There are countless ways gentlemen can get involved in wedding planning. While we know the widespread notion is that of the frazzled bride taking on every decision and the laid-back groom just chilling, it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, we've seen plenty of husbands-to-be step up to the plate and willingly immerse themselves in the process. There's absolutely no reason why both partners shouldn't get their hands dirty in throwing a celebration of their love for one another. 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 partner or taking him or 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 their partner wouldn't have the contact information for.
3. Tracking Down Missing RSVPs
It's also the groom's responsibility 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 his partner 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 your spouse-to-be's plate is a huge gesture and will greatly reduce their 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."
Christina Steinbrenner is director of tuxedo marketing at Jos. A. Bank Clothier, a high-quality menswear retailer.
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 Partner 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 to-be spouse 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 his SO while he or she is 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, his mother-in-law, 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 of his duties. And even if the spouse is involved, he can still go out of his way to plan fun excursions and dates they 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" declarations will keep your spouse-to-be smiling no matter how stressful wedding planning gets. You can also seduce them all along the way. Sex kills stress, so getting it on with your partner will take the edge off of wedding planning.