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Monday, June 15, 2009

Wearing Chucks to the altar? Time to alter your plans.

Some words from another male guest blogger...

I admit it. I love Converse Chuck Taylors, which have variously been called Chucks or Chuck Ts or even Cons over the years. I remember buying my first pair when I was in junior high – a maroon canvas pair of size 9s – and proudly wearing them around my school in deference to the Ramones and the Clash and all the other cool bands that sported those throwback kicks. Since then I’ve probably owned 25-30 pairs (unfortunately their thin soles wear out rather quickly) and I will certainly buy more down the road. I’ve owned blue ones, red ones, black and yellow ones, silver lame ones, stars-and-stripes ones, and a pair that has flames screened onto the sides.

Needless to say, I’m a fan of Chucks, and I’ve worn them pretty much everywhere in the last 30 years. To school. To work. On job interviews (I’m in advertising, so it’s expected that we’re a bit odd). On camping trips. Even to my college graduation. I certainly don’t wear them all the time, and I find I wear them less than I used to, but they will always have a welcome home in my closet.

But I will never, ever wear Chucks at my wedding, and nobody else should, either. I know that’s a strong statement, but it’s how I feel, and for good reason.

Back in the day, some grooms would buy a brand new pair of Chucks for their wedding day – often matching it with their tie/cummerbund combo – and don it with their tux as a way to display their rebellious spirit and individuality. A pair of Chucks peeking out under your tuxedo pants said, “Hey, I might be getting married, but I’m still my own guy, and I although I take this day seriously, I want to add a dash of whimsy to show that I’m not as stuffy as this tux seems to make me.”

This is all completely understandable, and at one time commendable. Because back in the day, unless you were a complete hippie/Deadhead or a dyed-in-the-wool iconoclast, weddings were more formal affairs where guys wore suits and tuxes and women wore formal dresses … in other words, a step above your normal church clothes and akin to what you may have worn to your prom. Wearing Chucks was that one little statement you could make that told people you were embracing this institution (i.e., marriage) with your personality and sense of humor intact.

But now, there is really no such thing as proper wedding attire. Some still opt for the more formal tux/gown thing, but many other engaged couples are dressing things down considerably, and even others are doing themed weddings. I’ve seen Star Trek and Shrek theme wedding photos online that were as scary as they were funny, but I still have to hand it to these folks for having the cojones to express themselves regardless of the jibes they probably continue to receive.

Which brings me to my beloved Chucks. Because it’s completely acceptable now to wear whatever you want at your wedding, wearing Chucks with a tux is no longer an expression of individuality and whimsy; it’s a cliché and shows a lack of imagination. It says “I didn’t have the time to actually think about how I wanted to inject my personality into this wedding, so I went with what everyone else has done for the last 30 years.”

There are thousands upon thousands of ways you can put your groom outfit together to express yourself. I’m getting married on a beach in November (how’s that for casual), and I’m going down the aisle in a fresh, tasteful linen shirt and shorts, capped off with new Reef leather sandals. It matches the setting, my feeling about myself and the mood I want to set for the day – relaxed, causal and fun. And even if you are doing a church wedding that’s a tad bit more formal, tans and pastels, regular ties and more causal suits are becoming much more fashionable for grooms.

So, guys, before you default on a black tux and Chucks for your wedding day, think of all the other ways you can be yourself.
Your bride will thank you.

About the blogger
Our guest blogger Jeff has his own wedding blog called Groomasaurus, which offers a groom’s take on planning a wedding, and he is also co-owner of My Wedding Workbook, a free online wedding planning toolkit that helps engaged couples manage all their wedding details.


sony said...

I love when Groom's step into their own style & do something unique, like the classic "chucks". :)

Anonymous said...

Brides spend a tremendous amount of time matching shoes to dresses, and making sure everyone's gowns are the sme length for pictures. Who looks at the shoes anyway? Grooms, do your own thing!

The Professional Bridesmaid said...

I definitely agree that grooms should be themselves on their big day...and if Chuck Taylor's make them feel themselves....and the bride doesn't mind...go for it!