You’ve found the woman of your dreams, schemed with her best friend to select the perfect ring (in the right size, of course), and you’ve gotten that perfect woman to say those two magic words: “I do.” That’s it for you until the wedding day, right?
Not quite. Today’s groom is expected to pull his weight when it comes to planning and executing an ideal wedding, so prepare to help build the bridge to happily ever after.
Give yourself a few days to bask in the glow of the post-proposal endorphin rush, but don’t wait too long to start discussing expectations about who will be responsible for which tasks.
While many grooms today are whole-heartedly pitching in and even taking control of wedding plans from the invitations to the reception party favors, it pays to be on the same page as to who will make the important aesthetic decisions.
Relax. You don’t have to sit neck deep, for months, in wedding magazines and catering contracts while your buddies watch the game and drink beer. She might not expect—nor necessarily want—you to take the reins entirely.
However, a little support goes a long way towards a happy and stress-free wedding for both of you.
Impress your future bride by showing her that you’re ready to step up to the marital plate with our list of suggested groom’s responsibilities:
While in the past a majority of the wedding plans and the financial burden fell to the blushing bride-to-be and her family, a modern wedding is usually the product of hard work and monetary contribution from both sides of the “couple equation.”
Schedule a time for an informal get-together where everyone can discuss who will cover which costs. Keep in mind that reality will almost always top any estimates that you have initially planned.
If you want to tell the world about your union, you’ll want to publish an engagement announcement in your local newspaper or other publications. One helpful and easy task you can take care of is making sure your announcement gets into the papers with plenty of time to spare.
If you and your bride-to-be have chosen a photographer already, you can also assume responsibility for booking the engagement photo session for the photos you will use in your announcement.
While deciding who gets an invite to your big day is a shared responsibility, the logistics of addressing, stamping, and sending invitations can be designated to one person. If you’re tackling this job yourself, keep in mind that you’ll need to get current addresses for everyone on your list well ahead of time.
You’ll want to agree on the look and price of the invitations together, but the actual ordering, stuffing, and sealing can be done by you alone. Don’t forget to send virtual invitations if you’re including online reminders.
You may also wish to assume the task of reminding friends who haven’t yet RSVPed.
The Wedding Party
Your wedding party will be made of close friends and family who have earned a place by your side on this important day. While the bride chooses her bridesmaids and maid of honor, you will be responsible for choosing your best man.
This is an important role and should be given to someone—ideally a brother or best friend—who can be trusted with such tasks as safeguarding the wedding bands, keeping an eye on the wedding gifts, and making sure gifts get to your home the day after the wedding.
You can also choose among your friends for the ushers, ring bearer, and any other meaningful positions.
To rent or to purchase? That is the question. While renting is less expensive for any given occasion, if you think you’ll wear a tuxedo to multiple occasions in the future, it’s better to invest in one that’s the perfect, tailored fit for you.
Once you decide which shops you’ll be visiting, ask your bride-to-be, your friends, or family members to accompany you and give their input on what styles look best. You’ll want to make sure you match your bride’s gown in cut and style, and any colors you choose should complement your wedding colors.
Stay in good communication with your groomsmen about their own attire for the day, as you’ll want them to match their outfits to yours. Be sure to set a date by which the men in your wedding party must secure their tuxedo rentals, to make sure no one’s left behind. You can also sometimes secure group bargains if everyone purchases or rents tuxedoes at the same time.
The Marriage License
The actual license is one of those (not so) little details that can easily be overlooked in the hubbub of planning flowers, dresses, receptions and honeymoons. Early on, research the requirements for the county in which you will be married.
Some counties require a waiting period or blood testing, so don’t drag your heels on this point!
If you’re feeling classy, you can show your affection and appreciation by purchasing gifts for your fiancée and your groomsmen before the big day.
The Rehearsal Dinner
You can plan the entirety of the rehearsal dinner, including location, meal, and invitations. Be sure to pick a restaurant where the theme and level of formality match the theme and formality of your wedding. (Don’t be the clueless guy who rents space at the bowling alley food court).
Be sure to reserve space well in advance, especially if there will be a large group, and ask if the restaurant has a private room. Don’t forget to plan a toast thanking all of the appropriate parties.
You and your wife-to-be will arrive separately to the ceremony, so you’ll need to arrange transport for your bride, the bridal party and whomever will give away the bride. Establish separate transport for yourself and your groomsmen.
You have many fun options to choose from, including classic limos, festive party buses, or romantic horse-drawn carriages. The entire wedding party will also need you to arrange transportation from the ceremony to the reception locale.
Work with your best man to ensure that all of the people who need to get paid, like the officiant, DJ, photographer, caterer, and other vendors, walk away with payment in hand. You’ll also want to tip vendors 15 to 20 percent depending on how well they’ve performed. You can do this yourself, but it’s easier to designate someone who will be less distracted on the big day.
Speech, Speech, Speech!
Write your reception speech well before the wedding jitters take hold, so you can run it by trusted friends for feedback. You’ll probably revise it a few times as the big date nears.
Give yourself enough advance time to practice it if you’re uncomfortable with public speaking. Don’t feel pressure to be funny or too lengthy; just make sure you thank your future wife’s parents, the lovely bride herself, your family, best man and groomsmen.
While you should do all the research you like and come up with several lists of ideas and activities you’d enjoy, you and your bride should play equal roles in planning for this special “vacation.” After all, it represents your first real adventure together as a married couple.