There are some widely held misconceptions when it comes to wedding planning—believe it or not, not every mother-in-law is like Jane Fonda in Monster in Law. Another wedding myth is that brides care way more about wedding planning than grooms do and end up bearing the brunt of the work.
However, according to the 2020 Brides American Wedding Study, 32 percent of men see the big day as a lifelong dream, while only 27 percent of women say the same. In fact, men care a lot about making the wedding special and unique, with 44 percent believing that incorporating special hobbies and interests is a priority and more than 40 percent wanting to celebrate social, political, and religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds. When it comes to Instagram likes, 40 percent of men care about making their special day Instagram-worthy, compared to just 37 percent of women.
So, grooms, with these stats in hand, you should feel confident stepping up to the plate during the wedding planning process—you’re in good company.
Duties of the Groom
"Today's groom is different from generations before," says Annie Lee, the principal planner at Daughter of Design. "They are involved and present, and I've really enjoyed the dynamic that the couple planning together has shifted weddings into." Grooms can take on just as many tasks as brides. From deciding on a venue, creating the guest list, figuring out a budget, and selecting the food, music, and décor—wedding planning is no walk in the park for grooms.
Meet the Expert
• Annie Lee is the principal planner at Daughter of Design.
• Erin Taylor is the owner of Bustle Events.
It’s especially important that, as the groom, you take responsibility for your side of the family when it comes to communication about the wedding. Whether that means fielding questions from family members or friends or relaying any special requests or needs to the appropriate vendors. For example, is there someone with a specific dietary restriction that you need to inform your caterer about? Or is there someone with a disability who may require special assistance? Are there two family members who really don’t get along and should be kept away from one another? Think of yourself as the captain of your "family and friends team."
Of course, you have plenty of other choices to make as well, like picking out the attire you and your groomsmen will wear, what wedding band style you want, and what gifts you’ll get your groomsmen. Read on for the ultimate checklist of groom duties.
It’s time to start wedding planning. Here’s what a groom needs to do to make the big day happen.
Be an Equal Partner in the Planning Process
"Research and hire vendors, find a venue, order attire, manage budget, create design ideas, manage the guest list, create a seating chart, etc.," encourages Lee. "Both members of the engaged couple are equally responsible for planning their wedding. It's often the first team project of this magnitude, so it's okay to divide and conquer, but I think the key here is that there is active participation from both." It’s your wedding together, so it’s important you feel empowered to speak up about what you want and don’t want on your day. You should feel confident giving your input about a venue, caterer, band, or any other vendor decision. Remember, it takes two to make a wedding happen!
Communicate with Your Side of the Family
One of the hardest parts of wedding planning is communicating with so many different family members. You should act as the representative of your side of the family, while your fiancé can act as the representative of theirs. If your family plans to contribute financially, this means they do get a little more say in wedding planning decisions—especially if they’re paying for something specific like the bar tab or rehearsal dinner.
It’s also important that you get the guest list from your side of the family organized. “A big help is to help gather addresses for the invites from your friends and family,” says Erin Taylor, owner of Bustle Events. If you and your spouse divide and conquer amongst your sides of the family and friends, it will make the whole process feel less overwhelming.
Pick Out Your Attire and Wedding Band
Figure out what you want to wear on your big day and what you want your fellow groomsmen to wear. Before you select your suit, think about the overall style of your wedding and venue. Is it in a luxury ballroom downtown, or is it an intimate backyard wedding? Having the aesthetic of the day in mind will help inform what you should wear. For a more formal, upscale event, consider donning a classic black tuxedo. For a seaside celebration, a navy suit with a light-hued tie might feel more appropriate than a three-piece suit. Perhaps you want to add a pop of personality to your look with a patterned pocket square or personalized cufflinks. Whatever you end up wearing, it should feel authentic to you and your style.
You’ll also want to do some ring shopping, but this time for yourself! Whether you head to the jeweler by yourself or are joined by your fiancé, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect band (and to save up a little cash to buy it if you need to).
