Week 2: Tux, DJ, & Invitations
Hello Brides & Grooms,
For my second 12×12 series there’s a little something for the Grooms! (About time, right?)
I interviewed three very interesting Wedding Pros on their diverse professions that I think may get the guys a little more interested in the planning process.
This week I spoke with David; owner of a Tux shop, James; a DJ extraordinaire; and Betsy; an expert on wedding Invitations. Below is what they had to say, enjoy!
Up first is David Jircik: Men’s Formal Wear Specialist
1) Tell me about your business.
Hi, I’m David Jircik, owner of Alvin Tuxedos. Like a lot of my customers today, when I was in my 20’s and fresh out of college, I found that I was going to a lot of events that required a tuxedo. Our family-owned a department store and I had the idea to add a formal wear section.
It ultimately became a big part of our business and made it possible for me to launch Alvin Tuxedos in 2004. Since then, Alvin Tuxedos has grown into a specialty formalwear business that offers over 100 tuxedo styles and 400 color choices. It is with pride that I strive to maintain the personal relations and quality care that made our family business success for nearly a century.
2) How long have you been in business?
I’m celebrating my 35th year in the formal wear industry. From early on I learned every aspect of a clothing business—purchasing, sales, inventory management, shipping, displays, accounting, advertising—you name it—I have done it all. So when I launched Alvin Tuxedos in 2004, my business was up and running in two weeks.
3) How did you find your profession?
It was a natural fit. It comes to me easily, as I can visualize the bridal experience the client is seeking. I am a perfectionist, who thinks someone needs to look out for the guys, and help them look their best. This is more than a profession for me. It is a source of pride and accomplishment that my efforts will be cherished and appreciated in wedding pictures for decades.
4) What do you love most about your job & what is the most challenging aspect of it?
Aside from the obvious joy of being my boss, I love the innovation of technology that is making my business better. For example, one of the big challenges is how to get the fit right on groomsmen that are out of state. They don’t arrive until the day before the wedding and in the past, we had to hope the measurements they provided were accurate. Now, with the ability to see them on Zoom and answer a few simple questions, I can fit someone virtually.
Then, I ship their tuxedo directly to their home or office about 10 days before the wedding which allows for plenty of time for any possible corrections. Of course, I prefer clients to see me personally. Out of town groomsmen have always been an industry challenge, and now we have that solved.
5) What are some of the most memorable weddings you’ve done?
That’s a great question! I have helped professional athletes with sports themes, Gothic weddings, superhero weddings, weddings on horseback, and helicopters. Lots of Firetrucks too! But honestly, it’s the people that I remember. I have developed friendships with so many of the past clients that now I am fitting their sons for prom tuxedos.
6) What’s a hot trend right now & what’s in for 2021?
The trend in menswear has been for slim-cut suits and tuxedos. I also offer ultra-slim fits in certain styles. But I can fit all sizes. Last year we added floral tie patterns, and this year floral jackets, so there may be more of that look, at least for magazines and fashion shoots. For weddings, I am projecting that grey, blue, and tan tones will remain strong for the summer months, and black, navy, and charcoal tones will lead in fall.
7) How have weddings changed in the last 10 years?
The style life cycle of a tuxedo is about three years.
We’re always trying to show the client the latest. Looking back 10 years ago, the style was pleated pants, pleated shirts, and boxy coats. Today we are in slim flat front pants, microfiber fitted shirts, and tailored suits.
8) What’s something all weddings (or couples) have in common?
No matter how large or small, all couples ultimately just want to have a day that is special to them and is surrounded by the people they love.
9) Do you participate in Bridal Shows? If so, are they helpful?
Bridal shows are crucial to my business. To have the opportunity to meet with couples in an atmosphere that is designed to educate and inform helps both of us decide if we are a good fit. The key is to remember that although as vendors we have done hundreds of shows, the bridal couples will only do a handful and so it is important to listen to their needs.
10) What sets you apart from the pack?
I enjoy what I do. I am a very easy-going person, and I am confident I can do it right.
11) What’s the Galveston wedding scene like?
