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15 Cool Gifts for Groomsmen

Guy gifts for your men of honor.

By Irina Grechko

While the bride and groom are—and should be—the focus of the wedding day, you can’t forget the other men in the wedding party: the groomsmen and best man. Treat them to something they’ll not only appreciate but actually use, well past your first wedding anniversary. Whether your party is made up of sci-fi fans or whiskey connoisseurs, we have 15 great gifts for every personality type. 


For the Grooms: Get Fashion Help Via Video Chat

Does the thought of shopping for your wedding-day ensemble kind of terrify you? Get styling assistance from a new shopping site called Hendricks Park—without leaving home.

By Kim Forrest

Hendricks Park provides free styling service for groomsmen via video chat. Photograph courtesy of Hendricks Park

If the idea of spending a day shopping for a wedding tux makes you more uncomfortable than the idea of spending an afternoon watching Toddlers & Tiaras, we’ve got a site for you to check out. Hendricks Park, a men’s clothing retail site that launched in December 2010, provides free personal styling service via video chat. Yes, that means you can find a designer wedding-day ensemble without leaving your house (or changing out of your fresh-off-the-floor T-shirt).

While the site helps men pick out clothes for work and all sorts of occasions, “we get such a rush dressing guys for their weddings,” says Lisa Bruckner, founder and CEO of Hendricks Park. “Quite a few of our clients have started out single, and then they get engaged—it’s such an amazing experience to be part of milestones in someone’s life.”

Here are some of Bruckner’s top tips for guys shopping for a wedding-day look:

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Where & When

Where & When: Bridal Edition

Styling night, the perfect rehearsal dinner ensemble, and a grooms’ trunk show

By Mollie Reilly

Thursday, July 21
Hitched hosts a Styling Night featuring accessories by Enchanted Atelier. The lead designer will be on hand to answer your questions. Call 202-333-6162 or e-mail apointments@hitchedsalon.com to RSVP. 5 to 8.

Friday, July 22, and Saturday, July 23
Looking for the perfect rehearsal dinner ensemble? You may find it at the Bethesda Row sidewalk sale, where stylish boutiques like Ginger and Urban Chic have markdowns on retail through Saturday. Click here for more information on participating stores and restaurants.

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Where & When

Where & When: Bridal Edition

Hitched has a sample sale soiree, Jack Robie’s pop-up shop features groomswear, and break the cliche of bad bridesmaid gowns

By Mollie Reilly

Thursday July 14
Hitched hosts a Sample Sale Soiree, where brides-to-be can save up to 60 percent on gowns by Amsale, Oscar de la Renta, Judd Waddell, and other top designers. RSVP to info@hitchedsalon.com. 5 to 8.

Friday, July 15
Today is the first day of a Jack Robie pop-up shop at Sherman Pickey in Georgetown. The designer’s ready-to-wear men’s dress shirts can liven up a groom’s wedding day apparel. 

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New Washingtonian Bride & Groom Now on Newsstands

Here’s what you’ll find inside the latest issue

By Jill Hudson

The summer/fall issue of Washingtonian Bride & Groom is now on newsstands, and boy, am I proud new mama! You know how when your best friend, sister or fill-in-the-blank gives birth, and they won’t stop talking about the kid or sending you pictures of the baby every single day? Well, that’s kind of where I am about this particular magazine . . . only (I hope) not so annoying. But our staff worked on the stories, features, and lists in this issue for months, and the results are just so darn beautiful that I’m going to insist that anyone who’s planning a DC-area wedding pick up a copy right now.

Some of my favorite things inside: A showcase of 13 of the prettiest local weddings our editors have seen in a long time; a totally fun beauty story that imagines what Hollywood A-listers would do with their hair and makeup on their wedding day; photos of yummy reception cuisine prepared by some of the area’s best caterers; and the definitive guide of the best wedding vendors in the Washington region.

But I’m in love with the 20-page bridal gown story, which we shot in March at Ladew Topiary Gardens just north of Baltimore during an insane spate of bad weather. Looking at these amazing photos, you’d never know that our crew battled driving rain, nasty cold, crazy wind, and a grumpy Russian model to bring pictures of a dreamy landscape to life. Lessons learned? Organize, organize, organize before the big event (the same principle of planning a wedding applies to large magazine photo shoots). And when models are involved, have lots of sugary foods on hand. ‘Cause girlfriend probably needs a donut.

We're always looking for new and better ways to help Washington couples with their wedding planning, so drop me a line at jhn@washingtonian.com—or reach out on Twitter (we're @WashBrideGroom)—with your suggestions. In the meantime, you can find the current issue at most bookstores and supermarkets across Washington. For a sneak peek at a few standout features in the issue, scroll down. Happy reading!


Jill Hudson

Editor-in-Chief, Washingtonian Bride & Groom

PS—Not already subscribed to our Bridal Party newsletter? Sign up with this survey and we'll send you a free copy of the issue! 


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Tales From the Groom

Tales From the Groom: Slow Motion Walter & the Fire Engine Guys

The marriage of incorrect lyrics and a wedding band.

By Carl Monaco For years I thought Alanis Morissette was talking about the “cross-eyed bear that you gave to me” in her song “You Oughta Know.” It always struck me as an innocuous line in what is a pretty intense song, seeming somewhat out of place. When I heard rumors that the song was likely about Uncle Joey from Full House, who looked like a cross-eyed-bear-giving type of guy, I figured I was on the right page.

