Grooms share the hidden meanings behind their favorite wedding accessories.
This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Columbus Weddings, published in June 2018.
Whether it's LEGO cufflinks or socks that proclaim the wearer's favorite football team, modern grooms are trading the traditional for the unique in their accessories, creating memories that will stand the test of time along the way.
“When most people think of a suit or tuxedo, they think of it as being cut-and-dried, but men are choosing to personalize them,” says Jon Roberts, store manager at American Commodore Tuxedo. “Whether it's cufflinks for the guys as a groomsmen gift or Superman socks, they are creating keepsakes and having fun with the process.”
Navin Muni and Navya Parsa, who were married on Aug. 5, 2017, wanted to incorporate unique style choices into their traditional Indian wedding ceremony.
Usually, Indian grooms wear a kurta—a traditional tunic-style garment that, for weddings, is typically white and red—but Parsa knew that Muni didn't want to wear the traditional colors. When she went to India to purchase various items for the wedding, she was on the lookout for something more unique for her husband-to-be.
“He's all about colors, so I found him a really nice blue, red and green outfit,” she explains. “The kurta was blue with accents of gold and green. It was very colorful.”
Muni's decision to wear non-traditional colors during the ceremony was not his only unique style choice. He also donned hot-pink LEGO cufflinks and art-inspired socks for the reception as a means of incorporating the couple's own story into the wedding.
“I wanted to be traditional and also stand out, compared to everyone else,” he says. “I did the dark suit, but Navya knows I like to stand out, so she gave me the cufflinks for my birthday with the idea that I would wear them on the wedding day. It was the perfect present.”
Muni wanted to return the favor. “For the reception, I wore two different socks,” he explains. “One of Navya's favorite paintings in the world is ‘The Birth of Venus' by Sandro Botticelli, so I found a pair of socks that had that. I wore another sock with a Norman Rockwell painting of a boy and his little girlfriend and a dog, which represented us, because we have a puppy as well.”
The painting, “Boy and Girl Gazing at the Moon”—also known as “Puppy Love”—depicts a young couple entranced by the moon, seated on a rickety bench that wraps under their weight. His arm wraps around her and she leans into him, resting her head on his shoulder. Muni's choice to incorporate these iconic works of art reflected his desire to set their story apart from so many others, as well as honor his bride's personality.
For him, it wasn't about creating an experience for their guests as much as it as it was about being a part of an inside joke or intimate secret that highlighted their unique journey as a couple.
On a day that will yield thousands of pictures, many of which will be posted on social media sites and remain there indefinitely, it's becoming even more important to couples that those images represent them.
“We live in an era of more and more pictures, and grooms want to feel like themselves in those moments,” says Roberts.
Couples that want to remain consistent with a traditional, formal style might have concerns that adding bold accessories would disrupt the integrity of their wedding. However, it's becoming acceptable to include those details even if they don't fit perfectly with the overall style of the event, Roberts says.
Donald “Rudy” Youell, who married Molly (Koniewich) Youell on July 29, 2017, wanted to include the very details that would stand out, and, like Muni, he used socks as an accessory that tells a story—and wanted his groomsmen to do so as well.
“Some of the groomsmen wore their alma mater; most were just favorite college football teams,” he says. “I'm a big goofball and a football fan, and I wanted to do something subtle but fun for the guys— plus, I felt like I needed to put my own stamp on the day.”
For Youell, presenting his groomsmen with their own individualized socks was the perfect way to put his stamp on the wedding and give keepsakes that people would hold on to.
“Not only do those touches personalize the wedding for them, but they are presenting a fun atmosphere for the groomsmen and building camaraderie,” says Roberts.
Meticulous care and attention is given to those invisible details, yet many times, those unique accessories are hard to spot. However, in Youell's case, the socks were front and center.
“Some of my groomsmen got their suits fitted, but a few of them didn't try them on [until] right before,” he recalls. “Some of their pants were a little tight, so when they walked around or sat down, you could definitely see the socks. I loved it.”
Not only are accessories a great way to personalize a wedding, they provide a level of comfort and authenticity for grooms like Youell, a self-proclaimed “jeans and t-shirt” kind of guy.