It’s the best. We spend a lot of time in Galveston. There is so much happiness in an ocean breeze. Galveston has so much to offer from beautiful scenery to amazing restaurants and hotels and nightlife. I have known several couples to get married in Galveston, and then sail away on a cruise ship for their honeymoon.
12) What’s the first piece of advice you’d give a newly engaged couple?
Congratulations! You are now a team. Make decisions together.
Next up we have a young entrepreneur; James Holmes: DJ
1. We’ve been providing some of the best entertainment and rental services in the Greater Houston region for almost a decade. Everything from DJs, Photo Booth and Lighting to Dance Floors, Stages, Linens and much more.
2. We’ve been in business for over 9 years. I and my team of DJs, Photo Booth attendants and other staff love helping our clients create incredible events.
3. I’ve always loved all kinds of music. In college, I worked as a cater waiter and was working at a wedding where the DJ was not having much luck. I spent the rest of the night telling him what to play. After that, I went to work at the company he worked for, started my own business after college just to make some extra money, but quickly ended up having to go full time because it took off so quickly.
4. My favorite part of my job is how happy the client is after one of our amazing events. Brides especially are the best part of the job. When they’ve just had the night of their lives, and they’re hugging you and gushing about what an amazing time they had and thank you over and over, that’s one of the best feelings there is.
The most challenging part is wanting so bad to give clients the event of their dreams within their budgets. We give clients top of the line service at great prices.
5. We’ve done a ton of incredible events. The first wedding we did at Bryan Museum about four years ago is still one of my favorites because the venue was cool and unique, the couple was really fun and joking and laughing the entire time, and the party was a huge blast all night. We also did the 30th birthday party of Kareem Jackson who played for the Texans at the time. That was an incredible party. We’ve done so many unique corporate events, such as when we rented TVs and video game systems for one company’s party or when we did space-themed green screens for an HP event at Nasa.
6. I think one trend that is becoming big is lighting. It’s always been around, but I think people are figuring out how much it can help transform any venue and we’re seeing more adventure in colors and design.
7. In the last 10 years, I’ve seen a lot more personalization. Couples are going beyond just koozies with their names on them and making their weddings reflect their personalities and taste. It’s making planning fun.
8. Almost all couples get overwhelmed at one point or another in the planning process, and almost all couples have something not go exactly as they planned. But, the couples that have the best weddings are the ones that don’t let the stress consume them. Those couples adopt, work with their vendors to make things work, and end up having a blast celebrating their love with their family and friends.
9. We don’t participate in bridal shows much anymore. We have found it to be much more worth our time to focus on helping venues put together great open houses and work with them directly to create incredible events through their packages and preferred vendors lists.
10. Our top of the line service and attention to detail while staying within the budget set us apart from the pack. We try to present ourselves professionally by wearing button-down shirts and ties and often full suits and our equipment is first class.
11. The Galveston wedding scene is great. We love doing weddings in Galveston because there’s almost always a breeze so it’s perfect for outdoor ceremonies. The venues are more intimate and they are classic and unique. They have their feelings, that you can’t get anywhere else, which is cool.
12. Take your time and do your research before hiring vendors and before creating your budget. Talk to your venue about their preferred vendors, take the time to check out their website, and look for the attention to detail you’d want them to show at your wedding. Have at least one phone call with the DJ before you book them, see if you like their vibe. And take the time to get pricing from more than one vendor you’re interested in and compare not just the price, but everything you get for that number. This is the most important day of your life, make sure you get what you want.
James Holmes – PB&DJ events
And lastly, a vendor who you will most likely get to know first when planning your wedding; Betsy Campbell: Wedding Invites
1. Betsy By Design is a boutique custom design/print studio located in downtown Galveston. We carry unique hostess gifts, eclectic greeting cards, and handmade goods as well as custom-made, gorgeous wedding invitations, personalized stationery, and business identity design.
2. I’ve been open for 4 years on the island but before that, I worked as the National Manager for custom printing for Paper Source, based in Chicago, Illinois so have been doing this for over 25 years.
