By Sharon Naylor, sharonnaylor.net.
Scoring freebies for the wedding is every bride and groom’s dream, especially when the Big Day is averaging over $24,000. You’re pretty lucky getting married right now, since so many wedding venues and professionals are sweetening their deals by giving out incentive freebies…a free leather-bound photo album here (value $500,) a free cocktail party station there (value $400.) With so many freebies in the air, grooms are feeling mighty generous in giving some of them away. And who are the lucky recipients of these? The groomsmen.
When the guys have been asked to be in the bridal party, they’re often looking at some pretty hefty expenses when you add up travel and lodging for the weekend, the bachelor party, tuxes or suits, and more. From day one to the wedding day, the guys can spend several hundred dollars apiece…and grooms don’t want to wipe out their best friends’ and brothers’ finances for the honor of escorting a bridesmaid up the aisle and posing for photos. So they’re handing out some sweet free things to help cut their groomsmen’s costs.
Here are five of the top freebies that today’s considerate groom is happy to give away:
1. A free tuxedo. It’s long been a practice of reputable tux shops to grant a free tuxedo rental with an order of five or six tuxes. The shop intends that freebie for the groom, but if he has a best man or groomsman who’s cash-crunched, the groom is now giving him the freebie and the two of them keep that gift quiet from the other, paying guys. Happens all the time. One catch, though: you have to make sure the tux shop allows you to give the freebie to another guy. Some shops inexplicably have made this freebie non-transferable. So before you tell your cash-challenged groomsman that he can have your free tux, double-check with the tux shop to be sure you can give it to him. It would be awful if your best man thinks he isn’t paying that $99 for the tux (which is the national average cost, according to TheWeddingReport.com,) and then finds out at the last minute that he has to. You could, of course, write him a check or PayPal him, if that non-transferable thing pops up, which removes the dilemma. But the advice remains the same: check with the tux shop.
2. Free shirts. Since more grooms and groomsmen are wearing smart suits and ties to formal weddings, you could give your guys free formal shirts for their wedding day attire. Here’s how to score the freebies: Have you seen all of those Joseph A. Bank commercials with the mind-blowing ‘Buy one shirt, get four free’ offers? There are your four free, designer shirts for the guys. Department stores do it too, with a ‘buy one designer shirt, get one free.’ The guys get their $100 shirts for free, and keep them to wear to work and to other weddings. The same goes with ties for the wedding day. Brides and parents can help you stay on the lookout for ‘buy one designer tie, get one free’ offers. If you need a few more ties for work, you buy three and get three freebies. You were going to buy ties for yourself anyway. Groomsmen get the wardrobe boost as your gift, and their girlfriends approve far more than they would yet another engraved beer mug.
3. Free hotel room. Hotels often thank brides and grooms who book big, multi-room blocks for their weddings by giving the happy couple a free room or suite for the wedding night, (sometimes even for the entire weekend.) But if you live nearby and plan to spend that night at home — or in the free room given to you by the other hotel where you booked a room block — you can give your groomsman that free room, or three of your groomsmen that free presidential suite (value $750 a night. With wet bar.) This one you’ll have to discuss with the bride first, though. She might want the presidential suite for her bridesmaids, which means you’ll have to have a discussion. Then there’s the free night’s stay at your destination wedding resort that gives everyone the ‘book three nights, get the fourth night free’ freebie that counts for everyone. No discussion needed there.
Sharon Naylor’s latest book is all about scoring freebies for your wedding.
4. Liquor. All of those wine bottles you’ve had for a while in your wine rack, maybe holiday presents you’ve received that aren’t a type of wine either of you likes. Bottles of liquor you have in multiples. Brands of vodka that don’t thrill you. Or the good stuff you’ve been saving for a special occasion. You can give them all to the groomsmen throwing you a bachelor party, saving them tons of money and clearing out your wine racks and liquor stash for some fresh, new bottles. The bride’s doing this with her ladies, so why not share the booze-soaked love with your guys?
5. The thing won at the bridal show. You’ll feel a little better about being dragged to that fourth or fifth bridal show the bride wants to go to (we know you enjoyed the first one, with all that free food and the drinks!) when your raffle tickets win a free party bus for three hours, or a 50% off catering coupon, free cigar-rolling station or other valuable prize. If you and the bride don’t choose to use these things for the wedding, or if it’s a duplicate of something you’ve already booked, you can hand these freebies to your guys to use for the bachelor party. Again, see if they’re transferable, and even if they’re not, you just get it in your name and put it to use. Some vendors are offering amazing raffle prizes, especially at the higher-end bridal shows it costs money to get into. And your lucky streak with the drawings could net big-time freebies for your guys. A free party bus? The guys will love that. Especially if you bring in all that liquor from your stash, too.
And of course, if your groomsmen aren’t in need of freebies, all of these can be handed to your dad. He may be paying for part of the wedding, or hosting an engagement party, the rehearsal dinner and a wedding weekend party. Some freebies from you may be very, very welcome.
Sharon Naylor is the bestselling author of The Bride’s Guide to Freebies, which of course isn’t just for the bride, www.sharonnaylor.net.