When choosing what Tony and his groomsmen would be wearing for the wedding, we had no idea where to start. Would we be buying the suits? Hiring them? We had heard horror stories about many formal wear hire places, including Moss Bros. So when Debenhams came highly recommended we decided to give it a try.
Debenhams use Sort My Wedding Outfit to arrange the suit hire. The idea behind Debenhams' Sort My Wedding Outfit is simple – you can hire wedding attire for your wedding party, at an affordable price. You can hire a wide range of wedding attire, including kilts!
- Order your suit online, selecting the colours and style you would like.
- Provide the groom's measurements.
- Visit a store to let the groom try on his outfit.
- Choose your groomsmen's outfits and pay 50% as a deposit.
- Groomsmen either submit their measurements online or go to their nearest store to get measured.
- Final suit fitting a few days before the wedding.
- If the suits fit then you can take them away at that final suit fitting. If not, the correct sizes are ordered in for collection later.
- Return the items the day after the wedding.
Groom goes free
If you are hiring 5 wedding outfits, then the groom will get his wedding outfit free of charge. We were originally only planning on hiring four wedding outfits, but we decided that we may as well get my Dad a suit to fit in with the groomsmen – it was free after all! The groom's outfit will be free of charge if all the outfits are ordered at the same time and the cost is equal or less than the cost of the hired outfits.
The price varies depending on what you order. For our 5 suits including shirts, and one pair of shoes, the total came to less than £400.
Choosing the wedding outfits was easy – the Sort My Wedding Outfit website is easy to use, and the outfit builder lets you create the perfect outfit for your wedding. Even better, each person doesn't have to wear the same thing, so we were able to order Tony's suit with a few changes to make him stand out – a longer jacket, a different waistcoat and a different coloured cravat and hankie.
Sort My Wedding Outfit lets you create each member of the groom's party, including providing their email address. The system will automatically email anyone who hasn't provided their measurements (or been to a store to get measured) until their measurements are entered. One of the groomsmen lives about 90 minutes away, so he was able to get measured in his local store, as well as collect his suit from that store – a big plus!
We went for the final suit fitting on the Monday before our wedding (Thursday). Three outfits needed an alteration, a shirt here, a waistcoat there. Thankfully we had a few extra days, so I will still calm at this point. We were told that we would get a phone call when the items arrived into the branch.
Wednesday arrives (remember, the wedding is on Thursday), and we are due to set up the wedding venue at noon. By this stage we still hadn't received a call from Debenhams, so Tony called up to ask if the suits were in. Thankfully they were, so after spending 3 hours setting up the wedding venue, we made the 25 mile trip into Cambridge to collect the suits. Tony was handed the 3 suit bags and off we went. By the time we get home it is around 5.45pm and I am keen to get to my Dad's house for a long anticipated evening of relaxation – I had a Lush bath planned, I needed to paint my nails and wash and dry my hair (which takes an hour in itself) for the hairdressers the following morning.
By pure chance, Tony lifted the suit covers out of the car one by one and found they were incredibly light. A quick look inside showed that one suit cover contained just a shirt. Another contained just a waistcoat. Another contained everything except a shirt. Tony hadn't noticed how light they were when he was handed all three.
It suddenly clicked. Debenhams had only given us the items that had to be ordered in – the amendments to the suits. This meant that Tony, my Dad and one usher didn't have a complete suit. By now it had gone 6pm, and again, by pure chance, Wednesdays are late night shopping days in Cambridge. Now we had to make the 50 mile round trip to go and collect the complete suits from Debenhams – that was if their formal hire department would still be open. I remember a frantic haze of me trying to ring them using both my mobile and the landline, and not getting through to anyone.
As we were driving to Cambridge, someone finally picked up the phone. I explained what had happened, alongside how unhappy I was that my relaxing night was now over. I told them that we wanted the suits ready when we arrived, plus something as an apology – there was no beating around the bush on my end.
Once we arrived, they were extremely apologetic, but were also quick to blame someone else. The suits were put together and double checked and we were told that the balance would be wiped from our account as an apology. This amounted to roughly £108.
I finally got to my Dad's house at 8.45pm, so my nice relaxing, pre-wedding night didn't happen. I just about managed to get my nails painted and my hair washed before heading to bed.
We were both extremely let down by Debenhams. I am really glad they wiped off our £108 balance, but it will never make up for the stress and missing out on my planned pre-wedding night. I would not recommend Debenhams formal hire to anyone.