Aug 31, 2014 ⇢ By: BEE SHAPIRO

Calling His Shots Comes Naturally

NYT - Calling His Shots Comes Naturally

Mr. Wade in a Dsquared2 suit. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

If groomzillas are a rare breed, it may seem rarer yet that the Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade nearly qualified for the role.

A couple of months before his official date to go down the aisle, which happened at a home in Miami Saturday, his fiancée, the actress Gabrielle Union, 41, told Us Weekly that their wedding planning was going smoothly thanks to her betrothed.

“He realized that I was trying to turn it into a frat party with K-cups and beer pong, and he took over,” she said. “He really Kanye’d himself and really doubled down, and it’s his princess day, and I’m just along for the ride.”

Mr. Wade, 32, is a fashion trendsetter, if not risk-taker, among fellow National Basketball Association players. If he was uncomfortable taking over typical bride territory, he didn’t let on. After all, he reasoned, it is his shining moment, too.

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“She’s a jokester,” he said during a phone interview a couple of weeks before the wedding day. “She knows how to make me look crazy.” Mr. Wade said he led the planning because he’s “about the small details. And you’ve got to know the bride. She’s not going to think about the smaller stuff. She’s not a girlie girl either.”

NYT - Calling His Shots Comes Naturally

Dwyane Wade with his stylist, Calyann Barnett. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

Dwyane Wade with his stylist, Calyann Barnett. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times
The two started dating in 2008, after seeing each other at a few parties. Last Christmas, at the construction site of their house in Miami, Mr. Wade proposed to Ms. Union. It was a sweet surprise that included his sons, Zaire, 12, and Zion, 7, and his nephew Dahveon Morris, 12. “She’s marrying us,” Mr. Wade said. (A video of the proposal was included in the couple’s save-the-dates, which, along with a copy of the wedding after-party invitation, were later shown on TMZ.)

In February, the two began planning their wedding. “She had input, but when we started it was 85/15 leading my way,” he said of taking charge. “Now, it’s probably 70/30.” In fact, this month Mr. Wade was in Los Angeles, where he wrapped up a few wedding tasks like meeting with his longtime stylist Calyann Barnett for a second fitting of his DSquared2 clothes. There were three designer custom outfits, to be exact.

“I was teasing him, ‘You’re changing more than the bride!’ ” said Dan Caten, who designs and runs DSquared2 with his identical twin, Dean. They are no strangers to celebrity grooms — the two designed a wedding suit for the singer Michael Bublé. “But that was one look — a whole different situation,” Dan Caten said.

Mr. Wade met the brothers almost three years ago at their fashion show, and they have been friendly since. “He’s so into fashion and he really puts it out there,” Dan Caten said. Many pro basketball players profess they’re into fashion, “but then they wear things that are loud and tacky,” he said. “Dwyane doesn’t get silly. There’s always something really classy, cool and elegant about him without being too tricksy.”

Not that Mr. Wade’s wardrobe was boring. He actually planned to match Ms. Union’s outfit changes on their wedding day, with a double-breasted off-white tuxedo shawl collar jacket with black trousers and a plain bib-front shirt for the ceremony. (Ms. Union chose a Dennis Basso dress, while Mr. Wade’s sons and nephew also wore DSquared2, in stark white tuxedo blazers with contrast black lapels.)

NYT - Calling His Shots Comes Naturally

Fabric samples for Mr. Wade’s custom bow ties created in collaboration with the Tie Bar Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

Fabric samples for Mr. Wade’s custom bow ties created in collaboration with the Tie Bar Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times
Ms. Barnett also had input, but “I was thinking ‘Harlem Nights’ and Eddie Murphy, classic movies and the way they dressed,” Mr. Wade said. Up to the wedding day, the designers were pushing an oversize black silk flower on the lapel, but Mr. Wade balked, choosing a custom floral lapel pin with pearls from the jeweler Jason of Beverly Hills.

For dinner, Mr. Wade had a one-button dinner jacket in a custom black-and-white jacquard, a gold bow tie from and slimmer black trousers flooded to the ankles with no socks. “It’s Miami freshness,” Dan Caten said.

But Mr. Wade’s after-party outfit — white poplin boxer shorts to the knee, a black-on-black camouflage silk lamé jacket, small collar shirt, narrow tie and black gladiator trainers with a silver shield on the tongue — was “really out there,” Mr. Caten said. Mr. Wade said, “It’s gentleman on top and athlete on the bottom.”

Despite it being hurricane season (some DSquared2 fabrics were tweaked for the heat), the couple decided to risk an outdoor wedding. Mr. Wade searched the Internet (“I just Googled ‘outside wedding’ ”) for color scheme and décor ideas. The couple chose black and white, which was the dress code for all the guests (men in black tuxes and women in white). Mr. Wade was scrupulous, down to his guests’ attire. Each male guest received one of three bow ties (each in black but with different treatments) to wear. They were designed by the groom in collaboration with

There were also typical concerns like the budget and guest list. “There’s the perception that when two celebrities get together that it has to be this mega, mega wedding,” he said, adding that they just wanted to have fun at their wedding. To keep things personal, the couple trimmed the guest list to about 175 to 200 for the wedding and 250 to 275 for the after-party.


Gabrielle Union and Mr. Wade in 2013. Credit Christopher Polk/Getty Images for ESPY

Gabrielle Union and Mr. Wade in 2013. Credit Christopher Polk/Getty Images for ESPY
Mr. Wade left the fine-tuning to Bonnie Walker, a wedding planner who was recommended by friend. A couple of special requests: “My fiancée and I wanted candles, so it’s the main focus,” he said. Also, no centerpieces on the tables. “Either you can’t see the person across from you or you can’t see the program,” he said. (Among the highlights: a performance by the singer John Legend.)

Before the wedding, Mr. Wade had been sending ideas to Ms. Walker via text whenever inspiration struck. “We were at a friend’s wedding the other day and I was analyzing everything,” he said.

Mr. Wade was so busy planning that he didn’t have time to be nervous for the big day, he said. If he was spending less time with his buddies or teammates, they didn’t give him a hard time about it. “I’ve gotten no flak,” Mr. Wade said, noting that nowadays, a groom taking on stereotypical bride duties is much more accepted.

“Dwyane is breaking boundaries: he is crossing that line, where you’re supposed to be like this because you’re an athlete,” Mr. Caten said.

In the end, Mr. Wade’s wedding vision, while meticulously planned, did not reach ball-hogging groomzilla territory.

“Everyone wants to look good on their wedding day,” Mr. Wade said. “And I’m not going around the back. My fiancée may have the bigger moment, but I want everyone to turn and see me when I’m walking down the aisle. I want my entrance.”