Ask any man what was the most stressful day of his life, and a good many of them will tell you it was their wedding day. Consider what faced them: family pressures, silk and chiffon, emotional roller coasters before, during and after the Big Day, not to mention publicly declaring one’s love in front of hundreds of friends and relatives!
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Many men tell me they enjoyed the process more than they expected, but only when they understood their role and got involved. Here are some suggestions that will help ease the stress and make the wedding day more meaningful for men.
Get involved with the ceremony preparation: It’s easy to get caught up in the details surrounding the wedding itself, but the words that will be spoken on your wedding day will take you across a threshold of life. Be a part of the process – in selecting readings, music and rituals. When you’ve spent time making the ceremony personally meaningful, you’ll be less likely to feel like an outsider at your own wedding.
Rely on your attendants (aka: groomsmen): Select people who will pitch in when necessary and who have been with you during other stressful occasions, so that you know that they will help you keep your cool.
Take pressure off your partner: A bride may think she is a superwoman, planning every last detail, but she will certainly appreciate your interest and your help. Ask her to give you tasks and perform them well, like arranging for activities for out-of-town guests, booking hotels and cars, coordinating airport runs, and giving directions to the officiant, photographer and other wedding professionals.
Ask for help: On the day of the wedding, designate someone in your family or wedding party to handle stressors surrounding the wedding: family, guests, wedding professionals, parking, etc., so that you can stay above the fray.
Speak from the heart: If you are writing your own vows, simply write your promise in your own words. Practice your vows in front of a friend before reading them at the wedding (yes, reading, not memorizing!) To calm your nerves on the day of the wedding, focus only on the one you love, and let the guests melt away as you pledge your love. Don’t forget to have your officiant be sure both your vows and your partners have a sense of equality. And remember, there is no obligation to write vows, there are many wonderful tried-and-true classic vows to choose from.
Know what’s going on: Take the time to familiarize yourself with all the preparations and details of the Big Day so that you can answer any questions that arise, and they will! In other words, know all the who, what, where and whens. I think you know they why and how.
Don’t worry about the “perfect wedding”: There’s no such thing. Most guests won’t even notice “mistakes”, and even if they do, often such gaffes add charm, humor, and authenticity to the event.
Be present in the moment. Look at your partner during the vows. Listen carefully to your readers. Reflect on the meaning of the symbols you have chosen to include in your ceremony, whether wine, candles, flowers or rings. Remember this moment in time.
If you’ve come to the end of the column and you’re not the groom, just go ahead and print or email it to him. Grooms, if you’ve read this – congratulations and have a great time at your wedding!
Thank you Lisa Rhinehart for your gorgeous photos!