Spotlight on Grooms

So much focus is put on women and weddings. Maybe too much, really – focus that becomes pressure, stress and unrealistic expectation. Remember that men, too, are almost always part of the occasion and equation, and too often not given enough thought. Time to look at the men-folk again!

Before I get to all the practical stuff, I want to share an observation. I see a great many men cry during the ceremony, most often during the vow exchange. I am not surprised when they are caught off-guard by overwhelming emotion. My theory is that in our culture men are taught to suppress their feelings (big boys don’t cry) and at an important, extremely emotional time such as this, all those tamped down feelings that have built up inside can’t be held back. The damn breaks. At least that’s my guess. So, men, if you do cry, please remember that it’s quite normal and understand why. A little advance crying might help relieve the pressure, though, so give into the urge to shed some tears beforehand.

Now, onto wedding planning! Granted there is usually one partner who is more inclined towards the wedding planning, but given you are a team and planning a life together, it would behoove ANYONE getting marriage to participate in planning. Male couples can teach us something here – after all, if there is no bride to carry the burden of wedding planning, what do two grooms do? Usually they plan their wedding together.

Many a (straight) groom has expressed that all he needs to do is show up, implying wedding work is up to the woman. This is wrong on so many levels. If he takes his upcoming vows seriously and his friends and family are joining him to celebrate, why shouldn’t he be engaged (pun intended!) in the process?

The good news is that many men today are taking an active role in their own wedding planning. Here are a few tips for them.

Some of the classic ways to be involved include choosing music, signature drinks, menu, photographer, and participating in choosing all your vendors. In other words – express your opinion. Don’t get sucked into a wedding that does not fit you style. To be sure you will feel comfortable and proud on the big day, you must participate in advance.

If things are getting tense in the family, you can be a shoulder to lean on, a hearing ear, and even a buffer, should your bride and her mother (for example) start to argue. However, don’t ever say one bad word about your future mother or father-in-law. It will come back to haunt you. Just be understanding and support your partner!

If your bride is taking on too much and is stressed out, gently help her off the edge of the cliff and encourage her to let go of any unimportant tasks.

If you have decided to write your own vows, don’t leave this to the last minute. Check in with your fiancée, to be sure you do not wind up walking away from the ceremony embarrassed. Don’t make your vows all humor, one funny line is enough. As a celebrant, I assist couples who are creating their own vows, so they will be confident without necessarily knowing what the other one is planning to say. You may not have that opportunity – so talk with one another about the length and tone of this important promise, or ask a friend to help.

On the day-of, classic responsibilities include making sure your attendants are there on time, and sober, and know who is holding the rings. Delegate jobs for them in advance, such as welcoming guests, directing traffic, and generally being around to help. There’s a reason you chose them to stand with you, they are there to support you!

Don’t forget to eat something, it’s a long day, and pace yourself in all ways. If your normal routine happens to include exercise, go ahead with that in the morning. You’ll feel better. The same advice goes for women, of course.

A new tradition that has developed, and I although it plays into the ever-growing list of things-to-do-for-weddings, it is beautiful. Give your intended a gift on the morning of the wedding. This doesn’t have to be about the expense, but it does need to hit the right note. Something personal, a private reference between the two of you perhaps? Or sending a card or letter – via one of your attendants – to deliver to her before your walk down the aisle is also a grand romantic gesture and will surely set a romantic tone for the nuptials. If ever there is a time to get sappy, this is it!

Pay attention to your own grooming. While a bride may be at the spa, getting her hair, nails, and make-up perfect, some men don’t really care for any of that. But it is important to go a bit beyond just a fresh shave or beard trim and haircut, and I encourage men indulge in some extra personal grooming, beyond their daily routine, and consider getting a facial. Most men never know the joy of a facial:  pores cleaned, little hairs trimmed –  it really will make you look your best, especially for those close-up wedding portraits.

Make sure your clothing and shoes fit properly, well in advance, guys.

Stay sober.

And during the ceremony and party following, focus on your partner, make eye contact, compliment her, and be a complete gentleman in all ways. Thank everyone, and remember to enjoy the moment.


     Thank you Lisa Rhinehart for the use of your wonderful photography

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