Destination I Do
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

12 Tips for Your Groom

Words by Diane Warner
Photos courtesy of Joanna Williams Photography

Newly engaged? Congratulations! Now comes the hard part: the planning. You’ll find that it’s a lot like hopping on a moving train as you face the complexities of planning the wedding and the honeymoon. Although your bride and her mother will probably carry the biggest load, you’ll be drawn in by default. Here’s what you need to know:

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  1. When you and your bride are establishing gift registries, don’t hesitate to register for your honeymoon with a travel agency. Even if only a few friends and family members contribute, that’s money in your pocket. It beats having a kitchen full of toasters and novelty cookie jars.

  2. Be the one in charge of the play lists for your reception, whether you hire a band or a DJ. In fact, create a “Do Not Play” list, as well as a “Must Play” list. While you’re at it, have a discussion about the volume of the music.

  3. Once you’ve met with your officiant, you’ll know whether or not you and your bride are allowed to write your own vows. If you are, don’t leave it until the last minute. Begin composing your vows now, even if only writing down words or phrases that come to mind. The more you collect your thoughts, the easier it will be to write them out in full later on.

  4. You may be legally responsible to see to it that your reception guests don’t drive home drunk. Therefore, you may elect to pay your limo driver an extra fee to be available after the reception for any guests who need a ride.

  5. Instead of planning the bachelor party on the night before the wedding, it makes more sense to have it two or three days before, because, not only is the night before the wedding usually reserved for the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, but it’s an awesome idea to avoid a hangover.

  6. Unfortunately, well-dressed thieves specialize in crashing wedding receptions unnoticed and walking away with gifts or the card box. Provide paid security, or have a trusted friend keep an eye on gifts and the card box. 

  7. Think up ways to ease the stress your bride is feeling as the big day approaches: buy her an afternoon at a spa; plan special times together, such as an all day get-away; dinner and theater tickets; or an evening at a concert. Or, if you both enjoy a round of golf, or a day surfing at the beach, go for it! Your goal should be to break the stress cycle with a little R & R.

  8. Book your bride’s airline reservations in her maiden name. Although she’ll be a married woman when she goes through the checkpoints at the airport, all TSA wants to see is that the name on her ticket matches her driver’s license.

  9. When you return from your honeymoon, your wife has four choices:
    - Change her legal name to her married name.
    - Retain her maiden name.
    - Use a hyphenated last name that includes her maiden and married surnames.
    - Use both names: her maiden name in her business or career, and her married name in all other circumstances, including legal documents.

  10.  If you feel uneasy around your future mother-in-law, or vice versa, one solution is to invite her to lunch. Take her someplace nice, where the ambience is conducive to having a good talk. By “good talk,” I mean saying things like, “Ashley and I really appreciate all your help with the wedding plans.” Butter her up a little. Establish a genuine friendship if you possibly can. She should appreciate your attention, and after your little one-on-one chat, tensions should ease considerably. 

  11.  Instead of rushing from your wedding reception to the airport to catch your honeymoon flight, consider spending your wedding night in the bridal suite of a local upscale hotel or resort. As you board your getaway vehicle after a practically flawless wedding day, exhaustion will set in and you’ll practically slide into a coma. The mere thought of waiting in security lines at the airport, and fighting to cram your carryon luggage into an overhead bin, will cause you to appreciate a quick drive to your luxury suite. Your honeymoon destination will still be there the next day!

  12. Watch your luggage carefully. If you’re on an airport shuttle, be sure someone doesn’t “accidentally” take your luggage with them at their stop. Also, when standing in line at the check-in counter, keep your luggage in front of you, so that they are touching your feet. This will make it more difficult for a thief to walk off with your bags. Watch for distractions. For example, a thief may “accidentally” drop his ice cream cone onto your shoulder or lap, then make a big fuss of cleaning you up with a napkin while an accomplice picks your pocket or walks off with your cell phone. Thieves love honeymooners because they know you’re probably not paying attention to anyone other than each other.

Tuck these twelve truths in your hip pocket and take them out as needed. Your family and friends will be impressed with your worldly knowledge and self-confidence. Have an extraordinary wedding day!

Excerpts reprinted with permission of the publisher, from DIANE WARNER’S COMPLETE GUIDE TO A TRADITIONAL WEDDING, copyright 2014, published by New Page Books, a division of Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ  800-227-3371.  All rights reserved.

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