It’s a day unlike any other. For the bride, it’s the day she’s most likely been dreaming about since she was a little girl. For grooms however, it’s somewhat different. I’ve had the privilege of photographing my fair share of bridal couples in my time and I can tell you, the experience for each person is vastly different. Are you a soon-to-be groom? Not really sure where you fit into the whole planning process? Sit tight - I have a few tips!
Building Up to the Big Day
You get two types of grooms - those who take a genuine interest in planning their wedding - they’re genuinely excited to attend cake tastings and even pick out table linens. Then you get those who are all too happy to hand over the reins to their more than capable bride-to-be. Whichever of the two categories you fall into, know this - your blushing bride is most likely twice as stressed out as you are. This is where you come in. More than anyone else, you can help ease her worries and take her mind off of the planning palaver.
How, you may ask? By focusing your attention solely on her. Be the calm in the midst of the storm. Is their anything you can do to lighten her load? In the run-up to the big day, organize a date night for just the two of you. It needn’t even be a fancy night on the town either. Something as simple as cooking her favorite meal, doing the dishes and giving her a foot rub will do wonders to relax her mind. The only rule of the evening? Any wedding talk is strictly off-limits, no matter how pressing the topic may seem. You could even go as far as to recreate your first date. Take her back to a simpler time before things like table seating charts and chair backs consumed her thoughts. Trust me - you’ll both be all the better for it!
Help Out Where You Can
Have you heard about the 80/20 rule? The saying goes that 80% of your wedding budget will go towards 20% of the decisions. You know, big ticket items like the venue, the dress and the catering (not including the engagement ring and honeymoon, of course). The key is to help your bride with the right 20%. Understandably you probably couldn’t care less about whether peonies or rose petals adorn the ceremony space. Ask your fiancée where you can chip in. She may not need you to totally control any one area. Just accompanying her to meetings with vendors may mean more than you’d ever know.
Then again, you may have certain things you’re dead set on. There is the preconception that every groom is happy to just sit back and let his future missus handle every part of the planning process. I’ve dealt with both types. Experience has taught me that, even if a groom claims to be chilled out and carefree, he still appreciates having his opinions heard. One area that’s easy to cater to both the bride and groom’s tastes is in the invitation. Maybe the bride has more typically traditional preferences versus your more modern, urban style. Blur the lines between both worlds by opting for classic ivory paper with a vintage lace trim offset by a clean contemporary font in neat navy blue. You can carry this same quirky juxtaposition throughout the wedding décor to show off both of your individual styles.
Grooming Nitty Gritty
It’s not just women who want to look their dashing best on their big day. Just like the fairer sex, the same thoughts go through the groom’s head. Will I look good in the wedding photos? Will my bride like what she sees? Will I like what I look like 20 years from now?
Unlike brides though, men don’t really have all that much choice when it comes to their styling options. If I can give you a starting point, don’t make any drastic changes. Just as you’d like your bride to look like herself on the big day, the same goes for you. If clean-shaven is your everyday look and that’s how she likes you, best to stick to that.
The same goes for your haircut. I’d recommend thinking your style through well in advance of the actual day. Read: not the week of the wedding. Find a barber that you trust and feel comfortable with. Given a long enough lead time, you and your barber can conceptualize a dapper look specific to you; instead of merely working with what he’s got. Remember, your guests will be staring at the back of your head and neck for the majority of the ceremony. You want to be looking stylish, spick and span!
Write your own Vows!
I know - it would be much less stressful and sweat-inducing to simply repeat the usual “Til death do us part…” wedding vows we’ve come to know and love. Here’s the thing though - this is your one opportunity to share your innermost feelings with your new wife. Use the opportunity to knock her (and your new in-laws) socks off!
And, naturally, speaking as a photographer, nothing compares to the genuine emotion I get to capture during this sweet moment.
What you say to your bride is completely up to you, of course. If I could give you one word of advice? Don’t wait until the morning of the wedding to write them. Seriously - resist the temptation! Wedding day jitters are a real thing. You’ll have enough to deal with (groomsmen, boutonnieres, bow ties etc) without the looming worry of a personalized speech nagging on your mind. You know you’ll have to write your vows eventually so rather get them done as soon as you can. That way, you can tweak and rephrase anything well ahead of time. If you’re nervous about the tone and content, read it out to your mother, sister or a close female friend. A word of warning though - they might end up in tears (which is kind of the point anyway).
Happy Wife, Happy Life
In the end, it all comes down to you and your new wife. Remember, between all the stress and anxiety of planning this one day, you are ultimately planning a life together. Any mishaps and niggles that crop up on the day (and believe me - they will) are all a part of the fun. You’ve just married your partner for life. Now go ahead and do the damn thing!
8 quick yet priceless tips:
Eat breakfast. No one likes a hangry groom.
Set an alarm. there will florists and photographers coming to visit, it will help the day run more smoothly if you and your grooms are in the right place at the right time.
Be a buffer. Between family, friends and your bride to be. There is likely to be some sort of conflict when planning a wedding. Everyone is excited and often there are lots of opinions being thrown around by family members- just remember who’s day it is and try not to everyone bully your bride.
Stay Hydrated. And not just with beer! Its a long day and you will be likely wearing more clothes then what your used to. Have a couple of drinks with your groomsman before hand, but remember its not mad Monday- keep a lid on it till the reception!
Treat your Bride. This doesn’t have to be a lavish present (she wouldn’t complain mind you!) but even a sweet note with some words to calm her nerves before the ceremony would be forever appreciated.
Manage Your Groomsmen. Know your friend who loses his phone at least once a week? Dont make him responsible for bringing your ring to the ceremony, or another buddy who enjoys the brewski’s to much? Make sure that he doesnt have unlimited access to alcohol before the ceremony. Your mates dont have to be saints- but you dont want them drawing attention away from the reason your all here.
Arrange your attire. Make sure all outfits, accessories (think ties, watches, tie clips, cologne) or anything of importance are all together, price tag free and out of the plastic. It will save your photographer/videographer a stack of time when they arrive to photograph your prior to the ceremony.
Keep the place neat. Once again, speaking from experience- there is nothing worse then turning up to photograph the grooms preperations and the house/hotel looks like a bomb has hit it. It doesnt have to be spotless, but beer bottles away and wet towels off the floor will make the photographers job easier, and who really wants to be cleaning up when your likely tied and hungover the next day?