The Vince Vaughn / Owen Wilson 1-2 punch, can only mean one thing.... the 2015 spring and summer wedding season is upon us.
And with it come the myriad responsibilities for those soon-to-be-grooms out there... among them, offering proper thanks and appreciation to the merry band of friends, family, and misfits (i.e. groomsmen) who will (hopefully) get them to the church on time.
Having been fortunate enough to marry a woman who is smarter, cooler, and better-looking than I am, I've also had the pleasure of being surrounded by groomsmen (who, coincidentally, were also smarter, cooler, and better looking... I'm seeing a trend). And I thanked them for their loyalty, friendship, and charming self-censorship during the rehearsal dinner toasts with a gift they (hopefully) still enjoy to this day.
I've also been on the receiving end of the groom's-gift-to-the-groomsmen. And I've come to learn a thing or two about groomsmen gifts. Being my mother's son and inheriting her golden sense of selflessness, I've decided to share this wisdom with you, our loyal readers.
So without further ado, I present the official / comprehensive FitzGerald Morrell 20 Best Groomsmen Gifts of 2015 (in no particular order)
("What do you know? There are gloves on this list...")
1) Tuxedo shirts. Assuming black tie is the sartorial order of the big day, a freshly starched tuxedo shirt is a can't-miss for your crew. I'm a big fan of anything Ledbury, and they cut a great off-the-shelf shirt. If you want to go an affordable bespoke route, check out Proper Cloth. Need the creme de la creme? Try Hamilton, all the way (made in the US).
2) Ties, regular or bow. My cousin Jordan is the classiest gent I know (he's also my doppelgänger, 8 years into the future... man, I'm gonna look good). Jordan told me one of his favorite groomsmen gifts from the past was a solid navy Hermes tie. Bullseye. If that breaks your budget, there are plenty of options via the GQ editors' standby, The Tie Bar. If bowties are more your flavor, drop a line to my pal James at High Cotton. If you need a truly bespoke bowtie (and/or want to channel your inner Peaky Blinder), there's an upstart outfit from Wilmington, NC called Archibald Alexander -- my great friend Evan is the founder, and he can set you up.
3) Oyster Shuckers. You plan on seeing your groomsmen again, right? Hopefully with some degree of regularity... good way to get the band back together at least once a year is around a cooler of beer and a steampot full of oysters. Sound good? Then check out the Charleston Shucker Company.
4) FitzGerald Morrell's Lowery custom golf gloves. Did you pick 11 groomsmen just so you could have 3 even foursomes for a wedding day round of golf? Then you and your groomsmen were destined to wear our Lowery glove. Custom-crafted in durable Pittards leather and reinforced for on-course wear/tear, we craft these gloves in any of our 20 leather colors and offer both bespoke and pre-sized fit options.
I tasked the FitzGerald Morrell team with designing Lowery because I was tired of buying the same cheap-leather-composite pro shop gloves three times every summer only to have them wear through and tear after a few rounds. We can make a better quality and better fitting glove for you and your groomsmen to make it through the wedding day 18, and beyond.
5) Embroidered belts. My great pal Barlow gave his groomsmen custom-embroidered belts to tell the story of his friendship with each groomsmen... he's a sentimental man, that Barlow. Smathers & Branson offers a custom embroidery service in addition to their ready-to-buy selection. Onward Reserve keeps a healthy stock (often on discount).
6) Cufflinks. The old standby. Customize with the wedding date, your groomsmen's initials, etc. The good ol' interwebs will bombard you with a million and one options for where to buy/engrave... from what I've seen, your best bet (for quality and cost) is to go straight to www.CuffLinks.com. Use the money you save to buy your spouse that second lobster dinner on the honeymoon....
7) This Land's Forged Steel Bottle Openers. One of my favorite companies on Planet Earth right now is another Charlotte-based company called This Land. The company's mission is clear and inspiring: "From wooded workshops, to mountaintop cabins, to urban studios, we travel across this great land to discover America’s finest, most inspiring craftsmen and to bring their handmade, limited edition works to you." Your groomsmen will love this bottle opener.
8) Knockaround Custom Sunglasses. Outdoor wedding? On a tight groomsmen gift budget? Dig some custom sunglasses from Knockaround. My sis-in-law Sweezey turned me on to these a few months back (aka, the day the sunglasses died... pic below), and I've been a fan ever since. Sharp style. Good quality. The best part? Knockarounds offer a bevy of colors so you can make sure your new specs match your wedding day attire and your bride's flowers (yes, she'll notice...)
9) Flasks. You can never have too many of these, and you have a LOT of options to choose from. On the high-end, I really dig this hand-made copper job from Jacob Bromwell. Your groomsmen an outdoorsy crew? Check out the classic Stanley. On the more wallet-friendly end, you'll find practically every engraveable flask you can image at Flasks.com.
