There was a wedding show at the Terminal City Club Saturday night but that’s not why the men — and this is important to note — eagerly stepped through the building’s doors.
The Hush Wedding Soiree beckoned the ladies in their gowns and heels with glowing pink lights and tulle promises while the fellows veered off to the left at the top of the foyer stairs to The Groom Show. The two shows were divided by an acrobat who performed on aerial silks and, while dangling upside-down, poured wine for the guests.
But it was liquors, cigars, grooming and suit-fitting that held the men’s attention by way of 15-minute-long mini-seminars held on rotation throughout the evening at the first edition of The Groom Show.
Kim Trehan, a wedding planner who operates Vancouver’s Soirée Planners, had the idea to highlight the men after noticing too many weddings where they were simply left out of having any say in shaping the day.
“I see that so many things are geared towards the bride and I feel that’s unfair because if they didn’t have the groom, there would be no wedding,” she said. “Guys don’t care about the large centrepieces, don’t care about the frills and bows and all the girly stuff shoved their way. They don’t care about having a Pinterest wedding, they care about having a meaningful day.”
Trehan, who produced the show along with wedding photographers Jelger Vitt and Tanja Aelbrecht, said the day should be about the couple, with each having equal say in what they want.
“Here the groom gets a show dedicated to him rather than standing off to the side at her show where his job is to carry the bag and the water bottle. No, no! Let the man be the man again,” said Trehan.
Men bought tickets to the show, as opposed to being coerced. And, Trehan pointed out, many were not actual grooms but instead regular guys (and some women) showing up to learn the way of the gentleman. Those who attended all four workshops were given a certificate that read: “Master in the Art of Being a Gentleman.”
Seating was always full for the whiskey and brandy workshop, led by the grand-sounding Persian Empire Vodka, while Joe Fallon of The Gastown Grooming Room not only explained different grooming tools to his audience but offered free neck tapers during the evening. BRAVOecho Custom Suited showed how to fit a suit for comfort as well as reuse a suit worn for a wedding.
And then there was City Cigar where cigar merchant Catherine Crepeau captivated her audience with useful information about humidors, cigar choices and how she almost has a heart attack whenever somebody talks of throwing their cigars out when they mistake the aged cigar perfection of plume for mould.
By the end of the evening, many women had migrated over to The Groom Show, naturally, as this is where the men were. The cocktail dresses, three-piece suits, and the clinking of glasswear gave the later hour the feel of an actual wedding reception.
“Honestly, it’s a lot more fun on this side,” said Kayleigh Fell, who was waiting for her fiancé Jason Tabo, a cigar aficionado, to finish questioning Crepeau.
The couple’s friend who came along for the ride, Mahmood Aziz, was also impressed by what he learned from Crepeau and vowed never again to transport a cigar without a protective sleeve.
“If you sit around here and really listen, you learn a little more,” he said. “But this is a bonding experience more than a learning experience. This is more of a social gathering for us.”