Buy Groomsman Gifts
It’s important to buy something for the most important men in your life as a way to thank them for being by your side on your wedding day (and all the days leading up to it). There are dozens of options, from engraved whiskey glasses and koozies that keep your drinks cold to cufflinks with their initials and embroidered kits. You don’t have to get all of them the same thing, either. If you have a groomsman who loves whiskey but isn’t into dressing up, the engraved glasses might be a better option than a personalized pair of cufflinks. This should be one of the more fun tasks of planning.
Responsibilities on the Day
Wedding day means it’s go time. Here’s what to do when you’re not saying your “I do’s.”
It may sound simple, but there are so many moving parts on the day of the wedding that adhering to the schedule or timeline the wedding planner has created will help things run smoothly. You may not be in hair and makeup for hours, but you’ll have a number of groomsmen getting dressed (tying bow ties and pinning corsages takes longer than you think), taking pre-ceremony photos, and perhaps reviewing your vows if you’ve written them yourself. "All I ask of any client is to get ready on time! Be dressed and ready by the time it says on the timeline," says Lee. The star quarterback wouldn’t miss a kickoff, would he? Treat your wedding day like you’re the quarterback. The ceremony is the big game (but maybe keep that analogy to yourself).
Manage Your Side of the Family
Again, as the captain of your "family and friends" team, you might be required to put out some last-minute fires with your family. Did your cousin miss his early flight? Or did your mom and aunt get into a tiff? You don’t want minor issues such as these to spill over into other parts of the day, so helping to mitigate these issues as soon as they arrive will keep the day running smoothly. Obviously, you can’t fix every problem, but you can act as the mediator and play the "it’s my wedding day" card to keep any family issues at bay. Also, be sure to keep people close by for wedding photos after the ceremony if you’re doing family pictures. "Keep an eye out for family members if they're doing photos after to make sure no one wanders off into the cocktail hour prematurely," says Lee.
Give Out Your Groomsmen Gifts
While you’re getting ready and throwing back a few beers to calm any pre-wedding jitters, hand out your groomsmen gifts. Doing it in the hotel suite or in the groom’s quarters at the venue also allows them to keep the gifts in a safe place until the wedding is over—unless the gifts are part of the wedding day look, of course.
It’s likely been months of planning, and with the day finally here, it’s important to soak up every moment. Take the time to admire your new spouse and let it sink in that you’re surrounded by the people you love. Take a minute to walk away from the craziness during the reception and soak in the moment. After all, your wedding is only one day of your life, so you might as well enjoy it!
While the wedding might be over, your responsibilities aren't quite done yet. Here’s what a groom needs to do after the guests go home.
Don’t Forget Your Belongings
If you got ready in the groom’s quarters at the venue or the suite at the hotel, you want to make sure you grab any items you left in there before heading off to your honeymoon suite. "Helping to make sure you have everything you need after the wedding is like making sure all of your personal items are loaded into the designated vehicle," advises Taylor. While it’s not the end of the world if you leave a few things behind, it’s one less trip you have to take back to the venue the next day when you’ll probably be feeling exhausted and hungover.
If you rented your tux or suit, you’ll want to make sure you get it back to the store you got it from in a timely manner. There is likely a deadline for when your clothing items need to be returned to avoid paying a fee. If you’re jetting off on your honeymoon and have no way of returning the items on time, task your best man or another groomsman with returning your wedding day attire.
Make a Photo Album
Once you get your photos back from your photographer, you’ll want to create a keepsake for yourself and perhaps a few other family members! Take some of your favorite photos from the big day and put them into a book to display on your coffee table or to give to your parents as a birthday or holiday gift. What’s more precious than the gift of memory?
Write Thank You Notes
Be sure to write thank-you notes to your friends and members of your side of the family for any cash or registry items you were given. The sooner after the wedding you do it, the better. Give yourself the goal of writing five a day after the wedding is over to make it a bit easier on yourself.