3. I would say it found me. I have my Masters in Fine Art, in Printmaking and after grad school, moved to Chicago. It was there that I found this great company that sold luxurious papers, from Japanese screen-printed papers to lush, 100% cotton stocks and I just fell in love. When the owner suggested she wanted to marry my love of painting with her love of paper to create an option for people to learn what could be done with these amazing sheets, I jumped at the chance. I helped create an offering of custom wedding invitations, stationery, and greeting cards that were unique and inviting. After almost 20 years though, I felt it was time for me to get back to working with clients one on one, to slow the pace a bit. That’s how I ended up here in Galveston, an Islander by choice, so-to-speak.
4. Love most: I’m my boss and I get to order fun, eclectic product and I get to work with some kind, generous and amazing people. Most challenging: I’m my boss…ha! Seriously though, being the owner, the manager, the accountant, the web-site developer, the buyer, the designer, the printer…it can be a little overwhelming at times. Still, though, it’s the challenge that makes it all worthwhile!
5. There were two that stand out…Invitation-wise that is. One was for a bride and groom who were from very prominent Chicago families. The bride spent about $24K on just her wedding invitation suite, program, day-of items, etc. She was very sweet, just really knew what she wanted and the inclination to get it. Funnily enough, she completely spaced on her parent’s address (the house she grew up in mind you) and all of her reply cards got sent to a neighbor down the street! The other one was a bride and groom who were getting married in Italy. Very intimate, smaller ceremony, only 20 people invited. We custom-lined mini suitcases with maps of Italy and created a gorgeous layered wedding invitation with similar maps, hand calligraphy, etc. She put special items into the suitcases, along with the invitation, and had each hand-delivered to her guests. All expenses paid while there, all the guests had to do was purchase a plane ticket. I think they both stand out, not so much because of the money they spent as the challenges both designs were and that the result on both was so amazing and the brides loved them.
6. Gosh, it’s hard to say with wedding invitations sometimes as brides have SO many influences and Pinterest can overwhelm them. In the last few years, custom Monograms have been a huge hit but I’m seeing brides lean toward adding in geometric gold or rose-gold shapes, more photographic elements as well as a bent toward shimmery stocks.
7. I find that there is a change in how things are communicated: less frill, more direct, less old-school traditional but still sticking to one’s roots I guess. RSVP “cards” don’t seem as critical to the modern-day bride now with websites acting as the “catch-all” from where the couple is registered to accommodations, to where guests can RSVP vs. sending a card back in the mail (less paper/less postage/less time). Also, there seems to be so much more time and energy spent on the “day-of” items: uniquely designed seating charts, welcome signs, & trussed-up table numbers.
8. With almost every couple I’ve ever worked, the groom just wants his bride to be happy, satisfied, and able to enjoy her day. Whatever it takes, that’s what he wants. As for weddings, if we’re lucky, what they all seem to have in common is that they are just a huge celebration of love and family.
9. I do participate in Bridal Shows and yes, I find them helpful. What I have found most recently is what those brides or Mothers of the Bride (MOB’s) like most are that they can stop at my booth and ask questions and TOUCH and FEEL invitations. You can’t do that with on-line companies, and I think they like that they can do this with me.
10. I think what sets me apart from “the pack” is that I have an actual brick and mortar store where you can come in, sit down, discuss what you want, feel different stocks, actually get clarity on what certain print methods are, what drives prices up and down. I also feel that I’m pretty approachable and since I’ve been doing this a while, I can sometimes help calm nerves or way-lay some anxiety someone might be having. In other, words, I think I’m a pretty nice person! Ha!
11. It depends on WHAT type of Galveston wedding you plan on having! Beach wedding/light cocktails reception at a restaurant: casual, easy-going, very simple, or very “beach-themed”. Church/reception at event venues such as The Bryan: more up-market, more attention to detail, and hands-on approach to the invitation design. So really…I would say the Galveston wedding scene is: anything goes! No matter what, definitely “island time”…ha!
12. Advice: Relax! It’ll all get done and hopefully, you will only do this once in your life, so sit back and enjoy the ride! Don’t sweat the tiny details too much; try to keep in mind that your wedding is about the two of you, not everyone else, and what they want. Stay grounded, positive, and happy.
Betsy By Design
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/betsybydesign123/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betsybydesign123/