Whatever style of wedding you and your fiancée prefer, as the groom you need to decide early on how involved you want to be in the planning process, and make sure your bride understands and is supportive of your role.
Here are some areas of responsibility for you to consider:
· The groom who loves fine dining may decide to work directly with the caterer or hotel on the menu. Just be careful not to get carried away--remember that a complicated menu can cause the budget to skyrocket and may be difficult for the chef to execute properly.
· If you are interested in wine, offer to select and secure the wines for the celebration. Once you have the menu, you may select the wine yourself from the list the hotel or caterer provides, or you may fax your menu to the best wine retailer in town for him or her to help you pick the wines. Of course, if you ask a retailer to select the wines on your behalf, you would be expected to purchase the wines from that retailer. Avoid wasting anyone's time, your own included.
· If your interest in wine extends to fine spirits, you may also want to work with your hotel or caterer to approve the brands of spirits offered, and maybe even choose one or two specialty cocktails to be tray-passed during the reception. Guests love being offered an interesting cocktail they might not have otherwise chosen. A great cocktail gets the party off to a quick and happy start. Some ideas include flavored vodka martinis, cosmopolitans, mint juleps or even gimlets.
· Transportation of the wedding party can be a complicated logistical challenge. Depending on your budget, the solution may range from asking wedding guests with spacious cars to drive groups of guests, to renting vans or limousines and hiring drivers. If you have good organizational abilities, you can take on the transportation logistics to ensure everyone gets where they need to be in style. Give special thought to the transportation you arrange for yourself and the bride as you leave the wedding reception. A horse-drawn carriage may be a great idea if you are to be married in the country (or in a city like New York that offers such transportation), or a friend might loan a vintage Mercedes or Rolls Royce convertible so the two of you can make a dramatic exit in front of the guests.
· Are you the one in the marriage with the large music collection? Perhaps you want to take on the task of working with the band or other musicians. Confirm well in advance issues such as when the band must arrive, what they will wear, how many breaks they will take, how long the breaks are, and when breaks will occur. Also, be sure to provide the bandleader with a list of songs you'd like to hear throughout the event, and songs you definitely don't want played. Don't forget to tell the bandleader which song should be played for your first dance. You could also put together a compilation tape to be played when the band is on break, as there should always be some music playing at all times.
· For the cigar-loving groom, there is perhaps no sweeter smoke than the one shared with friends at his wedding reception. Providing a few boxes of fine cigars is another responsibility you might want to assume, perhaps in consultation with your father or the bride's father if they also enjoy a good smoke. One elegant way to do the cigar presentation is to have a waiter roll a cart through the reception area, offering guests cigars and the use of a cutter and cigar matches. Just one word of advice: don't let a box of expensive cigars circulate unattended. You have no idea how greedily otherwise well-mannered men can behave when faced with a box of free Cohibas.