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A Groom’s Guide To Planning A Wedding + Getting Ready

March 18, 2020

Are you the type of groom who wants to help plan every step with his bride. Are you the strategic groom who suggests that they hire a wedding planner to do everything. Will you be the groom who is overwhelmed with the expense of it all, and it worries you? Are you the type of groom who is not worried about the cost, you just want to have fun. Do you just want to elope with your partner? Are you the type of groom who will do anything for your partner, you love her so much.

There are more types I have not spoken about, but whatever type of groom you are, know one thing, you will never be able to redo your wedding, and your choices will affect the outcome, be it in the short or long term. You get one day, one day, to celebrate the union of you and life partner.


Planning a Wedding

Marriage is a partnership, do you not believe that you should get in there and get their hands dirty and yes this is includes wedding planning. It brings on new stress and pressure, but with communication, you should be able to work out all the details. The more that you embrace the details, the better everything will flow.

You have come to this post for many reasons, one being you need a comprehensive groom getting ready guide, and one piece of the puzzle is planning your wedding. Here is a big tip for you if you hire the correct vendors, they will guide you. You do not need to buy any books or hire a wedding planner. You need to hire the right vendors. Based in Calgary I have to tell you, this is not rocket science, but it will feel crazy hard to organize if you just go cheap and believe it will work out. NEWS FLASH, it will NOT work out as you hoped for unless you 1. Hire the right vendors, 2. Research a little, 3. Create a timeline. My clients receive a full wedding day timeline from me, and we spend time working out the details as I want the best for them. Regardless of hiring a wedding planner, a photographer must organize their wedding day timeline as it will be slightly different from the planners.


Wedding planning can be stressful

With solid communication can help you work out all the details.
If you feel overwhelmed at any point, just communicate with your partner. Explain how you are feeling and know you are not alone. Preparing for a wedding day is a massive undertaking. If friends and family are offering help, take it. You will need it. Even if you prefer to do things yourself, I’ve noticed that grooms often underestimate how much work planning a wedding requires. For these men, I suggest looking into getting a wedding planner.

While planning a wedding may come with tasks such as picking out flowers, deciding on a venue, or choosing a color scheme that appeals to both of you, ultimately, the day is about celebrating your relationship. As you go through these tasks, remember to enjoy the preparations.

A groom looking outside the window at Chateau Lake Louise Hotel


Stressing over the little things will only make you dread the day that is supposed to be the best day of your life. If you find that you simply cannot relish in the wedding preparations, hire a wedding planner. Please, please, take it from me. I see the pressure on clients’ wedding days when it’s become too much. If you want to speak with me about your journey, give me a call at 403 826 9927. I am not a planner, but I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings.

I should be able to help you out a little. Believe me, as a professional wedding photographer, I see it all and have learned a few ways to make the process smoother.


Do NOT be in charge ON your wedding day

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think that you can host your wedding, handling responsibilities such as flower delivery or setup. By being in charge, you won’t be present at the moment; thus, you will miss out on your celebration.

Although you may not be able to hand off every task, especially if you’re arranging a DIY wedding, try to find family members and friends who can help out. For example, ask a reliable friend to be in charge of the caterer and other responsibilities like flowers, venue, and even loading up the gifts after the reception.

Again, this is where a wedding planner would come in handy as they would be responsible for all of these items without the need to hand off tasks to friends and family but the more you do, the less fun you’ll have as you be exhausted.


Not to leave out the photographer

Scheduling your photographer to have enough time to capture you getting ready photographs of your groomsmen and possibly parents is crucial. Don’t forget the photographer is a working professional and needs time and somewhere to capture great shots.

I allow 45 minutes for groom shots as my clients have invested in my style of photography and not a second shooter. This allows enough time to capture awesome and organic moments. But do not forget that special person in your life, being your Mom and Dad. You love them dearly, and I can guarantee you that they would love a photo with you.

Bridal Party photographs Groomsmen and Groom laughing in Canmore at a private home


Embrace the idea of having your photo taken

Life is amazing, it is truly incredible and you will one day pass on. What will you have to be remembered by? Have you heard the saying, out of sight, out of mind? Guess what, if you do not embrace having photographs taken time will pass and your day won’t be remembered. Yes, for sure you’ll hit the anniversary and you’ll tick it off but you’ll miss the moments that a professional photographer captured for you.


Album Gift Registry

Add your wedding album to your gift registry list. Gift registry, what is this you might ask? Guess what it is a place where you will receive money towards something you will love forever being PRINTS. Do you not want to remember your day forever? If not, think twice about getting married in the first place. You should be super excited about getting to spend the rest of your life with the one person you love, so doesn’t it makes sense to have Wall Art and photographs around the home of your incredible day? Share this registry with your loved one for your wedding day. Okay, yes, this is for my couples, but your professional should be offering such an awesome thing. If not, you might need to question their professionalism and intent!

Like have plates, and another toaster isn’t at the top of your registry list. Have something you want, photographs! After all, are you not hiring a photographer in the first place for prints and for someone to photograph your day?

