Wedding 101: A Groom’s Guide to Getting Married

Congratulations, you’ve planned the perfect proposal and now you’re engaged! Planning a wedding and getting married is one of the most monumental moments of your life, no pressure. Millions of men get married every year and have lived to share the secrets for making it down the aisle. We love our grooms and have compiled a quick guide to getting married!

Before The Wedding

Offer Your Opinion, Even If You Don’t Have One

To be honest, you may or may not have strong feelings on what color the table runners should be, but take a second to think about which one you like better and make a decision. There’s a very good chance your fiance will go with their gut and whatever the decision, it’s important for them to know that you are involved. Keep in mind, that all those seemingly endless decisions that go into planning a wedding are important in telling your story.

Pick One Thing (At Least) That’s Important To You And Own It

There are a lot of little details that you probably won’t feel super strongly about. But every groom should find a wedding detail that is really important to him and own that decision. He should fight for it. Whether it’s finding the DJ, figuring out the food, or finding the officiant if you don’t already have one. Not only will it be a huge help to take something off your fiance’s plate, it will tell them that you are part of the wedding planning crew and not an absent groom.

Take Initiative to Make the Fiance’s Life Easier

Your fiancée, from nearly the moment you “put a ring on it”, will likely be quite stressed out by wedding planning. Whether you agree with the reasons behind that stress doesn’t matter; your job is to mitigate it the best you can. When you sense that planning is getting the best of your significant other, plan a quick date night to unwind. Be involved, take initiative, and ensure that your engagement is a time of love, joy, and reflection rather than stressful fighting because you aren’t doing your part.

On Your Wedding Day

Be Present

This is hand’s down one of the most important, meaningful, memorable days of your life. The more present you are, the better it will be. Keep your phone handy but only for wedding purposes; stay off social media. Wake up early and be involved in the whole process — make the day as long as you can because these are the moments you’ll want to share with your children one day. Eat a good breakfast to get your day started, take a deep breath, and show up on time to each and every event.

Be Aware of and Create Meaningful Moments

This goes back to being present but also goes beyond that. Your wedding is made up of moments — as the groom, you’ll want to be aware of those and also cognizant in creating some. Whether it’s the first look, your “last meal” as a bachelor, a final conversation with your siblings, father, or best man about what this day means to you, take advantage of these once in a lifetime moments.

Don’t Forget The Gift

Many couples want to have a private moment before the ceremony to exchange personal wedding gifts. Some couples forego this, as it’s an extra expense but it’s a nice touch on the day of and ensures that you and your fiancé have a little bit of time together, just the two of you to create a special memory. Jewelry is customary to give — something nice but not too flashy or expensive. However, a love letter will go a long way even when paired with a less extravagant gift.

Rings

Your fiance will have their engagement ring but you’re responsible for the wedding bands. At some point in the day, you’ll hand them off to your best man who will present them to you during the ceremony. The closer to the ceremony and the fewer times the rings change hands, the better.

Thank Your Groomsmen

It’s customary for the groom to give gifts to each of his groomsmen as a thank you for being part of the big day. How much to spend really depends on your budget. Most gifts average anywhere from $30-100. If this gift isn’t given on the day of, the rehearsal dinner is a good time to distribute the gifts as well.

Tipping

It’s customary to tip a number of vendors on your wedding day. Everyone from wedding planners to DJs, to florists, to photographers, and bartenders. Gratuity is often built into the contract, so be sure to double-check that you aren’t double tipping. If it’s not, you can ask that it be included to save the hassle. This isn’t the easiest topic, check out this handy guide for suggestions.

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Timothy Whaley is a 3rd generation photojournalist. His father, along with his grandfather, a Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame inductee, passed down a love for telling stories through pictures.

Mr. Whaley has taken this passion and assembled a small group of award-winning photographers who are dedicated to providing couple