Not so much. The realization of what the line actually was about brought everything home for me with that song. Alanis wasn’t happy with Uncle Joey, bear or not.

Having bartended for a few years in midtown DC, I was privy to many a drunken rendition of songs where the lyrics took a back seat to the intensity of the performance. It gave me a new appreciation of how hard it is to fist-pump and keep your thoughts together. In picking the band for our wedding, I was reintroduced to this phenomenon at a recent talent showcase.
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Tales From the Groom

Tales from the Groom: Chairman of the Bride

By Carl Monaco Anyone who has put together a wedding or a banquet has likely come across the name Chiavari.

Before Kristin and I began wedding planning, I’d never heard it before. Once we started getting into the details of our ceremony and reception, when it came down to picking chairs, the name Chiavari kept coming up over and over again.

Chiavari, we learned, is the “chair of chairs.” When you look for venues for your big day, wedding planners and event coordinators will speak of Chiavari chairs with reverence and awe—not to mention a surcharge. They’ll speak to the subtly of the design and the delicacy of the form—which they’ll tell you adds a whimsical nature to your setting.

I was fascinated by the power the Chiavari chair held over people. What I wasn’t prepared for was the mythical nature of the man who creates these chairs, a modern-day Paul Bunyan—or better yet, the heir apparent to Chuck Norris.

I was at a hotel bar when I overheard a group of three inebriated wedding planners laughing and drinking together. I heard one of them mention the name Chet Chiavari, and the following conversation ensued: Keep Reading ...


Tales From the Groom: Welcome Our New Wedding Blogger!

We’re turning to a new blogger for a perspective on wedding planning.

By Carl Monaco
My mother used to say, “If you kiss someone and your knees don’t wobble, it was never meant to be.” I always got a kick out of that piece of advice because it was simple and invoked this idea that you wouldn’t have to figure out you were in love—you’d just know it. Being a guy, I’ve always preferred the obvious, so this little quote made a pretty easy mantra for my love life. Little did I know that meeting my fiancée, Kristin, would induce the type of wobble that flips cars over.

We met at work. In fact, we shared a wall at work. Kristin occupied the office next to mine for about a year and ignored me for a large part of that. After numerous failed “So what are you up to this weekend?” conversation starters, Kristin sauntered into my office one afternoon upon hearing I’d just been in New Hampshire working on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. It turned out that she had been a women’s-studies major and was sweet on the idea of a guy who supported Hillary. Little did she know what she had just jumped into was going to last longer than the campaign.

Initially bound by our affection for a great woman making her historic run for the presidency, after a few months we realized that being together promised a type of hope and change that we could both get behind. We dated for about 11 months before moving in together this past May, and on July 21 I popped the question right near our place, by the tennis courts in Adams Morgan (which is where we had shared our first kiss). It was a simple, meaningful, and romantic proposal, which I figured would set the template for how we would plan the wedding.

Any assumptions I had that the proposal had to be a surprise were quickly put to rest, because wedding planning began on July 22. And since then it has been a fast and furious run to the alter. Because both of us actually want to get married more than we want to spend time planning for the big day (we both have friends who were engaged for 18 months or more, which meant wedding planning that whole time), we decided we wanted to get married Memorial Day weekend if we could find an available place. And by “available,” we meant we were looking for a classic DC locale that spoke of the history of the city and would provide some of the District’s personality. No small feat.

Fueled by the fear that a spring ’10 wedding date might be an aggressive choice and would mean we might have to compromise on things we wanted, we have set off on a mad dash to nail down the key elements for any good party: a date, a venue (which can cover food and booze for us), and a band. Wish us luck!

More>> Bridal Party Blog | Wedding Guide | Wedding Vendor Search

The Slice

The Slice: Serving You Today's Wedding News

Start your morning with The Slice, a daily feature bringing you up-to-the-minute gossip, news, and buzz on all things wedding around the world.

By Lynne Shallcross

The choice between a dream wedding and a down payment on a house doesn't always have to be either or. Check out Friday night, rent-a-cake and other ways to save.

It's B.Y.O. costume at the wedding of Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin.

Ten reasons to love summer weddings. [via Ritzy Bee]

You sent out the recycled paper invitations, you served organic food at the reception, now it's time to pack your bags for your green honeymoon.

Beware of the carnation cake-turned sign in bulletin board. [via Wedding Dish]


Have bridal news to share? E-mail lshallcross@washingtonian.com.


Live Chat

Chat Recap: Ask a Planner

A wedding planner shares her best advice—a lot of it!

By Lynne Shallcross

Thursday morning, wedding planner Jen Stiebel of SoCo Events in Rockville swung by The Washingtonian to answer your questions. And answer she did! She was so intent on giving thoughtful replies to brides- and grooms-to-be that she stayed an extra 30 minutes, busily typing away, showing her vast knowledge of all things wedding in Washington. We tried to keep her all day but thought her bridal clients might not like that.

What are the top bridal-gown styles of the season? What are the "and guest" rules? Where can you cut corners without sacrificing quality? If you missed the chat, check out yesterday's transcript and read Jen's best tips for wedding planning.

Next week, we'll be rocking out with DJ Chris Laich. More details to come, but start submitting questions now! Chris will answer them Thursday at 11.

Want more Washingtonian.com online chats? Check out past Q&As with everyone from bartenders to other wedding pros, and submit questions to upcoming chats.

More>> Bridal Party Blog | Wedding Guide | Wedding Vendor Search 


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