Getting Started | For Him
What's a Guy to Do?
Getting married can be an exciting and overwhelming time. While the bride is busy with all the fine details of planning the wedding, the groom should be preparing for his personal responsibilities.
- Buy an engagement ring
- Draw up a wedding guest list and have your family make theirs
- Choose and invite your best man and ushers for the wedding
- With your bride, choose formal wear for you and the ushers
- Choose gifts for ushers to be given at the rehearsal dinner
- Choose your bride’s wedding present; usually it is something personal like jewelry or lingerie
- Select a wedding ring with your bride. This should be engraved on the inside with each of your initials and the date. An additional personal message is always special
- Plan the honeymoon several months before the big day to ensure reservations
- Traditionally, the groom pays for the bride’s bouquet, corsages, and boutonnieres
- Apply for the marriage license several weeks in advance and give it to the best man the day of the wedding
- Check to be sure you and your bride have all the necessary papers, birth certificates, blood tests, baptismal certificates, etc.
- Make insurance provisions for your new status
- Notify your attendants of the time and place of rehearsal
- Provide the clergyman's fee, which is given to the best man to hold on the wedding day
- Send a thank-you note to your bride’s parents the next day saying how enjoyable the event was
For the groom, picking out what to wear is easy, right? Well, not quite.
There are many styles of formal wear for men. The time of day your wedding is held, how formal the wedding is, and what your bride is wearing all help determine how you should be dressed. If you’re having a formal evening wedding you could wear a white tie and tails or a standard tuxedo.
For afternoon formal weddings there are cutaway coats (morning coats) and strollers. Be sure that whatever you choose fits the mood and season of your wedding.
Bow ties and ascots are the two most popular choices of neckwear, though regular neckties are appropriate as well. Because the pattern you choose will also appear on your cummerbund, select something that will look good around both your neck and your waist! Remember that the pleats on cummerbunds always face upward. If you don’t like cummerbunds you may decide to wear a vest. Your vest and bow tie don’t have to match exactly, but do be sure they don’t clash. Tuxedo shirts usually are pleated, but you can decide what type of collar looks best on you. Your shirtsleeves should hang one-half to one inch out of your jacket. French cuff sleeves are popular among many men.
Traditionally, the groom wears black patent leather oxfords. This is your big day, so make sure that your socks match each other and your shoes!
When you are the parent of the groom, you're sometimes left out of most of the major decisions made regarding the wedding. The role of the groom’s parents traditionally has been to support the groom and the bride's parents by planning around the bride's decisions. Traditionally, the groom’s parents are responsible for some of the financial responsibilities. Today more and more parents are taking a more involved and active role in this area. Below are some guidelines to keep in mind when you find yourself about to become an in-law.
The parents of the groom should make an effort to meet the bride's family before the engagement is officially announced. Send a note to the bride welcoming her into your family as well as a note to the bride's mother expressing happiness about the couple’s engagement.
It's recommended to establish who is paying for what early in the planning process. Tradition tells us that the groom's family’s expenses consist of their wedding attire, travel expenses, rehearsal dinner, lodging, and the couple's gift. As tradition meets with modern times, more and more financially able families of the groom are assisting with additional costs of the wedding such as flowers and beverages or splitting the cost for the reception dinner. This is more common when the number of guests continues to grow past the couple’s budget.
It is extremely helpful to the bride and those involved in the planning process when you compile your guest list promptly and completely. Traditionally, the bride or her mother will keep you updated as to responses or wedding gifts received from your family or friends. If the father of the groom is also the best man, he should arrange to be fitted for his formal wear as soon as the bride and groom have decided on the style and fashion for the men in the wedding party.
When planning the rehearsal dinner, remember that each member of the wedding party should be included along with their spouses. It is also recommended to invite grandparents and out of town guests if space permits.
Traditionally, the groom’s mother is escorted and seated before the bride's mother. The groom’s mother sits in the first pew on the right side of the aisle. If her husband in not part of the wedding party, he sits in the same pew.
At the end of the ceremony or during the reception, the groom’s parents may be asked to participate in the formal receiving line with the bride's parents.
If you want to preserve the romance in your honeymoon, make sure your honeymoon planning is practical, realistic, and a little street-smart. Here are a few guidelines to get you off to a good start.
Start as early as you can. Last minute honeymoon plans lead to miserable honeymoon experiences.
Find a specialist. Honeymoons are not the same as business travel. The nice folks who helped you line up hotel and flight reservations for your business conference won't be much help, despite their best intentions. Find someone who will sit down with you in person or take the time to talk on the phone (for at least an hour) in order to gather important information about you and discuss your options in detail. You can also locate many online honeymoon travel companies with representatives who specialize in honeymoons. They will be able to help you book your romantic getaway right from your computer.
Clarify what you want to do on your honeymoon (besides the obvious!) so it's easier to identify a suitable location. In between the extremes of catatonic beach bums and die-hard mountain climbers lies a multitude of choices -- shopping, sight-seeing, fine dining, aquatic sports, etc. The best honeymoon specialists begin by having husband and wife each fill out a questionnaire. News flash! You and your spouse-to-be might have different ideas on what constitutes a "great" honeymoon.
Be realistic about what you are prepared to spend. That way, your travel agent doesn't waste time with packages that are unsuitable to your budget. While you're at it, ask your travel agent about setting up a honeymoon registry. That way, it's easy for friends and relatives to contribute to your honeymoon budget (and reduce your inventory of surplus kitchen appliances!).
Know your destination. This is especially true if you plan to travel -- or hold your marriage ceremony -- outside the United States. Every country has its own rules, its own government, its own bureaucratic idiosyncrasies -- you get the idea. Your experienced honeymoon specialist should be all over this stuff like a magnet, knowing what offices to contact, what forms to fill out, what permissions to obtain, etc.
Make lists. (If you're not a "list person," jump into a phone booth and transform yourself immediately!) Bring those lists when you visit your honeymoon specialist so you can write down new things right then and there. With the myriad of details you'll have to manage, lists will not only reduce the risk of forgetting something important, they'll boost your morale as you triumphantly check off item after item.
Consider the pros and cons of travel packages. If you're both adventurous and experienced, they may limit your options. Otherwise, they can solve the problem of keeping yourself fed and beveraged, thus reducing the risk of confronting a five-dollar soda pop when you only have three dollars left.
Get smart advice about spending money. ATM's are convenient, but are they reliable at your location? Traveler's checks are convenient, as long as using them isn't a hassle. Money conversion storefronts are convenient but might be a rip-off. While you're at it, find out the conversion rate for whatever foreign currency you will need.
Include one or two changes of clothing (especially underwear and socks) in your carry-on luggage. Believe it or not, airlines have been known to misroute or lose luggage. Invest in a document holder that will work with your carry-on luggage. The best honeymoon specialists provide them. Fumbling for paperwork when you're standing in line facing an impatient bureaucrat is a miserable experience.