A Groom’s Guide To Planning A Wedding + Getting Ready
Here are just a few different types of grooms:
- The groom who wants to plan every step with his bride
- The groom who likes to take over the planning entirely
- The strategic groom who suggests that they hire a wedding planner to do everything
- The overwhelmed groom who can’t help but get a little caught up in the expense of planning their bride’s dream day that they leave things out
And yes, groom, there are more types I’ve not spoken about. Whatever type of groom you are, know one thing, you will never be able to redo your wedding.
You get one day, one day to celebrate the union of you and your wife.
As a professional Calgary wedding photographer, I’ve captured as many details and moments of wedding days as possible. I’ve seen moments with groomsmen, family, friends and of course, your bride. Laughter, tears, surprises, and love are often witnessed throughout the day.
Part of my photographic experience is giving my grooms the best opportunity to love and cherish their wedding day. Please use this groom’s guide as you prepare for your wedding day.
Planning a Wedding:
Marriage is a partnership, and I believe guys should get in there and get their hands dirty. That includes wedding planning. It brings on new stress and pressure, but with reliable communication, you should be able to work out all the details. The more that you embrace the details, the better everything will flow.
Wedding planning can be stressful, but 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’re 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’ll 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 guys, 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.
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. I’m not a planner but I’ve been to many weddings, and I should be able to help you out a little. As a wedding photographer, I see it all and have learned a few ways to make the process smoother.
Set clear responsibilities ahead of time. Don’t be in charge on your wedding day — ask for help.
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, and actually be present in the moment and enjoy the 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. Tell him when they’re supposed to come, who he needs to call if they’re late, and any other details he needs to completely manage the task on his own. You can follow a similar procedure with other responsibilities like flowers, venue, and even loading up the gifts after the reception.
Again, this is where a wedding planner could come in handy as they would be responsible for all of these items without the need to hand off tasks to friends and family. Everyone in your wedding party could simply enjoy the day and celebrate with you.
Don’t leave out the photography.
You’ve likely never planned an event before. I get it. We all grow up with the idea of marrying the person of our dreams at an elaborate venue. The realization hits us a few weeks after the engagement that with a wedding, comes planning, using money and time to make the wedding day a success.
It can be draining. The thing is, though, that wedding day does come, ready or not. I’m a little biased as a wedding photographer, but I’m also a regular guy. I was a groom once too. Wedding photography, aside from the gathering of loved ones and the marriage itself, is the most important part of the day. It’s the photos that allow you to look back on that special day and remember what it felt like to hug your Mom after marrying your girl, or how the two of you looked, the emotions that crossed your faces after you looked at each other in the aisle for the first time.
Wedding photography lets you relive that day and remember that all of the planning and decision making was worth it, because you married the love of your life.
Embrace the idea of having your photo taken.
I have been privileged with men who love being photographed, but I’ve also worked with men who at first believe they are not ‘photogenic,’ but enjoy seeing great photos of themselves later. Most people simply don’t know how to be photographed as they were never taught. This is sometimes a conflict between the bride and groom, as the bride is often aching for photos and the groom is tired of it.
Regardless of your personal preference, embracing the idea of having a photographer present at your wedding will better allow you and your soon-to-be wife to enjoy the day together, and have photos to look back on later.
In addition, some photographers will even offer coaching, allowing you to get more comfortable and explaining how the process works. This is part of the photographic experience that I give my grooms. I explain the difference between posed and unposed shots and help you determine if an engagement shoot is needed. Engagement shoots often help grooms warm up to the photographer and enter a comfort zone that they’ll keep with them through the wedding day.
Add your wedding album to your gift registry list.
Gift registry — would you like plates, gravy dishes, and tea towels? If so that’s great! Alternatively, a very popular gift among my clients is asking their guests to contribute towards their wedding album. Simply put, my grooms and brides add my album gift registry to their gift registry list. Guests can add money to their personal album account with me and it’s ready to be used on products from wall art, portrait boxes, and albums. My clients love this and promote it a lot with their guests as they look forward to filling their home with professional wedding photos.
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 to 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. I hate to say it, but some groomsmen tend to turn up late. I have found that many groom and groomsmen are pretty chill and considering they don’t have a big dress to put on or hair that needs curling, 15 minutes is enough time before the ceremony. But, I find that chilling out takes longer than expected. No surprise. Your groomsmen are usually your family or best buddies. Time goes quickly so tell them ahead of time your schedule for the day. 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. The shirt can be partially buttoned. Other items such as cufflinks and shoes can be around and handy.
This is the makings of fantastic bonding between you and your photographer. I am a creative wedding photographer. I love to get in there and aim to capture all the moments of your day so if it means capturing the groom in the midst of shaving with some creative colored lights, no problem, let’s do this. No boundaries for me.
Have a color suit that is stylish, and that you love!
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 which color of the suit to wear, consider something other than jet black. Have a color suit that is stylish, and that you love. Obviously, if you want and love a jet black suit, go for it, I have no problems photographing this color. However, many Calgary and Banff wedding photographers in my area do! If you look at photos, many photographs do not have separation in the black, especially in black and white photos. Furthermore, if it’s a hot day I’m sure you know what happens with black and heat! Help your body and think of the location you’re getting married in, i.e., Lake Louise destination wedding — make a choice that makes you most happy and comfortable.
Oh, before I forget, do you know how many men don’t know how to correctly knot a tie? A lot!! Make sure you know how to do up your tie, bow tie or if it’s a Scottish item, know how everything is done up. I see it time and time again when grooms and the groomsmen wait for the wedding day to work things out. It might seem fun to leave it to the last minute but believe me, work it out ahead of time. Just watch a simple Youtube video and practice at home in front of the mirror.
Prepare gifts or notes for your groomsmen and bride.
I often get asked, “What gift could I buy my groomsmen for standing up with me?” This is a tricky one for most as many leave it to the last minute. Put time into speaking with them way ahead of time and discovering what they like. For instance, you might personalize something for each of them or get the same groomsmen gift for all. Whatever it is, put some thought into it.
As for your bride, consider writing a letter or a note. You can even write something heartfelt on the bottom of your bride’s shoes to read on the morning of her wedding. This is a huge YES. Let me ask you, would you like a note? Would you like to be told how much you’re loved by someone? I think you would. The best advice here is to not expect anything in return. Write from your heart and the love will return to you in copious amounts.
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? In turn, this leads to buying your bride a wedding day gift. Why would you not? Hello… Speak with the maid of honor to find out what she would like. 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.
Life’s a wonderful journey, but it’s not always full of champagne.
One last parting thought here. Have guys you love in your wedding party. I mean the guys you know deep in your heart who will be around for you when life gets hard. Things happen in your life, and those who you thought who would be closest to you might not be. Life’s 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 my photographic experience? I’m a 100% creative destination Banff and Calgary wedding photographer. I’m hired because not only am I an open book when it comes to helping out as much as I can, but I’m also the kind of photographer that cares about your unique day. While I aim to capture traditional photos that every wedding should have, my ultimate intent is to use wedding photography to capture emotions. I want your photos to have feelings that allow you to rediscover the love you and your bride have.
I’d be honored to make your day a success. Simply get in touch with me here and we’ll chat.