriate, too.”
Larrimor’s, One PNC Plaza, 249 5th Ave., Downtown. 412.471.5727. larrimors.com.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Taking on a new workout regimen before the wedding is about more than looking trim in a tux. It’s about building the foundation for a healthier happily ever after. Exercise extraordinaire Ryan Deer, owner of WorkAht, works with husbands-to-be (and brides!) on a daily basis with four key factors in mind:
1. You must get active and approach your new lifestyle as a whole.
2. You should tell your fiancé that you’ve set an achievable goal that you plan to reach by the wedding day. “Make it known and you’ll carry it through,” he says.
3. Put some color on your plate, and avoid processed foods. Whole, healthy foods are naturally colorful, and contain vitamins and minerals. (About 70 percent of weight loss comes from diet, not cardio!)
4. Make it last beyond your wedding.
“If you are active five days a week, engaging in exercise or even prolonged walking, you’re going to improve your overall health,” says Deer. “Working out together is a great form of motivation for exercise and nutrition.” For more on Deer’s pre-wedding personal training, which includes in-home training, gym time, and summer boot camps, visit workaht.com.
Beneath the Layers
Groom’s cakes can be traced back to England’s Victorian era, when there were three cakes at a wedding: the wedding cake, which was served to the guests; the groom’s cake, which was served to the groomsmen; and the bride’s cake, which was served to the bridesmaids. According to Linda Metz of Prantl’s Bakery, the popularity of a groom’s cake today goes in cycles but the style is pretty consistent. “We have found that groom’s cakes’ designs target heavily on sports, colleges, and hobbies,” she says. “Many times, both the bride and groom choose the groom’s cake, and the purpose is to often show the characteristics of the groom to their guests.”
Prantl’s Bakery, 438 Market St., Market Square. 412.471.6861. 5525 Walnut St., Shadyside. 412.621.2092. prantlsbakery.com.
Interview with a Groom
We asked musician Eddie Wiernik, a Pittsburgh native who planned a destination wedding in Arizona with bride Gabrielle Senn, about everything that goes into being a groom.
How involved were you with the wedding planning?
I played a very supportive role in helping Gabrielle and my mother plan for our big day. My one major role was to make sure the music, lighting, and video were in order. Being that our wedding was in Arizona, I had to interview vendors through Google Chat to make sure they were the right fit for us. Once the DJ was set, I created a playlist of music to make sure that the party didn’t stop.
Who were your groomsmen?
My brother has always been my best friend so it was easy to find the best man. My three groomsmen were my best buds from each location [I’ve lived in — Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and New York.]
What gifts did you get them?
My groomsmen’s gifts consisted of both personalized- and location-based presents. I got them each a money clip/wallet engraved with their initials along with a matching hooded tank top, bathing suit, and sunglasses for the Arizona weather.
How did you decide what the groomsmen would wear?
From the get-go, I knew I wanted to be in a blue suit. After giving Gabrielle a yellow diamond ring, we both had decided that yellow and white would be a perfect color combination for our wedding. When shopping for suits for the guys, as cool as black and yellow would be, being that I’m a Steelers fan, I figured a lighter color such as gray would be more complementary. I’d be lying if I didn’t take the weather into account. I didn’t want the guys burning up in the Arizona sun.
Where did you go for your bachelor party?
Being that it was a destination wedding, I had two bachelor parties — one in New York and one in Arizona. In New York, my bandmates kidnapped me after a gig and we spent the weekend in Fire Island. Ocean Bay Park is an area on the island where we could drink, party, and swim on the beach. In Arizona, Brandon, my best man, coordinated an eventful 24 hours of fun. We started the day out with racing Corvettes and Camaros on a circuit track. We ordered two cabanas by our resort’s pool where we swam and played ping pong. At night, we went to a couple of night clubs in Scottsdale.
How involved were your groomsmen?
My best man and my brother-in-law were a big part in planning my bachelor party. Brandon has always been the life of the party and John was a local of Scottsdale for a couple of years. The combination of the two of them made it easy to plan.
Did you give your bride a gift?
We decided that instead of exchanging gifts at our wedding, we would give each other the gift of traveling to New Zealand. We are going for our one-year anniversary this year.
How did you pick items for the registry?
We already live together so instead of getting the “normal” wedding gifts, we asked friends and family to contribute to our honeymoon vacation in New Zealand.
Did you have any special requests for the wedding?
Most of my special requests were for the dance floor. I wanted to make sure to celebrate my parents and have them dance to their wedding song. I also needed to fit in *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” so my sister and I could relive some of our choreographed dance moves from our childhood.
What was your favorite part of planning?
My favorite part of planning was knowing that the big day was right around the corner. We planned everything in a seven-month span, so it was constantly exciting.
+ Read more about Eddie and Gabrielle’s wedding here.