With just ten days to go until the wedding and it occurred to me that I should probably find gifts for the other groomsmen.
I’d never been in a wedding party before and wasn’t at all clear on the protocol, but I did seem to recall that my brother had bought all the other groomsmen personalised engraved flasks when I got married, so shouldn’t I also somehow mark the occasion for my best friend’s betrothal ? The groom hadn’t singled me out at the “Best Man” but that didn’t seem to matter.i This was an unconventional wedding by all accounts and as far as I knew there was no “Best Man” selected at all, leaving the door open for me to take charge of the situation. Besides, this was going to be one of maybe only two weddings I would ever attend that I would be in the wedding party for and that had any hope of outdoing my own spectacular day, so it seemed appropriate to mark the occasion properly. But with what ?
Cufflinks would require French cuffs that not all the self-dressedii groomsmen would have, bowties were an odd gifts to customise but perhaps a solid back-up choice,iii well-designed handkerchiefs were hard to find in multiples of six, we already had personalised flasks, shoes would have fitment issues, tie clips were not at all suitable for the bowties at least some of us would be wearing… and yet I still wanted something to bring together all of our hodge-podge outfits at the reception. What about… lapel pins ?
Inspired by the lapel pin that my mother has taken to wearing after her recent induction into the Alberta Order of Merit,iv I started searching for lapel pins for the groomsmen. Surely, this was something that none of us would already have. So to Simon’s, Henry Singer, Harry Rosen, Birks, Holt Renfrew, all the big names I went… and not one of them sold anything other than overpriced costume jewelry made of motherfucking pewter or bizarrely nationalistic silver pieces. Maple Leaf ? Nothx.
Nearly out of time and options, I passed upon Kline Jewellers in Le Marchand Mansion at the top of Victoria Park Road. A good Jewish-sounding establishment, no ? Therein I met Tom and Mariola who not only promised that they could deliver custom-made lapel pins over the holidays when everything else was all but molasses in the cold, but that the final product wouldn’t hardly cost more than the pewter pieces of shit hawked by the likes of Tateossian. Was this offer too good to be true or a true Christmas miracle to compensate for the little Elf’s penthouse debacle ? I spent an hour brainstorming designs with Tom and Mariola based on what they had in-store and other pieces I’d seen online, settled on an idea, made a small deposit to cover the outsourced cost of design rendering, and went on my incredulous way. That was December 21st.
Two days later, I had a very passable rendering in my email inbox, I shot back a quick edit, and hoped against hope that the following week would be one of good news. I didn’t really have any recourse if “the jeweller got sick” or “the dog ate the homework.”
On December 26th, I still hadn’t heard anything. Time was ticking…
On December 27th, I received a call saying that the commissioned design had been struck in sterling silver as agreed upon but that the slender sword was too soft to be useable – it could be bent by hand. The solution ? 10k white gold, the hardest of the available gold alloys and the perfect fit for the slender lapel pins.
On December 28th, the lapel pins were ready for pick-up. Really, could it be ? Braving the -30C temperatures,v I drove over to inspect the final product. The symmetry of the butts at the ends of the transept / cross guard weren’t perfect but I was in no mood to complain.vi Kline had delivered in a week what Birks couldn’t have in a month and they did so over the holidays, at a fair price, and even negotiated a descuenta por efectivo!
I’m not sure how many more pieces of jewelry I’ll be commissioning over the coming years, but after an experience like this, and a positive reception to match at the wedding, where everyone was taken aback by the gesture and the lapel pins served as our shining open bar passes while the rest of the guests fumbled with drink tickets, I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome nor more eager to repeat the process.
To “T” and his new wife “R,” congratulations again. We won’t soon forget that magical NYE. We have the golden toothpicks to remind us.
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- Turns out that I was the Best Man but the groom didn’t feel like telling me. He didn’t have to! I sensed it! [↩]
- “T,” the groom, told us all to “wear whatever we wanted.” Have you ever heard of such a thing ??! I obviously went for a dark blue Z Zegna tux and I have to say that I’ve never worn such comfortable dressy clothes. Why I ever bothered with those fucking Hiras tailors from Hong Kong for anything other than their monogrammed dress shirts is beyond me. Their suits suck balls. I mean that literally. How fucking hard is it to make room for my bulging crotch after you’ve taken my exact measurements ??! [↩]
- I was also looking forward to tying up my own Dion silk bowtie for the event, a little extra measure of elegance that a surprising number of guests appreciated at the wedding. Who knew that a little effort would go such a long ways ? [↩]
- Yes, I have impossibly big shoes to fill. Of all the many chips on my shoulder, this will be the hardest one to fill. [↩]
- FTR it’s a lot easier with a car starter. [↩]