The question was popped, she said yes, and now it’s time to plan your celebration together. “Being an ‘active’ groom first starts with being highly excited and emotionally involved in your wedding,” says Marsha-Ann Donaldson-Brown, Sandals Resorts International's director of romance and weddings. “If I could give one piece of advice to grooms, it would be to show interest, and I mean keen interest, even if they are not the ones making the final decision.” Whether your wedding is going to be a small and intimate affair or a blowout wedding with hundreds of guests, here are key tips on how grooms can be an active part of planning the celebration.
Meet the Expert
- Marsha-Ann Donaldson-Brown is Sandals Resorts International's director of romance and weddings.
- Susan Zackin is the owner of Z Event Company in New Orleans.
Showing genuine interest throughout the entire wedding-planning journey is key to being an active groom. “Make sure to establish a time once a week dedicated to updates on planning and decision making,” says Donaldson-Brown. “Grooms and brides should talk about all the fun things like the colors of flowers and types of flowers you two like, your guest list, set dates for cake tastings, and explore what decor and designs you both envision on your special day.”
No matter where a couple gets married, the groom can always surprise and delight his bride. “A surprise treat for the bride could be anything from an enhanced entertainment option at the reception, whether that be a beautiful saxophonist or a pianist, or even a surprise playlist with a few of her favorite songs,” advises Donaldson-Brown.
One of the most important ways grooms can be more active participants in wedding planning is coordinating the wedding details with his family and the bride’s family. For example, when it comes to destination weddings, the groom can also help plan all the fun activities that guests can take part in prior to the wedding. “Start a family group chat and ask family members if they’d be interested in any water sports activities, or if anyone wants to go on an excursion,” advises Donaldson-Brown. “They can also take things a step further and surprise the families with a catamaran cruise a few days before the wedding.”
Take Charge of the Legalities
Being the lead on communicating with the officiant and finding out the necessary details to get everything accomplished that is required based on religious or legalities involved in the actual marriage is an important step for active grooms. “Every state has different rules as to when you need your marriage license and how to get it,” says Susan Zackin, owner of Z Event Company in New Orleans. This is an opportunity for the groom to take charge of the paperwork, phone, and email communication with the state.
Entertainment for the Reception
The bride can defer the choice of the band or DJ to the groom as well as having him create a "playlist or set list.” “We find grooms are instrumental in picking their "first dance" song,” says Zackin. “It is heartwarming to see the thought that goes into this special dance music selection by the groom. One of my favorite experiences is when a groom of ours selected ‘Like Jesus Does’ by Eric Church. Until I listened to the song, I was wondering why he picked that one and I realized he chose it to express how the bride completes him along with religion.”
Food and Beverage
Grooms can take charge of the food and beverage selection for the reception. “Many men are now 'foodies' and can share input on the different food selections offered as well as the presentation of what is served to their guests,” says Zackin. “The bars are a biggie, too. Since the trend of ‘crafting cocktails’ became popular, grooms have been experimenting and wanting to share some of their favorites with the guests. IPA beer selections as well as local beers from the city they are having the wedding are especially popular, too. Tastings are a great way to get the groom excited about the big day. I think it makes everything more ‘real’ for them.”
Once the bride and groom have selected their wedding theme and colors, the groom can then decide on his look, and outfit his groomsmen in suits that are complementary. “If the groom is really looking to stand out and make an impact, he can choose to wear a different-colored suit than his groomsmen,” says Donaldson-Brown. “One fantastic way to integrate your wedding colors and themes into the groom’s and groomsmen’s attire is to choose a boutonniere with a pop of color that matches your theme.” Once the bride and groom have decided on the color scheme of their wedding, the groom can coordinate the attire for his groomsmen including any brothers, cousins, and guests of honor such as the bride’s father.
Custom looks? Yes please. The groom no longer only wears a standard black tuxedo or dark suit, so grooms can take an active role by customizing the look of his attire as well as the groomsmen. “The particular cut and style of the groomsmen apparel and accessories are many times a reflection of the groom’s personality,” says Zackin. “His involvement in the color, cut, or style of what he and his groomsmen are wearing is a great way to personalize the wedding. A favorite photo of mine is one where the groom gave all of his groomsmen particular socks that were each related to the connection to him. They made for such a fun photo while they were getting ready together.”
Oftentimes, buses are necessary to get the wedding party as well as the guests from the hotel to the ceremony, the ceremony to the reception, and then the "getaway" car for the end of the evening. “This can be a stressor for the bride to figure out logistically on top of the other details she has to deal with,” states Zackin. “The groom taking charge of transportation is key. A groom I worked with had a bar set up outside the church for everyone to grab a signature cocktail for the ride to the reception.”