Getting wedding-ready takes a lot of planning and preparation, says Nicole Conner, so don’t leave it too late. Read on for top tips on how to get started
Congratulations on your engagement! The countdown has already begun… so when exactly should you start prepping for the moment you tie the knot? Some things take more time than you might imagine – did you know that buying a kilt is a much lengthier process than hiring one? Are you wondering how late you can leave it before you swap the pub for the gym? Luckily, we have experts on hand to talk us through an all-encompassing schedule that will have you looking your best before you say ‘I do’.
One year before
The thought of being the centre of attention spurs plenty of couples into action to become the best version of themselves. “I would suggest you start your fitness journey as soon as your partner says yes,” advises personal trainer Amy Hill, co-founder of new Glasgow fitness studio Space. “Don’t cram it all in with one month to go.”
Amy likes to kick things off by chatting to a new client about their goals and their timescale, to figure out a fitness plan together. Got a year to work on yourself? “Then we’ll look at your diet and water intake, your step count, workout schedule and social life, to see what positive changes can be introduced,” she explains.
“If you’re on a tighter timeframe, it will be a case of increasing workouts, upping your steps or perhaps calculating whether you need to go into a calorie deficit. Not everyone’s goal is to lose weight, so each plan will be different.”
Having a PT with you on your fitness journey can keep you accountable and get you into shape. The run-up to a wedding can be stressful, so Amy advises switching off and using that one hour of training to focus on yourself. “Try to make it fun as well. It’s a challenge, so set goals and make it your mission to achieve them. And remember: the sooner you start, the easier it will become!”
Six months to go
Will you be buying a kilt for the big day? If so, allow plenty of time. That’s the advice of Highlandwear specialist MacGregor and MacDuff. “Our handmade kilts can take between 12 and 14 weeks to be crafted, so take that into account,” says the company’s Holly Nicol. “Kilt-buying can be quite a lengthy process, but our team are here to help at every stage. The first decision is which tartan you want.” Grooms must then work out if they’d like a handmade or a machine-made kilt, and if they want any personalised elements, such as embossed leather straps.
The lead time will depend on the season (certain months are a lot busier than others) and the kilt you’ve chosen. Seven- and eight-yard machine-made kilts will be ready within six to eight weeks, while handmade kilts take closer to three months.
And what about jackets? “These take 12 weeks to be produced,” says Holly. “We’re aware that it’s good to be as organised as possible, so when a groom books his first appointment, we always ask when his wedding date is so we can be absolutely sure his outfit will be ready in plenty of time.”
After the initial appointment and fitting, your order will be sent to one of the store’s kiltmakers across Scotland. Once it has been created, you’ll come back in for a second fitting to check that everything is just right. If alterations are required, the garment will be sent back and adjusted.
And great news if you’d like to add accessories: there is a lot more flexibility here, as these made-to-order items usually only take between four and eight weeks to be finished.
Three months to go
Unlike a bride’s quest for the dress, which often starts more than a year before she marries, a groom has more time to play with if he decides to hire a kilt or buy a suit. “In theory, we could provide a kilt outfit on the morning of your wedding, but we wouldn’t recommend that!” says Simone Waters at Highlandwear supplier McCalls. “It’s much better to start early so you have the best selection of tartans in the right size – especially if there are groomsmen to kit out too.”
To start this process off, all you need to do is book an appointment through the company’s website to arrange a fitting. These are offered across McCalls’ seven Scottish stores, or you can be fitted online via video. “Appointments generally take around 20 minutes per person for measurements to be taken. You can browse the tartan range and decide on your outfit choices at this time,” adds Simone.
Once an outfit has been selected from one of the store’s three hire packages, you can collect it and try it on in store for a final check. In most cases, hire outfits are picked up the day before. If you’re travelling some distance to the ceremony venue, though, you can arrange collection earlier.
Any younger boys in your wedding party? An additional fitting is often recommended for them, just in case a sudden growth spurt leaves the kilt too short or the jacket too tight. This extra visit, according to Simone, is normally pencilled in for around two weeks before the wedding. Most hires are three days long, with the garments returned on the next working day after the event, but extra days can be arranged for an additional cost.
Not every groom fancies a kilt, of course. If you’d rather wear a suit, Martin Rennie at Glasgow menswear outfitter Remus Uomo believes you should start shopping no later than three months before the big day. But he also cautions against buying too early: “Often, if guys come in too far in advance, their body shape changes before the wedding,” he says.
Buying too soon can also have an impact on things like the choice of colour palettes available – these tend to be updated every few months. “During my initial chat with a groom, I usually inform him of the styles and colours that will be available at the time of his big day,” says Martin. “These can change depending on the season.”
Most suits look so much better when they’ve been tailored to fit you perfectly, and this is something Martin recommends having done four weeks prior to the wedding. He’ll take your measurements in store, then whisk the garments off to an alterations shop.
Bespoke suits are pricey, but if ever there was a time to justify the expense, it’s your wedding. Slater Menswear offers a made-to-order service where you can personalise every aspect of your new suit. Jacket, waistcoat and trouser styles are all customisable, as are lapel width, linings, buttons, threads and embroidery. Prices start from £499 for a two-piece suit (£599 with a waistcoat). Once your order has been placed, your suit will be ready for collection in six weeks.
The week before
As your date with destiny draws nearer, you should be booking your final grooming appointment. “For most haircuts, I would recommend going to your barber three to seven days before the wedding,” states Stephen Martin of House Martin Barbers in Glasgow. “This gives enough time to ‘grow into’ your haircut. If you have a beard, get it trimmed at the same time. If you’re going for a skin fade, though, the closer to the wedding the better.”
His top tip is sticking with the same barber for a few appointments prior to the wedding cut: this means they will be well acquainted with you and your hair so there are no wee mistakes (particularly if you have a funny crown or a stubborn cowlick – it’s always best if the barber is well prepped!).
When it comes to shaving, Stephen says how close you do this to the big day depends on how sensitive your skin is: “Make sure you know, a few weeks before the wedding, how your skin will react to shaving and the products you use. That way you’ll avoid any redness and irritation for those all-important photos.”