Planning a wedding is an exciting time, but also a time filled with stress. As you plan a lifelong commitment to the person you love, you’re simultaneously asked to pen a guest list and pick the perfect date. These days, brides rely on their grooms more and more for planning for the wedding, from DIY tasks to help with themes, but even if your bride has a more take-charge attitude, there are certain things you’ll be expected to handle independently. Not sure what you should have on your wedding checklist? Here’s a guide to what guys are generally expected to take care of before the wedding day.
Purchasing the Ring
Before you get down on one knee, the chances are good that you’ll have picked out an engagement ring for your bride. Picking out a wedding ring is a little different. For this, it’s okay—and even encouraged—to solicit your bride’s opinion. After all, you’re no longer trying to surprise her. However, it’s still important that you spearhead this task to show that it’s important to you. This is also the time when you’ll pick out your ring. When choosing wedding bands, you can either choose for the bride’s ring to match the groom’s ring in some way, or you can choose to get the bride a wedding band that sets nicely with her engagement band so she can wear them simultaneously and get yourself something a little different.
Make sure you build room into your wedding budget for wedding bands, and be practical as you do so about your lifestyles and habits. If you’re the sort to never take your ring off, you might want to shell out some coin on this purchase. If, on the other hand, you’ll forget to wear your ring half the time anyway—or you work in a career that makes wearing rings impractical—this can be a good place to save a little money. Just make sure your bride is okay with it first!
Writing Your Vows
Not everyone chooses to write their own vows, but if you and your bride-to-be choose to go this route, make sure you dedicate some time to the project—a few hours minimum. Writing vows that don’t sound trite and still sound romantic is a harder task than it seems from a distance. You’ll want to be able to sit at a computer with a notebook next to you so that you can google tips and read vows of the men who have gone before you for inspiration. Once they’re written, we recommend having a close friend—of hers—give them the once-over to ensure that when the day comes, she’ll see the little anecdote you put in about that one time… as funny, not embarrassing.
Choosing a Mother/Son Dance
Everyone talks about the first dance between the bride and groom, but in many families, the father/daughter and mother/son dances are just as important. Assuming your mother is around and you’re still on good terms with her, it’s important for you to pick out a song that will have meaning for her in some way. Choose a song you remember her listening to all the time when you were growing up (as long as the lyrics are appropriate), or a song that makes you think of her. Even if you don’t think the mother/son dance is terribly important, chances are good that your mother has a different view of things.
Planning the Honeymoon
This one’s a little tricky. While traditionally the bride was in charge of the wedding and the groom was in charge of the honeymoon, these days the lines are a little more blurred. Some brides may get anxious about you spending a large sum of money on a trip they have no say in, and if this is the first trip the two of you have taken together it may be fun for you to plan it together. You know your bride best, so if that’s the case, certainly sit down with her to plan it, but make sure to take the lead in picking a day to sit down and talk about it to show that you’re willing to take initiative on this. If, on the other hand, she’s okay with keeping it a surprise, that can be fun—and a good way to take some pressure off of her before the big day. Be sure to agree upon a budget before you start planning, both so her expectations of what you’re able to do are realistic and so that you’re not heading into marriage with less in your savings account than she had anticipated.
Purchasing a Day-of Gift for Your Bride
In a traditional wedding, you won’t see your bride on the big day until she’s walking down the aisle (unless you opt for first look photos instead, which are becoming ever more popular). Because of that, it can be nice to offer her a little something to open on the morning of the wedding to show her that you were thinking of her. It doesn’t have to be something huge—if you’re on a tight budget, even a heartfelt card can go a long way—but if you have a little extra room to spare, consider getting her something that she can hold onto. A dopp kit filled with things she may need but have forgotten—such as extra bobby pins for her hair, a sewing kit if her dress get snagged, and a pack of mints—can be a really cute way of showing that you’re aware of the pressures on her. This could also be a cute time to tell her about the honeymoon plans, if you’ve kept those secret, perhaps by including some luggage tags with the location and date.
Purchasing Thank-You Gifts for Your Groomsmen
The last major item on your wedding-planning checklist is purchasing thank-you gifts for your groomsmen. These guys have been your pals all along, and throughout the wedding planning process they have been the ones keeping your head afloat and helping you look at the big picture. They may also have spent a small fortune to be in your wedding, between tux rentals and your bachelor party. A token of your gratitude—traditionally given out at the rehearsal dinner—shows that you understand and appreciate everything you’ve put them through.
The trick with choosing a gift for your groomsmen is to pick something that’s both meaningful and utilitarian. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on something they’ll never use, but you also want them to remember and associate the gift with your special day. Something like our engraved leather wallets, which come in a groomsmen set, can be a great mixture of both the beauty and usefulness you’re going for.