I completely reject this idea that a wedding day is all about the bride, its not, and its not all about the groom either (unless there are two grooms, then it totally is) – its about you taking this incredible decision & then throwing a party to celebrate it. But sometime the needs and anxieties of Groomy McGroom can be pushed to the side – so based on my experience here are some tips for grooms as your wedding day looms up on the horizon like a giant T-Rex clutching wedding favours in his tiny hands.
1. The speech. Lets start with the big one. This advice goes for Best Men and Fathers of the bride too – IGNORE EVERYTHING ON THE FIRST PAGE OF GOOGLE. It’s where everyone finds their advice, so if you want your speech to feel individual, and thoughtful, step away from the computer. Basically Grooms have the easy speech – they need to thank their families & friends, the bridal party, anyone who pulled out the stops to make the day go ahead, a toast to absent friends, and (and this is the really important bit) a few words about your bride/fellow groom. Do not plan this bit. I know, that sounds like mad advice – but nothing makes my heart sink more than a groom reading “and my wife looks gorgeous, doesn’t she?” from a printed piece of paper that you know he wrote days ago. Sure, we all know your new spouse is going to look heart-stoppingly beautiful, because they look that way to you anyway. But take a minute to really look at them, lock that memory away, and react in the moment. One “My love, you look incredible”, trumps 30 “and my wife looks gorgeous, doesn’t she?”s. One sentence honestly saying what this day means to you will mean the world to them. Your job here is to be honest and in love, nothing more.
Oh, and never forget to thank the brides parents. Or you will be paying for that well into your silver anniversary.
2. Your suit. Welcome to 2014 – morning suits not required. Okay, in this area you hetero grooms will be totally blown out of the water in the face of The Dress. You just will. I’m sorry, we still love you. But the last ten years have totally freed up what we expect grooms (and groomsmen) to wear. If you wish to top hat & tail it – knock your self out, but it is certainly not the norm anymore. There are so many fab groom options; navy suits are de rigueur this year, but it is easy to find a style that suits you, from tweed & braces to a Saville Row number to last a lifetime. Check out some of the grooms featured in this post for ideas, or head over HERE to my Pinterest page* (yes, boys ARE allowed there) for more. Or dress like one of the Doctor Whos – possibly more Matt Smith than Tom Baker. And certainly not Colin Baker assuming you want the wedding to go ahead. Hmm, in hindsight this might just be something I’d find funny. ABORT.
*Full disclosure: the preponderance of Benedict Cumberbatch images is purely based on his uncanny ability to pick a good suit. And wear it. Oh my. This is a post for men, right? Okay, moving on.
3. Stag nights. I am assuming you have picked a Best Man you can trust right? Then let him know your limits & boundaries, and make sure he knows you are serious. Then go & have the best time ever. My husband & I had no interest in splitting into gender groups for our stag & hen – as we would both have missed out on good buddies, so we just all went out together, and this is a really good option for most people. But if you do the traditional thing, don’t feel like you have to fit the mold either. You want a River Cottage cooking weekend, do it. A yacht on a Greek island getting quietly steamed? Why not. Are you a bit of a feminist who would feel seriously uncomfortable about a stripper, good for you, let your buddies know this. Do you want to head to Comic Con dressed as The X-Men? Excellent. Can I come?
4. Dancing. We have all seen those couples who do the amazing orchestrated first dance thing – a sexy tango, a hot shoe shuffle, not all of us are built for this and that’s just fine. In fact (tell no one I said this) you don’t even have to have a first dance. FACT. Or if you do it can be less Celine Dion & more pogo-ing around to The Pixies. ALL GOOD. But do be aware that your guests probably won’t dance until you do, so get up on that floor regardless, even if its with some buddies to do the Timewarp.
5. Get a hair cut a week or two so before the day, and I totally recommend going or a professional wet shave on the morning of your wedding – I am reliably informed it is relaxing. Here in Winchester we have a number of good barbers who offer this, including Jack Rabbits and Headcase.
6. Finally, here is the same advice I give brides who are stressing about the wedding day and the arrangements and whether everything goes right – if you got married, it went right. You have worked to supply your guests with a wonderful day packed with food & fun, it is not your responsibility to make sure they enjoy themselves. That will happen whether or not the cake falls over, the wedding car breaks down, or your buttonhole got crushed.
Also, cigars make great photos. Just saying.