10) Engraved Decanters. I've stopped wondering why we all want to be some version of Don Draper. At this point I just accept it & make gift recommendations accordingly. Fortunately this decanter from Home Wet Bar is customizable & easy on the wallet.
11) Spirits. The logical followup to #11. I don't mean to be a dream-killer but this needs to be said: for the record, you WILL NOT be able to find multiple bottles (or even one bottle, really) of Pappy Van Winkle for your groomsmen. I like you... you came to our website and you've been reading long enough to get to #12... you obviously have good taste. But multiple bottles of Pappy you will not get. If your groomsmen lean towards bourbon, grab them each a bottle of Weller. It's from the same distillery/family as Pappy, but you don't have to bribe your local liquor store owner or camp out in front on the store like it's Krzyzewskiville just to get a bottle. Groomsmen pining for something lighter? Call our pals Ann and Scott at High Wire Distilling and buy as many bottles of Hat Trick Gin as they can give you.
12) Daniel Wellington watches. In some families I know, it's a tradition that groomsmen all receive a watch to commemorate the occasion... one of those generous gifts that not-so-subtley reminds everybody not to be late to the main event. I've never received a watch as a groomsmen, but my wife gave me a GQ-approved Daniel Wellington for my birthday last year. Without drowning you in too many details, I'll just say this: I love everything about this watch, and I plan to keep it for a very very long time. And so will your groomsmen.
13) FitzGerald Morrell's Pollard equestrian glove. Perfect for those outdoorsmen among your merry band of groomsmen. Like all of our gloves, Pollard is custom-measured, hand-cut, and uniquely-sewn using Pittards leather and is ergonomically designed and reinforced to weather the rigor of open-field and competition riding. And it also looks really, really good so even your non-riding-but-sartorially-inclined groomsmen will enjoy a pair.
14) "Get Ready" Supplies. You want your groomsmen looking their best. A few ideas to help you say thanks to your groomsmen AND to pave the road to grooming perfection...
- If there's an "Art of Shaving" nearby, spring for a round of straight shaves.
- Pass out the Fulton and Roark "solid cologne" to keep the gang smelling fresh.
- Go all-in and subscribe your crew to Birchbox so they can keep their grooming-game on-point for the full year.
15) Group Trip. Some groomsmen would rather enjoy time with each other than accrue more stuff. If yours are the sentimental type, say thanks with the gift of a group experience. Example? A Fly Fishing weekend in the NC mountains (if so, call my pal Brown Hobson, the Orvis Guide of the Year for 2015). Golfing more your bag? Plenty of courses to choose from, but don't forget the Criquet Shirts (the gents from TX can do custom embroidery for groups). I won't hammer you with too many options/ideas here... you know your groomsmen better than I do... just pick something you can all enjoy together, either in the lead-up to the wedding or as a way to all get back together the month after.
16) Something For the Wall. If yours is a destination wedding, or you're heading back to you and your pals' favorite old stomping ground, commemorate the wedding and say thanks to your groomsmen with something to remember the place by. I'm a big, big fan of prints from The Old Try and Aaron Draplin. If you want something more personal -- a pic of you and your groomsmen all together, maybe? -- consider seeking some help from the good folks at Level; they'll custom-frame and ship practically anything (your pics from social media included).
17) Billy Reid pocket squares. Lots of folks make pocket squares. Mr. Reid's are the best.
18) Braces (not the teeth kind). Buttoned up in black tie? Go with a subtle monogram on bleach white braces. Sporting suits? A splash of color will do (and a monogram is a nice touch here, too). When in doubt, go with Brooks Brothers... this is 100% unsubstantiated, but I'm 78% sure they invented braces.
19) FitzGerald Morrell's Gasset shooting gloves. We make the Gasset because gentlemen-sportsmen require a gentlemen-sportsman's glove that will fit and last. And nothing else on the market seemed to meet that need. If your groomsmen are sporting gents, and/or if you have target practice on the wedding weekend itinerary, your groomsmen will love this glove. It's a minimalist glove often worn unlined or with a silk interior. This is the choice of outdoorsmen who need a competition-caliber glove that will last all day in the field. Features an elasticized wrist for sure-fit just under the palm and an optional trigger-finger adjustment.
20) Custom, personalized Bobblehead. My old roommate Kimble once received a personalized bobblehead in thanks for executing his groomsman's duties. Sounds like the kind of thing George Costanza would give his groomsmen... which is to say, this sounds awesome.
To be honest, I've never bought a custom bubblehead before so I can't rightly make a "you gotta buy from these guys" recommendation... so I'll just list the websites I found that look reputable:
My advice? Just go with whoever offers the best discount...