We’re a tech company that makes suits so of course we published a hardcover book
The Black Tux is a venture-backed apparel company. Technically our business is the manufacture and rental of suits and tuxedos, but that’s never felt like our purpose. We do the design and rental part well (don’t take my word for it) — we’ve streamlined the process, improved the fit, and increased the quality — but it’s more like a means to an end. That end is to help guys show up as the best version of themselves on the days that matter most.
It’s a way more fun business, because it means we get to be with people for their most important moments. For a lot of guys that’s prom, for others it’s a gala, holiday party, or some other red carpet event. But for the vast majority of our customers, that moment is their wedding day.
About a year ago it occurred to us that simply dressing someone for that day wasn’t necessarily satisfying our mission. Despite stale stereotypes about the groom’s role in wedding planning (it’s not just about showing up at the right time in a suit), we know our customers are as involved with, nervous about, excited for, and have questions around wedding prep as their partners. So we wrote a book for those guys.
Our book is called The Groom’s Guide (some rejected titles: State of the Union, Trophy Husband, Groomzilla, Wedding Slayer) and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a groom-tested, partner-approved manual for men on the verge of marriage. This isn’t a soup-to-nuts instruction manual; there are few checklists, no budgets, no vendor index. Think of it more like a great guidebook: a trusted friend helping you navigate a foreign place by unlocking its secrets, orienting you to its quirks, and making sure you don’t miss the best parts.
We take the position that couples should be unencumbered by anyone else’s ideas about what a wedding should be. We want to honor traditions — they tie us to history and imbue our actions with meaning — but not before understanding where they come from, what they mean, and which ones have become overripe. Nothing is sacred. The only thing that matters is making a commitment to someone you love, surrounded by people you care about. You can get there however you want, and the book reflects that.
In the spirit of being non-prescriptive and engaging, we tried to make The Groom’s Guide as approachable as possible: we’ve ranked reception traditions by creepiness, made fun of Pinterest, wrote an ode to brunch, suggested what wedding standards to retire, penned some good out-of-office auto-replies for your honeymoon, and made a passionate, relentless case for having an open bar. And that’s just the first half. The rest of the book is a comprehensive style guide that explains everything from what all the dress codes mean to the difference between lapel shapes and how to fit a suit if you’re body type is “Chicagoan.”
Just like the suits we rent, no detail has been overlooked and the experience marries the best of online and offline worlds: the intimacy of the physical book can be enjoyed on your own terms, and an interactive version makes sharing and quick reference easy.
We won’t measure the success of this book based on the number of copies we sell (but seriously, it’s a great gift). This was an investment in knowledge about our core business (wedding rentals) that is already paying dividends in the form of better product decisions, and an investment in our customers: We know we can equip them with suits, but if we can also prepare them to be better and more present partners on their wedding days, we’ll be inching ever closer to our mission.
The Groom’s Guide is the best invitation into our brand, and the first of several content initiatives backed by the premise that if people are more knowledgeable and confident about wearing suits and tuxedos, they’ll want to do it more, and that’s probably a good thing for our business. We hope people getting married will rent from us when the occasion calls for it. But even if they don’t, we hope they’ll value themselves, their time, and their event enough to rent from someone who cares about all of those things as much as we do.