That thing we keep hearing about - “Its all bride’s day” - is a big misconception. Grooms are often under the false impression that all they have to do is show up, because that’s what their mother in law told them to do. It’s hilarious! Reality is - it’s really best if they are involved as much as possible, both to support the bride and to make the big day about two people joining together – not one person’s party. Planning the perfect wedding is a team effort; something that not-so-coincidentally will translate into a great warmup for married life.
Focus on staying supportive and good-humored, take care of the key details, and offer opinions when asked by the bride. Remember that while things can seem bewildering, you are not alone. You got this!
01. Choosing your best man, groomsmen and ushers
For many grooms, picking the wedding party is the most daunting task. Think who you want to stand by you while you’re reading your vows. I am asked a lot of the time, specifically - “Is it okay to pick a Best Man who's not my brother?” If you're not that close to your brother, that doesn't mean he shouldn't be your best man. There have been plenty of weddings where a best man who held the ring was an estranged brother and the groom leaned on his groomsmen buddies for everything else. Another bonus of a brother? The easy out if you're trying to decide between your best friend from high school and your closest college chum. That's how weddings work and your friends will understand your choice. If your bride has a brother, consider having him part of the wedding party as well, no matter how well you know each other.
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02. Choosing your groomsmen attire. Dress to kill - James Bond style
Think Timeless. Buy your tuxedo instead of renting one, it will be more of an investment than the bride’s dress. While some outfit coordination with the bride is necessary, it's more important to match the groomsmen. If you decide to go the bow-tie route, make sure you learn how to tie it yourself. Go ahead and YouTube it beforehand, so you won’t have to spend 30 minutes or more figuring it out day of, which happens way too often. Don’t wait until the last minute, it takes time to schedule appointments and get the fittings done, especially if your friends don’t live close by.
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03. Selecting groomsmen 'Thank You' gifts
Your gifts don’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but they should convey heartfelt appreciation. Choose something useful, like a weekend bag or a nice barbecue kit. Mugs, flasks, money clips, pens and other items engraved with your groomsmen's initials can also be options, but they are overdone. Your groomsmen probably are not expecting much to begin with, but if you think they’ve invested some for your bachelor party or wedding weekend, it’s considerate to spend a little extra on something you think they'd like.
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05. Purchase your bride’s wedding band and give both rings to the best man for the ceremony
The non-traditional bride and groom will go out and buy their wedding bands together, which can be a really fun time during the wedding planning process. If you’re sticking with tradition, the groom is traditionally expected to pay for his bride’s engagement ring, as well as her matching wedding band. Then entrust your best man with holding on to the rings.
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06. Selecting a gift for your beautiful bride. Follow the rule of two P's: Permanence and Personal
Exchanging wedding gifts is a romantic tradition, and a rare opportunity for surprise and showing appreciation to your bride after months of reading budgets and invoices. Either way, this is an opportunity to document a special moment. Your gift should be sentimental and meaningful, from a necklace with an inscription to an engraved keepsake box. The gift can be very touching and the sentiments and feelings in a few words on a card can be very special moments for you. Especially as the person who gives you the gift will love seeing the photos of your reaction.
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07. Honeymoon planning
The most exciting break after the wedding also needs to be planned. Honeymoon planning can be done together as something to look forward to after all the wedding craziness has ended. Cook a fancy Italian dinner and pull out a nice bottle of wine. Make sure you have pen and paper, so you can brainstorm destinations you two have always dreamed about visiting and pin down activities that speak to you. Then, take all that information and handle it on your own, from booking the plane flights to lodging and so on… Your bride will be not only proud of you, but will also have something to brag about to her bridesmaids and family.
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08. Making arrangements for transportation from the ceremony to the reception site, if necessary
Traditionally, transportation is handled by groom. Renting a limo or a party bus might be a small task, but it’s a necessary one. Be sure to have all the location addresses on hand and know how many people are expected to travel. Make a list. And always have a Plan B - think Uber.
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09. Rehearsal dinner
Rehearsal dinner planning is one of the largest financial responsibilities for the groom and his family; which means the groom should help pick the location and send out invitations. The rehearsal dinner is an intimate opportunity for the bride and groom to spend relaxed quality time with their close ones the night before the wedding, while rehearsing the events of “tomorrow”. Don’t drink too much and make sure you get plenty of sleep. You don’t want to be hungover on your wedding day!
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10. Offer a simple toast to give gratitude at the reception. Follow the rule of two H's: Humor and Heart
This is a must! What grooms definitely have to write, is a speech for the reception. Don’t over-prepare. Keep it clean and short, and speak from the heart. Keep your crowd engaged through humor - one of the two essential ingredients. Maintain eye contact with your bride, this will be another special moment for her.
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The groom’s getting ready photos are just as important. Remember, it takes two to tango, right? Moments like these are so much fun to remember, the time you spent with the most trusted men in your life and the ones that will stand by you at the altar. Some of them you haven’t seen in a long while because they live across the country, but they are here, today, for you. There are times when the groom may get ready only with his best man, or perhaps his son/sons. You can have wonderful, expressive photos no matter the circumstance.
Getting creative is what we do.
We prefer focusing on the groom and groomsmen getting ready photos in the latter stages of their preparations, after they’ve showered and shaved. For instance, while the men are just starting to prep, and the bride and bridesmaids are getting their hair and makeup done, it is better to dedicate that start-up time to photographing the lovely wedding details.
The interaction, camaraderie and emotion between the groomsmen make for magnificent photographic memories. The excitement and the joy, along with the playfulness and all the guy jokes are sincere, genuine feelings. Not to mention the nerves.
Having your best man, brother or father helping with the jacket or cufflinks, are significant moments, easily photographed, in which the spontaneity between you and the people around you is documented. Anyone in your wedding party can show their contribution to the moment by helping getting you ready.
The wedding details: Groom’s suit, cufflinks, shoes, groomsmen gifts, cologne, that snazzy watch and definitely your funny socks.
Some couples exchange handwritten love letters to each other and either read them before the first look at each of their own getting ready locations, or standing back to back before the big unveil. This is another incredible and often very sentimental moment. So if you do receive a surprise gift/card, try open it with the photographer present.
The toast. It’s a common tradition to have a toast - another great photographic moment that guys appreciate. Get that 21 year old bottle of Courvoisier out! Better yet, if you also have suitable, matching glasses or tumblers for everyone it makes the photos even better. Having a toast is a spontaneous moment and let’s face it… a shot of the good stuff will help settle the nerves too!
Tons of candid shots.
Portraits of the groom alone.
It is suggested you carry a cotton handkerchief with you for many reasons: summer days are hot, or emotions might get the best of you and tears might happen. Keep it in your pocket and use it during the ceremony and photos.
Leave your phone and wallet behind, keep them out of your pant or jacket pockets. You don’t want that showing in your photos. Hand them over to your best man, or leave them in your bag! The best is to not have anything in your pockets, except the handkerchief.