There are countless ways gentlemen can get involved in wedding planning. Some groom's responsibilities are no surprise: getting his suit fitted, writing his vows, and helping pick a first-dance song, to name a few. Smaller gestures—like leaving notes for his bride or taking her out dancing—are less established but make a big difference too! Read on for 15 pre-wedding tasks for the groom to take on.
1. Choosing and overseeing his groomsmen.
Clearly, the groom will choose his groomsmen, but he also needs to make sure to invite them, keep them on track for suit fittings, and notify them of all details about wedding activities and schedules. He can ask his best man to help coordinate, but it's definitely on him to make sure things are checked off when it comes to his half of the bridal party.
2. Planning out the guest list with the bride.
In addition to providing a list of the friends and family he wants at the wedding, the groom is responsible for finding out who his parents would like to invite (with correct salutations and addresses). He should also track down all of his own friends' addresses that the bride wouldn't have in her own phone book.
3. Tracking down missing RSVPs.
It's also the groom's responsbility to track down missing RSVPs from his side of the guest list (and get their dinner orders, if applicable, while he's at it). The bride and the groom should each do the follow-ups for their own half of the list.
4. Dealing with his family.
Any family drama on his side should be dealt with by the groom (before wedding stress gets the best of everyone!). If his sisters cause issues regarding the bridesmaids' dresses or his mother is driving the bride crazy, the groom should be the one to have a one-on-one with whoever is causing stress and solve the problem.
5. Learning to dance—and practicing.
Many couples want to learn a choreographed dance for their wedding. Sign up for dance lessons at least six months in advance and make your weekly dance lesson a fun night out. For grooms who feel out of their element in a dance studio, the most important thing is to bring a good attitude and not take themselves too seriously. Put in the work and you'll be a dancing star before you know it.
6. Choosing and giving gifts to his groomsmen and best man.
This is the groom's chance to thank his guys for their participation in the biggest day of his life, as well as their friendship and support over the years. Some of our favorite groomsmen gifts include flasks, engraved cuff links, sports tickets, and top-shelf liquor.
7. Writing and practicing his vows.
If the couple is writing their own vows, the groom should take the time to write heartfelt, meaningful vows well before the day of the wedding. This is not a last-minute kind of task. And whether the vows are traditional or he wrote them himself, he should practice reading or reciting them aloud beforehand.
8. Staying on top of the rehearsal dinner.
Check in with the priest/rabbi/officiant and make sure both sets of parents and all wedding-party members know when and where to show up. Taking the whole rehearsal dinner off the bride's plate is a huge gesture and will greatly reduce her stress.
9. Styling his wedding-day look.
Not only does the groom need to pick out his suit, he needs to make sure it fits the overall style of the wedding. "The most important thing for a couple to consider when planning their formal attire is the style and feel of the wedding," says Christina Steinbrenner, director of tuxedo marketing at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. "For a traditional, more formal event, a classic tuxedo with a notch, shawl, or peak lapel is ideal. Slim-fit silhouettes have been most popular lately. For a less traditional option, shades of gray are hugely popular. Destination or beach weddings call for a lighter gray, tan, or even a jacket-less tuxedo."
He'll also need to put the finishing touches on his look with a perfectly folded pocket square or fun socks for an extra pop of color, Steinbrenner says. Accessories make all the difference!
10. Getting a haircut.
Getting a trim is key, but make sure it's not the day before; if he gets his hair cut that close to the wedding, there's not time for the trim to grow out if it's too close. Aim for two weeks before.
11. Making a toast.
The groom should be prepared to make toasts (and respond to toasts) at the rehearsal dinner and the reception.
12. Giving his bride a thoughtful gift the day of the wedding.
Traditionally, the groom gives the bride a wedding gift of some kind (and vice versa). He's responsible for getting his bride something special, making sure it's wrapped and has a heartfelt note attached to it. They can exchange gifts the night before the wedding, or he can have a gift delivered to the bride while she's getting ready on the actual wedding day. It doesn't have to be lavish, but something thoughtful like a letter and champagne will help make a special day even more magical.
13. Dancing with the mothers and bridesmaids.
In addition to his first dance with the bride, the groom should ask his own mother and the bridesmaids to dance, as well as the maid/matron of honor.
14. Planning the honeymoon
Traditional wedding etiquette holds that one of the groom's responsibilities is planning the honeymoon as a surprise for his bride. Some couples, of course, want to take on the honeymoon planning together. Whether it's a joint effort or the groom's on his own, honeymoon planning is definitely one his duties. And even if the bride is involved, he can still go out of his way to plan fun excursions and dates she won't know about until they get there!
15. Saying "I love you"—often.
Leave little notes everywhere. Post-its, chalkboard doodles, slips of paper under fridge magnets. This is the time to be romantic (and, yes, even cheesy)! Simple "I love you"s will keep the bride smiling no matter how stressful wedding planning gets! You can also seduce her all along the way. Sex kills stress, so getting it on with your bride will take the edge off of wedding planning.