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Dress to the nines on the big day

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Without a doubt, the bride is the star of the wedding day. So where does that leave us grooms?

I just hope I get a good supporting role. Since there will be plenty of photographic proof that I was there, I want to look my best.

I suspect that many grooms dread wearing a "monkey suit" and playing the part of "tireless greeter."

But thinking in different terms might make all the difference. Look at it as a chance to choose your one-time dream rental tux .

I see a wedding as the opportunity to dress yourself up and, just like your bride, look your very best — ever.

It goes without saying that the groom needs to be well-groomed. You want the extra James Bond panache that only formal attire can offer.

Yes, trim the nails, take a shower, scrub hard and apply liberal amounts of deodorant and a dash of cologne.

A week or so in advance of the big day, consult with your favorite hair stylist, explain your needs and get the perfect trim.

And then there's the tux. If you think the tuxedo is as simple as a black jacket and tie, let your rude awakening begin here. You have a plethora of options, and some don't include a tie at all.

Banded collars, mandarin collars and ascots are more than acceptable. There are bolo ties and white ties. Jackets and slacks can be black, navy, gray or white. Cummerbunds and vests are available in almost any color to complement the bride's theme colors.

Even if you pick black, you must still choose the style. Lapels, for example, are notched, rounded or peaked. The coat can be single- or double-breasted. Maybe you want tails. Maybe you don't.

Three- and four-button European styles are widely available. Even the 3/4-length coat is around if you look carefully or ask.

The easiest way to educate yourself on formal wear is to drive to rental shops and ply the clerks with questions. Men are infamous for not asking directions, but, fellas, let me tell you that the sooner you admit you know nothing about tuxedos, the sooner you can move on to the learning stage.

In all my visits to stores around Salt Lake City, never did any of the staff at any of the shops try to pressure me to make a split-second decision or make me feel foolish for asking about their inventory or the latest trends.

In fact, when I explained that I was ignorant, I didn't need to ask anything. Instead, salespeople gave me an overview of what was in the stores and then left me alone with Shannon, my fiancée, to think about the new info.

The best shops had in-store catalogs with pictures of the tuxedos and rental prices.

Looking through these as nearly-weds will probably be the fastest, easiest way to acquaint yourself with styles and how they fit into your budget.

Not all inventories are created equal. All but one of the stores I visited, however, had a good selection of tuxedos representing a variety of styles.

After a lot of deliberation, I chose Gingiss to outfit the 10 men in the wedding party. Prices around the valley were surprisingly similar, but it came down to their inventory. They had on hand the traditional striped ascot that I liked and a Doc Marten version of the traditional shiny shoe. It added a bit of flair to the cutaway look I opted for. Claudette at the South Temple location was the best salesperson I talked to, although there were many good ones.

In order to help the salespeople help you, come prepared with the details. How many groom's attendants will there be? How many fathers, brothers and uncles need formal attire? What can you afford, and what is your personal vision of your look?

If you have planned an evening function with a sit-down dinner, the tuxedo you wear will be different from one appropriate for an afternoon barbecue in Aunt Barbara's back yard or a sunset party on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.