This article was originally published on A Peachy Life Productions.
After experiencing the entire wedding planning process and being happily married for more than six months, I have gathered a few tips that I think could help future grooms (brides may want to consider showing this to their grooms!)
To be a groom worthy of praise is not to simply stand at the altar and wait for her (or him, but for the sake of consistency I will henceforth use “her”) to walk down the aisle. It’s high time we did away with this bizarre tradition of letting brides do all the planning (or at least it is time to add a much-needed amendment), while the groom’s only job is to merely show up on time come wedding day. It’s not like roles should reverse and grooms should take on all the planning alone, but there’s really no logical reason to not be a significant part of the planning process. This wedding is a celebration of your love together; don’t you want to take ownership playing some role in what is arguably the most important day of your life?
1. Think about one aspect of the wedding that you would like to have the most influence on.
It's no secret that your fiancée is likely to want to fulfill some sort of child hood fantasy about planning a wedding from start to finish. But before she (or he) decides on what song is played while you cut the cake, take a moment to think about one aspect of the wedding that you'd like to have your name on. It could be the song the wedding party comes out to, it could be the choice of the DJ or photographer, or it could be as simple as selecting a gift to award the lucky guy who catches the garter. This wedding isn’t just about your bride, it’s about the two of you together! You will have your friends and family there celebrating with you, it’s important to showcase the two of your styles and interests coming together as one.
If you can work together on planning the wedding, think of how well you’ll be able to work together on other big events in life.
2. Help with research.
In case you didn’t already know this, the wedding industry is ENORMOUS! Every aspect of the wedding is an industry in and of itself, from wedding emergency kits to wedding toppers, so be prepared to sift through hundreds of vendors who are all vying for your $$$ (but remember, not all vendors are in it for the $$$...some honestly want to tell/share/photograph/film your story). This is likely one of the most time consuming parts of planning a wedding and if you don’t spend enough time doing real research, you’ll likely end up with a bride who is vehemently upset about something one of the vendors did (or did not do).
To be successful when it comes to research, take the time to sit down with your fiancée and talk about what each of you would like to see in a wedding, and perhaps discuss the areas you are willing to shell out more cash and the areas that you are not too concerned with spending a great deal of money. Then consult friends and family members who perhaps are married and may be willing to share some valuable advice about vendors they know. There’s usually some friend who at least knows another friend who recently got married, so getting this information should not be difficult.
As a side note, while chiavari chairs are elegant and a staple of most modern weddings, most of your guests will hardly notice the difference and furthermore, those chairs aren’t going to capture any of the timeless moments of the day and put them together in a wedding film or a photo album that will be the only visual record of the day you got married. I’m not saying that all your money should be spent on photography and videography, but I do believe that a great deal of research should go into these two areas mainly because the professionals you hire will be charged with the responsibility of recording your wedding day in such a way that you will be able to revisit those emotions you felt on that day. I highly doubt you’ll get that from chiavari chairs or fancy cake toppers. I’m sure you’d appreciate a valid record of the day considering the amount of time and energy that went into planning.
3. Be present at all (or as many) meetings with vendors as you can.
While my wife and I were planning our wedding, I was dumbfounded at how shocked the majority of our vendors were when I would show up to every meeting. They often claimed it was such a rare thing for the groom to tag along and be so involved in all the planning. After thinking about it, I did notice that most wedding vendors cater their language towards the bride. They believe it is only brides who are visiting their pages and inquiring about their business. I imagine that is true and will continue to be true in the future, but why shouldn’t a groom come along and be present during meetings that involve critical decisions about their wedding? I can only imagine that the overall experience of the wedding for both the groom and the bride will be elevated knowing that the groom was present at these meetings and voiced his opinion about certain things.
Engagement is key; grooms have to be willing to engage in the wedding planning process. It’s understandable that many will be apprehensive about it because of their perception of what wedding planning is like. But in all honestly, things are different now. Wedding planning has married the digital age. There are so many things you can do to successfully plan for weddings from the comfort of your own home. Have Skype interviews with vendors, research online and read reviews about vendors. Major wedding sites like TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com offer complete online experiences that any groom could get accustomed to if they wanted to have any involvement.
Again, I understand the reality of bride who just wants to plan everything without any assistance (there’s nothing wrong with that!), but I can’t imagine anyone not at least wanting their groom to tag along and participate, even if it is in a minimal way. You’ll be planning a lot of things and having to make tons of decisions as a married couple, what would it hurt to start doing it now?
4. Write your own vows!
I can hardly think of a better way for a groom to woo his bride on their wedding day than to put into words the reasons why he got down on one knee. It’s the one time to think and make an attempt (although futile) to express in words the feelings you get when she walks into the room. Even if you do not wish to be at every meeting with the florist, even if you could care less what color the napkins will be or whether there will be a salad fork to the right of the soup spoon, there’s nothing that should prevent you from taking one opportunity to pour your heart out to your soon to be wife in front of family and friends.
So maybe you aren’t the gushy type who likes to pour your heart out (especially in front of people). Fine, but that shouldn’t stop you from attempting to write a spirited speech that at least celebrates the love you feel for your fiancée. Only the two of you define the love between you, so whether you want to recall some funny moments from your relationship or write a poem, it’s totally up to you. No one is holding you to any standards. It’s really the least you could do, and there’s no bride in the world that wouldn’t appreciate such a thing. You’ll probably earn a deep admiration from her family and friends as well. Everyone is already there to watch you get married, so there’s nothing wrong giving them a reason why they are sitting there on that day.
I understand there are situations where original vow writing is restricted due to the structure of the wedding ceremony, but there’s nothing stopping you from speaking to your bride during the reception. By that point, the ceremony is over so most of the pressure is already off of your shoulders. Friends and family have likely loosened up, therefore making it a much easier atmosphere to open up in front of people.
Come on, it’s not that difficult. And it will mean the world to your bride.
5. Be the stress reliever on the day of the wedding.
There is a saying…”Happy Wife…Happy Life.” The phrase takes affect long before you exchange rings. In order to guarantee a pleasant and eventful wedding day free from horrific levels of stress, the bride will look to YOU to be her relief. Forget the wedding planner and her bridesmaids, it is ultimately on your shoulders to keep that smile glued on her face. It will also be likely that you’ll be the only voice of reason she’ll be willing to listen to, so be sure to forecast to the best of your ability the events of the day. Try to avoid any potential crises by assigning a day planner, or communicating effectively with your wedding planner.
There’s nothing to be afraid of, but it will only benefit you and your bride to be mindful of the very fact that no wedding is perfect. Regardless of the hours of planning every last detail, there will be pitfalls and things will not go according to plan. This sort of advice can only go so far, this one relies solely on you. Take the proper precautions to ensure a wedding day that is memorable and full of happiness. Remember that the whole purpose is about the two of your lives being bounded together for rest of your life.
There are plenty of other methods for being a “better” groom. There’s really no way to be a “better” groom, but hopefully there is something here worth thinking about. Ultimately, it’s about creating a positive wedding experience and things can only get better with more involvement from both parties. Let this experience demonstrate your abilities to work together as a team, and learn where each other is at in terms of their wants and needs. Weddings are a learning experience; one that you will surely revisit time and time again.