To help you work out what to budget for a groom’s wedding outfit, we consulted the menswear experts about how to look slick without spending a fortune

The many moving parts of a groom’s outfit can make it hard to set a budget, and it can be awkward to pin down your suit designer on what they charge for alterations, or what your kiltmaker demands for a sgian dubh.

Luckily for you, we at Tie the Knot Scotland have absolutely no qualms about asking the awkward money questions, so you don’t have to.

We caught up with Scotland’s leading groomswear specialists to quiz them on how to look sharp on your wedding day while still bringing your outfit costs in on budget.

Two men modelling kilts in neutral colours

Left: ‘Choose any tartan’ kilt hire package, from £260, right: Signature collection kilt outfit, £1,850, both MacGregor and MacDuff

What to consider when choosing groomswear

Strange as it may sound, when it comes to picking out a wedding outfit, the average groom arguably has more to think about than the bride does. He just has so many different options. Will he pick a kilt or a suit? Will he hire or buy?

Does he want to go for a pattern or something plain? Then there’s the multitude of tweeds, the infinite variations of tartan, and a truly mindboggling number of different suit cuts and sporran skins. And all of these, needless to say, are available at a vast array of price points.

Is it better to buy or hire wedding suits?

If you’re looking for an easy life, hiring might seem like the obvious solution, and in many ways it is. It’s almost always cheaper than buying outright, and it makes it easier to present a coherent look for the whole groom’s party.

“Hiring is great for gents on a budget,” says Holly Nicholl at kiltmaker MacGregor and MacDuff, which has stores across the Central Belt.

“By opting for a set range of hire tartans and jackets, it also ensures you can match perfectly with your groomsmen. With us, you can expect to pay as little as £79 for our base hire selection.”

Hiring helps out in other ways too. You won’t have a bulky kilt or suit taking up space in your wardrobe for years to come, and you won’t have regular dry-cleaning bills to keep the garments fresh and moth-free.

“It is literally easier on the groom,” agrees Darren Eggie at Aberdeenshire kiltmaker Mitchell Scott.

“Kilts often need a lot of care to keep them wearable, but there’s no upkeep to bother about with a hired outfit. If you don’t anticipate ever really needing formalwear again in the future, it doesn’t make sense to buy.”

A man modelling two different coloured suits, one red and one blue

Left: Red velvet jacket, £199, white shirt, £69.95, and bow tie, £20, right: Suit, £299, shirt, £42, and
shoes, £99.95, all Remus Uomo

What should I know before hiring my wedding look?

If you want to inject a little of your own signature style into your wedding look, buying your outfit is the best way to achieve that.

And think about it – if you don’t go signature on the day you marry, will you ever?

“It’s hard to add flare or personality to someone’s else’s suit,” points out Martin Rennie of luxury menswear brand Remus Uomo in Glasgow. “Hiring only ever gives you limited styles and limited individuality.”

Renting can also make it harder to get the fit right – and in menswear, tailoring is key. No one wants to look like they’re wearing their dad’s kilt at their wedding.

Ross Lyall at Slanj Kilts in Glasgow explains: “Hiring a kilt can pose challenges if your body proportions are not strictly standard. Most rental shops offer a range of sizes, but will the fit be ideal? If you have large or small measurements, you might have trouble finding a kilt that fits perfectly.”

A man in a kilt and a man in a suit

Left: Cuillins of Skye tartan kilt, from £450, with peatbrown jacket and waistcoat set, £450, and sporran, £300, right: Velvet evening jacket, from £300, with matching tartan waistcoat and trousers, all Slanj Kilts

How much does a kilt cost?

Buying a suit can cost anywhere from £100 to £600, and can even soar into the thousands if you fall for a designer label. Buying a kilt outfit, however, is always going to be a significant investment no matter what, with prices usually starting around £1,000.

“In comparison to a suit, yes, a kilt can be relatively expensive,” admits Ross at Slanj.

“But it is important to note that this cost often reflects the incredible traditional craftsmanship and the high-quality materials involved in creating a kilt. Before you make the decision on whether to hire or buy, though, consider how often you’ll wear your kilt after the wedding – will you have many opportunities to do so?”

Who pays for the groomsmen outfits?

Lots of guys cover the cost of their groomsmen’s outfits, so if you have a sizeable squad, hiring can come in handy, as Holly at MacGregor and MacDuff explains: “We have deals to help you out. If you hire five kilts from us, for example, we’ll take £100 off your final hire bill.”

If you want to show off your own personal style while still staying within budget, an elegant solution would be to buy your own wedding outfit but to hire your groomsmen’s clothes, which will help save a little money.

A group of men in kilts walking across a beach

Tarbert tweed jacket and waistcoat with Harris Mist kilt, outfits from £135 to hire, or £1,095 to buy, MacGregor and MacDuff

Should I consider a bespoke outfit on my wedding day?

If you do decide to buy your kilt outfit, it’s often worth paying a little more to make it extra special. “You can work with our senior stylist, design your own custom jacket and waistcoat, and choose every detail from the fabric and linings to the collar and cuff shapes,” promises Holly at MacGregor and MacDuff.

Most suit and kiltmakers offer this type of bespoke service, and some even allow grooms to include some very personal flourishes that will make the outfit totally their own, as Holly explains: “You could have the date of your wedding embroidered into the inside of your jacket or collar, for example, or have your kilt buckle embossed.”

And you can add elements such as a traditional fly plaid: “This helps the groom stand out against his groomsmen. Our tartan brogues are another unique touch for your big day that you can wear into the future.”

How do I keep costs down but still go custom-made?

Another clever way to save some pennies is to hire your kilt, but buy a custom-made jacket and waistcoat to wear with it, suggests Darren at Mitchell Scott: “The most expensive part of an outfit is the cloth – kilts can have special weave tartan and jackets and waistcoats are made from quality materials.

“If our customer is looking to keep costs down, we often recommend purchasing parts of the outfit and renting the rest, allowing them to build up their own outfit over time.”

In any case, you might not need a kilt more than once a year, if that, but you’ll have loads more occasions to wear a smart jacket or waistcoat.

Two men standing in kilts

Left: Hebridean Glisk tartan kilt outfit, from £80 to £100 to hire, from £1,750 to £2,000 made-to-measure to buy, right: Robertson Hunting Muted handmade eightyard kilt with herringbone tweed made-to-measure jacket, shirt and waistcoat, from £1,750 to £2,000 to buy, both Mitchell Scott

What are the best investment accessories for grooms?

You could seize the opportunity to make your outfit pop with a few well-chosen accessories, but be wary – prices here can really pop too.

That said, if you do have money to spend and want something you can keep forever from your wedding day, investing in a choice accessory is a lovely way to do it.

“Adding a pocket watch to a five-button waistcoat would give you a cool vintage look,” suggests Martin at Remus Uomo. “Also, men always forget about their feet,” he laughs. “A great pair of shoes is always a good investment.”

Ross at Slanj Kilts also believes in the power of an accessory: “A fancy sgian dubh or kilt pin may not grab everyone’s attention, but they can hold sentimental value as a special gift from your partner. “Ultimately, it’s these details that make a groom’s outfit truly reflect his personality and make him stand out from the crowd on his special day.”

Curious to know when you should ideally have made your decision? This handy grooms timeline will let you know exactly when to start each step of prep for your big day

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