Handmade albums designed by Geoff Wilkings Photography


Grooms — Embrace the help

Your family is so excited for you. Most of them want to help too. Many are just as invested as you in the making of the most spectacular day ever. And with this can come tension. You may feel like some of your family is interfering. I suggest trying to get past this. Embrace the help. If you need a bit of space, give them a task. Keep them busy. Usually, that’s all they want — to help out. As a parent of two amazing boys, I can only imagine how excited I will be on their wedding day. All that I have done is love them from birth, and I will one day watch them make a huge milestone in life. I will want to be a part of it. I hope they will let me.


Getting Ready Tips for the Groom

Okay, all the work is done, and your day has arrived. You are now getting married; today is the day. From my experience, if you want your day to go with ease, I suggest all grooms follow these steps.

Tell your wedding party or your groomsmen to arrive early for photographs. Start your day early, leaving plenty of time to get ready. Leave time for the unexpected. It kills me to say but some groomsmen tend to turn up late. Tell your groomsmen to arrive early for photographs. ( i.e., 15 to 30 min is normally enough). Once everyone has arrived, pants (trousers) and shirt on, that’s all we need at Geoff Wilkings Photography. The shirt can be partially buttoned. Other items, such as cufflinks and shoes, can be around and handy.

Allowing for the correct amount of time allows for creative photographs to be taken like the groom shaving in the morning. Have all of your items ready, so getting ready is a breeze. There’s nothing worse than all the men flying everywhere leaving the groom alone. Who’s day is it, your men should be close by and there for you. Allow buffer time.

A groom getting ready at the Palliser Hotel downtown Calgary


Tailored suit & suit color

Tux or suit, make sure it fits well. I appreciate that you might be on a budget, but this does not mean that you should wear a suit that doesn’t fit. A tailored, low quality suit is better than the most expensive suit that isn’t tailored.

As for the color of a suit, think fad, fashion, editorial or classic. Who are you, what are you, why are you. Follow your gut but know you are equally as important to your partner so turn up feeling great and proud. Don’t forget to get to know how to do up your tie or dicky bow!


Prepare gifts or notes for your groomsmen and Bride

Personalize something for each member of your groomsmen. Have a toast, be prepared. Write notes to each of them separately.

Write a note to your bride and buy her a gift. Love goes a long way so share your heart with those you love.

I am a believer in giving and expecting nothing in return. When you tell your bride how much she means to you and how much you love her, how can this not come back to you in love? You might be thinking a Gucci Bag will rock, but your bride might want something else. You know her better than anyone else, so don’t just default on the most cliche gift.

Wedding Vows written by the groom for his wedding day


Life is a beautiful journey

But it is not always full of champagne. Invite men you love as your groomsmen. Things will happen in your life, and you want those who you can rely on. Life is a wonderful journey, but it’s not always full of champagne. Share your day with the people that mean the most to you. Your wedding day is a time you will never forget.


Where now? Have questions or want to know more about me here. While I aim to capture traditional photos that every wedding should have, my ultimate intention is to use wedding photography to capture emotions. I want your photos to have feelings that allow you to have organic, fun, tearful, and emotional photographs for you and your partner to have forever.

I’d be honored to make your day a success, get in touch with me today.


Groom getting ready questions & guide FAQ


Where does the groom get ready

It is best for the groom to get ready in well lit with some room to maneuver. The room needn’t be too big but just big enough for him and his wedding party to get ready. Being able to hang clothes and toast is essential. The groom and groomsmen can get prepared in a home or a hotel room. At Geoff Wilkings Photography I suggest a well-lit hotel room for my groom at the same hotel as to where his bride is getting ready. This allows for the best use of a wedding day timeline.


How much time to allow for the groom’s getting ready photos

Allow 45 minutes for the groom and groomsmen wedding photographs. A creative photographer would allow 60 minutes for bathroom spray shots and off-camera-flash photography. For a new uneducated photographer, they would allow 20 minutes.


Groom getting ready timeline

The groom has two options for his getting ready timeline. One is to ignore the photographer’s request, or the groom can work with the photographer to create a schedule. The more involved a groom is with a wedding day, the better equipped the groom is for his day. For best photographs, I have found the groom is fully dressed one hour before his ceremony scheduled start time without including travel. This allows for a relaxed and enjoyable timeline.


What should a groom do before the wedding?

If the groom has lots of family and groomsmen, he might like to start the day with an early morning breakfast. Taking time with those he loves is essential to a fabulous day. If a groom is alone for his morning, this is a great time to write vowels or a love note. Taking time to think about your partner is an exciting time.


How do grooms get ready for photography?

The groom should start with making sure his suit is ready and having the groom’s tie, cufflinks, shoes, watch, socks out, and prepared to be photographed. Having items not easily located for the wedding photographer will slow the photographer down.


Do parents still pay for weddings?

Traditionally it is the bride’s parents; however, things have very much changed. Often it is the couple who pay for their wedding day if they are working professionals. How much will the wedding cost, what are the traditions within the family, where will be the wedding be located. There is no longer a hard and fast rule for who pays. Some parents split the amount owed or select what they will pay for. The key is not to stress a wedding on cost as it is a celebration. The older the couple ie, early thirty’s onwards typically pay for their wedding day.


Should I write a love note?

In short, YES. Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a note on one of the most important days of your life with a letter expressing something heartfelt? If though you are you thinking about the importance of a letter then likely this isn’t for you, and the answer is NO, you shouldn’t write one.

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